Magnet school discussion

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
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Post by Gunnells » Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:09 pm

I don't understand why the magnet school will have a team. I thought their students were supposed to compete for their home school in all after school activities?

I think the magnet school is a good idea, but I also think it should field at least a few athletic teams. I expect students likely to attend already struggle to develop as well rounded teenagers, and a school built around orchestra and academic team will only further those tendencies.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:34 pm

Uhh, look at TJ. I think those kids are ending up well rounded enough, or at least the ones I met. Same with MLK. I see nothing wrong with a magnet school fielding its own team. So do you think Maggie Walker should have its national titles removed too?
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Post by The Time Keeper » Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:36 pm

Gunnells wrote: I expect students likely to attend already struggle to develop as well rounded teenagers
Are you serious?

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Post by Duke Togo » Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:34 pm

...

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Post by Matthew D » Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:05 pm

Okay the well round statement bothers me... why exactly would you not be well round?

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Post by STPickrell » Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:50 pm

Gunnells wrote:I don't understand why the magnet school will have a team. I thought their students were supposed to compete for their home school in all after school activities?

I think the magnet school is a good idea, but I also think it should field at least a few athletic teams. I expect students likely to attend already struggle to develop as well rounded teenagers, and a school built around orchestra and academic team will only further those tendencies.
A couple years ago TJ nearly made football playoffs, and they have consistently had winning seasons. Maggie Walker won a AAA title for cross country in 2003 (?) despite being, literally, the smallest AAA school in the state. (Someone from TJ or MW can flesh out my sketch.)

Colonial and Green Dragon athletics have been far from embarrassing. Their quizbowl success is well documented.

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Post by BuzzerZen » Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:08 pm

Not to mention we were AAA state soccer champions this year. Half the team was in my English class. Also, we win crew a lot. But that's just a distraction from the core issue, which is why do people insist on hating on magnet schools?
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Post by First Chairman » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:00 am

BuzzerZen wrote:Not to mention we were AAA state soccer champions this year. Half the team was in my English class. Also, we win crew a lot. But that's just a distraction from the core issue, which is why do people insist on hating on magnet schools?
Pick one:
1) Jealousy, especially in terms of resources many times.

2) The concept of a school picking off all the smart people from various districts and then having to have everyone field a quiz bowl team just doesn't seem fair. That's why people enjoy hating on private schools (for similar reasons of academics or sports).

Magnet schools conceptually are in their third decade of existence (at least since the tipping point of the late 70's and early 80's). There was supposed to be a great revolution in education because of that before the latest round of innovations like charter schools and school choice vouchers. Some of the best schools in the nation are still magnet schools, but I wonder if there hasn't been more movement since. If the teachers and students out there can enlighten me... but on a different thread I guess.
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Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:41 am

Gunnells wrote:I expect students likely to attend already struggle to develop as well rounded teenagers, and a school built around orchestra and academic team will only further those tendencies.
Hey, next time you can just post the picture of the guy yelling "NEEEERRRDS" and make your ridiculous point more directly.

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Post by pray for elves » Tue Jul 24, 2007 12:17 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
Gunnells wrote:I expect students likely to attend already struggle to develop as well rounded teenagers, and a school built around orchestra and academic team will only further those tendencies.
Hey, next time you can just post the picture of the guy yelling "NEEEERRRDS" and make your ridiculous point more directly.
Image

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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 24, 2007 12:55 pm

Gunnells wrote:I think the magnet school is a good idea, but I also think it should field at least a few athletic teams.
I don't think any schools anywhere should field any athletic teams, unless those teams are set up in such a way that everyone who wants to gets to play regardless of skill level.
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Post by Matthew D » Tue Jul 24, 2007 1:18 pm

I have to agree with Jerry on that point.. we put way TOO much stress on athletics

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:41 pm

Somehow I read Jerry as being sarcastic. T/F?
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Post by wwellington » Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:39 pm

Based on Jerry's comments here (http://www.hsquizbowl.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=45042), I would say false.

