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View Diary: Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Brave New World - High Stakes Testing or When a Test is Not Just a Test (62 comments)

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  •  The magnet school I attended was separate (3+ / 0-)

    A completely separate campus, a completely separate school.  

    We had the same funding per student as the other schools, and we had many programs and classes cut compared to a "comprehensive" high school.  

    It's just that instead of cutting out the art classes, we cut out the hairstylist and cosmetology classes and home ec classes.  We cut out gym and all sports and added in dance and acting classes instead.  

    Any class that wasn't a fine arts program or academic was removed.  

    Our rival school, about a mile away, was the health sciences and engineering school.  It completely cut away all arts funding and most sports funding, but changed those to a rigorous engineering and science curriculum, with a partnership with the nearby hospitals and medical school for students planning on becoming doctors and nurses.

    The feeder schools we left behind, the comprehensive high schools, often complained about the "brain drain" - my graduating class of 75 and the science school's class of 100 would have likely been in the top 1% of the rest of the county's five high schools.

    While that point is valid, it permitted us to attend schools that didn't waste money on sports programs we wouldn't participate in, and instead spend that money on the arts and on extra science classes.

    Charter schools are quite different from magnet schools.  They claim to only focus on academics, but they don't spend the "saved" money on a different area of emphasis like a focused magnet school does.  Instead, that money goes straight to the private administrator's pockets.

    The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

    by catwho on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:37:27 PM PST

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    •  Was your magnet school intended to help integrate (1+ / 0-)
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      the school (cause that was how they started) or a particular neighborhood?  What made it a "magnet?" A magnet to what? what was a racial make-up of your school? I'm not challenging you, just trying to understand.  Most of the magnets in NYC were in a regular school.  My son's "alternative school" was in a separate building.  

      •  "Magnet" meant drawing from the whole county (2+ / 0-)
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        Geminijen, radical simplicity

        I grew up in a very large metro area, with half a million people inside the county itself, and another million or so in the surrounding metro area.   Not the biggest city in the state and certainly not NYC, but a decent sized city, especially for the South.

        The three magnet schools were created in the 1980s as a means of providing a more enriched curriculum in their respective areas than the comprehensive high schools were capable of giving.  A typical comprehensive high school had around 3,000 students - and every sports team under the sun.  They were supposed to provide not only college prep lines, but also vocational prep, so taught everything from auto mechanics classes to cosmetology.  These were zoned schools - and since many parts of the condensed city-county were integrated neighborhoods anyway, busing solely for integrating purposes wasn't as necessary (although two of the five high schools had had to be integrated and probably still involve some magnet-esque busing.)

        One magnet school served only elementary and middle schools, and that was the closest to a charter school the county had.  It called itself a "traditional" school and required uniforms back before that came into fashion for public schools, requested permission for corporal punishment from parents as part of the requirement for attendance, and from what I understand was a much stricter environment than the relatively fluffy and lenient elementary and middle schools I attended were.

        My school provided middle /high school and fine arts, and the science high school focused on advanced math and science.  Both schools provided only college prep academics, and all classes were taught at the AP level in high school.

        In the morning I would catch the normal bus to my zoned school, then ride a short bus to downtown, a full thirty minutes away by highway.  In the evening, big buses would distribute all the kids to the correct neighborhoods from all three of the magnet schools (which were all close together downtown.)  However, the two high schools had so many extracurricular activities, most of us got in the habit of walking to the downtown library to wait for parents or catch public transit home instead.

        The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

        by catwho on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:34:23 PM PST

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        •  I personally think we can provide a variety of (1+ / 0-)
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          programs to all students in a variety of ways.  As a social studies teacher, my main concern in the K-12 curriculum is for students to to learn democrat skills and to learn to interact with students from all walks of life in a society.  while, I like smaller class sizes, I do like a school as a whole to represent the whole community.  I think too early specialization can be a narrowing experience.  I don't see why you can't have specialized programs and at the same time have some classes or programs that overlap.  In my high school, which was a general comprehensive high school, they had honors classes, yet everyone had the opportunity to study as an elective, one of four foreign languages, art, and yes sports, as well as certain vocational classes from computers to carpentry. A sculptor might like to learn how to do wood inlays in a carpentry class. Guess I'm saying that while I want the right to individual differentiation, I liked that when we elected student governments, all students --jocks, art majors and computer geeks voted in the same election and learned to interact and hopefully respect each others choices and paths (course that is never perfect).  guess I want to have it all.

        •  Again, I am curious about the class and racial (1+ / 0-)
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          make-up of the school.  

          •  Strict affirmative action (2+ / 0-)
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            JayRaye, Geminijen

            Required to roughly represent the makeup of the county, which was 45% white, 45% black, and 10% "other."  Half male, half female.  With only 75 students, getting the exact ratios was impossible, but we were a fairly diverse bunch all the same.

            Also, a good third of the students qualified for free lunches based on income.  While some of the students came from relatively well off backgrounds, most were like me - lower middle class or working class backgrounds.

            The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

            by catwho on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:24:38 PM PST

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