• The Social Context of Magnet Schools
    Year: 2009

  • Abstract:
    The relatively early introduction of magnet schools as a form of school choice (compared to newer choice programs such as charter schools and vouchers), their specific policy aim, and the recent shift in their social and legal landscape under new desegregation constraints, make parents’ patterns of magnet school choice distinct from their patterns under other types of choice such as intra-district transfers, charter schools, or private schools. This chapter is designed to provide a degree of specificity and clarity absent in the more global studies of parent choice patterns. It is organized around several aims: (1) Nest the studies of magnet school parent choice patterns in the extant research on the process of choosing schools; (2) Address issues of equity undergirding magnet school choice; (3) Examine the potential effect of new information sources on parent choice, including the Internet; (4) Explore the “density of choice” effects as these conditions affect magnet school choice; (5) Situate magnet school choice patterns against the new legal constraints on racial integration.

The NCSC is funded by a 5 year, $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. Its lead institution is Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The center is housed on the campus of Peabody College, one of the nation's top graduate schools of education.