On the April "Start a new post," Annette Werner wrote:
The Board will be voting on new magnet lottery procedures this week, including extra chances in the lottery (weights) for receiving a free and reduced price lunch and for living in the area where the school is located. There did not seem to be any particular problem with the magnet lottery this past year- the IB school in particular was noted to have drawn a class that very closely mirrored the district- and so it is not clear why this extra weight is being added.
More important, the extra weight for a free/reduced lunch reveals something about the magnet programs which are most successful and require a lottery. Rather than being magnets in the traditional sense of drawing students to schools that are in poorer areas and/or disproportionately attended by minority students, the programs that fill up and need to use the admissions lottery- sci tech, engineering (at Allderdice), computer science (at Brashear), CAPA- are NOT in poorer areas. These programs are in schools that already have the highest proportion of students not receiving a free/reduced price lunch.
What we do not have are magnets successful enough to draw a diverse student body to schools like Westinghouse. The sci tech school, if it had been placed at Westinghouse, might have been that magnet, or the IB school. (We were also hearing last year that the IB committee favored Westinghouse for that program, but the report from that committee indicated that transportation was a problem.)
Today's PG noted that a sports magnet may be placed at Westinghouse http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09117/965797-181.stm. If a goal is a diverse student body, it would not seem best to weight a future Westinghouse sports magnet lottery in favor of students receiving a free/reduced price lunch or students from the area where the school is located.
April 27, 2009 10:06 AM