Sunday, July 27, 2014

In Defense of CTIP1

In her blog, Rachel Norton discusses potential changes to tiebreaker rankings of attendance areas and CTIP1.

I don't have strong feelings about CTIP1, but I do think there are arguments for prioritizing CTIP1 that haven't been discussed. Here's a devil's argument for CTIP1.

Taking the long-view: CTIP1 vs Attendance Areas (AA) 

As we've seen, SF's residential neighborhoods tend to be racially and socioeconomically segregated, and this is one of the barriers to school integration.

Prioritizing CTIP1 over AA creates greater incentive for families to live in neighborhoods with less desired schools, typically poorer neighborhoods. This tends to increase real estate and rental costs in those neighborhoods. Long-term, this promotes more socioeconomically mixed neighborhoods, making school integration less difficult over the long term.

Placing AA before CTIP1 increases incentive for families to live in attendance areas of desired schools, typically more affluent neighborhoods. This tends to increase real-estate and rental costs in these neighborhoods.  Over a time frame of decades, this promotes socioeconomic and racial segregation of residential neighborhoods, making school integration more difficult. Oakland is an example of this.

Since the school board has to take the long view, it makes sense that they've chosen to give CTIP1 precedence over AA.

There are arguments against CTIP1 as an incentive for residential integration. It can work to gentrify neighborhoods, forcing out low-income and middle-income families. One can argue that using CTIP1 to promote residential integration is social engineering outside the purview of the school board.

Can we tease out the short-term effects of CTIP1 from cuts to school buses?

As KH has commented on Rachel Norton's blog, other factors such as the availability of school buses and late start times are also factors in  what schools low-income families choose

Because CTIP1 was implemented at the same time that SFUSD busing was cut dramatically, it's hard to assess the effect of CTIP1 at a district level. A more accurate picture would be to look at the combined effects of CTIP1 and busing cuts on enrollment. It's reasonable to think that the availability of school buses affects school choices for low-income CTIP1 residents more than for high-income CTIP1 residents.

The Case of Clarendon

Clarendon AA residents have been screwed in the SFUSD lottery for years. CTIP1 is only one of several reason for this. First, Clarendon used to be a citywide school. Even after it became an AA school, younger siblings of non-AA residents from its citywide days still trumped AA residents.

JBBP is a citywide language program, and Clarendon 2nd Community (AA) siblings are not given a tiebreaker preference for it. However, the way I read the tiebreaker rules, JBBP siblings have sibling preference for both programs at Clarendon.

Because Clarendon is so popular, AA applicants who get Clarendon can swap to a higher ranked school. The ratio of AA applicants who enroll at a higher-ranked school to those who enroll at Clarendon is about 4:1 (SFUSD 3rd Annual Report on School Assignment, p 39).  The younger siblings of the non-AA residents who swap into Clarendon also get precedence, trumping future AA applicants. This means that Clarendon will always have a significant group of non-AA students.

One could limit CTIP1 offers to a certain percentage at Clarendon. A short-term effect is that younger siblings in CTIP1 would take up all the allocated slots for the next few years, so essentially no one from CTIP1 would get into Clarendon unless they swapped in.

Giving more preference to AA residents over CTIP1 would keep Clarendon residents from getting screwed in the lottery. But because a minority of Clarendon AA applicants request Clarendon as a first choice, it might not significantly increase the percentage of AA students at Clarendon. Because of the swap, it might mostly increase the number of non-CTIP1 students who swap in from other areas.

A proposal

What if CTIP1 residents who enroll at a highly requested school as kindergarteners had to maintain a verified CTIP1 status for a set number of years, say 5 years (K-4), to maintain their enrollment at the school? Those who moved out of CTIP1 would have to re-apply for the next year without CTIP1 status. This would also discourage address fraud.

CTIP1 status would only needed to be verified for the most popular schools--as we know, most students with CTIP1 status choose to attend less popular schools within/near CTIP1 where capacity exceed demand. You could have the obvious exceptions for Ellis Act evictions, changing of CTIP1 boundaries, etc.

This would keep families from moving to a CTIP1 neighborhood for a year, then leaving, without any commitment to that neighborhood.  If a family is willing to move to a CTIP1 neighborhood and stay part of it for 5 years, I don't see that as gaming the system.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Round 4 Best Bets for 2014-15

This is an updated version of 2013-14 Round 4 Best Bets posted last year. The deadline to change your waitpool school is 7/25/2014.

