This from CBS Los Angeles by Donna Schwartz Mills:
If you have school-age children and live in the LA Unified area, you should have received the District’s 19-page Choices brochure. If you did not receive the brochure and have a child who is starting kindergarten next Fall, you need to pick one up (either at your nearest Los Angeles Public Library or LAUSD school). Here’s why:

The brochure includes the application for LAUSD’s highly regarded magnet program, and you need to fill it out and apply – even if you are happy with your child’s current school. Trust me; I’m a 10-year LAUSD veteran. Your child will start fifth grade in what seems like the blink of an eye, and that means you’ll be facing the terror that’s known as Middle School. You may want some additional options, and the magnet program is a great Plan B.

And if you are the parent of a 2011 kindergarten student, now is the time to begin putting that plan in action, so you can begin playing LAUSD’s infamous magnet point game and possibly enroll in the magnet of your choice as soon as your child is eligible. (More on that below!)

I offer the same advice for private school families. One of the lessons of the current recession has been that any one of us could lose our jobs unexpectedly. If at some point tuition becomes unaffordable, it could be a lifesaver to have some magnet points in your back pocket.

The Attraction of Magnets

If you listen to other area parents, you might think that the magnets are a kind of parallel school system, more akin to the city’s tony private academies than the problem-riddled LAUSD. Specialized programs like the ones at Balboa Gifted Magnet and 32nd Street/USC Performing Arts Magnet attract hundreds of applicants for just a few spots each year.

But these are all public schools. Some take up an entire campus, but most are smaller academies within a larger population. All students who live within the boundaries of LAUSD are eligible to attend, and there are no application fees or tuition.

Many parents don’t realize that the LAUSD Magnet program was launched in the late 70’s as an alternative to the busing that was meant to be the solution to court-ordered desegregation. The magnet idea is to offer an educational choice that would attract students from all over the District – and perhaps those who had fled the public school system. They are still the basis of a voluntary integration program, and receive additional Federal funds.
Also in the article:
- Choosing a Magnet
- What's Your Lineage?
- The Infamous Point System
- Point Strategy
- DON'T
- Some Interesting Magnets to Check out

read more>>