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La excluding magnet schools from national awards

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Louisiana excluded magnet schools from this year's nominations for the federal Education Department's Blue Ribbon School of Excellence honors.

Scott Thomas, head of Magnet Schools of America, tells The Advocate he does not know of any other state that has done this. He says he thinks it's a move to promote charter schools.

State education department spokesman Barry Landry says Louisiana chose to focus this year on non-selective schools.

Magnet schools use specialized programs to attract a diverse set of students. Many, but not all, have selective admission criteria.

The government has put 145 Louisiana schools on the Blue Ribbon list since 1982. At least 29 have been magnet schools.

The award honors the nation's top schools and schools which have made significant improvements in student achievement.

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