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A Federal Judge Refused To Tusd Magnet Program

Tusd latest refused to magnet school program, a federal judge questioned the area will be able to get out of apartheid planning for decades in the next two years, plans,

U.S. District Judge David Bury said in a recent court order that attaining unitary status may be difficult due to the district’s failure to come up with what he considers to be a comprehensive magnet plan.

Bury gave the district four months to file a revised version.

Tucson Unified School District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez said will begin work on Bury’s recommendations, and expressed confidence the district will still attain at least partial unitary status by the 2016-17 school year.

By definition, magnet schools focus on a theme — such as a specific academic area, a particular career or a specialized learning environment — that attracts students of diverse backgrounds, encouraging them to choose a school outside their neighborhood.

While TUSD has had magnet offerings for more than 30 years, recent analysis has found that the majority of the campuses fail to meet those goals.

The focus of the comprehensive magnet plan, which is considered one of the key components to bringing racial balance to TUSD schools, is to address the creation of magnets and the revision, improvement and elimination of others.

According to Bury, the magnet plan fails to identify specific activities that schools must undertake to attain magnet status and says there is no budgetary assessment as to how much money it will take to make the requisite improvements.

Bury’s sometimes-scathing review of TUSD’s efforts points out that the district’s plan allows deficient magnet schools to exist for years, even though it has long been aware of the problems and solutions.

“It is not as if TUSD does not know what needs to be done,” Bury wrote. “Each of the existing 20 magnet schools/programs have been critiqued regarding their deficiencies since 2011, with detailed annual recommendations spelled out for improvements.”

Bury also expressed disappointment that the magnet plan does not address how the district will improve academic achievement in about half of the existing magnet schools that have earned grades of C and D from the state.

The order also touched on the district’s reluctance to eliminate programs, instead choosing to change a school’s overall theme, inferring that allowing a school to continue to receive magnet school funding may have something to do with that.

“But a magnet plan is not a funding mechanism; it is a mechanism to improve integration,” Bury said.

Despite the criticism, Sanchez said he was pleased with the outcome and embraces the direction given.

Though the district has previously argued that the court rubber-stamped many of the special master’s recommendations, Sanchez was pleased to see that wasn’t necessarily the case in this instance.

One such example: The special master — who oversees the district’s desegregation efforts — recommended that deficient magnet schools be eliminated immediately, but Bury did not green light that.

The special master has also said that integrating schools was the top priority in this effort, even coming before academic performance, but like TUSD, Bury said the two factors carry equal weight — an acknowledgment that Sanchez said was important in a district that has a minority majority population, making integration difficult to achieve.

Sanchez said the district is happy to address what Bury felt was lacking and feels that once specific performance markers are set, all stakeholders will understand what is expected.Source:tucson.com

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