Who can forget all of the consernation about DISD’s magnet schools last spring, when the DISD board considered equalizing magnet spending with the neighborhood schools scattered throughout the city? Magnet school parents complained their schools needed additional per-pupil funding to preserve their mission, while neighborhood-school parents wondered why all programs shouldn’t be funded equally since they supposedly all have the same mission — educate Dallas students.

Out of the various Back Talk blog posts about the issue (check some of them out here and here and here and here), one commenter asked a good question about the magnet schools: Who gets into these schools and how diverse are they?

Here’s what we found out, broken down by school and ethnicity.

At one point, at least when DISD was under court-ordered desegration supervision, urban legend had it that DISD’s magnet schools enrolled students on a roughly 33/33/33 percentage, with equal representation among whites, blacks and Hispanics. Turns out if that figure was ever correct, it no longer is — each magnet school in DISD has its own admissions policies and procedures, and there’s supposedly no "quota" from year to year and from ethnicity to ethnicity.

So we filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking DISD to provide the acceptance numbers for each magnet schools for the past couple of years, and here they are. Special thanks to intern Elizabeth Elliot and webmaster Colleen Yancy for putting together the spreadsheets you see here.

What you’ll find is that some magnet schools accept all-comers — seriously, if you applied, you were accepted. Other magnet schools accepted almost all white kids who applied, while still others accepted no white kids; roughly the same thing applies to black and Hispanic students. And even though each school supposedly doesn’t have an official "quota" of ethnic students, when you look at the numbers, you’ll notice the ratio of ethnicities at virtually all of DISD’s magnet schools didn’t change appreciably from the 2007-2008 school year to the 2008-2009 school year (the most recent for which we received data).

We’ve broken the numbers down by year, by school and by ethnicity (this link is for white students, but numbers for black and Hispanic and Asian students are here, too) so you can check out the results from a top-down DISD view, as well as look at enrollment numbers that pertain directly to you and your family.

And, to be honest, now that you know these acceptance numbers, if you’re a bit of a helicopter parent interested in a DISD magnet school for your child, you can do a better job of directing your student to a specific magnet because you can see what percentage of students matching your child’s ethnicity are getting into which schools.