My daughter will begin kindergarten next year. In my school district I have the option of enrolling her in a magnet program. The magnet schools in this area are designed to attract students to lower income areas, a way of natural desegregation. In order for this to be successful, the magnet schools have additional programs and resources available to them. It has worked well for my school district.
One of the positive aspects of the magnet schools is that they offer specific programs that are tailored towards the arts or the sciences. They offer programs specifically for gifted students or those interested in learning a foreign language. The schools offer additional electives, which can allow your children to explore their interests more deeply.
Another positive aspect is that many of the magnet schools have higher school test scores. The students and teachers are focused on doing well which provides a positive learning environment for the children. Parental involvement is expected when you attend a magnet school. As a result the schools have a good support system from the parents.
One of the biggest negative aspects is the amount of time the typical child will spend on the bus. For many children it is a forty-five-minute bus trip each way. Children are bussed from the suburbs into downtown. This takes time away from playing and family. Things, which I feel, are essential for a child.
Another negative aspect is the fact that you may be narrowing your child’s interest at a young age. It may be that your child will excel in the arts, but you chose a school with a focus on science. The science school still offers arts classes, but neither as many nor as in depth as an arts magnet would.
Another negative aspect is that your child will not be attending school with other children from your neighborhood. If you have an extremely shy child or one who has a hard time relating to other children, this may be a difficult thing for your child to deal with. You may want to consider this when determining the right choice for your child.