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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:50 pm

charlieDfromNKC wrote:Somehow I read Jerry as being sarcastic. T/F?
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:51 pm

Are you serious? Do you think that everyone who comes into practice on a semi-regular basis should get to play as much as everybody else on the team, even if that entails 10 or more people?
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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:16 pm

charlieDfromNKC wrote:Are you serious? Do you think that everyone who comes into practice on a semi-regular basis should get to play as much as everybody else on the team, even if that entails 10 or more people?
I think the only qualification for being allowed to participate in high school sports should be the willingness to attend practice on a regular basis. I also think that high schools should not organize or fund competitive sports; while I think that sports are fun and important for fitness, I don't think that being a farm league for the majors (or a farm league for the farm league) is consistent with the mission of an educational institution. I also think the competitive nature of high school sports shuts out a lot of people who would otherwise enjoy and benefit from sports.

I don't mean to derail the Georgia discussion thread, so if you want to know more about what I think of college and high school athletics you can either IM me or start up a thread elsewhere. I just think that the attitude displayed by one poster towards magnet students was pretty obnoxious, so I just thought I'd let you all know how it looks from the other side.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:21 pm

charlieDfromNKC wrote:Are you serious? Do you think that everyone who comes into practice on a semi-regular basis should get to play as much as everybody else on the team, even if that entails 10 or more people?
What if this applied to quizbowl?
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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:23 pm

charlieDfromNKC wrote:
charlieDfromNKC wrote:Are you serious? Do you think that everyone who comes into practice on a semi-regular basis should get to play as much as everybody else on the team, even if that entails 10 or more people?
What if this applied to quizbowl?
It does apply to quizbowl. I've never been a member of a quizbowl organization that has turned away someone who wants to play. Our official club policy at Berkeley and at Brown has been that we make every effort to field as many teams as there is demand for.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:27 pm

What I mean is, though, what if NKC had decided to take every person who's come in for more than a week to practice up to NAQT. What if, then, every player rotated in and out more or less equally. We would have ended up with horrible results because our 4 A-team players who produce the best combination in the program wouldn't have been able to do what we do best (neg). When you went to ACF nats, did you bring everyone from the brown program, or just the players who make the strongest combo?
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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:32 pm

charlieDfromNKC wrote:What I mean is, though, what if NKC had decided to take every person who's come in for more than a week to practice up to NAQT. What if, then, every player rotated in and out more or less equally. We would have ended up with horrible results because our 4 A-team players who produce the best combination in the program wouldn't have been able to do what we do best (neg). When you went to ACF nats, did you bring everyone from the brown program, or just the players who make the strongest combo?
First of all, I played ACF Nats with only 2 other players; there was no more demand, so we took everyone who wanted to go. Second, I didn't say "everyone gets to play on the A team," I said "everyone gets to play." In the event that spots are limited due to number of bids, yes, the people on the A team get to go first. Finally, I did say "regular attendance," showing up twice a semester does not qualify as such.
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Post by jrbarry » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:45 pm

Chad:

The GMST School will have academic teams of all sorts as they phase it in over the next 3-4 years. They will also have athletic teams of many sorts but not all sports. Those will be phased in as well.

I understand how you feel as it is how all of us in Gwinnett County who are coaches feel about the situation. My problems with GMST School have nothing to do with magnet schools in VA or anywhere else. It is a problem that I think is peculiar now to our area/county. We have bigtime active quiz bowl programs at most of our 15 high schools and we are all very competitive for county prizes that are significant. Now, many of the kids who have traditionally done quiz bowl in Gwinnett County, GA are being actively recruited to attend this new magnet school whose stated goals in their charter include winning at academic competition. And they have used quiz bowl to recruit some of those kids.

My school has decided to recruit our own two feeder schools brightest kids. I am working on that plan with my principal and others on our faculty and community. It might get interesting!

As for me personally, I will have to decide whether I want to go to GMST School myself in "09 or in 2010. Their principal is a very close personal and professional friend of mine. As I intend to teach/coach through 2012-2013, that decision to leave Brookwood or stay at Brookwood will be a hard one.

