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Magnet Schools

Many communities have created “magnet schools” in which students from across a community attend. These schools often emphasize particular courses of study—science or the arts, for example. Magnet schools, properly funded, can provide educational and social opportunities for children across a wide spectrum of racial and ethnic lines. Magnet schools do not keep people from moving out of the cities, however. In some places school districts have attempted to lure suburban students into inner city magnet schools. In Connecticut, cities such as Hartford and New Haven have created magnet schools that have been well received. One of the goals of these schools is to draw students from the predominantly white suburbs. As part of the state’s desegregation efforts, suburban students can take part in a program called Open Choice that allows them to transfer to the inner city schools at no additional cost. Under normal circumstances, a student who goes to a district other than his or her own would have to pay tuition and transportation costs. In Connecticut, those costs are underwritten by the state.

Magnet schools are seen by many as a better way to achieve integration than charter schools, which are often created specifically to serve the needs of local neighborhoods and may not have racial or ethnic diversity as their prevailing goal (although as public entities they are subject to anti-discrimination laws).

Inside Magnet Schools