Questioning the Success of Magnet Schools

I've long admired the Monitor's excellent coverage of education issues. So it was with particular interest that I read the Learning page article " `Magnets' Attract in Kansas City," June 15.

The sidebar spoke of Walter Marks's dismal failure in the bankrupt Richmond, Calif., school district. I am a veteran of 18 years in the classroom and a survivor of that bankruptcy. All this talk of "magnets" and "systems for choice" makes me recoil in horror and anger.

Mr. Marks means well, but his ideas are not new, and his ability to spend money, whether it's available or not, is hardly visionary. Educational reform - real reform - is not about catchy program titles or shortsighted, well-traveled administrators like Marks who, in the name of innovation, destroy communities, teacher morale, and most important, hope for the thousands of lives they affect.

The real hope for the future of public education lies in political will and, oddly enough, in many of the very classrooms we barely maintain. Bruce L. Greene, Oakland, Calif.

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