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Post by Golden Tiger 86 » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:30 pm

Matthew D wrote:I have to agree with Jerry on that point.. we put way TOO much stress on athletics
Seriously, you ought to see a picture of the field house at my old alma mater...hell, I'll throw it up for you now

http://goldentigers.net/football/Facili ... 0House.jpg

changed picture to link since it's too big --admin

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Post by Matthew D » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:00 pm

Slate I have seen it.. trust me you guys are about as bad as we are when it comes to athelics over anything else...

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Post by mhanna » Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:12 pm

JR,

At least you can recruit. We have three middle schools and there is not a clean feed for any one of them. Although there are some students at the middle school level who want to play for us, they can't because they live outside our zone or else they attend a private school and can't play at all until they actually enroll. The sad part is that our very best players always started playing in the sixth grade and now the middle schools don't even want to let kids play who live in our zone.

I don't even want to thinkl about a Brookwood without you.

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Post by Gunnells » Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:25 am

I stand by my quoted statement and will be happy to discuss it with anyone who desires in an appropriate thread.

Overall, I think the magnet school is a good idea, but the inconsistency on competitive activities really bugs me. Either tell them they have to go to their home school for everything, or sponsor everything on campus.

You and I both know it is going to be nigh impossible for students to attend a class at the magnet and team practice at almost any other school in the county, so you are essentially denying the magnet students the chance to participate in HS athletics. The message seems to be smart kids don't do sports. That bothers me for a multitude of reasons.

I don't know if you remember, but as a student, I expressed interest in something like this school several times throughout HS. As much as I would have appreciated the academic aspect of the school, I don't know if I would have attended a school completely lacking athletics.

Back to the topic of 2007-08 Georgia:
Based on my updates from ACE, I'm going way out on a limb and picking Chattahoochee and Brookwood as the teams to beat.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:36 pm

Hi,
I don't think peoples' problem was with the made-up fact you stated (namely, that the magnet school won't field any academic teams) so much as with your presumptuous statement that the magnet school's students "already struggle to develop as well rounded teenagers." You can stand by that all you want, my friend, but it's BS. How about some facts?

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Post by Gunnells » Sat Jul 28, 2007 1:55 am

Immaculate, as stated in the post immediately preceding your's, this is not the appropriate thread.

If you would like to have a dialogue on the topic, please go to:

http://www.hsquizbowl.org/phpBB2/viewto ... 6927#56927

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Post by AKKOLADE » Sat Jul 28, 2007 8:46 am

Gunnells wrote:Immaculate, as stated in the post immediately preceding your's, this is not the appropriate thread.

If you would like to have a dialogue on the topic, please go to:

http://www.hsquizbowl.org/phpBB2/viewto ... 6927#56927
Protip: You're not a mod, so don't act like it by ordering others around. Especially when the others are mods.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Sat Jul 28, 2007 11:36 am

Gunnells wrote:Immaculate, as stated in the post immediately preceding your's, this is not the appropriate thread.

If you would like to have a dialogue on the topic, please go to:

http://www.hsquizbowl.org/phpBB2/viewto ... 6927#56927
Hi,
I'm a moderator, dude. Please leave the moderating to me. Consider yourself warned.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Sat Jul 28, 2007 11:52 am

These are from the parallel thread:
Gunnells wrote:Here was the original remark in the Georgia 2007-2008 comparisons thread that set everyone off.
I don't understand why the magnet school will have a team. I thought their students were supposed to compete for their home school in all after school activities?

I think the magnet school is a good idea, but I also think it should field at least a few athletic teams. I expect students likely to attend already struggle to develop as well rounded teenagers, and a school built around orchestra and academic team will only further those tendencies.
That led to a revelation that either a lot of people across the nation are spending their summers wondering who is likely to be good in Georgia academic team, or someone was unhappy with their understanding of my post and wanted all their friends to check it out.

Downthread, I expounded on the original comment.
I stand by my quoted statement and will be happy to discuss it with anyone who desires in an appropriate thread.

