Section I – Diversion/ Focus
This section’s instructions are listed below, but the questions will be dispersed throughout the Test in any section. The instructions to these particular questions will only be posted this once. The questions may or may not be in order.
I. Excluded Term
In exercises 1 through 24, mark the answer that corresponds to the word whose meaning has no relation to either the heading or the other words listed.
–Alejandro Zambra Multiple Choice (AZ)
Translated by Megan McDowell
Section II – Reading Assessment
In this section review the passages presented and select the correct answers to the designated questions based on the passage. Each passage will indicate which passage to use to answer which questions, unless they don’t.
Use the following passage to answer questions 1-3.
“Magnet schools were created in the late 1960s with the specific aim of increasing diversity in public schools. Magnet schools are public schools that typically offer specialized instruction and academic programs not found in most other public schools. They often have greater flexibility than traditional public schools in a number of different areas, from curriculum focus, to academic rigor, to admissions standards. Many magnet school policies include admission standards that focus on ensuring racial and/or economic diversity. Recruitment practices also draw enrollment from an array of different geographical areas, attracting students—like a magnet.
The first magnet school in America was an elementary school created in 1968 in Tacoma, Washington. McCarver Elementary School was specifically designed to reduce racial isolation by offering high caliber instruction, resources, and amenities, with an admissions policy based on a system of controlled choice. McCarver was an instant success…In 1969, Boston started the nations second magnet school, the Trotter Elementary School…founded with the same focus on decreasing racial isolation and had similar success.
The popularity of magnet schools continued to grow at a slow, but steady pace throughout the 1970s. Magnet schools saw a substantive uptick in their popularity however, in the late 1970s, when they became one of few remaining ways to promote meaningful integration efforts after legal and legislative efforts at the federal level made school integration initiatives more difficult to implement. As desegregation efforts in most districts stalled or were abandoned, magnet schools, with their focus on parent choice as opposed to district assignment or judicial mandate, represented a viable solution to address school segregation. The magnet approach could withstand judicial and political scrutiny while appealing to students and their families.”(Hinds,p1-3)
- Based on the above passage, a magnet school is:
A. A place where children become magnets.
B. A public school that is different from regular public schools.
C. Wait what is a “regular” public school then?
D. Really cool but not fair—why can’t all schools be like this?
F. Only in Washington or Boston.
- Based on the information presented in the third paragraph:
A. There is a difference between integration and “meaningful integration.”
B. Efforts at a federal level were not interested in “meaningful integration.”
C. The legal system is weak if its declared laws can be “stalled or abandoned.”
D. Outside of magnet schools parents have no choice.
E. District assignment to school doesn’t sound very exciting, but does sound like The
- ‘…’ means:
A. This passage is decorated with pretty art.
C. This is only something you learn in magnet schools.
D. I can doodle on this test.
E. There are only dots, no straight lines.
Use the following passages to answer questions 4-10.
According to eChoices.lausd.net “Since 1977, the Los Angeles Unified School District (L.A. Unified) has been at the forefront of providing high quality instruction and a rigorous curriculum designed to facilitate student learning and promote academic achievement for all District students participating in its Court-Ordered voluntary integration programs. The Magnet and PWT programs are in alignment with L.A. Unified goals: 100 percent graduation, proficiency for all, 100 percent attendance, parent, community and student engagement, school safety and building a solid foundation for early learners. These voluntary integration programs, Magnet and Permits with Transportation (PWT), were established to address the Five Harms of Racial Isolation: Low Academic Achievement, Low Self- Esteem, Interracial Hostility and Intolerance, Overcrowded Conditions, [and] Lack of access to Post-secondary Opportunities.”
“The student selection process for magnet programs is based on the Magnet Priority Point System.* Students are assigned points based on 5 criteria (see Magnet Priority Point System). The sum of these points is utilized in the selection process.
Once the application is submitted, the information is verified by the District’s Information Technology Division (ITD). Students are assigned points and selected through a fair and secure computer process, based on this verified information.
*The Magnet Priority Point System is based on the Court-Ordered reduction of the Harms of Racial Isolation. “
Some of the Magnet Priority Point System: can be summarized as follows:
Matriculation- 12 points- if you have gone as high as possible in grade level at your current school and wish to progress forward to the next level (i.e. from elementary, k-5, to middle school, 6-8). Many schools with multi-level programs do not offer matriculation points if you want to leave them. However these are only good for one year of application, and that year is the one in which you are applying directly for the next phase of learning. If you do not get accepted into the next level of schooling at a magnet school/program you can maybe stay on a waiting list.
