Todd Mann: Magnet Schools & the Focus on Equity & Equitable Access

By Todd Mann, originally published in the March, 2021 issue of Equity & Access

I’ll cut right to the chase: There is no other school model that is so uniformly focused on furthering racial diversity; Magnet Schools of America (MSA) is uniquely positioned to deliver on this goal. MSA represents the 4340 magnet schools throughout the country.

Magnet schools have five pillars at their foundation, but none is as important, as vital, as Pillar number one: Diversity is a cornerstone to offering students a global educational experience. Schools, through recruitment and lotteries, strive to have student populations that are reflective of the community. Culturally competent educational environments model empathy, respect, and working collaboratively with a variety of persons.

MSA has been further energized by Black Lives Matter. It has caused us to tighten up our mission statement’s focus on equity and equitable access. We have intensified our existing partnerships with groups who share our mission. It has propelled us to establish new relationships, such as with The Century Foundation’s Bridges Collaborative. That initiative is a collaboration with school districts around the country with zeroed-in attention to racial integration in our nation’s schools.

We held a panel with the key individuals working on the Bridges Collaborative at MSA’s annual Policy Conference in February. By the time they were done presenting, the line was long with those districts saying that they wanted to participate. Speaking of our Policy Conference, our keynoter was NEA President Becky Pringle. We could not have asked for someone more appropriate to kick off our event than Pringle. Talk about laser-beam focus, the NEA President did not mince words when it came to stressing the need to put our country’s public schools back on solid footing.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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