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Reviewing magnet schools

This ought to be lively.

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier is starting to tread in the most politically delicate territory he’s tackled since coming to Houston: the beloved magnet program.

Starting this week, the district is holding town hall meetings to gather input from parents on the specialized schools that got their name because of their initial ability to attract students from across the city.

The school board has hired an outside consultant to audit its 113 magnet schools, which could lead to ineffective programs being eliminated, successful ones being replicated, as well as changes in funding and in the student selection process.

Grier said Tuesday that some changes could happen as soon as next school year, or the school board could wait longer to act. It depends on the findings from Magnet Schools of America, which is slated to issue its preliminary report on Dec. 1.

“This is a long time coming,” Nancy Lomax, a veteran parent volunteer, said of the magnet review. “I understand it’s a difficult issue, and there will be a lot of screaming. But get out the earplugs — it needs to be done. It’s not fair to all the children if you aren’t evaluating how well you’re spending your tax dollars.”

I agree that this needs to be done. How can you know if something is working as intended unless you review it? As long as all the stakeholders are fully engaged, and as long as any substantial changes have sufficient support from those stakeholders before they are implemented, I say bring it on. Hair Balls has more.

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One Comment

  1. Anna Eastman says:

    Thanks Charles,

    I’d like to encourage folks to attend any one of the remaining community forums and to fill out the online questionnaire.

    This link will take you to the web page to access the survey (in English, Spanish and Vietnamese) and the meeting schedule. If for some reason it doesn’t work, go to and click on the Magnet link at the top of the page.

    Anna Eastman, District 1 Trustee