What Are Magnet Schools And How Do They Work?

Racism has long been an incipient problem around the world. Magnet schools were established in 1970 as part of efforts to reduce racial discrimination and promote multicultural acceptance and tolerance.

In addition, some children have special skills, talents, or aptitudes and have a strong interest in a particular area. Some people are very musical, some are artistic and creative, and some are dexterous and technical.

Magnet schools also provide specialized education for students who are passionate about specific areas of life and study such as technology, leadership, the arts, and more.

Through magnet school, these kids get the attention and training they need to improve their knowledge and become something they love to do.

If you’re interested in learning more about magnet schools, you’ve come to the right place. This article explains everything you need to know about magnet schools, how they work, and their pros and cons. Kindly read along.

What Does Magnet School Mean?

Magnet schools are smaller public schools that cater to students interested in specific areas of study.

These areas of interest or education include:

  • Music
  • Performance art
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Career and Technical Education

Also, magnet schools operate as part of public schools but accept students from different districts. This is to alleviate racial segregation between children and parents and to create a community where race does not matter.

So, in magnet schools, you often see white, black, and children with different accents playing and learning together.

Features of Magnet School

Even though a magnet school operates within a public school, they have many unique qualities.

Here is a list of characteristics that can help you differentiate magnet schools from regular public schools or any other type of school:

1. Mode of operation

Magnet schools operate very differently than any other type of school. Unlike charter or private schools, which are built separately, magnet schools are part of a district public school.

Just like public schools, they are accountable to school boards and state agencies.

Also, they do not restrict the enrolment of students in the area where the school is located.Instead, they are open to students in various regions.

On the other hand, public schools do not accept students from other districts, except those who live within the school district.

2. Curriculum

Magnet schools utilize the traditional curriculum used by regular public schools as well as specialized programs that cater to students by subject.

Students who show an interest in science have a personalized science curriculum that includes science-based subjects and practices. Art, music, and all other subjects also have individual lessons designed for them.

By contrast, students in public schools do not have any form of individualized or special curriculum. All students study the general curriculum and they all have access to the same teaching materials.

3. Learning methods

Magnet schools are pragmatic schools. That is, they use a hands-on approach to teaching students. In other words, students are involved in a lot of practice. But the average public school does more theory than practice.

4. Class size

Magnet schools have small class sizes of no more than 20 students. Also, these schools do not have as many students as public schools. But public schools can have up to 30 students in a class.

5. Funding

Magnet schools receive funding from local, state, and federal governments, through grants, and then public schools. They also received a special type of funding to help them get equipment and run the school.

6. Admission

In most magnet schools, student admissions are obtained by lottery, with a preference for certain geographic areas. Others are admitted based on academic criteria such as grades and test scores. People in the performing arts may have to pass an audition to be admitted.

It is important to note that students who wish to continue their specialized theme from elementary to middle school or middle to high school need not go through the lottery again.

Advantages of Magnet School

Magnet schools have proven to be beneficial to the lives of students and teachers in many ways, including:

1. Personalized learning

A significant benefit of magnet schools is that they meet the individual needs of students.

Unlike traditional schools where students have to study subjects they are not interested in, magnet schools help students focus on subjects they are interested in. This makes learning more fun and motivating for students.

2. Better student engagement

Magnet schools are pragmatic. They engage students actively in the learning process through practice. Indeed, students learn better when they are actively involved in the learning process.

In addition, students develop problem-solving skills and independence through regular participation in practice.

3. Greater student collaboration

Those with common interests find it easy to work together as a team. This is also evident at magnet schools. Because students share common interests, collaborative learning is the norm at Magnet schools.

They can easily learn from each other, share ideas, work on projects together, and work together to get better.

4. Better teacher-student relationships

Magnet School places a limit on the number of students each class should have. Most schools have a maximum of twenty students per class.

This gives teachers the opportunity to care for each child individually, thus fostering a strong teacher-student relationship.