Here are the latest kindergarten waitpools, sorted by the ratio of waitpool applicants to kindergarten seats. The number of kindergarten seats per school/program are my best guess, based on SFUSD's reported number of seats per school for Round 1 and enrollment by grade from DataQuest. For the language programs, I assumed a ratio of 9 English to 13 target language spots.

Some interesting changes compared to last year. It looks like SFUSD increased the reported capacity of schools with 3 or more classes per grade for Round 1. For example, Alamo's capacity is 91, Feinstein's is 92, and Jefferson's is 90, compared to 86, 87 and 85 respectively for 2013-14. Rooftop, McKinley and West Portal all have 69 students. If these schools were filled to the reported capacity, class size would be 23 students, not 22.

What's going on? I speculate that SFUSD is overenrolling students in earlier rounds, counting on a few students not to show up on the first day of school. Will this mean less movement during the 10-day count?

2014-15 WAIT POOLS as of 7/18/2014

General Education

No waitpool/possible openings: Carmichael, Carver, Chavez, Cleveland, Drew, El Dorado, Garfield, Guadalupe, Harte, Lau, Malcolm X, McCoppin, Muir, Ortega, Parker, Parks, Redding, Revere, Sanchez, Serra, Sheridan, Spring Valley, Starr King, Tenderloin, Vis Valley.

School Prg Wait
as a %
  of K Spots
ARGONNE GE 1 92 1%
FLYNN GE 1 44 2%
REDDING GE 1 44 2%
ALAMO GE 3 91 3%
BRYANT GE 1 22 5%
WEBSTER GE 1 22 5%
ULLOA GE 4 66 6%
MILK GE 4 44 9%
SUTRO GE 2 22 9%
KEY GE 9 88 10%
YICK WO GE 5 44 11%
CHIN GE 3 22 14%
GLEN PARK GE 6 44 14%
MIRALOMA GE 9 60 15%
ROOFTOP GE 11 69 16%
LAWTON GE 11 67 16%
SUNSET GE 12 67 18%
ALVARADO GE 8 44 18%
MONROE GE 4 22 18%
MOSCONE GE 4 22 18%
PEABODY GE 8 44 18%
MCKINLEY GE 13 69 19%
SLOAT GE 14 66 21%
SUNNYSIDE GE 14 66 21%
SHERMAN GE 17 67 25%
GRATTAN GE 18 67 27%
TAYLOR GE 15 44 34%
CLARENDON GE 27 44 61%

FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School)

School Prg Wait
as a %
  of K Spots
FB= Tagalog, JB=Japanese

Cantonese Immersion

English spots
School Prg Wait
as a %
  of K Spots
GARFIELD CE None 9 of 22 -
YU CE - monolingual English* 13 44 of 66? 30%
WEST PORTAL CE 4 13 of 33 31%
CHINESE IMMERSION CE 10 27 of 66 37%
YU CT-not monolingual English 15 22 of 66? 68%
* For Alice Fong Yu, CE refers to students who only listed English as a home language on their application. Students who listed any language other than English on the application are considered "CT."

Cantonese spots
School Prg Wait
as a %
  of K Spots
GARFIELD CN 13 of 22 -
WEST PORTAL CN 7 20 of 33? 35%
CN=passed the Cantonese proficiency test.

Mandarin Immersion

English spots
School Prg Wait
as a %
  of K Spots
STARR KING ME 4 18 of 22 22%
ORTEGA ME 9 9 of 22 100%

Mandarin spots
School Prg Wait
as a %
  of K Spots
STARR KING MN None 26 of 44 -
ORTEGA MN 5 13 of 22 38%

Korean Immersion

School Prg Wait
as a %
  of K Spots
LILIENTHAL English (KE) 4 9 of 22 44%
LILIENTHAL Korean (KN) None 13 of 22 -

Spanish Immersion

English spots
School Prg Wait
as a %
  of K Spots
HARTE SE None9 of 22 -
MARSHALL SE 1 18 of 44 6%
REVERE SE 1 18 of 44 6%
FLYNN SE 3 18 of 44 17%
MONROE SE 4 18 of 44 22%
FAIRMOUNT SE 7 27 of 66 26%
BUENA VISTA/MANN SE 10 27 of 66 37%
ALVARADO SE 8 18 of 44 44%
WEBSTER SE 12 18 of 44  67%

