HISD's Magnet Schools: Independent Reviewers Weigh In

Magnet school principals resent unequal resources, are a little unsure of the independently contracted magnet school review process now going on and best practices aren't shared across the Houston ISD, according to a review of 113 HISD magnet schools.

None of the preliminary findings should surprise anyone who follows the district's magnet programs. Superintendent Terry Grier -- supporters call it courageous, detractors frame his action in less pleasant terms -- has called for a review of the special themed programs for students throughout the district. It is an enterprise that has defeated many of his predecessors (footnote: former superintendent Abe Saavedra who tried to mess with magnet busing).

Magnet Schools of America, the independent group brought in to review Houston's program, found several things to like including what it said is strong support from both parents and Grier's administration to the magnet school concept.

Consultants also noted that students seemed engaged in their magnet classes, although the report said: "Three consultants noted that it appeared as though they were observing a specially designed day rather than feeling this is the way we do things at the school every day."

Jason Spencer, spokesman for HISD, said the final report with recommendations from Magnet Schools of America is expected within two weeks.

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