Magnet Schools in the 21st Century: Viable Integration Strategies or Sites of Segregation?

Accessibility questions for all events, please contact the center at (317) 278-3493 or email at


Sep 30 2019 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Magnet schools were initially created in the 1970s as a school desegregation strategy to attract white students to schools located outside of their neighborhoods (in urban areas) to achieve integration. These schools offered specialized curriculum and programs not available in their neighborhood schools and were very successful in bringing together students of different backgrounds. Magnet schools still exist over 40 years after their initial inception; yet, in some cases, they are no longer "magnetizing," which begs the question as to whether they are still viable integration strategies.


In this virtual roundtable, individuals from districts across the Midwest and Plains regions that utilize magnet school admissions in their student assignment policies will discuss the pros and cons of magnet schools in the current school choice context and offer insights about their efforts to provide integrated schooling environments.


This virtual roundtable will:

  • Provide a clear understanding of magnet school admission policies

  • Discuss the pros/cons of magnet school admission policies and how/whether they still work as an integration strategy

  • Provide recommendations for school districts considering adopting magnet school admissions policies


Following this virtual roundtable, you will be able to:

  • Develop processes for magnet school admission policies

  • Obtain local and state-level buy-in when it comes to school integration and magnet schools in particular

  • Support existing magnet schools as an integration strategy



  • Recorded Episodes with Closed Captions
  • Downloadable Transcriptions 

About Dr. Sarah Diem

Sarah Diem is an associate professor of educational policy and leadership at the University of Missouri and an Equity Fellow for the Region III Equity Assistance Center, the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP Center). Her research focuses on the sociopolitical and geographic contexts of education, paying particular attention to how politics, leadership, and implementation of educational policies affect outcomes related to equity, opportunity, and racial diversity within public schools.