Schools that receive government funds for special programs that could attract students from many neighborhoods and thereby achieve racial integration. Offerings range from studies in music to programs in law.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
magnet school Educ. (orig. U.S.), a publicly funded school designed to attract pupils from various areas or demographic groups through its superior facilities and courses, esp. one which offers specialist tuition in a particular subject alongside the standard curriculum.
1972 Sat. Rev. (U.S.) 5 Feb. 49/3 The new programs included..a network of "*magnet" schools, each specializing in one academic area, such as space science or social studies, and drawing students from the whole city. 1991 Times Educ. Suppl. 8 Feb. 5/5 Magnet schools that offer a vocational or academic specialism are likely to be one of the radical ideas to be presented in the Conservative Party's election campaign.
24 December 1965, Washington Post, "Philadelphia Maps Bold Plant to Solve City School Porblem" by Gerald Grant, pg. A10:
One of the most sweeping changes urged in the Philadelphia report was creation of "magnet schools" that would have high-quality programs to attract and hold a racially integrated enrollment.
The magnet schools would be untracked, feature ungraded grouping and emphasize individualized instructional methods. Many of the new Federally funded programs would be concentrated in these schools.
They would also serve as focal points for experimentation, innovation and teacher training.
21 April 1966, Washington Post, "For Good Schools Try Live Politics" by Richardson Dilworth, pg. A24:
We should also experiment with what we call the magnet school. Let me give you an example: There is a great need for a higher level of science teaching for selected youngsters. THis indicates the creation of a science high school which offers the finest possible pre-college science courses. But that school would also be a comprehensive high school to serve the neighborhood, and the science students would take their other academic courses right in with the regular high school students.
IN SHORT, the specialty attracts teachers and pupils from all over the city, and these specialty pupils take their general academic courses in the other part of the school, which is a comprehensive neighborhood high school. Magnets schools should also be set up for languages, for business training, and for the performing arts, among others.
31 May 1966, New York Times, "Philadelphia Gets School Aid Grant," pg. 36:
Eight Philadelphia schools will start programs of "exceptional excellence" next fgall with the aid of a $350,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation.
Participating schools, at all grade levels, will be known as "magnet" schools in the hope that their programs will attract students and staff from throughout Philadelphia.