Harte, Revere and Webster have no wait pool for Spanish proficient spots, so more English spots may open up. For those considering Harte, a glowing parent review is at:

Spanish proficient spots
School Prg Wait
as a %
  of K Spots
WEBSTER SN - 26 of 44 -
REVERE SN - 26 of 44 -
HARTE SN - 13 of 22 -
FAIRMOUNT SN 3 39 of 66 8%
FLYNN SN 2 26 of 44 8%
MONROE SN 2 26 of 44 8%
BUENA VISTA SN 5 39 of 66 13%
ALVARADO SN 4 26 of 44 15%
MARSHALL SN 8 26 of 44 31%

Never Say Die Strategies

For Round 5, the percentage of students who register but don't show up on the first 3 days of school varies by race/ethnicity. Of the kindergarteners who registered for a spot and did not show up on the first day of school, 40% were white.  Kindergarteners of "Other" race/ethnicity were the most likely not to show up to their kindergarten assignment (35%), but there are not many of them. White kindergarteners are the next most likely (25%), followed by non-Chinese Asians (17%), then Latinos and African Americans  (13%). Chinese applicants are the least likely (11%).
This suggests that if you have the fortitude to hold out until the last day to get in off the wait pool, 14 days after school starts, your chances would be higher at, say, Lilienthal than at Alice Fong Yu. McKinley and Lakeshore were mentioned in the 2011 report as two schools that had a high number of students not showing up on the first day of school.
Source: SFUSD First Annual Report on Student Assignment for the 2011-12 School Year, 3/5/2012

Monday, July 21, 2014

SFUSD Updated Wait Pools Available

A reader noted in the comments that SFUSD has released the most recent waitpool numbers for 2014-2015. If you're looking for that information, you can find it here:

We couldn't help but notice that Argonne is down to only one student in the Kindergarten waitpool. I am guessing that is because (as a reader noted in the comments) Argonne started the school year earlier than the other schools. I don't know exactly how it works, but if I recall, Argonne has 3 or 4 K classes and I wonder if kids ever start kindergarten at Argonne in the summer but shift in the fall to another school if a spot opens up--might be something to investigate if you're still without a spot for a kindergartner on August 18 or a couple of days after. I've heard great things about Argonne.

Another striking number that jumped out at us: the huge waitpools for middle school grades. Wow!

Anyone else notice anything interesting in the numbers?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Possible changes in tiebreakers

Finally, there is a discussion about possible changes with the lottery system. In case you missed the article,  here it is. I am curious what you think about the proposed changes?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Round 3 Results

Did you go for Round 3? If you were 0/x, what was your strategy, and what's your backup plan?

Good luck to everyone!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Special Education Changes Afoot

Article on SFGate today about changes in special education at SFUSD schools. It sounds like these changes have an impact on which schools are open to which kids in the lottery. If you have thoughts, please weigh in.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Round 2 results -- and help for a family new to SF?

We understand Round 2 results should be mailed today. Please let us know how you fared or if you need help from other parents to figure out your next steps.

Meanwhile, we heard from a family that is moving to San Francisco soon and has some questions about the Spanish fluency test. They have a rising third-grader who has been in a Spanish immersion program since kindergarten and would love to transfer him to a Spanish immersion program in SF (they speak English at home). Does anyone have experience with the assessment around that grade level? What type of things do they ask? They don't know exactly where they will be living, but they are looking at the following schools: Alvarado, Fairmount, Daniel Webster (but I'm sure would love to hear about any 3rd grade openings you might know about at other schools like Marshall or Buena Vista Horace Mann). It sounds like Daniel Webster is the only one with openings now. Thanks in advance, parents!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Breaking News! New Transitional Kindergarten Program Announced For Flynn

We heard from Parents for Public Schools and some other nice folks about an exciting new development: a new TK program being started at Leonard Flynn Elementary School.  The announcement from SFUSD is below. We are assuming this is a General Education, not Spanish immersion, Transitional Kindergarten, but if anyone out there has any more info, please let us know.

Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School will be adding a Transitional Kindergarten class to begin in August for the 2014-15 school year.  Flynn is located at 3125 Cesar Chavez St.
If your child is eligible for the TK program, you may submit a Round 2 application for the May Placement Period.  The April 11 deadline has been extended for one week to April 18 for TK applicants only.
If you have already received a TK assignment or have already submitted a Round 2 amended form, you may still add Flynn onto your list of choices by submitting a revised Amended Choice Form which will replace your previous form by April 18. You may come and talk to a placement counselor at the Educational Placement Center at 555 Franklin Street for more information.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 11th is Deadline for SFUSD Round 2

Hello all! Just a reminder that the deadline for SFUSD's Round 2 is coming up this Friday.

Here's the info from the ever reliable Parents for Public Schools:

April 11, 2014: Deadline to register at your assigned school. Application deadline for participation in Round 2 (May Placement period). To participate in seeking a higher choice school, submit an amended form for the Round 2. Application forms can be obtained at the Educational Placement Center (EPC), 555 Franklin Street, or on the SFUSD website,

As always, good luck and feel free to weigh in below with questions and comments.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Look into San Francisco’s Education Market

Local mother and reporter Beth Weise has an interesting piece on her blog about the number of students who leave SFUSD. Please take a look and share your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Public High Schools

Do you have a child heading to high school? What school placement did you receive? Were you happy with the placement?  It seems as though there is often a lot of talk about Lowell but not every child is a Lowell child...what else is out there?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rich school, Rich School: Financial Aid and Affording Private School

So you can stretch enough for next year's kindergarten tuition. What about 8th grade, if it's 40% more than the current tuition?

Historically, tuitions have increased 4% a year, as shown in the chart below. It's important to account for this when deciding if private school is financially survivable. A few formulas:
  • Tuition for kindergarten this fall = 1.04 x current K tuition.
  • 8th grade tuition for kindergartner staring this fall =  1.42 x current 8th grade tuition
  • Total cost of K-8 = 11 x current K tuition,
    assuming the same tuition for upper grades as lower grades.
Tuition Increases at SF Independent Schools, 2009-13

When doing financial planning, it's good to remember that your assets are included in financial aid calculations. This makes it hard to save for other priorities like a home, high school or college. If you own a home, part of the home value is protected. But if you've been saving up for a down payment on a home, be prepared to spend it on tuition. Started a 529 plan for college tuition? Be ready to use it on K-8.

How much do schools budget toward financial aid?

Most schools allocate a set percentage of their tuition revenue to financial aid. For example, Live Oak has allocated 17% of their tuition revenue for 72-73 students a year since 2009.  Looking at the percentage of tuition revenue or operating budget allocated to financial aid is one way to examine a school's commitment to economic diversity.

The percentage of students on financial aid can also be helpful, but at all the schools below, 70-80% of families earn enough to pay full freight, sometimes for 2 or more children.  Moreover, even as tuitions have risen, the percentage of students on financial aid has dropped at many schools, most notably Children's Day, San Francisco School, and San Francisco Day.

Here's the numbers for the data geeks out there.

SCHOOL Year Percentage of students on financial

tuition for
on fin aid 
Total spent on
financial aid
Financial aid as a % of tuition revenue
CATHEDRAL 2014‑15 "about 1/3" $12,100 $27,625 1.4m 19%
2013‑14 "about 1/3" $12,000 $26,700 1.327m 18%
2012‑13 "about 1/3" $12,900 $25,700 1.147m 17%
2009‑10 23% $10,900 1.017m 17%
CHILDREN'S DAY 2013‑14 31% website $8704 $25,400 "over 2m" 22%
2011‑12 36% website $8425 $23,250 1.91m 24%
2009‑10 40% website $8709 $21,190 1.67m 25%
SYNERGY 2013‑14 30%
$16,500 K‑5
$17,200 6-8

2011‑12 32% $6,400 $14,800 0.51m 18%

$14,100 0.57m 21%
SF SCHOOL 2013‑14 29% $9,900 $24,756 K‑5
$26,457 6‑8 
2011‑12 31% $9,500 $21,510 K‑5
$23,500 6-8
1.08m 18%
2009‑10 35% $9,800 $19,950 K‑5
$21,520 6‑8
0.9m 18%
LIVE OAK 2013‑14 27%