Overall, I think the magnet school is a good idea, but the inconsistency on competitive activities really bugs me. Either tell them they have to go to their home school for everything, or sponsor everything on campus.

[Coach Barry] and I both know it is going to be nigh impossible for students to attend a class at the magnet and team practice at almost any other school in the county, so you are essentially denying the magnet students the chance to participate in HS athletics. The message seems to be smart kids don't do sports. That bothers me for a multitude of reasons.

I don't know if [Coach Barry] remember, but as a student, I expressed interest in something like this school several times throughout HS. As much as I would have appreciated the academic aspect of the school, I don't know if I would have attended a school completely lacking athletics.
If anyone would like to migrate over here either to continue your discussion in the Georgia Comparisons thread, or discuss other aspects of magnet schools, this is the appropriate thread.
Matt Weiner wrote:What more needs to be said besides Rule 6?

6) Deriding people for enjoying quizbowl or intellectual activities is not permitted.

No matter what local political firestorm (undoubtedly, one that is boring and irrelevant to anyone who does not live in your home county) has you so charged up about this magnet school, alleging that anyone will "fail to develop as a well rounded" individual because they will make academics rather than athletics the first priority of their lives is offensive and absurd.
ImmaculateDeception wrote:
Gunnells wrote:...someone was unhappy with their understanding of my post and wanted all their friends to check it out.
Hey, yeah man; those massive conspiracies are totally bringing down your beautifully cogent argument that was in no way backed-up by made-up facts and certainly didn't comprise pandering to the worst kind of high school stereotypes.

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Post by Gunnells » Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:50 pm

I want to explain that I don't think "balanced" means "everyone should play sports."

The underlying reason the extracurricular offerings offend me is that offering only orchestra and a-team seems to be saying "We know what smart students need and what they don't need." High achievers have to deal with enough pressure as it is, whether that be their HS activities, or what college to attend and what to major in once there. It really annoys me that this school is one more institution that is trying to define high achievers through limiting them.

High achievers are obviously more drawn to orchestra and a-team. That is great, and I am glad they will have those opportunities at the magnet school, regardless of how it affects area public schools. However, some of them are drawn to other things as well as a-team and orchestra, or even instead of. Those students should have the same opportunities as every other student in the system, without the burden of attending practice as far as 45 minutes from their school of attendance

It is wrong for the magnet school to deny students the opportunity to play sports. I think they should try to offer everything but maybe football. The fact that many of these teams would likely be below average is (in my opinion) even more reason to offer them.

There's something to be said for being satisfied with your best in an endeavor even if your best does not result in awards. High achievers probably need to be reminded of this as much as anyone.

I am glad to hear of the longterm plans for the school from Mr. Barry, but I had heard from multiple educators in the county that the students would have to participate in most non-academic after school activities at their home school.

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Post by Gunnells » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:15 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:What more needs to be said besides Rule 6?

6) Deriding people for enjoying quizbowl or intellectual activities is not permitted.

No matter what local political firestorm (undoubtedly, one that is boring and irrelevant to anyone who does not live in your home county) has you so charged up about this magnet school, alleging that anyone will "fail to develop as a well rounded" individual because they will make academics rather than athletics the first priority of their lives is offensive and absurd.
In no way did I deride anyone for quizbowl or any other intellectual activities. I was not really fired up about the initial post, but I am fired up about you accusation. Just like most of the coaches here, I have spent literally hundreds of hours each year on quiz bowl, due to my appreciation of the students and love of the sport. It gets me extremely fired up that you would make such an accusation due to your misunderstanding of my point.

I agree that the local issue of our magnet school should be boring to everyone else, yet we had people from all over the nation coming into the GA thread to give their opinion of their misunderstanding of my post.

I doubt most would have objected had I said teenagers "struggle to develop as well rounded" individuals. All I said initially was that those likely to attend a magnet school deal with the same problems as other teenagers.

