Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘magnet school’

A Phenomenal Public Education Success Story

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Dr. Diane Ravitch, PhD, is a Research Professor of Education at New York University, a historian of education, and author. She is an unashamedly ardent advocate of taxpayer funded public education, primarily at the K-12 level, and is the Founder and President of the Network for Public Education (NPE) — “an advocacy group whose mission is to preserve, promote, improve and strengthen public schools for both current and future generations of students.” From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. Additional biographical details about her may be found on her professional website linked here.

She also maintains a blog — DianeRavitch.net — separate from her professional website, where she contributes regularly, opining primarily upon matters of education.

Seniors at Downtown Magnets High School gather inside the College Center for an information session with UC Irvine. (image by Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The following entry is one of her most recent observations, and shares excerpted portions of a human interest news feature sharing greatly encouraging findings of phenomenal successes and accomplishments of a taxpayer-funded public school in Los Angeles, California — Downtown Magnets High School.


Los Angeles Times:
The “Unentitled Kids”: California’s New Generation of College-Bound Stars

by Diane Ravitch
January 5, 2022
https://wp.me/p2odLa-veH

Teresa Watanabe wrote a wonderful story about kids in a public school in Los Angeles who are college-bound, despite their demographic profiles. They don’t have college-educated parents or SAT tutors. What they do have is a school — the Downtown Magnets High School — where the professionals are dedicated to their success. Read about this school and ask yourself why Bill Gates is not trying to replicate it? Why is it not a model for Michael Bloomberg or Reed Hastings or the Waltons? Why do the billionaires insist, as Bloomberg said recently, that public education is “broken”? Despite their investing hundreds of millions to destroy public schools like the one in this story, they are still performing miracles every day.


They represent the new generation of students reshaping the face of higher education in California: young people with lower family incomes, less parental education and far more racial and ethnic diversity than college applicants of the past. And Downtown Magnets, a small and highly diverse campus of 911 students just north of the Los Angeles Civic Center, is in the vanguard of the change.

Last year, 97% of the school’s seniors were accepted to college, and most enrolled. Among them, 71% of those who applied to a UC campus were admitted, including 19 of the 56 applicants to UC Berkeley — a higher admission rate than at elite Los Angeles private schools such as Harvard-Westlake and Marlborough.

This month, the Downtown Magnets applicants include Nick Saballos, whose Nicaraguan father never finished high school and works for minimum wage as a parking valet but is proud of his son’s passion for astrophysics.

There’s Emily Cruz, who had a rough time focusing on school while being expected to help her Guatemalan immigrant mother with household duties. Emily is determined to become a lawyer or a philosopher.

Kenji Horigome emigrated to Los Angeles from Japan in fourth grade speaking no English, with a single mother who works as a Koreatown restaurant server. Kenji has become a top student and may join the military, in part for the financial aid the GI Bill would provide.

“The main thing my kids lack is a sense of entitlement,” said Lynda McGee, the school’s longtime college counselor. “That’s my biggest enemy: The fact that my students are humble and think they don’t deserve what they actually deserve. It’s more of a mental problem than an academic one.”

What the students do have is a close-knit school community, passionate educators and parents willing to take the extra step to send them to a magnet school located, for many, outside their neighborhoods.

Downtown Magnets High School Seniors Patricia DeLeon, 17, LEFT, and Kiana Portillo, 17, talk with college counselor Lynda McGee at the College Center at Downtown Magnets High School in Los Angeles. (image by Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Principal Sarah Usmani leads a staff mindful of creating a campus environment both nurturing and academically rigorous; she has Read the rest of this entry »

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