Waiting List- 4-12 points- “Applicants who remained on a valid on-time Magnet waiting list receive 4 points for the following year. Applicants may accumulate waiting list points for the prior three consecutive years for a maximum of 12 points. If an applicant on a waiting list declines Magnet placement, ALL waiting list points are removed. New waiting lists are established each year. Applicants will NOT be assigned both Matriculation and Waiting List Points at the same time.”
Predominantly Hispanic, Black, Asian and Other Non-Anglo (PHBAO) Schools- 4 Points- Anyone at a school “the District” assigns as PHBAO gets 4 points (a year, non cumulative).
Siblings-3 points- “If an applicant is applying to the same Magnet school/program in which a brother or sister will be continuing, he/she receives 3 points.” Oh but it’s only if that is also the applicant’s first choice in programs, they can have up to 3 rated choices.
- Based on the first paragraph of this section:
A. Harms of Racial Isolation sound very serious.
B. The L.A. Unified School District only provides “high-quality instruction and a
rigorous curriculum” for students in certain Districts.
C. L.A. Unified has high standards and goals for all of its schools regardless of
magnet programs being there or not.
D. Why did this program only start in 1977 if other magnet programs were started
E. Students in these special programs also get free transportation.
F. We should talk more about these Harms of Racial Isolation.
- If your child is not in a Magnet or Permits With Transportation (PWT) program the Five Harms of Racial Isolation will still be addressed throughout/during your child’s schooling.
- Based on the first sentence of the first paragraph “Court-ordered voluntary integration programs”:
A. Is an oxymoron.
B. Implies a court of law mandated there be a program of integration.
C. Implies a court of law had to be utilized to implement integration.
D. Implies if a court of law had not mandated integration there might not be any
programs addressing the Five Harms of Racial Isolation.
- Based on the first paragraph and the list of Five Harms of Racial Isolation imply:
A. Magnet programs at L.A. Unified want to help students access Post-secondary
B. That overcrowded conditions can cause harm.
C. Transportation is a key component to overcome segregation.
D. Something must be wrong geographically if transportation is needed to overcome
E. ‘Forefront’ implies at the start of, which implies this movement must have been
court mandated in 1977.
- The section stated “Selection Process” tells the reader:
A. A student is selected into magnet programs based on highly personalized
information taking into account all of their skills and talents.
B. Magnet programs select children based on the fact that they are children and
deserve the best possible education.”
C. The government is highly invested in all of its citizens receiving top tier education
(and is aware that is a fruitful investment).
D. The Magnet Priority Point System encourages gambling.
E. That Oscar Wilde quote “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of
expanding bureaucracy” actually makes a lot of sense.
- The section “Magnet Priority Point System” indicates:
A. Students should also play the Lottery and bodega scratch cards.
B. Important life decisions should be made by raffle or coin toss.
C. At any one time a student could have 20 points.
D. At any one time a student could have 24 points.
E. At any one time no amount of points might matter, but trust the computer
process is definitely fair and secure.
- Cumulatively this section communicates to the reader:
A. L.A. Unified School District magnet programs sound like high quality, free
education, invested in student learning and well-being.
B. L.A. Unified School District didn’t mention students not participating in its
“Court Ordered voluntary integration programs.”
C. There could definitely be a clearer definition of voluntary integration programs.
D. If my child does not get accepted into one of these programs I should probably
E. You should probably integrate thoughts and prayers into the application process.
J. alternative -(AZ)
Section III – Critical Thinking
In this section review the passages presented and select the correct answers to the designated questions based on the passage. Each passage will indicate which passage to use to answer which questions, unless they don’t. Yes, this is similar to the last section.
Use the following passage to answer questions 1- 5.
My father is from the small coal-mining town of Hibbing, Minnesota, birthplace of Bob Dylan—it’s only laudable brag right outside of the size of their mosquitos and the abundant degrees below freezing the locale reaches in winter. He swears he never even ‘saw a Jewish person’ until he moved to Pennsylvania for college (I’d expect the Zimmerman’s family restaurant ‘Zimmy’s, could have proven the exception, but that’s about it). My mother, on the other hand, also a Los Angeles native, grew up among her ilk in the [then] predominantly Jewish West Hollywood in the 1950s-1960s. It was the era when Jew’s, anywhere from first to fifth+ generation American’s now, were assimilating into the identity amalgam we call “white” (with the exception of course of the Orthodox, Jewish presenting community). Jewish girls were beginning to get nose jobs and straighten their hair—my own mother noted using a clothing iron to fully quash her curls before wrapping the limp hair around her head in a cautious ritual needing many bobby-pins to keep it pressed flat as long as possible. She attended Fairfax High School, where she still recalls with clarity the day of her senior year in 1970 when the school was first integrated—
I just remember all these buses pulling up, buses and buses, full of black kids, and when they started unloading to come to school with us, I just remember thinking ‘where had they been?? Why were we just now seeing all these people!?’
When I asked, well, where had they been she replied
Watts. There was an earthquake that destroyed all their schools so they had to be shipped out to other schools.
That’s the only reason they were brought in. An earthquake.
In her remarkable tome White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, historian Carol Anderson subverts the American narrative of ‘black rage’ being the focal point of societal unrest/threat as she expertly demonstrates the ways in which white supremacy and white rage genuinely undermine the true potential of American democracy. As any skillful historian might, she simply presents the facts—the long, exhaustive list of demonstrable effort to deny the full implication of the Thirteenth Amendment (i.e. humanity and citizenship) to African Americans.
“Th[e] day of reckoning came. After nearly sixty years of racial purgatory, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown that Jim Crow schools violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and, in the D.C. case [Bolling v. Sharpe, one of the five cases that made up the Brown case], the due process requirement of the Fifth Amendment. Even the [NAACP’s] taciturn Roy Wilkins could barely contain himself, ‘May 17, 1954, was one of life’s sweetest days,’ he later recalled. Nor was the significance of this judgment confined to the education of black children. ‘If segregation is unconstitutional in educational institutions,’ observed Charles Johnson, president of Fisk University, ‘it is no less so unconstitutional in other aspects of our national life.’ At that moment, it appeared that citizenship—true citizenship—might finally be at hand for African Americans.” (Anderson)
This case was also revelatory in its overturning of prior landmark case Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), in which the
“U.S. Supreme Court, on May 18, 1896, by a seven-to-one majority (one justice did not participate), advanced the controversial ‘separate but equal’ doctrine for assessing the constitutionality of racial segregation laws…it was the first major inquiry into the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment’s (1868) equal-protection clause, which prohibits the states from ‘denying equal protection of the laws’ to any person within their jurisdictions… it gave constitutional sanction to laws designed to achieve racial segregation by means of separate and supposedly equal public facilities and services for African Americans and whites.”
I’ve been told, in the lore of my K-12 L.A.U.S.D. Magnet education, the program stemmed out of the civil rights movement. However each time I graduated to the next level of schooling, I noticed larger and larger divides between my classes and the general campus population, a certain monochromatic effect was expanding. The more I look into the lottery’s and applications involved in trying to get into a magnet program I’m shocked I ever did. I knew that my parents didn’t know much about what has become the cutthroat shuffle of finding schools for their kid at the time I was in pre-school, but they had close friends with three children who insisted ‘get her into a Magnet—or else risk little education or debt for private school’ (my parents did not want to send me to private school). When I called to ask them how I did manage to get into the magnet program my father said, Well you integrated Community Magnet (the elementary school I attended), they wanted to bring in more white kids I guess. He paused Honestly it was a great little school with great programs, the bus stop was close by and your mom and I didn’t want you to have schooling that was like ours, it wasn’t right. He was referring to schooling in a just about entirely white classroom.
I still remember vaguely that at least 5 of the 10 white kids in my class disappeared between kindergarten and second grade. Their parents had alleged they preferred another new Magnet not far off because they were starting to integrate computers into classes (we had some computers that worked fine). That elementary school in downtown Los Angeles, Community Magnet, was the one K-5th grade magnet I would attend, taking the bus one hour each way from Hollywood since my first day of kindergarten to attend it. So when it came time to find a middle school, for 6th-8th grade, I wound up still attending a good magnet, but this one was an hour long bus ride in an entirely different direction, out North and West into Granada Hills (aka The Valley).
