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Policy Agenda

Each year, through input gathered at our annual Policy Training Conference, Magnet Schools of America develops a policy agenda that forms the basis of our national, state, and local advocacy efforts and helps to advance the Five Pillars of Magnet Schools:

  1. Diversity
  2. Innovative Curriculum and Professional Development
  3. Academic Excellence
  4. Leadership
  5. Family and Community Partnerships


Below are the 2023 policy, advocacy, and programmatic priorities for MSA. The priorities are linked explicitly to one or more of the Pillars, and each priority includes an indication of whether MSA intends to take a lead or a partnership role in advancing the priority.

Secure and expand funding for the planning, development, and sustainability of magnet schools.

Pillar(s): 1,2,3,4,5

MSA role: Lead

Summary: MSA, together with partners where appropriate, will continue to advocate for increased federal funding for magnet schools, including through the Magnet Schools Assistance Program and the proposed MAGNET Act. MSA will urge congressional appropriators to make significant investments in magnet schools through these and other programs, including through formula-grant programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education, such as Title I.

In addition, MSA will urge the U.S. Department of Education to issue guidance for states and districts on the use of formula funds to develop and support magnet schools and programs. MSA will also urge the Department to use its supplemental priorities to incentivize the development of magnet schools through discretionary grant programs.

MSA will develop and begin to advocate for the role of state education agencies in supporting magnet schools, including through the creation of state-level offices dedicated to magnet schools and other choice schools designed to advance school diversity, theme programming, and innovative curriculum. 

Grow awareness of and bolster support for magnet schools among policymakers, education professionals, and students and families.

Pillar(s): 1,2,3,4,5

MSA role: Lead

Summary: MSA will focus policy, advocacy, and communications efforts on ensuring that magnet schools are at the forefront of education policy discussions with regard to school choice, school improvement, and student achievement and connectedness.

From a policy perspective, MSA will work to disseminate information about the Five Pillars and the effectiveness of magnet schools as a school-improvement model. MSA will convene, where possible, thought leaders and policymakers to advocate for the expansion and support of magnet schools.

In its advocacy efforts at both the federal and state levels, MSA will urge policymakers to consider magnet schools as a preferred option for narrowing achievement gaps, turning around low-performing schools, embracing public school choice, and promoting school diversity.

As part of this effort, MSA’s communications strategy will include a campaign to educate the public about the purpose and function of magnet schools, reframe the common misperception of magnet schools as elitist or exclusionary, and highlight individual and school-level stories about magnet schools and the students, families, educators, and other professionals that make them work.  

Cultivate support for theme-based schools, innovative curriculum, and related professional development.

Pillar(s): 2,3

MSA role: Lead and partner

Summary: MSA will advocate for resources and support for themes that are prominent among magnet schools, such as STEM and dual language. This will entail federal- and state-level advocacy, but also convenings and the dissemination of best practices among membership and the general public.

As part of this overall effort, MSA will bring together membership for networking and professional learning opportunities tailored to specific themes.

Support broader K-12 education policy movements that positively impact magnet schools.

Pillar(s): 1,2,3,4,5

MSA role: Partner

Summary: MSA will support, where appropriate, broader education policy initiatives in support of public schools. There are many policy issues that impact magnet schools not because they are specifically a magnet school initiative but because magnet schools are still schools that have many of the same needs and concerns as non-magnet schools. This includes wider efforts to support diversity in K-12 education, K-12 funding issues generally, supporting special education for students, addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting policy solutions to the teacher workforce crisis, and others as appropriate.

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