Metro magnet school lottery leaves parents looking around - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Metro magnet school lottery leaves parents looking around

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Hundreds of parents in Metro Nashville Public Schools got some disappointing news this weekend. They were hoping their child would land a spot in one of Metro's top schools, but instead they got wait listed.

And that could mean a long wait.

Many parents look at the middle school and high school lottery as a win-or-get-out-of-town choice in Nashville. And the odds of winning, while not as bad as the Powerball, are pretty discouraging.

Holly Knight has three beautiful girls who are all 'A' students, but the Bellevue resident found out this weekend they have no chance of going to Meigs Middle Magnet School.

"I think the flaw is that there is only one magnet school available for students who are academically talented, intellectually gifted. There is no other option out there," Knight said.

Metro's academic magnet schools are truly becoming the thing of legend. MLK Academic Magnet School awaits expansion and now won't even permit a waiting list.

Hume-Fogg High School's waiting list is 408, and Meigs, the only pure academic magnet middle school, has a waiting list of 911 although the school only holds 700 students total.

"They have a successful plan in place at Meigs. They should be able to implement that plan at another school for students who are performing at a high level," Knight said.

Metro schools leaders want to expand MLK by 300 seats, but there is no other plan for pure academic magnets.

Instead, Metro hopes people will consider improving the district's zoned schools.

"The other thing we know is parents want to have choices, so we want to give everyone a quality zoned school as well," said Metro schools spokeswoman Meredith Libbey.

In fact, there are parents who believe the academic magnets are weakening zoned schools that could be so much stronger if they were just supported and given a chance.

"I think that's a great idea. The problem is the parents who don't get into those magnets pretty much move or go to private school," said parent Claire Carrico. "It's just diminishing your overall school population."

Metro says once Common Core kicks in, the district will take another look at requirements for academic magnets. Still, it strongly urges parents to at least tour their zoned school before quitting the system.

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