When I arrived the campus was shared between a “residential school” and the “magnet program”. The residential schools were essentially pegged as ‘non-special’/ ‘regular’ K-12 public school programs that served the residents within somewhere between 5-10 miles of the school (aka their ‘districts’). These “residential” school programs were infamously lackluster and overcrowded. Even in my magnet classes we were usually a full 30 students to a class (I hear sometimes now 35), but apparently we were being taught entirely different material in very different ways (I picked my middle school because the 6th grade class got to learn about marine biology culminating in a weekend trip to Catalina Island—with snorkeling!—and to learn about history doing hands-on mock-ups of archeological dig sites, I mean, who wouldn’t want to go there?!).
But when I unloaded from the bus and found my way to Homeroom the first day of Middle School I noticed a few things: first, this school was much bigger; second there were way fewer black kids but most everyone else seemed to be Latino; and third, when I arrived at my classroom and walked in, nearly the entire room was white.
Now listen, I’m white. I’d lived, up until then in a couple generally, majority white, upper middle class neighborhoods and in a society that has my image painted all over it in a [generally] positive or benign light. One might think my feeling out of place would more easily be back at the elementary school where I looked and sometimes spoke differently than most of my classmates, and my entire school didn’t reflect the white, cis-gendered, straight presenting little ‘me’ I get to see in every billboard, commercial, TV show, movie and magazine around. But I didn’t. Maybe it was some rogue strain of existential crisis of white privilege imploding in my young mind, being confronted with the reflection of a ‘me’ in an intimate setting of peers that suddenly matched the ‘me’ subliminally [and overtly] plastered in the public world of society, but whose images I didn’t feel ever were me. Maybe it was just a huge confrontation with the privilege afforded white people to get to be an individual and have the space to move fluidly through the public world of society navigating and questioning, at my leisure, who I am and who I want to be. Maybe because deep down, with things not being totally copacetic at home, where paradoxical love and encouragement were peddling in tandem with some abuse starting to trickle into my young life, my own feelings of being ‘weird’ or slightly different made me feel even more ok with a stark visible ‘difference’ in my surroundings. Maybe I was simply young enough that peers were peers and it didn’t matter I was white and my friends were mostly black—the connotation of those constructions not weighing as heavily as they would later. But maybe it I was also picking up on a very accurate certainty that this jarring difference in the appearance of my new classroom, the group I was placed in, in the whole school, didn’t feel right—it left me wondering, not far off from my mother’s questioning decades prior, Where did all the black and brown kids go?
I didn’t have the words for it then, but the experience of going to a school that was what I now consider actually diverse, taught me something else— and if you’re just waiting for me to say it made me the white, color-blind Buddha savior don’t worry I won’t, there is no such thing, that is a colonialist PR stunt—it taught me that people of color are normal. (If you are a person of color reading this and you are thinking well Duh we are normal, my apologies, I’m talking to the other folks, probably the white ones, I thank you in advance for your patience thus far). Being surrounded by people who are Black and Latino and Korean and Pilipino and Chicano and Japanese and Jewish and Indian and bi or multi- racial is Normal. So when I sat down the first day of 6th grade I sat at the table of kids who weren’t just white, next to one of the two black kids in the class. The table felt at least like it was what I’d come to know as ‘normal’ up until then, though in the years to come, I’d grow to find out that, that table was what most places, institutions from high school to undergrad to graduate school to the work force, would constitute the make up of what they would call ‘proudly diverse’. Further, my various placement in classes and jobs would continue and strengthen my unspoken education in whiteness: I had the privilege to decide whether or not I wanted to acknowledge my settings, to care who was or was not present, or to simply move along with my life, having the larger message engrained that You, White You, are allowed to ponder your existence as an individual, regardless of others, to reach for whatever you want and decide if you will have or demand it, and to give a shit or not give a shit about everyone else.
E. confront –(AZ)
- This story is about:
- A really self-conscious, solipsistic white girl.
- A person who goes to a magnet program and is obsessed with race.
- A white person who is not racist because she talks about race.
- A white person who is racist because she talks about race.
- Loopholes in the system.
- Breaking the fourth wall.
- Questioning reality.