If one accepts that the struggle is common teenagers, it would have been absurd to suggest that those who attend a magnet school do not face the same challenge. I didn't explain it because it was a local thread until others chose to focus on that comment and run with it.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:25 pm

Gunnells wrote:It is wrong for the magnet school to deny students the opportunity to play sports.
See, but the magnet school is not denying students the opportunity to play sports. Also, even if it weren't fielding any teams, it wouldn't be. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't sound like students are marched to the place at gunpoint (in fact, some other posts have led me to understand that students can opt to go to a number of schools.) Therefore, given that there are a number of other fine schools in the area, students may opt to attend those and participate in whatever activities they may offer, rather than go to the magnet school. Thus, this would seem to be an institution that expands the choices and opportunities afforded students rather than denying them the same.

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Post by Howard » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:44 pm

We're arguing over a matter of semantics here. While the magnet school isn't technically denying the opportunity, they're making it much harder for students to have the opportunity to participate in these activities.

I'm not local to this school and therefore I'm sure am missing some of the important details. Perhaps the current situation has occurred because the local board thought it more important to have the school than to wait until they had the funds to both create the school and support all the activities. I don't know.

Regardless, when it comes to general principle, these students should have the same opportunities as other students. Other students have the opportunity to earn their way into the magnet school. The magnet school students should have the opportunity to participate in sports at their home school. What the board is effectively saying to the students is: "You may have A, B, C, but it'll now be much more difficult for you to get D, E, F." Unfortunately, this could result in worthy students electing to not go to the magnet school because of the limitations there. At the very least, if the magnet school is not going to support most normal activities, the school board should offer transportation to and from the students' "home" schools and make it clear that said schools may not start practice earlier than the magnet students have the capability of getting there.
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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:58 pm

Howard wrote:While the magnet school isn't technically denying the opportunity, they're making it much harder for students to have the opportunity to participate in these activities.
How, pray tell, can that be when a student can just opt not to go to the magnet school and then have more or less the same opportunities as they would have had if the magnet didn't exist? Incidentally, that's not a semantic argument in the least.

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Post by Howard » Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:40 pm

Maybe there's something I'm missing, but if all the same academic opportunities are available at the home school, what's the point of the magnet school? Heck, even if the opportunities are "more or less the same," what's the point of a magnet school?
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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:31 pm

Where did the assumption come from that magnet schools students should have all the same athletics opportunities as students at other schools? Maybe, given that funding is limited, the magnet school chooses to spend its on academics (you know, what magnet schools are all about). Maybe there isn't a particularly strong clamor for athletics (otherwise, students who did value athletics would go somewhere else). Maybe the administrators of the magnet school just feel that there is an undue emphasis on atheltics in high school already.

I don't know what the circumstances here are, but I am bewildered by the chorus of people "standing up" for the right of students to play football or whatever. I've seen no evidence presented here that either the students or their parents are dissatisfied with the offerings at the school; all I see is a bunch of people pretending they know best what those students need and then phrasing that same pretense as a purported resistance to schools telling students what they need. Is there a serious discussion to be had here at all?
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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:01 pm

Howard wrote:Maybe there's something I'm missing, but if all the same academic opportunities are available at the home school, what's the point of the magnet school? Heck, even if the opportunities are "more or less the same," what's the point of a magnet school?
That's not what I said. What I said was that the magnet school isn't denying students opportunities because students can just opt not to go to the magnet school. If they do that, the magnet then has minimal effect on them (it's more or less as if it's not there to begin with.) Thus they have all the same opportunities as before (they can opt to go to whichever non-magnet they otherwise would have and get whatever they would have) plus more (whatever the magnet offers.) The only way that breaks down is if the magnet somehow greatly reduces the opportunities available at the other schools; in that case, one has to consider whether it offers a net benefit.
The opportunities available always vary from school to school. Even if every school had the exact same resources, they would emphasize different things. Therefore, I don't see how offering an additional choice without significantly diminishing the others can be construed as reducing opportunities.