2011‑12 27% $8,800 $23,550 1.07m 17%
2009‑10 website 25%
Form 990 29%
$8,300 $21,150
0.95m 17%
SF FRIENDS 2013‑14 26% $7,500$26,000
2011‑12 26% $7,900 $24,045 1.79m 18%
2009‑10 26% $6,600 $22,665 1.51m 18%
PRESIDIO HILL 2013‑14 22%
$23,900 K‑3
$24,950 4‑8

2011‑12 website 21%
Form 990 23%
$7,500 $22,000 K‑3
$23,295 4‑8 
0.67m 15%
2009‑10 22% $5,300 $19,985 K
$21,265 48
0.69m 17%
SF DAY 2013‑14 21% website $7,810 $27,470 1.65m 15%
2011‑12 22% $7,600 $25,770 1.70m 17%
2009‑10 25% website $7,340 $23,540 1.70m 18%
2013‑14 20%
$26,700 K‑4
$27,750 5‑8

2011‑12 website 22%
Form 990 20%
$12,500 $25,000 K4
$26,000 58
1.05m 10%
2009-10 22% $11,200 $23,400 K4
$24,200 58
1.09m  11%
2013‑14 19%
$28,500 website 1.58m*
2011‑12  website 21%
Form 990 22%
$11,600 $25,675
website 1.32m*
actual 1.22m

2009‑10 website 22%
Form 990 19%
$10,400 $23,475 website 1.2m*
actual 1.08m 
TOWN 2013‑14 19% $
$26,700 K‑5
$27,720 6-8

2012‑13 20% $10,300 $25,670 K‑5
$26,650 6-8
1.24m 12%
2009‑10 17%
1.10m 11%
$21,000 NL NL

2011‑12 11%
$19,000 K
$20,000 1‑2
$119k 13%
$20,630 K
$22,070 1-5
2012‑13 10% approx $15,600 $19,930 K
$21,320 1-5

* Hamlin typically spends less on financial aid than the budgeted amount listed on its website.
NL=not listed.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Private School Letters and Emails

We hear that today's the day folks will hear about independent school decisions.  Feel free to comment about your own experiences or post any questions you have. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SFUSD Enrollment Stats

SFUSD has posted the enrollment info for Round 1.

I hate the way the district breaks down the statistics.  Information such as "Overall (K-12), 82% of applicants (11,539) received one of their choices, compared to 80% last year (11,525)" is fairly useless without knowing the mean number of schools requested.  If everyone listed 5 schools,  it may be interesting, but if the mean is 40 schools less so. 

Likewise, "Overall (K-12), 59% of applicants (8,305) received their first choice, compared to 60% last year (8,506)" is not very interesting without breaking out sibling and CTIP.  CTIP info is completely missing from all reporting presented.

Friday, March 14, 2014

SFUSD Lottery Results? Private School Admissions Letters?

It's March 14th. SFUSD letters should be mailed today. You may also be hearing from independent or parochial schools. Please share your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams, your fears in the comments, but especially any useful advice you might have for other families.

Parents for Public Schools will be hosting Round 2 enrollment workshops for families who aren't happy with their Round 1 assignments (or perhaps families who just moved to town or were not in Round 1 for some other reason). Here's what we hear from PPS:

March 24 9:30am-11am: PPS-SF Enrollment Workshop Navigating Round 2 (Spanish, Chinese and English)
This informational enrollment workshop on SFUSD Student Assignment System is an opportunity for you to learn about options and strategies for navigating Round 2 and beyond.
Attendees will:
  • hear about the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Student Assignment System Round 2 options
  • receive advice, tips, and strategies from experienced parents
  • learn about key dates and your next steps
Location: Hoover Middle School | 2290 14th Ave @ Santiago St
No Registration required.

March 25 6-8pm: PPS-SF Enrollment Workshop; Navigating Round 2.
This informational enrollment workshop on SFUSD Student Assignment System is an opportunity for you to learn about options and strategies for navigating Round 2 and beyond.
Attendees will:
  • hear about the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Student Assignment System Round 2 options
  • receive advice, tips, and strategies from experienced parents
  • learn about key dates and your next steps
Location: Presidio Branch Library | 3150 Sacramento Street cross street Lyons Street

Both events are for all grades, TK through 12.