The magnet program in Los Angeles Unified Schools was originally designed as part of a desegregation plan in the 1970s.
More than 40 years later, magnet schools are still alive and well in LAUSD, having become a coveted school alternative for parents who decide not to send their kids to the public school in their district. Magnets are popular because most offer more diverse student populations and themed programs focused on things like STEM or the performing arts.
This year, LAUSD added 16 new magnet schools in the hopes of increasing enrollment and providing more choice. Newly-minted Superintendent Michelle King is opening up more seats at current magnet schools and making them available faster. The district is also working on streamlining its application process and hopes to create a ‘one-stop-shop’ website where parents can easily apply to the program they want for their kids.
Competition getting into magnets is tough, though. Last year more than half of students who applied to a magnet didn’t get into the one they chose.
If you’re the parent of a student in an LAUSD magnet, what has your experience been? Do you think LAUSD magnets are fulfilling their mission?
Kyle Stokes, KPCC K-12 education reporter
Pedro Noguera, distinguished professor of education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA