United States District Court, D. Arizona
SPECIAL MASTER'S REPORT ON MAGNET
D. HAWLEY SPECIAL MASTER
Report is responsive to the provisions of the September 6,
2018 Court Order (Doc. No. 2123 at pp. 25-26) related to
magnet schools. The Court's Order states:
The Special Master is currently responsible for recommending
the termination of noncompliant magnet schools or programs,
with the exception of any school or program where the
District has prepared an improvement plan… which has
been approved by the Special Master…. The Special
Master shall expressly identify the criterion guiding these
determinations as being relevant to improving: 1)
integration, 2) the minority achievement gap, and 3) the
school's student achievement profile….
The Special Master shall base his recommendation on express
criteria and guidelines for identifying a successful magnet
program. Such criteria and guidelines developed by the
Special Master, shall be provided to the District for
incorporation into the CMP for future use.
Report, the Special Master does not recommend that the Court
take any action at this time. In its recent order, the Court
gave the District explicit direction regarding magnet schools
and tasked the Special Master with responsibilities for
evaluating magnet schools by making recommendations with
respect to their future status. The Special Master is asking
that the parties treat this report as directions to be acted
upon as he and the parties work collaboratively to implement
the recommendations herein. Of course, should they object to
any of the Special Master's proposals, the parties should
inform him accordingly, and he will initiate a meeting among
the parties in order to facilitate efficient progress over
the next three months and beyond. The Court has ordered the
District to submit a comprehensive magnet plan by the end of
the school year. At that time, plaintiffs and the Special
Master will have an opportunity to advise the Court about
aspects of the plan they do not support.
Special Master will then report to the Court and the parties
with respect to the progress the District is making to
improve the magnet schools identified in this report as being
at risk of maintaining magnet status. That may include a
recommendation that the Court direct the District to develop
transition plans for specific schools that do not appear to
be making progress necessary to demonstrate that they are
able to remedy to a reasonable extent the concerns identified
by the Special Master in this report. However, the Special
Master assumes that in most, if not all cases, it will be
necessary to know how well students perform on the 2019 AZ
Merit tests of academic performance before a decisive
judgment can be made about the magnet status of any school.
somewhat unusual approach is motivated by awareness that some
of the schools identified in this report have not yet been
advised of their vulnerability and that, in any event, the
schools deserve the time - even if it is short - to
demonstrate that they have the capability to move effectively
to improve the educational opportunities and outcomes of
their students and to do so in ways that are consistent with
criteria identified in the USP for determining magnet status
fall into two categories: integration and academic quality.
school is considered integrated if no race exceeds 70% of the
school's student population and the students of any other
race do not comprise plus or minus 15% of the District-wide
proportion of students of each race in schools with similar
grade structure to the school being evaluated (e.g.,
a K-5 school, etc.). However, it would be very difficult for
a school to alter its racial composition for the entire
school in a short time. Therefore, the Court approved - for
the purposes of retaining and attaining magnet status - that
the integration criteria would apply to the entry grade in a
given school (e.g., K) with a requirement that that
integration status be sustained in subsequent years
(e.g., 1 and beyond).
quality for purposes of determining magnet status involves
1. The letter grade assigned to the school by the state. The
state uses student performance on statewide standardized
tests as a major consideration in determining these grades.
Letter grades that are acceptable are A and B. See
2. Whether the state test scores of the of African American
and Latino in a particular school exceed the average test
scores of African American and Latino students in schools
throughout the District with similar grade structures
(e.g., K-5). See Table II.
3. The size of the achievement gap in mathematics and English
language arts (ELA) comparing test scores of white students
to those of African American and Latino students.
See Table III.
4. The extent to which the school has narrowed or eliminated
the achievement gaps. See Tables III and Table IV.
5. Improvement in the passing scores on state tests of
African American and Latino students.
these different measures usually point in the same direction,
that is not always the case. Gaps may differ for African
American and Latino students and for different subjects.
Schools with high overall performance may have larger
achievement gaps than schools where students achieve at lower
levels. When such ambiguity exists, the Special Master may
use other factors that affect the learning environment
schools, such as the levels of school discipline problems.
Special Master recommends that no magnet school lose its
magnet status at this time. However, the Special
Master recommends that five of the 13 magnet schools be
informed that they might not retain their magnet status
beyond the current year depending on whether the District
takes appropriate action to address problems in these schools
during the current school year.
five schools that are vulnerable to losing magnet status
before the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Those
schools are: Booth-Fickett, Holladay, Borton, Roskruge, and
Drachman. The reasons for their vulnerability and general