Monday, March 9, 2015

Artur Davis — Don't water down our magnet school system

On January 22, 2015, Artur Davis officially declared his candidacy officially declared his candidacy  for Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama.

In Montgomery’s poorly performing school system, our magnet schools have been the safe harbor. They are the institutions that win national recognition for accomplishment, succeed in preparing all of their students for the rigors of college, and they remain one of the most diverse institutions in Montgomery. Visit a classroom at LAMP, or BTW, and you can find the children of African American lawyers, white banking executives, and Asian professors side by side with kids from housing projects. Without question, the magnets are one of the best assets we can advertise to families to get them to choose Montgomery over other cities in the river region.

This week, the County School Board announced policy changes that could upset the excellence of Montgomery’s magnet schools. The most notable are that applicants will no longer be ranked based on their academic performance, only first graders will be tested, and new candidates will be subjected to a pure lottery. It is true, as the board has pointed out, that high grades alone have never guaranteed admission to the magnets (any more than they do for a college) but these schools have not run from their mission of providing the most demanding, high-quality academic experience that our public school can offer.

There is understandable fear across Montgomery that this mission of excellence is in jeopardy. I agree, and wish my competitors in the mayoral race would stand with me in opposing these new rules and urging the school board to push back against them even if it means litigation.

Read complete article here