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RiversideGator

Jacksonville High Schools

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I find it interesting that, in one week, Newsweek has Jacksonville's Stanton High School rated #3 in the country for academics and Jacksonville's Paxon High School rated #7 in the country (and the Bolles School, my alma mater, was rated #9 in the country for athletics by Sports Illustrated). Of course, our average scores suck, but this is kind of good news. I think this may be caused though by the large district size and the magnet program. What do y'all think?

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From what my teachers say florida is around 47th in the nation overall in education, and st.johns county is one of the best in fl. so they always joke about us being the best of the worst. but clay and st.johns are much better school districts than duval, i think clay mightve beaten st.johns county this year(in whatever it is they measure/go by)

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I think the 47th overall is in funding per student. Something like that anyway. It's all subjective by whose feathers need to be primped anyway.

From what my teachers say florida is around 47th in the nation overall in education, and st.johns county is one of the best in fl. so they always joke about us being the best of the worst.  but clay and st.johns are much better school districts than duval, i think clay mightve beaten st.johns county this year(in whatever it is they measure/go by)

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I find it interesting that, in one week, Newsweek has Jacksonville's Stanton High School rated #3 in the country for academics and Jacksonville's Paxon High School rated #7 in the country (and the Bolles School, my alma mater, was rated #9 in the country for athletics by Sports Illustrated).  Of course, our average scores suck, but this is kind of good news.  I think this may be caused though by the large district size and the magnet program.  What do y'all think?

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You are absolutely right that the magnet program is largely responsible for this. Basically, the 'smart' kids are choosing the academic magnets (Stanton and Paxon) for the plethora of advanced courses (AP and IB) offered there. Newsweek uses those programs to measure schools for their rankings, therefore the district gets to get some positive attention by having Stanton and Paxon consistently ranking high.

However, the problem is that the remaining 16 or so high schools lose many of their brightest students and there is much less demand in those schools for advanced academic programs. Thus the academic performance in these remaining schools is almost certainly lower than it would be without the magnet program. To some extent, Duval County has attempted to replace racial segregation with academic segregation. Which definitely benefits the students attending these academic magnets, but possibly not the district taken as a whole. In fact, my alma mater (a Duval County high school) was not an academic magnet and specifically excluded from offering math and science AP courses by the NAACP's desegregation agreement (students were supposed to go to Stanton for those courses).

The other Duval magnet school worth noting is Douglas Anderson, which is a magnet school for arts-related programs. These three schools are definitely worth attending if a student is interesting in the relevant programs and likes riding the bus. But for the average student that just wants to go to the local high school and try and get a decent education, they are a detriment.

St. Johns and Clay Counties don't have any outstanding schools on Newsweek's list, but my opinion is the average high school in either county is better than the average Duval County school. Of course, those counties don't have nearly the history of racial segregation and impoverishment that Duval has.

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To some extent, Duval County has attempted to replace racial segregation with academic segregation.  Which definitely benefits the students attending these academic magnets, but possibly not the district taken as a whole.  In fact, my alma mater (a Duval County high school) was not an academic magnet and specifically excluded from offering math and science AP courses by the NAACP's desegregation agreement (students were supposed to go to Stanton for those courses).

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I don't understand much the correlation between academic segregation and racial segregation??? Does academic aptitude run along race lines--is that what you are saying? And if this "academic segregation" is taking place, according to what you said above, wouldn't that be as a result of the actions of the NAACP?

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I don't understand much the correlation between academic segregation and racial segregation???  Does academic aptitude run along race lines--is that what you are saying?  And if this "academic segregation" is taking place, according to what you said above, wouldn't that be as a result of the actions of the NAACP?

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I don't completely understand the specific intent of magnet schools either, but here is the history as I remember it. In the 1980s, the NAACP sued the Duval County School Board claiming they were violating civil rights laws by still having segregated schools. This was not "de jure" segregation, it was "de facto" segregation caused by living patterns within the city. Basically there were some schools that were mostly white and some that were mostly black and few that were integrated by their definition.

