School board calls for more equity in magnet schools

School board calls for more equity in magnet schools
December 18 16:05 2018 Print This Article

The Charleston County School Board approved measures Monday to increase equity and inclusiveness in magnet school programs. Magnet and partial magnet schools have a special theme or purpose which differentiate them from attendance-zoned neighborhood schools. The school board adopted some of the guidelines recommended in a Clemson University study on diversity and inclusion within the Charleston County School District (CCSD).

Several of the measures called for more opportunities for parents and students to learn about the magnet schools. One calls for the School Choice Fair to include all schools that wish to participate. Another gives parents the option to apply for magnet school enrollment on paper. A third measure calls for more transportation to be made available for students who wish to attend magnet schools. The lack of transportation is often a barrier to entry for students from low-income families. The board even stipulated that magnet schools with special entrance criteria and long waiting lists could expand to a second campus. For example, a second School of the Arts could be formed.

There were other measures approved to strengthen the neighborhood schools, including the requirement that all middle schools offer Algebra 1.  The core curriculum is supposed to be strengthened at every neighborhood school and additional support services are supposed to be offered for high poverty students to give them an equal opportunity to attend magnet schools with special entrance requirements. The Clemson University study revealed that minority and high-poverty students are not proportionally represented in magnet school enrollment.