Magnet Schools Drawing More Attention
While the term “school choice” is often perceived as a decision between public and private institutions, magnet schools offer an opportunity to introduce another option for parents and families within their public school district. With almost 3,000 magnet schools nationwide in 2012, the trend embracing more public school choice continues to rise.
Originally conceived as an approach to decrease segregation in school districts, today magnet schools encourage more hands-on learning by tailoring instruction around a central theme. Various magnet schools focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); arts; business; culinary studies; medicine; languages and more. Magnet schools increase parental involvement, attendance and diversity, and improve student performance and graduation rates, resulting in higher teacher satisfaction and retention.
In 2014, The Brookings Institution ranked New York City Schools at number two on their education choice index. With the ability to choose to which district school to send their kids, parents have a clear choice. While six traditional public schools were just added to the city’s “out of time” list, U.S. News & World Report ranks six NYC magnet schools in the top-20 nationwide.
In states like New York, magnet programs introduce specialized curriculum to schools educating a wide diversity of students. Todd Mann, Executive Director of Magnet Schools of America, states, “magnet schools are spurring innovation in the classroom while preparing students for higher education and future careers.” Magnet schools not only enrich student, parent and teacher satisfaction, but do so within the public school system.