12/14/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Minority Enrollment Down At Top Magnet Schools

Kenneth Green knew he wanted to send his daughter to a magnet school, Chicago's oldest schools of choice. He spent hours enveloped in research and touring campuses, trying to find the right combination of high academic expectations and a diverse racial mix.

He found what he wanted in Franklin Fine Arts Academy on the Near North Side. "I liked the feel of the building, the fact it was set back from the street and that it was a small school," Green says.

Along with strong academics and a good climate, a school's diversity can be a powerful draw for parents like Green, who want their children to attend multi-racial, multi-ethnic schools that mirror the real world. These parents are more likely to opt for an integrated school when choosing among several options. Green, whose wife is Latina, rejected Sabin Elementary, a mostly Latino magnet school closer to his home in Humboldt Park.

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