Magnet School

magnet school a public school offering new and special courses to attract students from a broad urban area so as to promote desegregation

Hmm… Is that what we’re doing? Could’ve fooled me. Apparently we’re a magnet school. I guess there are a few people who know about this. As far as the plans for developing the magnet, I’m sure there are some. But as someone who has been at my school for 16 years, apparently I don’t rank high enough to be included or informed about the plans. Most of us get informed about these decisions when we find the glossy brochure in our mailbox. Already printed and distributed to potential customers. I learned long ago, not to get phased by things like this. Decisions get made in education. Things happen. Things change. You can always count on change. What is “hot” one year is out the next. As far as teaching math goes, no matter what education fad is in the works, I still need to teach all of the stuff that they need to pass the state tests and graduate. They still come without knowing their basic math facts and need instruction to get them up to grade level. We’re still working with the basic building blocks no matter what eduspeak is in the wind.

So why are we a magnet school? It seems that elementary schools have jumped on the magnet bandwagon. And those elementary kids are of the age where they need to articulate to the high school level. This particular magnet sounds exciting. But currently there are 51 people who are listed as employed currently at the pinnacle of this field. There are another 38 employed in a management capacity. The location of these jobs are located far, far away from here (TX, FL, CA). Sounds like a promising career choice, huh? How would you like those odds at landing a job?

We may as well be a magnet in Underwater Basket Weaving. You could spend money on special equipment to learn the skills. Get your teachers to incorporate some aspect of basket weaving into their lessons. I suppose we could do something with patterns in math… In the end, how is it going to benefit kids?

To be prepared for the next phase in their lives, they need a good foundation of the basic skills that have already been determined by people who really know what they’re doing. We need to add in technology skills to adapt to the 21st century. They need to be able to work in a group and speak in front of an audience. Reading, writing and mathematical skills are still very necessary. They need to be creative problem solvers and critical thinkers. We need to encourage them to develop as individuals to find their special, unique niche in this world. I won’t even get into how we try to make up for their lack of food, healthcare and support systems.

When I was a teenager, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was beginning to figure out what I was good at. I knew enough to get into college and pick a major for something that was useful and something I could do. Even when I was done with college I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t figure it out until I was 26. And we expect an elementary student to know what they want to do? Seems a little crazy to me. Yes, there are those few that know what they want to be “when they grow up” from a young age. But they’re the exception, not the rule.

Am I going to get excited about this new focus? Not likely. I need a better reason than somebody somewhere thought it would be a way to draw kids to a school. No fancy equipment will make a difference if they don’t have a solid foundation to build upon.

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