Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Charles L. Glenn
Magnet schools were first developed in the 1960s as a means to achieve a measure of racial integration through voluntary enrollment of pupils from noncontiguous residential areas on the basis of the distinctive theme or program offered by the school. In some large northern cities like New York and Chicago where comprehensive desegregation through mandatory assignments seemed politically or practically impossible, the promotion of magnet schools served as a token effort toward integration. In suburban communities with small but residentially concentrated minority populations, magnet schools were a means of reversing “White flight” from impacted schools. Although the results were seldom adequate to meet court orders requiring comprehensive desegregation, magnet schools often provided evidence to parents and the wider public that Black and White (and, less commonly, Hispanic and Asian) pupils could be educated together without racial conflict or loss of educational quality. On the contrary, the quality of education was ...