Magnet Schools of America is raising concerns about Superintendent Del Burns' resignation and the future of Wake County's magnet program and the diversity policy under the new school board majority.
In a letter sent last week to school board chairman Ron Margiotta, MSA Executive Director Robert Brooks said he's "deeply concerned" that Burns is resigning in response to the board "embracing a 'neighborhood schools' model as opposed to the diversified magnet schools that have flourished in your district." Brooks asked Margiotta to reconsider the board's proposed plans.
"Instead of eliminating the district’s socio-economic diversity plan and the Magnet schools and programs supported by that plan, we urge the board to embrace them and we offer our assistance to the board to develop a plan that is in the best interests of the students and parents," Brooks writes.
Brooks also argues against using student admissions test scores to fill magnet seats. He says that magnets have played a prominent role in desegregating schools.
School board member John Tedesco and some parents have proposed using merit-based admissions for some magnet programs.
(MSA officials say they haven't gotten back a response to their letter.)
The future of the magnet program under community-school based assignment is one the big unanswered questions facing the new board majority. It looks like the new resolution would lead to more magnet schools being spread around the county with some current magnet schools losing their programs.
Magnet Schools of America is a trade organization that represents around 2,000 magnet schools nationwide.
Wake has historically done well in MSA's awards program. The group handed out awards to 14 Wake magnet schools this year.
Caroline Massengill, Wake's former magnet director, is past president of Magnet Schools of America. Massengill is one of the speakers at the March 20 forum sponsored by the Great Schools in Wake Coaltion.