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Post by Howard » Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:30 pm

Jerry:

I think you're in a fairly small-percentage minority here. I don't particularly agree with your viewpoint, but I think I at least understand your thinking and I definitely respect it.

Anyway, my opinion is that any number of things can be important for the development of children (and yes, these are still children, at least from a mentally developmental standpoint). For some sports are unimportant. For others, sports are critically important. While I don't think academics should take a back seat to sports, I do think that sports are an important opportunity to offer. Were there things you did in high school that weren't part of the regular curriculum that were important to you?

I agree that the funding issue is an important one to weigh in the assessment here. I've given my general opinion above, but if the magnet school is necessary, I'd say it's better to have a magnet with no athletics than to not have the magnet at all.

I had originally stayed out of this thread because it began as a trainwreck about stereotyping academically gifted children, and eventually entered because I believed we were actually achieving some useful discussion. Perhaps it would have been better to leave this as a discussion among the Georgia people. I apologize if I've served to wreck this train even more.


Mike:

Sorry. I misunderstood your previous post as comparing magnet to nonmagnet as opposed to comparing premagnet nonmagnet to postmagnet nonmagnet. I pretty much agree with everything in your last post, especially the part about whether the magnet causes the other schools to reduce opportunities, and if so, that the net effect of the magnet should be reassessed.

But I also must wonder about why the magnet school exists in the first place. To some degree, one can make an argument that it exists because the local board decided they weren't properly meeting the needs of the students. So, while they can still go to the home school and (presumably) get the same things they could get prior to the magnet school existing, one must question whether there are proper and sufficient opportunities at the home school for them.
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Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:29 pm

I've found in my learning and teaching (as I'm sure you've found in yours) that different students learn in different ways and, therefore, all sorts of benefits are available to learners when a diversity of educational opportunities are available. It seems to me that any sort of specialized school exists to enable students to access those. That is why a magnet school exists.
I can't see how I can say of education "Okay, we're meeting our mission" or "We're failing," whatever metrics anyone might want to come up with. Rather, it seems to me that education is a process that can always be refined and improved. I believe that offering various types of educational experiences is a potential way to improve that process. Making moves to richen the range of experience available doesn't necessarily mean needs weren't being met before (although it certainly might); it does certainly mean that someone is at least trying to improve things.

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Post by jbarnes112358 » Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:45 pm

I believe that most would agree that there is a place for magnet schools in order to offer choices to students and to fill needs not met in the regular schools. With choice comes competition, and competition encourages schools to improve. Magnet schools typically operate around a mission statement. I would like to see the mission statement of the proposed Georgia school that prompted this thread. It would be rather strange if the winning of academic competition is explicitly part of the school's mission.

I believe the underlying issue of this somewhat unfocused thread is the question of do magnet schools have an advantage when it comes to quizbowl, and is that advantage unfair in some way.

Well, insofar as many magnet schools have a high concentration of academically talented, highly motivated learners with an enriched curriculum, then, of course, they have some advantages. Magnet schools typically have a culture in the student body that values academic activities and does not see such activities as social negatives. Students with a high nerdity index value are not necessarily shunned or whatnot.

However, a school does not have to be a magnet school to have these qualities, at least among a significant part of the student body. Will a magnet program draw away some potential quiz bowl stars? Possibly. But I am sure many will remain. It doesn't take all that many to make an excellent team after all. Maybe as few as one student could be the core of the team.

There are several inherent traits of a school that can contribute to quiz bowl success and thus might be considered "advantages."

1. Many academically talented and motivated students.
2. High-level curriculum with many AP, IB, or other advanced classes.
3. Culture that values academics.
4. A legacy of success in quiz bowl.
5. Coach(es)/sponsor(s) willing to put in the extra time for little or no pay.
6. Availability of funds, from the school, from benefactors, from parental support organizations, or from student fundraising.

In conclusion, magnet schools often have many of these traits, but other types of schools do as well. Being a magnet school is neither necessary nor sufficient for developing an excellent quizbowl team. Whatever advantages certain schools might have, there is certainly nothing unfair about them. If one thinks that such advantages are somehow unfair then that seems like the thinking of a socialist.

