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education.com asks:
Q:

If the magnet school that accepted my son does not have a good rating for test scores, should I look for another school?

"The magnet school my son has been chosen to attend does not have good rating for test score and is below state and district. Should I look for another school?"

Asked by Angela via email.  
In Topics: Choosing a school, State education standards, My gifted child
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BarbK
Jun 6, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Angela,

This is a good question.  Many of the magnet programs that were started in the county I work for ended up in lower achieving schools.  The magnet programs were a way to draw in good students.  I have also noticed that many times the "magnet" students are keep together and often don't mix with the general population except for electives.  I'm not saying this is the best practice, but just my observations.  So before pulling your son from the magnet program, here are a few questions to ask both the school and your son.  Let's start with the school:
What are the average test scores for those students in the magnet program?
Do you separate the magnet students from the general population?
How do you decide which teachers teach the magnet classes?
Are the magnet students held to a higher standard?
Is there a turn over or drop out rate of students for the magnet program?

Now some questions for your son:
Do you like the area of study offered in the magnet program?
Are any of your friends in the program?
What has he heard about the school?
Does he think the other students not in the program will be a problem?
What is he looking forward to most about going to the new school?
What is the least?

I would also suggest that you drop by the school sometime.  If you can ask for a tour of the school or to see if there is someone available to answer your questions about the magnet program.  Look to see how the office staff gets along as well as interacts with other staff members.  How are the students interacting with each others and their teachers - is there respect?

After having your questions answered by the school and your son, you will probably know what to do.  Follow your gut feeling, it is usually right.

Good luck!

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