Some might think that this is a moot point considering that we have decided to do at least some level of home-schooling but I still think it is an important piece of info. Just as a summary for anyone who is visiting this blog for the first time, our eldest child Bug is gifted academically. His areas of interest currently are geography and human anatomy. Emotionally and socially, he is his tender age of 4 1/2 years. We were looking for a school that would give him the academic challenge with the emotional social support. Now here is what I think of magnet schools.
Magnet schools are the educational version of a wolf in sheep's clothing. When I went in search of a school program that offered options for gifted children the magnet schools were presented as a wonderful opportunity for his academic and social enrichment. Here is the information that was given to me:
".....Science, Math, And Technology Magnet will provide rich learning opportunities for students through daily, integrated science, math, and technology. In addition to a comprehensive inquiry-based, hands-on classroom science and math program, students will work in a lab complete with lab coats, current technology and equipment to do experiments and collect and analyze data. Through partnerships with the Science Museum of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota, students will collaborate with real scientists and mathematicians in actual research projects."
Sounds great, right? WRONG. As with all things political, and don't be fooled, our educational system is quite political, there is a catch. And as far as I am concerned, these programs are not for academic growth but are rather for fulfilling a liberal agenda.
These magnet schools were devised by the Northwest Suburban Integration School District.
What is NWSISD?
"Northwest Suburban Integration School District is a non-profit organization that promotes district and community-wide multicultural educational programs. We provide our schools and communities a variety of programs and services to help enhance diversity and cultural awareness."
Ok, so why exactly is this organization involved with the magnet schools?
"Specifically, NWSISD emerged because Brooklyn Center and Osseo School Districts were identified as racially isolated as defined by the new desegregation rule, which took effect in January 1999. A "racially isolated" school district is defined in the law as "a district where the district-wide enrollment of protected students exceeds the enrollment of protected students of an adjoining district by more than 20 percentage points."
Who are the "protected students"?
The rule defines "protected students" as those who identify as African/Black Americans, Asian/Pacific Americans, Chicano/Latino Americans, American Indian/Alaskan Native or multiracial students having origins in more than one of these categories or one of these categories plus Caucasian.
And what does this mean?
According to the law, if a district or school is identified as "racially isolated" the district must work with neighboring districts to create a voluntary desegregation plan.
What is essentially implied by this program is that the schools identified as racially isolated are not able to provide a comparable education as would a non-racially isolated school. Desegregation is required for these isolated students to receive an equal education and as a result other students that are viewed as "privileged" in this area are given the chance to experience multi-racial and multi-ethnic diversity.
Our son loves to discuss and learn about other cultures. He is fascinated with how people are different and yet essentially the same. And my husband and I help him in this pursuit of knowledge on a regular basis. My issue is that academics have taken the back seat to teaching diversity. I am concerned as to exactly how this diversity would be taught. We live in a very anti-Caucasian, anti-male society. Will other racial and ethnic backgrounds be highlighted and celebrated and the American Caucasian be vilified. Unfortunately I think the answer is yes. And although no one likes to admit it, isn't this just another form of segregation.
I think that each child should have the opportunity to receive the best education possible. I believe in school choice. I also believe that sometimes choices require sacrifice. However, I do not believe that educational advatage should be given for the sake of fulfilling an agenda. If the goal of these programs is to bring together children of different cultures that share the same academic interests, I would tolerate them much better. But there is the feeling in my gut that says this just isn't the case. And I'm not about to let my son be a guinea pig.