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Post by Tegan » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:50 pm

ImmaculateDeception wrote:I've found in my learning and teaching (as I'm sure you've found in yours) that different students learn in different ways and, therefore, all sorts of benefits are available to learners when a diversity of educational opportunities are available. It seems to me that any sort of specialized school exists to enable students to access those. That is why a magnet school exists.
I can't see how I can say of education "Okay, we're meeting our mission" or "We're failing," whatever metrics anyone might want to come up with. Rather, it seems to me that education is a process that can always be refined and improved. I believe that offering various types of educational experiences is a potential way to improve that process. Making moves to richen the range of experience available doesn't necessarily mean needs weren't being met before (although it certainly might); it does certainly mean that someone is at least trying to improve things.MaS
Hmmmm ..... so you obviously haven't taken any classes in the College of Education ...... that's a plus in my book!

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Post by catsasslippers » Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:27 pm

Magnet schools don't necessarily get a large number of students interested in quizbowl. I can say from experience that all students at magnet schools are not necessarily drawn to a more intellectual environment--some students are bright, but not brilliant, but they see magnet schools as the first step towards a better college and a heigher paycheck.
We have trouble getting five people to come to practice on a regular basis. It depends on the school. Being a magnet school doesn't necessarily give you a leg up on the competition.

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Post by First Chairman » Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:43 am

I agree that having the students helps matters, but it's no guarantee for success. That's a similar argument against private schools, and not as many of them do quiz bowl. But they can kick major butt in some sports.

The administration of a certain school must be interested in financially and structurally supporting the students in a quiz bowl club in order for said club to be successful. It takes a dedicated teacher (or team) with support to get the program running, and it takes dedicated students who want to play to participate. It's not how "smart" they are, though it always helps (just as one cannot teach athleticism for athletes).
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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:32 am

Howard wrote:Anyway, my opinion is that any number of things can be important for the development of children (and yes, these are still children, at least from a mentally developmental standpoint).
In the past, many of these "children" would have been considered fully grown adults. Not saying that's right, but they are certainly more than "children," and I suspect that a lot of their childishness is the result of infantilization and condescension by adults rather than an intrinsic feature of adolescence.
For some sports are unimportant. For others, sports are critically important. While I don't think academics should take a back seat to sports, I do think that sports are an important opportunity to offer. Were there things you did in high school that weren't part of the regular curriculum that were important to you?
I have nothing against sports as a part of daily activity that is done for fun and for health. I have everything against the current setup of competitive high school and college sports which encourages people to sacrifice their academic progress for athletic achievement. Anyone who is prepared to make that sacrifice should probably not be going to a magnet school in the first place. As for whether the school should or should not offer it, my thinking is that it would be nice if there were some athletic opportunities available, but that since it's not a the top of their priority list, there's no great loss in their not having it. The difference between having extracurricular academics and extracurricular sports is exactly the difference between academics and sports to begin with, and I don't accept that we should compromise on the former to appease those interested in the latter.
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Post by Tegan » Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:12 pm

Speaking from a strictly ignorant and neutral position, is it possible that this school polled potential students and found that there was not enough interest to make sports teams viable? I have heard of new schools doing this as a way of determining how best to spend their money, because sports programs can be extraordinarily expensive to start up and run .... and why invest in start up if there is not enough interest? Even something ass imple as a cross country program that involvers very little equipment can (startup wise) run several thousand dollars in uniforms and the few ancilary equipment that you do need not to mention the coaches salaries which could easily go into several thousand more dollars...... Why spend if there's no interest?

In addition ...... while sports are good at fostering how to handle competition, and also have the obvious physical fitness aspect, if the students form non-competitve (example) running clubs, and hone their competitive teeth in quiz bowl and other such endeavors, I don't see a problem with that.

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Post by jrbarry » Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:23 pm

Dr. Barnes:

Your post on what makes for excellent environments for potentially good quiz bowl programs is an excellent summation. Kudos.