5. Diversified learning

Magnet School is open to children from different districts. In other words, students who do not live in the educational district where the school is located can be admitted to the school.

This allows children of different cultures and ethnicities to learn together in the classroom. Thereby encouraging multicultural acceptance.

It is also an opportunity for everyone to learn new cultures, values ​​, and beliefs that will come in handy when traveling abroad or dealing with people from embracing countries.

6. Better academic performance

In traditional schools, students study a variety of subjects, some of which they are not interested in at all. Therefore, they may but are able to perform well in subjects in which they lack interest. Therefore, it makes sense to grade students on this basis.

In contrast, magnet schools allow students to focus on strengths and subjects that align with their areas of interest. This makes it easy for students to do better in class and during exams.

In addition, from the assessments of regular public school students and magnet schools, magnet school students outperformed regular public school students in math, social studies, and reading.

Finally, they offer rigorous courses that prepare students for college admissions.

7. Better teacher pay

Teachers in magnet schools may enjoy higher salaries than teachers in regular public schools. This is because they receive additional funding from local, state, and federal governments to help advance their specialized programs.

8. Active parent and community engagement

Magnet schools focus more on parents and the community. They bring parents and the community together to educate children to promote a holistic investment in children’s learning.

They do this by creating forums where parents can come together to discuss and resolve challenges they have with their children, discuss what the school could do better, and discuss how parents can handle their children better. This makes it easier to train well-rounded and balanced healthy children.

Disadvantages of Magnet School

Magnet schools have some drawbacks, most of which are understandable or avoidable.

They include:

  • Children in other districts may have to pay for their own transportation as magnet school buses are not available in all areas.
  • Students with poor educational antecedents may not be able to scale up through the admissions process.

How To Know Which Magnet School Is Right For Your Child

Before enrolling your child in a school, you must take the time to examine the school carefully to see if it is right for your child’s needs and if it is right for you.

First, it’s a good idea to check the performance and prospects of the school’s students. The goal is to see if these students are happy and how well they are doing.

Second, check the school’s learning equipment to see if they are adequate to help your child excel in his area of ​​study.

Third, each magnet school has a specialized theme that they focus on. Some focus on languages ​​and performing arts, while others focus on STEM. Therefore, it is common sense to discuss with children what they are really interested in learning.

Also, their interests are usually obvious and since it’s something they enjoy doing, choosing the right magnet school shouldn’t be a problem.

However, try not to impose your interests on your child, as this may affect their performance. Instead, let them make choices while you support them.


Are magnet schools bad?

No, they are not bad. Rather, they are good for every child who seeks to advance their knowledge and career by doing what they love.

Are magnet schools public schools?

Yes. All magnet schools are public schools. They operate within a public school and are regulated by the same agency. However, public schools do not have programs specifically tailored to student’s individual interests.

Are magnet schools better than public schools?

Yes. Magnet schools are better than public schools because they meet the specific needs of their students and reduce segregation by accepting students from multiple school districts.

Whereas, public schools are limited to students within one school district, and they offer a common curriculum to all students, regardless of their interests.

Why enroll in a magnet school?

If you have a particular interest in areas of study such as music, art, science, technology, etc., you should consider attending a magnet school. 

The specialized programs offered by these schools can help you improve your knowledge and abilities in these fields.


If you are still trying to decide if magnet school is good for you, I hope this article has given you the perspective to make the right decision.

Regardless of your choice, magnet schools remain one of the best educational options. If your child has dreams of becoming a famous artist, writer, scientist, or musician, then magnet school may be the best option for them.

There are many other types of schools that cater to students with special needs. For example, charter schools are tuition-free schools designed to ensure equal educational opportunities for underprivileged children.

Additionally, therapeutic schools exist to cater to children with learning disabilities or disabilities. You can check out our article on alternative schools to learn more.

I hope you got value. 

Thanks for reading.