We all complain about the public school enrollment process. But if you could do away with it, would you want to? Let's say the alternative would be that you go to your neighborhood school, the one that's closest to your house—the one you can walk to.
You wouldn't have the option to go to any other school in the city (unless it was private). That means no choice—no choosing between Spanish or Chinese, arts or technology, small or big. You couldn't try to get into the top-performing school or the one that's close to your work.
I've posted a poll in the upper-right corner of the page that allows you to make this decision.
But before you place your vote, here's a little refresher on the current system and some background info to help you choose wisely:
The current system was created to diversify San Francisco schools. If a school has more families wanting to get in than it can accommodate, the district's "diversity index" kicks in. The index uses five factors—but not race—to determine how to create classroom diversity. The factors include the following: the family's socioeconomic status, academic achievement of the student, whether the student's mother graduated from high school, and whether the student speaks English at home. Students living near the school get a preference as long as their socioeconomic factors would diversify the school. The idea is that the schools are mixed with all different sorts of people from various backgrounds. And it can allow a child from a difficult inner-city neighborhood to go to a school surrounded by a supportive community.
This school-assignment system was established in 2001. Before then, race was a determining factor and parents were less likely to get one of their seven schools. Some claim the change in the system has led to resegregation. And it is believed that schools would become even more segregated if everyone went to the school in their community. Last spring, the Chronicle ran a story, With more choice has come resegregation, which provides an overview on this complicated issue.
Ready to place your vote? Should San Francisco change the lottery system so you can go to your neighborhood school? Or do you think it's important for children of various backgrounds to learn together?