The legal bufoonery went on for awhile and eventually it was settled with the creation of the magnet program sometime around 1990. The idea was to attract whites to attend mostly black inner city schools by creating academic magnets such as Stanton, Paxon, and Darnell-Cookman. There was a much weaker attempt made to attract blacks to mostly white suburban schools by creating magnet programs oriented toward African-American history and the like. Presumably this was to result in some kind of reasonably integrated situation in every school.

As far as I know, this is the plan concocted by the NAACP and at the least they agreed to drop their lawsuit upon its implementation. To me, this plan does suggest that the NAACP believes academic performance runs along race lines. Of course, their view may be integrated into a larger concept of race and inequality in society.

Looking back over how things have proceeded, the only successful magnets at the high school level (that attract many students from outside their area) I am familiar with are Stanton, Paxon, and Douglas Anderson. Which to me indicates that racial segregation is being replaced with a form of academic segregation, where similarly interested and focused students all go the same school. The remaining schools in the county are still dominated by students from the local area, reflecting the demographics of their particular area.

So the history is that magnet programs in Duval County were supposed to solve a segregation problem. The underlying assumptions in this plan definitely have a racial aspect, but it may be a realistic aspect more than a malicious one. The program has seen some spectacular success (two schools consistently getting national exposure for strong academic programs) but has left many schools behind. It has also created a system where the 'smart kids' citywide all tend to go to the same schools with superior faculty and course offerings, creating an academic version of the much maligned "separate but equal" doctrine.

The Duval County School Board's magnet programs site doesn't address the 'why' of the magnet program, unsurprising considering the controversial nature of this question. I bet if you started calling people at the school board headquarters it would be hard to get a specific answer to the question 'What is the purpose of the magnet program and how are the schools' programs selected?' The reason being is that issues of race are certainly near the top of the list in decision making.

It is this kind of history that has helped make surrounding school districts (Clay and St. Johns particularly) much more attractive to families that simply want their children to go to a decent local school that hasn't been strip-mined of its best students and faculty to create a magnet 20 miles away that their kid isn't interested in. This suggests another effect of the the magnet program, parents taking children out of Duval County Schools and opting for other school districts or private schools. While it is easy for Duval County to bask in the glory of the recent rankings, it is not so easy to answer the question of whether the creation of these schools has been a benefit or liability to the district.

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Looking back, I'm so glad I got in to Darnell-Cookman. It was worth the hour-and-a-half bus ride home. I was supposed to go to JD (Jefferson Davis Middle--yuck). You're right; most of the "smart kids" go to the magnet schools, and I'm just glad I was one of them.

It is rather unfortunate for the other schools that can't support gifted programs and stuff like that. I don't really have a solution though...

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read a great book that discussed this topic once...Creating Equal by Ward Connerly... he was the guy responsible for putting forth on the California ballot the option to end affirmative action at CA public universities.

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In the full list last year (it was about 750 schools long), Nease, DA and Mandarin were on it. I just believe that Duval County schools as a whole are average, and we happen to have the best of the best, and the worst of the worst.

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Being a product of the Duval County school system and being a DASOTA alum (before there was a magnet program) I can say what the issue is.

Administration. Duval County keeps hiring a bunch of idiots in there (not too say that Clay and St Johns don't have their own either).

My wife is a teacher in Clay County, I can see the differences easily.

A first year teacher in Duval is usually sent to a inner city school (seniority) and has to wait a few years before actually teaching where they want to. My wife had her choice in Clay County. She is now moving to a new school as well in Clay County opening in the fall. She wants to build a new standard at the new school. Regardless of how well Duval County teachers want to teach, they are hampered by the administation.

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I know that but you mentioned it once before where you attended high school down south. What was the name and where are you going to college?

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Here goes nothin'.....

I just graduated from Toussaint L'Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice. Whew, that's a mouthful! It's a small charter school that you probably haven't heard of.

Anyways, I'm attending Palm Beach Atlantic University in the fall. It's in downtown West Palm Beach, so I'll finally live in an urban area!

OK, I'll stop talking now...

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