Thursday, December 06, 2007


by Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Dec. 5 - It's December, and the pressure is mounting. Not from the presents or the cooking or the relatives. Those are a piece of cake -- a fruitcake, perhaps. It's the agony of choice. Or, more accurately, CHOICES.

For L.A. parents who want their children to go to a magnet school or want a permit to send them to a school other than their home school, December can be full of angst: visiting campuses, deciding which one suits best, then playing the odds in a system that has many more students than places for them.

The worry season officially begins when the L.A. Unified CHOICES booklet arrives in the mail. Right there on the cover it says, "Please open at once." Why wait to ramp up the anxiety?

The booklet, much improved in the last several years, explains the possibilities clearly. It includes an application (no copies accepted), due by 5 p.m. Jan. 11, and an envelope to mail it – though plenty of faithless parents carry it by hand downtown to the district offices. Anyone who needs a booklet can get one at any LAUSD school.

Last year, The Times played host to the Magnet Yentas, writer Sandra Tsing Loh and other moms who answered readers' questions about the system. In the links [following], we're repeating excerpts of their advice. Information also is available at

smf's 2¢ - This article marks the debut of a new byline in 4LATimes, welcome Mary MacVean. I wrote my very first piece for publication about the Choices brochure process. Last year Sandra Tsing Loh and Co. - under the guise of The Magnet Yentas wrote some very good, funny and informative stuff for the late, lamented School Me! blog in LATimes. The Times in their infinite wisdom - demonstrating the viability of reruns on the Internet to prove the Writers' Guild point - has republished online.

Links to that "all that 'right stuff'" is presented below. One piece of advice to "'ye of little' faithless parents" from my original advice: DON'T hand carry your application downtown! You will get neither satisfaction nor a receipt!

1. Make and save a copy.

2. Mail your application and all correspondence in, certified mail, return receipt requested.

THE MAGNET YENTAS REDUX …Return …Rerun …Recycled …Resurrected

No comments: