Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Flynn/Alvarado update

For an update on the Flynn/Alvarado snafu, go to :


  1. It was such a strange way for the schools to handle the "disenrollment", and such ugly things have been said: "anglos with their underpaid maids who all of a sudden want their kids to be taught spanish and want immersion so they can boss the help around" kind of attitude, who would want their kid schooling in that poisonous environment?
    And believe me, I think the Spanish speaking parents who have been jerked around for years have every right to be angry and protest to make this right, but can't it all be made right without all of us being pitted against each other, and in such unfair ways?
    SFUSD has a culture of pitting parents against parents in these situations, to deflect the attention away from how much SFUSD screws up, come on people, come together and focus on the real problem: SFUSD bungling. Don't let them divide us.

  2. WTF? Where did someone say that?? I WISH I had a maid, s**t.

  3. I'm sorry, but this is f***ing ridiculous and wrong.

    Letting these families get in front of my family, who played by the rules and found ourselves 0/15 and on a wait list?? Now we're 0/16!! Apparently.

    I'm sorry to the families effected because it's not their fault, but it isn't my family's fault either! If you can't give them another immersion program, why the hell can they take my place at a non immersion program. I didn't want immersion for my child. So now another family gets what they don't want, and I have a lesser chance of getting what I want.

    And the idea that a non english speaking family has priority over an english speaking family in any way defeats the whole purpose of offering equal education to everybody in this country. We are ALL equal.

    Stop calling it a lottery! It isn't! It's social engineering by a lot of out of control crazies!!

    This is the kind of move that makes good solid liberal democratic voters like myself into reactionary reaganbushmccain jerks. I won't let that happen, but I can't help but turn red over giving the Right another excuse to hold this craziness up as an example. We want to be liberal and stay liberal, and stay a part of public education, and now look at this mess.

    The school board has gone too far, and I'm telling you, you can count this white liberal democrat and her kids OUT of this crazy worthless school system. I'm taking back every single good thing I said to my friends about SF schools. If this can happen, what's next?

    This turns me off so much. Call me a whiner if you will, but without EVERYBODY in the system, the system won't work.

    And for god's sake, stop saying that we want our kids to speak spanish so we can deal with our maids. Newsflash to everybody: without middle class whites, African Americans wouldn't have had their voting rights. Without straight middle class whites, gays and lesbians wouldn't be securing their rights. Without middle class whites, there wouldn't BE Spanish immersion programs. The way this country works is, we all get there together, or nobody gets anywhere.

    Man, I'm pissed.

  4. 1:37 - I completely agree with you. One reason my husband and I chose not to put our kids into what I think in the end are good public schools is that there are so many things done by SFUSD that have nothing to do with the best interests of the kids. I recognize that running an urban public school system is a monumentally difficult task, but I didn't feel comfortable enough that my kids would be well served across her time in school to put them into public school.

  5. Private school? If only. We tried and tried for private and public and got no school that we're comfortable with (and we're not your target middle class family.)

    Not that you can stereotype middle class families. I agree with 1:37. Just wish I had options.

    I am holding my kid out of school for Kinder because I couldn't get her into one. How lame is that???

  6. I feel for 1:37, too, especially if she was depending on sending her kids to public and staying in SF.

    I entered the lottery rounds and went 0/15 too, but I never seriously for a moment counted on getting something tangible. I thought, sure fine okay, if I get one of a handful of 5 or 7 great schools, great, I'd do it.

    But I put all my eggs into the private school search instead, because at least I knew that

    1) I'd have some semblance of control,

    2) I wouldn't have to endure the utterly insane process of the SFUSD lottery, because I took it no more seriously than I would playing lotto scratch cards at Safeway while bored, and

    3) once my little one was in school, I knew I could relax, write a check, and won't have to make it a second full time job staying on top of things--I can truly relax, enjoy the community, school plays, fund raisers, and know the school was reliably doing its job, teaching.

    I have a friend who has made it her life to make Flynn a great school, and she feels so abused cheated and disillusioned now. It's tragic. And I'm not exaggerating, using that word.

    In the end, that damned lottery has nothing to do with anything other than making bureaucrats think they've done something.

  7. Oh, and 2:36 here. I wanted to add that the only reason I can afford private is that I'm refinancing my way through the tuition. I won the other lottery by buying my SF Mission home waaaaay back in 1991.

    So, this city is good for something.

  8. 2:36, you are funny. Lotto scratch cards. Totally!

    I too feel like I can relax for the same reasons, but it's because my kids got into Rooftop, which I consider a lottery win. My third starts there next month. I never spend time worrying about the crazy kinds of issues that the parents of other schools, those newly minted gem schools, do.

    But then, after reading this blog, I see they could take the Rooftops and Clarendons away from us if they wanted to, and after this debacle, I wouldn't put it past them. (Them being the evil do-gooders at the SFUSD.)

  9. I think there are a few things we should do NOW to salvage the 2009-10 enrollment season while we are working on a complete overhaul of the system for future years (which the Board and Garcia have already promised):
    1)Scrap the diversity index for 2009-10 and announce that children will be assigned by straight lottery (with the addition of home language as a factor for those applying to two-way immersion programs);
    2)Pledge to resume language testing for spanish-speakers requesting placement in immersion programs and ensure that EPC counselors are trained to support families' choices, not push them towards or away from immersion;
    3)Invite independent observers from PPS, SF-AME and other organizations (Coleman?) to audit the placement of children in immersion programs and pledge to hand-check each of these placements before assignments are finalized.
    4)Send Garcia on a barnstorming tour to talk to prospective parents about these changes and to offer his personal guarantee that a debacle like this will never happen again.

    I've also already posted elsewhere that at the very least, the district should keep the wait pools open longer this year, to give families pushed aside by the Flynnarado 23 a little better shot at spots that may open up a few months into the year. They *always* do. I can't think of any year my kids have been in SFUSD where we didn't have at least one opening that happened after October.

    I also think we should push for a firm answer on whether any of the "found" spots they announced last night will be made available in the general wait pool run if they are not claimed in the Flynnarado 23 lottery (I think they absolutely should be kept open to give the existing wait pool families a shot at them as well).

  10. I'm sorry to sound PC, but I don't owe the civil rights I have to straight white middle class folk.

  11. @4:05 - hear hear.

  12. Who knows, maybe given this whole mess even more families will leave the district this year than in previous years, resulting in more openings after the 10 day count and beyond. Perhaps a silver lining for some . . . ?

  13. I completely agree with Rachel's various suggestions. And mid-semester openings really do happen, even at the most sought-after schools. Families move, determine their late-B-Day kids weren't really ready for kindergarten, got in somewhere else off the wait-list, etc, etc. This is absolutely the worst time for parents without an assignment as you've already put in so much effort and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is there.

  14. Rachel Norton--you've got my vote :)

  15. Rachel should get our votes

    but she also needs us to donate money to help her run her campaign!

    I already gave the max ...


  16. comments like yours are divisive. damned if we do (care, organize, help), and damned if we don't. i feel demonized for the color of my skin. just because others do, doesn't make it right.

  17. Great comments by Rachel (who of course also has my vote).

    I would also suggest a close look at/hand check of the sibling placements, because those were involved in this year's fiasco and have been a fiasco of their own in at least one past year.

  18. I also really like what Rachel Norton is suggesting.

    I think it's important that, if we are going to advocate for the district to keep the "found" spots open for those of us in the waitpool, we also insist that these spots are kept open, even when people inevitably drop out in the 10 day count. Otherwise, spots could open up at schools where there is a waitpool and they would simply not fill them to get closer to 20 children in a class.

  19. "Newsflash to everybody: without middle class whites, African Americans wouldn't have had their voting rights..."

    I was with you until I got to the repellent joke portion of your post. Thanks for showing your true colors.

  20. Of course, without middle class whites, african americans might not have been subjected to discrimination for centuries, in the first place.

  21. 1:37 - I love you.

  22. Your conversation really is just awful. People are freaking out about their children and their futures. We all care about this same thing. Why don't we just end it there.

    Enough already.

  23. 4:05 PM - Whether you like it or not, it is true.

  24. The reverse discrimination has GOT TO STOP. NOW.

  25. Of course, without European civilization, and English ideas of liberty, you wouldn't have the concept of civil rights. But that gets us a bit upstream of SFUSD's admission process.

  26. 1:37 - you wrote: "And the idea that a non english speaking family has priority over an english speaking family in any way defeats the whole purpose of offering equal education to everybody in this country. We are ALL equal."

    WOW. Be careful - the diversity police will hunt you down and re-educate you.

  27. Wow -- you people are truly awful spoiled elitist racist clueless revisionist brats. I'm now thinking it's a great experience for you to be on the other side of the fence for once.

  28. 8:03 -- too true.

  29. Um, I'm about as outraged about this whole mess as someone can be who is not personally affected by it. But I'm really missing why this is has turned into an ugly debate about racial issues? Wouldn't we all be as outraged if 23 Spanish speakers were called a month before school and told their enrollment was being revoked? I sure would be. The issue isn't who was called, it's the fact that such a monumental screw up happened in the first place and affected anyone! Um, am I wrong here??

  30. 8:03 PM - Actually, reverse discrimination is illegal. I there was a Supreme Court (of the United States) decision last year which LIMITS DIVERSITY INDEX-ing in public school assignments.

    Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, 551 U.S. ___ (2007), decided together with Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, is a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that prohibited assigning students to public schools solely for the purpose of achieving racial integration and declined to recognize racial balancing as a compelling state interest.[1] I

  31. I hope I don't get a ton of flack for saying this but why do all you guys stay in San Francisco. I left The City because of how abusive the school system is there. I know, I know, that is a cop out to leave...well look what you are all going it really worth it???

  32. Friends, don't feed the trolls.

  33. How many 0/15 families are "native English speakers?"

  34. Rachel- What exactly is meant by a straight lottery? I've heard that suggestion thrown around on this blog and assume it meant that your child's name is thrown into the machine without any choices. Is that right? We will be enrolling our son for the 2009-10 year next year and figured that even with the diversity index, we still have a reasonable chance of getting one of 7 choices since we live on the west side. But if this straight lottery is what I think it is, my son could be assigned anywhere in SF? Please tell me that isn't so. We want a school that's reasonably close by to our home.

  35. Currently the assignment process uses a formula called the Diversity Index. A lottery is run based on the schools applicants list, but if there are more requests than openings for a school, the Diversity Index formula kicks in to assign applicants based on whether they contribute diversity to the school in specific areas.

    So a straight lottery would get rid of the Diversity Index and pick purely based on the luck of the lottery draw. Based on what Rachel is suggesting, you would still get to list seven schools and so forth.

  36. Thanks for the clarification, Caroline. That's exactly what I meant.

  37. Caroline or Rachel, do either of you know how the supposed "neighborhood preference" works? I know I was told there is such a thing but I never understood how it works. There was no mention of it in the Grand Jury report -- although that isn't saying much.

  38. "Newsflash to everybody: without middle class whites, African Americans wouldn't have had their voting rights..."

    I wrote that and I stand by it. Certainly our rights are inalienable and belong to no one but us. But getting those rights enforced and put into practice takes the whole village.

    In this country, securing those rights has meant in large part, middle class whites and everybody else joining together in the struggle to make it happen. Civil rights were fought for by Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks et al, but were finally won only when a critical mass of the middle class (whites) got behind it. To wit, jewish white kids from the northeast getting killed in Mississippi and a white republican president sending in the Army to desegregate the schools in the south. White folks joining together to march in Montgomery and Selma. The recent state supreme court decision guaranteeing gays the right marry was delivered by a white straight judge. Womens rights were passed once the critical mass of middle class men got the point and voted in the legislation. Spanish immersion classes were a result of progressive administrators (many of them white, if not most) working with the grass roots populations to improve and enrich education.

    You don't get anything done until you can convert "the man" to your logic. No, make that FORCE the man to do the right thing.

    This is taking nothing away from the people in each group who fought and died. The point is, unless EVERYBODY joins together, and EVERYBODY feels welcome and part of the process, nothing gets done in this country. Unless the middle and upper class populations take full part in our public schools, they won't be as excellent as they could be.

    Which is why the idiot who withdrew the rights of families who marked "english speaker" to attend a school they won fair and square will be a disaster. Any program that scares away any group of people, is a lousy program.

    So don't go saying I showed my true colors. They are red white and blue and liberal to the core. And gay. And a supporter of public schools. And an angry as hell mom who is struggling with whether I can in good conscience inflict this mess on my kids, or if I should move someplace where the school system isn't nuts.

    Read your history and stop making it sound like I was being racist or bigoted. Quite the opposite.

  39. 10:28, you sound close to that Hillary comment about LBJ. I'd be careful.

  40. I'm actually a pretty big Obama supporter and volunteer.

    HIllary was saying it took a white guy to get it done. I was saying that without us working together, nothing gets done.

    My original point was that it's not fair for my 0/15 position to be trampled on and trumped because the district decides to play twiddleywinks with their psychic race cards. They have no idea what races or needs the 23 families have. With this diversity index, it's all a shot in the dark.

  41. Kate - thank you for this blog. Without this blog, how many people would have known about this debacle? Now, thousands of parents across the city know about the error and are looking to hold the EPC, BOE and SFUSD accountable.

    I think this blog serves as a means for transparancy in the public school system. I am outraged that spanish speakers have been denied SI spots for years. I am outraged that these 23 families got their assignments revoked. I am outraged that the complaints of the teachers fell on deaf ears. I am outraged that members of the BOE, like Mark Sanchez, who are ultimately responsible, have done nothing over the years to correct a known problem with the assignment system. Mark Sanchez, mission resident - You DO NOT have my vote for District 9 supervisor - no thanks!

    Kate - I hope you keep the blog going. Hell, I am actually open to advertising and expansion of the blog if it makes sense to you. I want to know what is going on across the district so I can help to hold the BOE and SFUSD accountable.

  42. Rachel is brilliant.

    The ignorant, xenophobic trolls are not.

  43. Rachel and Caroline, thanks for clarifying what a straight lottery means.

    9:58pm asked a good question about neighborhood preference. Is there such a thing? I assumed not, but it comes up now and again that maybe some schools have it? If so, which ones?

  44. Maybe the 'neighborhood' preference is a just SFUSD myth. Kinda like 50-50 split for SN.

  45. Both Flynn and Alvarado are considered "neighborhood" (as opposed to "alternative") schools. This means that applicants who live in the designated assignment area for the school will fill the available slots first according to the diversity index. I imagine at Alvarado, the majority of neighborhood kids would not be Spanish-speaking, though this might not have been the case for Flynn.

  46. 11:42, that's basically right. You only get a slight edge if you live in the "attendance area" for that school. Applicants who live in the attendance area are placed first as long as they add diversity to their attendance area school.

    There is a map somewhere on the SFUSD web site showing the attendance areas for those schools that have them. If you live in an attendance area for a school that has since closed (say, Cabrillo in the Central Richmond), whatever school you list first on your application is considered your attendance area school (unless you list an alternative school first, because alternative schools don't have attendance areas).

    Confused yet? I heard a rumor they were going to scrap attendance areas altogether next year in advance of an assignment system overhaul, which is probably a good thing because the boundaries currently in use haven't been updated in years.

  47. There are plenty of spots at plenty of schools for the 0/15s.

    If the 0/15s are predominantly white or English-speaking, it isn't because the system is discriminatory, but because these families are all trying to get into a small universe of schools. If you had put Bryant Elementary on your list (and I can't think of a single reason why you would want to do that) you would already have a school assignment. It is *your* choice to hold out for a better school, whether "better" means a convenient start-time and location, stronger academics, more arts, etc. I don't buy that this is a case of discrimination...

  48. No, it isn't discrimination, it's that there were not enough openings at the 20 or so schools everybody put down, and add to that 300 plus extra kindergarteners, with no new classes being formed, and that is what happened.
    It isn't reverse discrimination, it's bad luck in a lottery, and believing the bogus "odds" that SFUSD and PPS tried to get people to believe.

  49. I don't think "attendance area" weighs as heavily for language immersion. Am I wrong?

    BTW: Alvarado's attendance area includes parts of the Mission... they get plenty of applications from Spanish speakers.

  50. Spanish-speakers in Spanish-immersion programs aren't there to add "diversity."

    They are there to help the English-speakers learn Spanish. They serve as peer language models *and* get to continue to develop their native language.

    There aren't enough native speaking teachers in Spanish immersion classrooms and having a strong cohort of Spanish speaking kids helps ensure the ENglish speakers learning Spanish end up with a halfway decent accent.

    That's why dual immersion models are so much more successful.

  51. Is anyone here going to the next Board meeting to voice their displeasure?

    What makes this so particularly terrible (in my mind) is that this is a problem that happened we know at least last year and it could not be fixed by the time Jan rolled around for the new batch of applicants? Or maybe the fact that the older sibling was already enrolled and came home and spoke Spanish with the younger sibling made the younger sibling a Sp speaker. hmm.

    Maybe it was a different problem? This year it was a coding error, last year the computer crashed, what?

    Can you think of very many businesses where this type of failure is tolerated? Oh right this is the government. What can we expect.

    I'm not directly impacted by this but I know it could have happened to me.

  52. If they open more spots now, will there be fewer K spots in those schools over the next three years? The reason I ask is that to open spots they went in and made calculations at each school averaging all the K through 3rd classes - as long as they have an average of 20 per class they've met the requirement even is some classes are over 20. For each K spot to open, there must be a 1-3 class with an unfilled spot. When a class of say 22 K kids moves up, might there only be 18 incoming spots open to balance their numbers? It's certainly not the top issue here, but something I was wondering about as far as repercussions go.

  53. I am 0/15, and I live in the heart of the Mission District. And I'm white. Through various rounds I put Flynn on my list. I put Moscone, Buena Vista, Marshall on my list. I put MckInley. I was willing to attend any of these, and many more schools where my kids would be maybe only one or two white kids in a beautiful mosaic of color, and I got NONE. 0/15.

    I chose not to go list Chavez or Bryant. Those schools aren't good enough for my family, and it has nothing to do with the racial make up. But apparently to some bloggers, that makes me a racist. Look at their scores and take a tour, and tell me you'd send your kid there. If you would, fine. Great. I wouldn't.

    So please don't call me a xenophobe, or assume that as a white person, I wouldn't go to those schools because I'm white. The assumption itself is xenophobic and hateful.

  54. No, but you are still 0/15 by CHOICE.

    You chose to make finding the RIGHT school for your kid the top priority over finding ANY old school for your kid.

    You chose the hope of a higher-quality educational experience for your kid over the certainty of knowing where he/she will go before the 10-day count.

    That was *your* decision (and probably the one I would have made).

    But it was still a choice.

    No one deserves to go to a school like Bryant, regardless of their background. If anything, those who need a strong school the *most* (the ones whose parents are not college educated themselves) are sadly the ones who end up at Bryant, et al.

  55. So.... that's still a "choice".


    That's no choice at all.

  56. just a heads-up -

    from what i am hearing, if 10 of the 23 flynn/alvarado people don't choose webster SN it won't happen. how can this option be opened to the 0/15 families to add people and make sure it happens?

    anyone gone down to EPC lately? are they even dealing with people pre-aug 8?

  57. Sorry to harp on this, but...

    Choice. That's what they claim this system offers. And for some lucky ones, it does.

    The 23 displaced families being able to move ahead of me in the line to pick one of the top schools, now that's a choice.

    If they offer you something unacceptable, where's the choice in it?

    choice (chois) n.
    1. The act of choosing; selection.
    2. The power, right, or liberty to choose; option.
    3. One that is chosen.
    4. A number or variety from which to choose: a wide choice of styles and colors.
    5. The best or most preferable part.
    6. Care in choosing.
    7. An alternative.

    adj. choic·er, choic·est
    1a. Of very fine quality.
    1b. Appealing to refined taste.
    2. Selected with care.

    Tell me how the district has provided a "choice" for the roughly 20% to 30% who didn't get an acceptable school. For those of us who can afford private, or afford to move to an acceptable school district, I guess we still have a choice.

    Not all of us can go private or move.

  58. I talked to Shem at the EPC this morning and he said the word from his boss (Darlene Lim) is that the spaces that they "found"/created at the schools that the 23 disenrolled families will have to choose from will not be kept for the August waitpool (or any other) run.

    Essentially what this means to those of us who got nothing in Round I and Round II is not only are we purposefully being shut out from spaces that could be there for us, in our neighborhoods (which is pretty galling in itself), but that if you are in the waitpool for one of those schools, and the extra spaces are taken by displaced families, and if new spaces become available (because people drop out of the school or don't show up), they will not fill those available spaces because they are waiting for the class size to return to 20.

    Clearly, the EPC has made the decision to try to fix the mess up they caused at Flynn and Alvarado by taking away spaces that would be available to those of us who got nothing in any round, rather than creating new spaces that would not impact the waitpool negatively at all. This is a clear case of taking resources away from the most vulnerable (those you gave nothing to in the first place!) when you could simply create more for everyone.

    I am planning on writing a petition this morning to try to get as much support for pushing back about this as I can. I think we need to show the EPC and the powers that be at the district that they cannot just ignore the needs of those of us that invested so much in the touring/application process only to end up empty-handed, despite all of the empty promises that "it works out for everyone in the end."

    I'm so angry about this! The fact that 45% of us with kindergarteners (and no older sib) didn't get ANY Round I choice speaks to a huge fault in the assignment process. But there has been no attempt to rectify THAT error!

    More to come when I have the petition completed...

  59. Like I keep saying, SFUSD does not have a CHOICE system, it has a LOTTERY, the choice factor is just an illusion.

  60. thank you, abigail, for the update for EPC.

    seems we have two groups of angry parents here, the flynn/alvarado 23 and the 0/15 people being pushed down further.

    sadly, we are competing for the same spots and, therefore, are being pitted against each other.

    i think we need to support each other, these two groups of families. a petition is a great idea.

  61. Yes, it is choice, even if it is between what you consider less than perfect options.

    It certainly isn't discrimation.

    ALL San Francisco children deserve a quality education.

    But not all schools are equal.

    Yes, that SUCKS.

  62. Abigail,

    This is terrible news. But I had a feeling it was going to work this way.

    There isn't enough space in these over subscribed schools, so they're making the space knowing that there will be natural attrition during the 10 day count (people who don't show up, move, etc). And the waitlist people are the ones who pay the price for the district's mistakes.

  63. Sadly, lots of kids go to what you would consider "unacceptable" schools.

    And most of the kids stuck at these "unacceptable" schools are NOT white.

    That sounds more like discrimination to me...

  64. i nominate kim green to represent the flynn/alvarado 23 and abigail marks to represent the 0/15s.

    we are here to support you, but we need a leader!

  65. The big problem here is $$$$. There is no money to "simply create more for everyone" - as wonderful as that would be. Schools are strapped, we can't keep asking them for more.

    What the district needs seems obvious to me - more schools that are "acceptable" to more people. Again, the answer is largely money. Schools like Bryant and John Muir have such high percentages of low-income students there's no way they can dream of competing with schools like Rooftop, or even Glen Park.

    Assigning schools with a goal of economic integration rather than racial integration (which they can't do anymore, anyway) seems to be a better way. No, it won't solve the immediate issues, but if we end up with more better schools everyone would be happier!

    For now, I wish people would at least try to understand how underfunded our education system is and how important it is to work towards making it a funding priority. If the district had any money at all, I'd like to think they'd offer real solutions - like funding bubble classes for six years, not four! Like classroom aides for schools that accept larger class sizes! Unfortunately there isn't even enough in the budget for mundane supplies, and I've heard the district didn't buy manipulatives to go with the new math adoption - teachers will have to provide their own, including calculators.

  66. No, it isn't discrimination, it's that there were not enough openings at the 20 or so schools everybody put down, and add to that 300 plus extra kindergarteners, with no new classes being formed, and that is what happened.

    There's plenty of room in SF schools. You can't really have "good schools" and "bad schools" in one system and expect it to be functional. One bad apple does spoil the whole bunch.

  67. 10:40am - good points.
    As for District finding money, anyone see how many superintendants are listed? maybe too many chiefs and administrators.

  68. Actually, from what I have read, SF spends much *less* on administration than other school districts. I understand the administration has had to get basic supplies like paper donated from other city departments. I don't think the problem is overspending on administration. I wish it were that easy.

  69. Here's my draft of the petition (I know it's long!) Please email me at: if you'd like to comment. I'm going to do a final draft tonight and then start circulating it.

    Dear Superintendent Garcia, Darlene Lim, and members of the School Board,

    We, the undersigned, are writing to express our hope that you will keep the spots you are offering to the displaced families from Flynn and Alvarado open to those of us who are listed in the waitpools for those schools, both in the August run and in the 10 day count. We are specifically asking that this include not returning the class size back to 20 if families drop out of a school during the 10 day count (if those spots above 20 have been taken by former Flynn or Alvarado families). This action would ensure that the displaced Alvarado and Flynn families are offered spots that do not take away the opportunity of those of us who received nothing in Round I or Round II to get a school of their choice off of the waitpool.

    In your literature and publicity about the SFUSD assignment process, you say that it “promotes and supports family choice”, and that 87% of families receive one of their Round I choices. The implication often heard during the application process about those families who did not get their choice, is usually that those families did not list 7 choices or that they only listed the “7 most popular” schools.

    Many of us with soon-to-be kindergarteners diligently took time off of work and got extra childcare to spend the fall and early winter touring the 10 or 15 schools closest to us in order to make sure that we listed 7 schools that would be good fits for our family and our children in years to come. We made sure that our list included schools that were underenrolled or were not as popular the year before. We got excited about our child’s attending any one of those schools. Little did we know that nearly half of us (45%) whose first child was entering kindergarten would not receive ANY of our choices.

    So we scrambled to visit more schools to try to expand our lists for Round II. We included schools that were nearly always underenrolled, we included schools farther away, and still, many of us got nothing.

    In Open Enrollment, we had few choices, and many of us ended up enrolling our children in schools which were across the city, with start times that were difficult for work schedules, ending times difficult for younger siblings nap schedules, some with no aftercare options. Many of these schools had qualities which might be a good fit for some families, but were completely different than what we had been looking for in our original and exhaustive searches. This is not “family choice” at all. For 45% of us, it is random placement, at a school which could be across town, unworkable logistically, which may not be a good fit for our families.

    We do not think that this is how the system was intended to function, and it is certainly not how the SFUSD portrays the system as an attempt to keep families in San Francisco and attending public schools.

    Those of us who got nothing in Round I were counting on our priority status in this last waitpool run in August, and especially in the 10 day count, to give us a chance at getting a school that works for us logistically, a school we could be happy for our children to attend, a school we could be involved in, a school we could love. We were counting on the fact that, aside from those with a family hardship, those of us who had gotten nothing in Round I after listing 7 choices, would be given the highest priority in filling spots left by children who were enrolled, but not planning to attend kindergarten in public school in San Francisco this year.

    Now we have learned that, to rectify a District error, families displaced from the Flynn and Alvarado immersion programs will be offered a special lottery, where they can choose from “found” spots at many of our neighborhood schools, where we have sat on the waitpools for months with no movement. We do not begrudge these families the right to the best solution, given what has been done to them. But we question why the solution that has been found cannot be left in place for us as well, so that any slot one of these families takes, does not take away a spot from anyone in the waitpool.

    This is simple to remedy: the EPC would only have to agree to keep those spots open through the waitpool run after the 10 day count, so that any spots taken by the displaced families were, if more spots opened at the school, not lost to the waitpool. We urge you to do so, as a part of your attempt to make the idea of “family choice” a bit closer to reality. We urge you to take that solution.


  70. nice abby!

    could we also suggest that placement from waitpools happen though the end of december 2008? movement happens all along and this would give families more opportunity to get a school that will work for them.

    how do we sign?

  71. Abbie: Have you contacted PPSSF for help?

    I wonder if they could help convince the district to hold an information meeting for 0/15 families... or at least hold a PPS meeting for those families so you guys can meet each other and organize.

    I know it is impossible to get a comprehensive list of the 0/15 parents, but PPS could help spread the word, find a venue, etc.

  72. I didn't want to dilute what we're asking for by asking for the extended waitpool thing, too (we could always ask for that in future conversations). But if enough people think it's important, I'll include it.

    I'm going to try to finalize a draft tonight and circulate it. I may use one of the online petition sites. Has anyone had experience with them? Otherwise I'll use email.

  73. I'm not sure how much weight online petitions carry, frankly.

    You should talk to Rachel Norton or PPS to figure out what the best way to pressure the district might be.

    You've got to get organized, for sure.

  74. I really like the letter Abby but how can the district hold these spots open to waitlist families if they are, as you stated, "waiting for class sizes to return to 20" through normal attrition? Isn't the district in effect "advancing" spots that would normally appear during the 10 day count to the 23 families? I don't agree with this strategy personally and feel VERY STRONGLY that the damage should be contained as much as possible within the original campuses, but apparently any such solution is infeasible to the respective schools' administrations. The ripple effect is turning out to be too strong.

  75. I have the same questions as 12:00pm. Holding spots open which increase class size affects the individual schools and their communities.

    I don't know if the district can sell this to the adminstrations of those schools.

  76. Any chance they'd open up Daniel Webster immersion to at least *some* 0/15 families who might be interested?

  77. Isn't the district in effect "advancing" spots that would normally appear during the 10 day count to the 23 families?

    Yes, this is exactly what the district is doing, and that is a perfectly rational solution.

    I don't think you can expect them to extend more spots than those they are hedging will be lost to attrition and that they need to make reparations. All the district is required to do is put you in a school somewhere, and there is plenty of room around town. All the rest (choice, hidden gems, etc) is PR and a weird social experiment in race and class, courtesy of BOE.

  78. Great letter, Abby--what you suggest is fair and should be done by the district. Class sizes will normalize by attrition in the next year or 2. I also think the waitpool should be kept open all year, why not? It is not fair that families who have committed to SFUSD by enrolling their child in public school should be prevented from changing schools at any time should the school of their choice become available. Why are people who have not enrolled in SFUSD given higher priority after the 10 day count when the waitpool is historically 'dissolved'?

  79. As a single parent just starting the public school search, this error and its resolution scares me.

    Now I will be nervous about my school assignment until the first day of classes.

    Thank you for giving me more stuff to worry about!

  80. Any chance they'd open up Daniel Webster immersion to at least *some* 0/15 families who might be interested?

    If 10 Flynarados accept, they'll need to fill out the class with 10 Spanish speakers from somehwere.

    If there are not 10 Flynarados down for DW, those that are could probably bring along a band of 0/15s and still get what they want from the district (including a bus).

  81. wait, so everyone that went 0/15 wants immersion?

  82. Why are people who have not enrolled in SFUSD given higher priority after the 10 day count when the waitpool is historically 'dissolved'?

    I don't know, but I would sure use that to my advantage. I can tell you from personal experience that transferring from a private school to the "#1" public school was child's play. (This was few years ago though.)

  83. No, not all 0/15 families want immersion -- nor is there room for all of them.

    But surely there are enough who *do* want immersion to round out any Flynnarado numbers to get to the 10 ENglish-speaking slots.

    They'd likely need only 5 to 7 from the o/15 group. (Assuming 3 to 5 Flynnarados sign up for Webster.)

  84. you people are all what is best for your kids and leave san francisco now. Your kids deserve better than this.

  85. private school works just fine.

  86. SFUSD said they would start the Sp. Imm program at DW with 7 of the Flynnvarado 23, 10 ideally.

  87. So, Flynarados, where do you stand?

  88. I have a brilliant and vaguely evil idea.

    We should diversify the public school on an economic basis, and we'll do it this way:

    We will assign students to schools based on the city's income demographics. I'll use fictional figures to make the point.

    For example, if 31% of the kids in SF live below the poverty line, every school will have to allocate 31% of spots to those kids. If 32% of the kids in SF have upper middle incomes, 32% of the seats will be reserved for them. If 15% of the kids come from extremely high incomes, 15% will be reserved for them. If 20% of the kids speak a different language than english, then 20% of the schools must have language immersion programs.

    Everybody will fill out a confidential form, and be assigned a school taking into account economic information and distance from the school. When the kids show up, nobody will know what their forms said, who is whom, but we the parents will know that the school is diverse, looks like san francisco, and will be just as good as any other school.

    This way, middle and upper income families will know they have a spot guaranteed, too, so they'll be more likely to enter the system and send their kids to public school. And the below middle income kids will benefit because if the rich folks are sending their kids to public schools, you can bet that the schools will be great.

    It can't be any worse than the system we have now, and I bet it'd be better.
    Race isn't the real issue in San Francisco, although it is an issue. Money class and economics are the issues.

