I agree that one of the main strengths of CSAS/CSLA and the other magnet schools is the parental involvement, but I think that it may also be making other schools worse in the process.
Let's say, for example, that 30% of parents will volunteer at their schools. Given a hypothetical school district of 10 schools and 1,000 students, that means 300 students with involved parents. Without magnet schools and assuming involved parents don't remove their kids from the system and even distribution, this would give us 30 kids with involved parents per school. Now, take two schools and make them magnets that require parental involvement. These schools effectively remove 200 students with involved parents from the system, leaving each of the other eight schools with about 12. If these parents get discouraged, that number might drop further because they don't see the point of fighting a forest fire with a squirt gun.
As a result, I wonder if Paideia really works or if the success of the schools is simply due to the exclusion of students without strong family emphasis on education....
So yeah, I am a hypocrite. I don't like the system, but I understand that it is better for my daughter to be in a school with many involved parents rather than just a few. If I'm going to be stuck in a system of haves and have-nots, I'm making sure I'm with the haves, even if my overall desire is to reduce or eliminate the have-nots. In a perfect world, we'd expand the CSAS/CSLA approach to more schools and implement it as best we can in some schools where the family support is substandard. If it's as good as its backers say it is, we should see that in fairly short order.
"There's is currently no other place to put a magnet program," Ms. Riddle? Really?
A quick look at greatschools.org shows two Hamilton County elementary schools with "1" ratings (of 10) and seven with "2" ratings. Pick one, gut it, and start a magnet school. If it isn't that simple, shouldn't it be?