- All of the above
- None of the above
- Based on the use of the word ‘white’ in this story, white means:
A. Good K. In control
B. Bad L. Magnet school
C. Lucky M. Self centered
D. Not any other color N. Color blind
E. Angry O. Education
F. Powerful P. Afraid
G. Insecure Q. Why do we have to talk about this?
H. Empty R. None of the above
I. Confused S. All of the above
J. Perfect T. Other: _______
- The first paragraph of this story tells the reader:
A. Minnesota is cold.
B. There is no winter in Los Angeles, but there are mosquitos.
C. Jews are white now.
D. We need to talk about ‘whiteness.’
E. Parents have an effect on their children’s schooling.
F. Parents can have an effect on schools.
G. Parents can help desegregate schools.
- The excerpt from Dr. Anderson’s book White Rage makes clear:
A. Brown vs. The Board of Education was made up of several cases, which implies
there were a lot of issues with schools in a lot of places.
B. White people are angry.
C. The Supreme Court passed Brown May 17, 1954.
D. Wait wasn’t this story saying a school in Los Angeles wasn’t integrated until
1970? That’s 16 years after Brown passed …
E. Wait a minute, didn’t that passage earlier say the first ever magnet school wasn’t
created until 1968? That’s 14 years after Brown passed… Also what about non-
F. Why don’t all schools have magnet-like integration policies and support systems?
- This story is written in:
A. First person narrative
B. Second person narrative
D. Third person narrative
E. A comfortable setting
F. Are you uncomfortable?
E. silence –(AZ)
Zambra, Alejandro. Multiple Choice. Translated by Megan McDowell. Penguin Random House LLC, 2016.
Hinds, Harold. Reimagining Integration Diverse and Equitable Schools (RIDES), Harvard Graduate School of Education, February 2017, “Drawn to Success: How Do Integrated Magnet Schools Work?” pgs1-3. http://rides.gse.harvard.edu/files/gse-rides/files/rides_-_drawn_to_success_how_do_integrated_magnet_schools_work.pdf. Accessed September 27, 2018.
“Magnet Programs- Introduction.”, Los Angeles Unified School District, eChoices, http://echoices.lausd.net/Magnet/Information. Accessed September 27, 2018
“Magnet Programs- Selection Process.”, Los Angeles Unified School District, eChoices, http://echoices.lausd.net/Magnet/Information. Accessed September 27, 2018.
“Magnet Programs- Magnet Priority Point System.”, Los Angeles Unified School District, eChoices, http://echoices.lausd.net/Magnet/Information. Accessed September 27, 2018.
Anderson, Carol. “Burning ‘Brown’ to the Ground” Teaching Tolerance. Issue 54, Fall 2016, [Chapter 3], https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2016/burning-brown-to-the-ground. Excerpt from White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016. Accessed June 8, 2018.
“Plessy v. Ferguson: Law Case .” Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/event/Plessy-v-Ferguson-1896 . Accessed October 1, 2018.
What does genre mean to you and how does it build/unbuild your work?
There was a time I may have been staunch about the differences in genre, what they “mean”, ways to use them, some idea there are firm lines between them… Maybe in some ways there are, but I’ve found with time, as ever, there is a truth to ‘a writer is a writer is a writer’- genre is more a medium of creation than any constriction or confinement of it. Some visual artists shift from oil paints to assemblage. Lauded Violin prodigy Esperanza Spaulding stumbled on a jazz base one day, and found that to be her calling. I’ve historically written poetry, and even there don’t subscribe to any “better” way to do it (or know how to characterize it by ‘type’). I was taken by surprise when, attending graduate school for my MFA in Poetry I stumbled on creative nonfiction and during my study of it and allowing myself the open space to play with it, fell totally in love. (Which I find funny as Poetry tends to be on a more economical scale of words, space and pressure, whereas in this form of prose I’m long-winded as ever, ha). I think it depends on the artist, the piece being created, the story or vignette waiting to be told— and the form or medium emerges. We aren’t often taught or encouraged to cross-pollinate genre, to play with new forms, so when I am reminded to step outside the ‘box’ (& create new boxes), it’s only more refreshing because really it affords more space. And wide open space is one of the biggest assets to any artist. I think if anything I wish to more regularly have the reminder to ‘build and unbuild my work’, simply to keep questioning what genre is and, perhaps rightly, keep creating in new ways.
Alanna Bailey is a poet and nonfiction writer. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies + Media and Creative Writing from Eugene Lang College, The New School University and her MFA in Poetry from Boston University. She currently grapples with her guilty affinity for adjectives and run on sentences. It is her firm belief that every person’s story is their strength and is worth being told, and heard.