    Take a look at Clarendon or Rooftop. Their populations aren't that troubled or in need as in most other schools. How did that happen?

    Take a look at Alice Fong, Malcom X, or a few other schools with 70% of one race. How did that happen?

    It happened because the diversity index is a fraud and a farce.

  89. But they could get to 7 or 10 by opening it up to 0/15s, no?

  90. People will lie about their income to game the system. That is the sad truth.

  91. 12:55, I don't get your 'child's play' comment. What did you mean by that?


  92. Lying about your income will not and could not game the system. How could it?

    The economic groups in this city would have such an equal shot at all schools, it wouldn't make any sense to say you're part of one group when in fact you are part of another.

    It would be random and anonymous, yet achieve the goal of diversity.

  93. Does anyone have a real idea about how many 0/15 families we're talking about? A quick look at the May waitpool list has approx 250 in the priority cohort (0/7 in round 1) but presumably that includes some? many? families who picked up a school in Round 2 but are still in the priority cohort for the waitpool.
    It seems to me there is a big difference between those 2 groupings.

  94. 12:55 meant that it was easy to move from private to public after the waitlists were dissolved.

    I would not count on this strategy going forward, however, based on the intensity of the parents on this blog. I imagine that this year, there will be parents ready to pounce at any available seat that open throughout the entire school year.

  95. "The economic groups in this city would have such an equal shot at all schools, it wouldn't make any sense to say you're part of one group when in fact you are part of another."

    Nope, it would still be parents in the higher income brackets applying to all the same coveted schools, that coincidentally, lower income families tend not to apply to ...because they don't turn in first round applications and by the time they do those spots are all gone.
    so there would be an impulse to lie about income, when say, applying to Clarendon.
    And the biggest single flaw in the system SFUSD uses now, that so many lower-income families do not even turn in applications for the first round, so the slots fill up, and in the second round they must choose from the less desirable schools.
    They only way to make it fair is to have everyone take part in round 1.

  96. I imagine that this year, there will be parents ready to pounce at any available seat that open throughout the entire school year.

    You can't transfer.

  97. 1:32 -- Nope. YOu'd have all the upper and middle class families fighting for the same small percentage of designated spots at Lilienthal, Clarendon, Rooftop, Alvarado, et al.

    They'd come up 0/15 even though there would be available spots for their income level at John Muir and Bryant.

  98. You'd claim to be poorer than you are so you could have a shot at a larger number of slots at a coveted school.

  99. 1:48 - No you can't transfer but based on the comments on this blog - there are Many in private parochial schools hanging out waiting for something to open in public.

  100. jeez, I think they'll stay put after all this!

  101. FYI,

    In the spots SFUSD is opening to the 23 Flynnvarados, there are:
    - 7 spots at Flynn GE (Spanish families moving to the SpImm program)
    - 2 spots at Alvarado (same as above)
    - potentially 10 spots at DW.
    All in all 19 spots that are NOT taken from the potential wait-pool.

    Only 4 are in question.

  102. 2:15 - Excellent point!

  103. So those spots will be open to 0/15 folks if the Flynnarados don't take them, right?

    BTW: Is Flynn going forward with the whole I.B.O. thing? Where do they stand on that? Isn't it a 3-year process?

  104. Webster dual immersion requires at least 10 families to commit to going there. They can handle more. If they get fewer commitments, there will be no dual immersion there until next year and the families that had chosen DW will then have their DW choice erased so their 2nd choice becomes their first, etc.

    Seems to me that if EPC said rigt now, we will open DW dual immersion this year if we can find 10 applicants from anyone in any waitpool that the program would definitely fil up and definitely happen now. Not sure why they require 10 of the 23...

  105. at least 10

    How can they take more than 10 (assuming those are all English speakers) and not open more than one class? They need Spanish speakers to balance.

  106. my family is one of the 23 who has been reassigned. after careful consideration, we want to go to spanish immersion at daniel webster. we live in the neighborhood and have two younger children who will strongly benefit from the gem this school will be.

    there is an amazing neighborhood group, PREFund (, who has spent the last 3 years turning this school around. there is no doubt in my mind that daniel webster is going to be a not so hidden gem in 2-3 years. check out PREFund's site to see what they have done.

    as for this year, the principal and district are very committed to spanish immersion. they have former immersion teachers and administrators who started the program at flynn on board to champion this program. while there is bound to be a rocky start, the program is bound to be amazing.

    it is my understanding that the district will open the program with 7 english speaking and 7 spanish speaking families. if you want spanish immersion and do not have a place to go, contact me and i will set up a meeting with the principal so we can learn more.

    sara foster

  107. okay, i think i made a comment faux pas. i wrote my letter before i read the comments.

    there are maybe 3 flynn/alvarado families who are interested in the daniel webster spots. i think we need to go to the district with a list of interested families both from flynn/alvarado and from the 0/15s and let them know we want the program open. i think it would open a whole nother can of worms if they break the daniel webster promise.

  108. Only 3?

    I am shocked. I thought there'd be more.

    That school is really going places. Didn't PREFUND raise around half a million dollars already (in just two years) to turn that school around?

  109. 2:15

    They are also opening up a few spots at Clarendon (JBBP?), 6 spots at Grattan, etc. There was a rather large list of schools with opened seats for the 23 families (and only the 23 families) to choose from.

    The families enter their top ten schools and are put in a straight lottery (no diversity index, etc).

    So if the Flynn folks decide they would rather take the 6 offered general ed spots at Grattan (for example) instead of staying with Flynn, that impacts the Grattan wait pool.

    However, if they don't take those spots, as I understand it, the district won't assign wait pool people unless there is less than 20students per class.

  110. Not sure where I got the word that the district would require 10 of the 23 to apply to DW. 7 minimum, 10 max does make a lot more sense.

    But I repeat: why not open this up to the entire wait pool? Give the 23 priority access, but allow others to apply too -- then the DW dual immersion program would fill up for sure.

  111. I would have thought more of them would have pursued Spanish immersion...

  112. Potrero Hill ParentJuly 31, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    I suggest you send a copy of your letter to as there are parents of many incoming kindergarteners (including a number in the 0/15 cohort) on that list. As a Potrero Hill resident (and parent of an older ES child) I'm really rooting for you Daniel Webster pioneers!

  113. I don't know why they wouldn't open up the DW spots to the wait list. My uncharitable thought is they're not really ready to start the program, and they're gambling on the 23 families being risk adverse, not wanting to be the guinea pigs if you will. Which is why I think they're offering sought after schools, granted general ed programs.

    Of course that's just my unkind speculation not based on evidence of any kind.

  114. clarification. They meaning the SFUSD, not the good people at DW.

