Michael E. Debakey High School for Health Professions: Houston Magnet Schools and the Mandate of Integration
This paper was written in Race and Education in the Urban South (HIST 421), taught by Dr. Byrd.
In the 1970s, the Houston Independent School District embarked on an ambitious program of voluntary desegregation driven by magnet schools. The DeBakey High School for Health Professions, which offered high quality career education to students across the district, quickly became the program’s flagship institution. Forty years later, DeBakey serves a disproportionately white and Asian student body and integration is no longer a goal of the school. The language of choice, once used by segregationists, has been refashioned to suit the purposes of the magnet school. Waning commitment to DeBakey’s integrative potential is emblematic of Houston’s failed attempt at racial equality.