How socioeconomic integration relates to suburban magnet school students

We’re not sure, actually, except that both topics are tied together in a presentation on today’s Dallas ISD board workshop agenda. It looks at magnet schools’ diversity, both racially and socioeconomically, and how many out-of-district students are at the district’s various magnets this year and last.

The presentation gives a broad view of magnet schools’ racial and socioeconomic diversity, then zeros in on campuses to spell out each one’s out-of-district enrollment, highlighting those where more than 10 percent of students don’t live in Dallas ISD. (Barack Obama Leadership Academy‘s high school and Harry Stone Montessori‘s middle school tie for the highest percentage during 2016-17 — 14.67 percent each.)

The presentation also highlights how many out-of-district students are enrolled in all of DISD’s schools (1 percent of total enrollment) vs. its magnet schools (7 percent). The numbers also show that 27 percent of DISD’s out-of-district students are enrolled in magnet schools.

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Our recent story looked long and hard at these out-of-district numbers, posing questions about how and why some of the most highly acclaimed schools in DISD have a number of non-DISD students, especially when board policy gives in-district students first dibs. A couple of trustees have indicated that they want to reexamine whether this policy, like the sibling policy at magnet schools, also needs tweaking.

In its final two pages, the presentation ends its data review and begins looking at the “positive effects” of socioeconomic integration. We’ve written at length on this topic, too, pointing out, as the presentation does, that “upward mobility” is “much higher in metropolitan areas where poor families were more dispersed among mixed-income neighborhoods.”

Will DISD administrators suggest tomorrow that its suburban students, who tend to be wealthier, create more socioeconomic diversity at magnet schools? Or that more economically disadvantaged students should be placed at magnet schools, which tend to have more affluent student populations?

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Again, we’re not sure, but we’ll be interested to find out today. You can watch the meeting live starting at 11:30 a.m.

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