Editorial: Magnet Students Get Special Treatment

Magnet students at Venice get special treatment that students in the regular school don’t get. There are two magnet programs at Venice, the World Languages and Global Studies Magnet and Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine Magnet, or STEMM. Both are great programs that give opportunities to students from both outside and in the local community to join these magnets. They offer pathways for students who are interested in pursuing such fields in the future.

However, the main difference in applying to the magnets and the comprehensive academies is an early application due date (December) and choosing a pathway once you are admitted. Nothing more is required to apply to a magnet program; just an earlier application date. The magnet programs however are highly coveted and usually have a waiting list.

Students who are not in magnets can also choose from three programs: Academy of Law and Public Service, Media, Arts, Technology Academy, and Sports Medicine. They can also be part of the School for Advanced Studies, which provides higher-level classes for comprehensive school students.

Why is it that the magnet students get better treatment and are prioritized more than regular students? Over time, we have seen the pattern of magnet students getting more field trip opportunities, better counselor attention regarding schedules, and smaller classes.

Why is it that the maximum capacity for magnet classes is 34-37 students and comprehensive school classes is 43-47?

We have seen the motivation some of these magnet teachers give to their students that will sometimes reach comprehensive students late or never reach them at all because of the oversized classes. We have seen the persistence that magnet schools offer by giving the students the classes they want and need. Fulfilling the magnet students’ needs ultimately affects comprehensive students’ schedules.

Comprehensive students, including some Oarsman editors, who asked for AP Government this school year were put into an AP/Honors class of 65. Meanwhile, a magnet AP Government class had only 17 students. When students tried switching into the AP Government magnet class, some were denied because the number of comprehensive students in the magnet class had reached its limit. Yes, the 65-student class did get reduced, but the students who switched out had to change their schedules completely. The comprehensive students who wanted to take AP Government are now going to take Honors Economics first semester instead of taking AP Government, giving little time for the comprehensive students to prepare for the AP exam in May.

“I’m just disappointed on how everything was handled with the class,” said senior Valerie Cruz who was in the AP Government with 65 students. “ It definitely messed up my whole schedule because I had to rearrange all my classes.”

The incident with the AP Gov. class would’ve never happened to magnet students. In the school year 2015-2016 , there was a regular chemistry class mainly for comprehensive students who needed to take the class. Once counselors noticed that some magnet students weren’t able to take AP Chemistry because of problems with class scheduling, an immediate change was made and the regular Chemistry class was turned into an AP/H Chemistry class. All the comprehensive students had the choice to stay in the class or switch into a different regular chemistry class. The comprehensive students who stayed in the class to avoid a schedule change had to switch to honors for the total of about 10-12 magnet students who wanted to take AP Chemistry.

There have also been conflicts with the comprehensive school counselors throughout the past four years here at Venice. In the last four years, MEDIA students have had three different counselors and ALPS students have had two. All the while, magnet students have kept their same counselors for the past four years.

An article from school-counselor.org “Building rapport with students” emphasizes the importance of counselors building relationships with their students and qualities that will greatly have an impact on their students’ educational and personal life. Qualities such as listening, empathy, and laughter “will create the type of bonds that ultimately impact and significantly alter lives,” according to the article.

If comprehensive students keep having their counselors changed, how will this affect students who are stuck in an unhealthy mentality or how will they ever change their mindsets and be given chances and advice on what to do by an expert? Students cannot build great and impactful bonds with different people each year.

There are so many problems with the unfair treatment of comprehensive students. It is not fair that we are judged based off our goals and ambitions just because we are not in magnets. It is unfair that we are not given the same amount of motivation and push magnet students get in order to achieve more in school. All students at Venice should be given equal treatment.

It’s time to realize that we do have goals and ambition, we do want to learn and be given certain classes. We do want to go onto higher education.We do want staff members with whom we can grow a bond and who we can get help from. Regular school students and teachers deserve smaller class sizes too.