I will say, however, that this entire debate began with my post regarding a certain new magnet school in my district. This situation is a bit specific. We are a large suburban district and have 15 high schools with most having active quiz bowl programs. The 247 rising freshmen recruited from our feeder schools to begin this new magnet school are typically ones who would have joined our teams in previous years. The 5-year goal of the school is to enlist the 1600 best students, 9-12, in our school system. The school building now under construction for that school far exceeds the cost of any high school built in our county in the past 10 years. Their funding level will exceed the funding level of all our current high schools. They will be able to draw on a fund for academic competition that is not available to the rest of us who have never received any help (other than the occasional new buzzer system) from our school system before. (I have taught here for 21 years.)

It is those sets of facts that have led several of the academic team coaches in my county to suggest it is not fair.

While I am not opposed to magnet schools per se, I feel our school system has so many academically strong high schools with complete advanced programs, a magnet school is not needed in Gwinnett County, GA. That is where we are "coming from, " so to speak.

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Post by First Chairman » Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:34 pm

I'm guessing the long-term goal for that school is to be comparable to the Maggie Walkers, Thomas Jeffersons, Bronx Math Sciences, and similar talented magnet schools that currently do a great job teaching high-achieving students. I'd encourage them to try doing Decathlon then... ;)

I think years ago when the first wave of magnet schools were constructed 20 years or so ago that was a big issue that many of the traditional schools had. I think Oklahoma Science and Math and North Carolina Science and Math had faced these issues upon their founding. Granted where you are in Gwinnett, you're in a high-growing area, and I think they are anticipating building the schools to further accommodate students into the system. (I'll let Eric talk about Wake County's problems with year-round vs. traditional year schools if he feels so compelled.) At the time Caddo Magnet was proposed and organized (we took over a campus where a middle school had been built), some of the best and brightest teachers were cherry-picked and recruited from nearby schools. No doubt the teachers there were infuriated.

Wasn't the decision to build this school up for public discussion? I'm interested in why the constituents in the school district felt convinced to devote its tax dollars and resources to building and inhabiting a new school with the explicit educational goals in that program if they did not feel the current programs in the county were adequately supported. Fair or unfair, it's the decision of the school board to build such a program, isn't it?
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Post by jbarnes112358 » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:51 pm

Mr. Barry, If the situation is how you portray it then you might have a case for unfairness, especially regarding funding the quiz bowl team. You might be able to go before the school board and get funding for all the other quiz bowl programs in the county. I would like to know the mission statement for the proposed school. As good as the existing high schools are, there still could be room for a special school for the more gifted students in order to help those students better reach their full potential.

My defensiveness regarding magnet schools comes partly from my position on the other side of the fence with people taking pot shots at us from an uninformed position. Many people seem to have the impression that if you take the four students in a school with the highest gpa's or highest SAT's or whatnot, then "voila!" ... instant winning quizbowl team. We know it does not work that way. But, I resent the implication that we so often receive. "Of course, you beat the crap out of us. You are the Governor's School." It is as if we are good solely by virtue of what kind of school we are. Never mind the fact that we worked infinitely harder at getting good than they might have.

Anyway, no matter how hard they might try, it is not a slam dunk that this new school would rule the county in quizbowl. They might edge out your school on advantages 1., 2., and possibly 3. But you will have them on 4. and 5. (unless you leave) and with all the money you get from your tournament, I doubt you will suffer on 6. all that much, especially if you can shake down the school board on the inequitable funding issue.

And even on advantages 1. and 2. I am sure you will have plenty of talent available. It has been my experience that some of the best players are not always the best students with highest GPA's etc. My best players have been those that really took an interest and dedicated themselves to learning and working hard to improve.

I bet if you took any of the excellent schools in your area and, say, brought in a principal who was hell bent on developing a winning quiz bowl team, with full funding, and who was willing to go out and recruit a proven coach, etc. then that school would probably become a powerhouse, magnet or not. So, if that is the kind of direction this new school wants to go, I guess I can understand your concern.

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