  115. In response to:

    "In the spots SFUSD is opening to the 23 Flynnvarados, there are:
    - 7 spots at Flynn GE (Spanish families moving to the SpImm program)
    - 2 spots at Alvarado (same as above)
    - potentially 10 spots at DW.
    All in all 19 spots that are NOT taken from the potential wait-pool."

    Only 4 are in question."

    You are forgetting that the flynn/alvarado 23 get to take a spot AND THEN they get priority on any waitlist ABOVE siblings and hardship appeals. this is a pretty good deal IMO! so, yes, this does screw the 0/15 people big time! they lose these potential fall openings plus they get people put ahead of them on waitlists.

  116. does anyone know what webster's after school care is, how much it costs, if it offers part-time and if it has space to accommodate 20 more students?

  117. "You are forgetting that the flynn/alvarado 23 get to take a spot AND THEN they get priority on any waitlist ABOVE siblings and hardship appeals. "

    I thought it worked this way:

    Next week they're entered in to a lottery (straight up, no diversity index). They choose 10 schools from the list provided to them. This includes the Daniel Webster option, the 7 open gen ed Flynn, 6 spots at Grattan, etc.

    If not enough people choose Daniel Webster, that is thrown out, and people who listed it first will have their second choices treated as their first.

    All families come out of the lottery with an assigned school. They can then choose to wait list at other schools if they want (no priority).

    The only wait list the families get priority is the Alvarado Gen Ed because there aren't enough spaces for the number of people kicked out of the spanish program.

    However, how this impacts the wait list people, is if enough people take spots at sought after schools there will not be any space for them.

    I would be shocked if the displaced Flynn folks would want to go to gen ed at Flynn because of what just happened.

  118. waitaminute. the 23 haven't decided anything yet. we have till next week to do that.

    speaking for myself only, i am just trying to hold life, work, attending a conference and fighting this school fight together by threads. forget my marriage, eating, good health, my last nerve, remembering my kids' names and flossing. those, like our enrollment, have dissolved into the ether.

    i think the issue for a lot of us is fighting off school decision fatigue hard enough to actually decide if immersion is still a top priority for us. some will, and some won't go in that direction, i would guess. would you believe, this is the THIRD school we have been assigned to since the process began? isn't that kind of hilarious? (j. serra > flynn imms > DW.) how many more can we generate enthusiasm for? if they promised my kid a life path from rooftop and lowell straight through to heaven right now, i'd probably say, "hmm, heaven. does it have a decent afterschool program?"

    oh, the joy. no wonder my kid acts like she's getting PTSD and she's pretty tough.

    a major obstacle to DW for us personally is the combo start time/no reasonable public transport from our neighborhood. true, some stakeholders have indicated willingness to work with parents on that, but come on -- how much faith can we place in a good intention this late in the process? plus, we have NEVER SEEN THE SCHOOL OPERATING -- NOR WILL WE BE ABLE TO (prior to making the decision). pretty odd, huh?

  119. we have NEVER SEEN THE SCHOOL OPERATING -- NOR WILL WE BE ABLE TO (prior to making the decision). pretty odd, huh?

    Oh, wow... good point.

  120. I mean seriously... your commitment to Spanish immersion will be tested to the core when you're one of, like, eight middle class and/or white families at the school. But seven of them will be in your class if that's any consolation.

  121. There is a letter from the PREFund supporters of DW over on the/my sfschools blog. They explain that their preschool is already full, but with support from the district to fully staff the preschool they would be able to open more seats for added families.

  122. If the Spanish speaking families offered the "vacated" spots don't take them all, the Flynarados can get back in line for them with their priority cohort in the waitpool. And hold a seat at Clarendon while they do it!

  123. The plot thickens. And there's no hiding a secret idea around here.

  124. 4:31 -

    "All families come out of the lottery with an assigned school. They can then choose to wait list at other schools if they want (no priority). "

    yes! priority! the sfusd doc from the tues meetings says:

    "As with all families, re-assigned families can go into the wait pool for any school or program. Re-assigned families will get FIRST priority to be admitted from a wait pool should a space become available AT ANY TIME."

    This sounds like top priority to me.

  125. The Flynnarado families are still mulling so noting that 3 want DW at this moment is not conclusive. Besides as more people come forward that they want to try it, so will others.

    The heat of all of this will begin to fade over the next few days and people will sit down to make their lists. They have to turn them in on August 6.

  126. 4:55


    ""As with all families, re-assigned families can go into the wait pool for any school or program. Re-assigned families will get FIRST priority to be admitted from a wait pool should a space become available AT ANY TIME."

    This sounds like top priority to me. "

    Me too.

    It's unclear if they mean first priority to any school, or are they talking about the Spanish Flynn, Spanish Alvarado programs they were just kicked from? If that's the case, it would make sense.

    Makes no sense to give them priority in any school.

    Is there a way for parents for public schools or the sfschools blog to clarify this point?


  127. it is priority on the waiting list of any school. i know they offered it to me as a reassigned parent. and i also think it is morally suspect of us to take those spots. this process, however, seems to bring out the worst in many of us.

  128. I stand corrected. I can understand the lottery with the big name schools. But after that, it makes no sense after assigned a school, the families would get priority (unless it was for the Flynn or Alvarado spanish programs) over those 0/15.

    It's a terrible idea.

  129. So... what are the lessons for next year's lottery, for parents?

    Apply to private and hold both spots until the 10 day count, just in case?

    Claim your kid speaks ENglish-only, even if they are fluent in Spanish lest you be turned away from Spanish immersion?

  130. keep ALL your options open including names of good real estate agents outside sf...

  131. And floss lots now, before it falls to the wayside w/the stress... like Kim...

  132. see, i have been so stuck on standing up for us 0/15 folks ONLY because of this clause - priority over everyone else. i mean, over siblings? and hardships? it really doesn't seem fair.

    i think a crack at "newly discovered" spots at great schools like grattan and flynn GE etc. was a decent deal. none of us had those odds back in january! 6 spots at grattan and 3 spots at clarendon jbbp for 23 people? a 9/23 chance is great compared to what we were looking at back in january!

    don't get me wrong, i am pissed for the 23 folks. but also pissed for the rest of us who have had a crappy spring AND summer with no school as 0/15ers.

  133. back to a question i posted earlier that is important for 0/15ers... TIMELINES for action.

    the f/a 23 will decide by wed 8/6 what they want for their separate lottery.

    the lottery will run for them on 8/7.

    they will know what they get on 8/8.

    and the last day for ANYONE to change wait list choice is 8/8 for the last lottery, right?

    i need to know when is the last possible day to go to EPC and get info on wait pools that show the f/a 23. is this going to be possible?

  134. 5:31: I totally agree with you. I didn't understand that along with the lottery with great choices that almost anybody would be happy with (and I understand many are general education, but this what you would get if you went private, and some of these schools offered are excellent!!), the 23 displaced would also get priority on wait lists.

    That is wrong. I too feel for the 23 , but not to the extent where the district is so afraid of lawsuits they'll do anything to accomodate them.

  135. "Didn't PREFUND raise around half a million dollars already (in just two years) to turn that school around?"

    It takes a lot more than money to turn a school around.

    Of course money is a good start.

  136. A Flynn parent told me that SFUSD was contacted about the lack of balance in the Spanish immersion kinder classes back in mid-June.

    There really is no excuse for the Flynnarado to have been contacted so late in the game...

  137. When people say they can just up and leave the private school if a spot comes up in the 10 day count... It's not so easy walking away from a full year's tuition. We're already on the hook.

    Perhaps if you have a couple kids and think, wow, we can save all that money for the next seven years. But many of these privates are $8000 to $30,000. That's hard to walk away from.

    Especially when you know the privates are going to work fine (95% chance) and the publics may or may not. Publics seem like too large a gamble, especially after this debacle.

    They can always close your school, move you, or do anything they want because of a whim, budgets, lead poisoning, some new study or whatever. By comparison, the private schools are really stable.

    I'm sticking with private. This latest Flynn debacle was the last straw of hope for me. No way.

  138. I know someone a few years ago who walked away from a full year's worth of tuition at SF Day when her child got a spot at her first-choice SFUSD school. She said that considering what she'd pay for 9 years of private school for this child and a younger sibling, it was a bargain.

    On a different note, it may be that EPC is attempting to turn other families against the 23 ones booted from Alvarado and Flynn by offering what sounds like an overly sweet deal to desperate 0/15's. More likely, though, they just want the 23 families to be placated and not make trouble, so they're offering anything they possibly can given the constraints of the S.I. teachers/school communities.

  139. Anon 5:35pm-

    You raise an excellent point regarding the ridiculous timelines they have set up.

    I asked the same question of EPC earlier in the week. They had not thought of that because they would rather NOT provide actual enrollment numbers and instead want us to make decisions based on the useless, bloated waitpools that they are releasing tomorrow.

    That said, they said they would give the dates more consideration and possibly extend the deadline for changing waitpool schools. I imagine we would know more next week.

  140. If I were to get a Clarendon or Rooftop or another particular school I'm thinking of (I'm one of five on the waitlist), yes I would walk away from my parochial tuition. It's in the $9000 range with aftercare. But only for a top public. Not for a so-called "gem" or some crapshoot on the future.

    And if I'd gotten into Hamlin, I would run like hell away from that $28,000+. That place...what a ripoff.

  141. Based on what some have posted here, it seems there is a possibility the 23 vacated spots will NOT all be filled?

    Someone mentioned that the District will not fill with EO because that was the problem to begin with...

    I agree with one of the posters that an immersion education is too valuable to give up (if you value language acquisition and not nec true for everyone).

    For the 23 Fl.Alv. and the waitlisted folks -- will you ask the question of the District. Will they leave 5, 10 vacant seats in the name of principle, that the class must be balanced.

    Will the District enroll bilingual tracked students if none of the Sp families want to move over to F or A?

    Very curious. If the District lets the seats go empty, then I say shame on them and the Flynn teachers for throwing about such a valuable educational experience in the name of principle only.

    REMEMBER -- the non target speakers (so could be EO or some other language) CANNOT join the program after 1st grade.

    And lets just say 10 spots go vacant for 1st grade and still no takers on the Sp side... so... uh, will the District rethink their philosophy on dual immersion and consider other immersion or language acquisition models?

    Because based on the demand (just take a look at the enrollment demand for SI), there are many families who value immersion. Majority are the non target language (non Spanish dominant) just by the very nature of the program.

    Majority of Sp dominant families are immigrants and its quite understandable why they would want their child to learn English as QUICKLY as possible, even if it meant the child would not nec be able to read or write Spanish until a later date (say MS or HS).

    On the other hand, the non Spanish speakers have a desire for child to learn Spanish or 2nd language and its understandable why there is a strong demand.

    District really needs to take this as an opportunity and rethink a few things. Esp if it is true that all these years the numbers have been skewed and so they had bad information on what families wanted.

    Maybe most Sp speakers want bilingual or ELL. But we'll never know because the past enrollment was so screwed up.

    Anyway if I were a waitlisted family or one of the 23, I'd definitely speak up if there were vacant spaces.

  142. Just thought of this...

    The district has ADDED some Kindergarten seats (bringing the class size to 21) at the schools on the list for the Flynnarado 23 to choose from. So, if they take those seats, they will not be taking a slot from the rest of the wait pool. Those extra seat would not have been available to the waitpool in the first place.

  143. Hey 5:22 - if you are thinking of SI next year and are considering Alvarado or Flynn I would suggest you enroll your child in some spanish immersion preschool or hire a nanny to speak exclusively Spanish to the child so that you can claim the child speaks Spanish on your application.
    As a EO (or non Spanish speaker) your chances will be SLIM TO NONE for Alvarado next year because you can bet your last dollar that the District will make sure there is not one EO over the 50% (or 33%) mark!!

    Now if you would consider Marshall or one of the other unbalanced the other way SI programs then heck year, claim your child not only speaks English but the Queen's English!!

    If I were to put my child in SI class, I would love my EO child to be just 1 of the 5 EO speakers and to be surrounded by primarily Sp speakers. The Marshall program would work great for me. I don't care a squat what the research says about 50/50, I want my child to be exposed as much as possible to Spanish since I speak English (and English is everywhere so I'd want Spanish spanish spanish when the child is at school).

  144. Sara (and others in group of 23),

    I don't think it's morally suspect of you to take those places. I think it's morally suspect of the District to offer them to you in a way which takes them away from the rest of us.

    I still believe that the best solution involves preserving those "extra" spots for the rest of us through the 10 day count.

    I believe we have a chance at getting this to happen if there is enough of an outcry.

  145. Dear 8:10,

    The point is, that if a class size increases to 22 now, and then two kids don't show up the first two weeks of school, those two slots will not be offered to the waitpool, but will disappear. In other words, if the district had not offered these "extra" spots to the Flynnarado 23, there would be 2 spots for the waitpool. If they do offer them, there will be two less seats for anyone else in the 10 day count.

    By saying they are "extra" spots, it gives the District the image of being flexible, when in fact what they are doing is really taking from the group that has gotten the least from them in this whole process.

  146. can anyone tell me how to find out the numbers on

    1. how many applicants sfusd received by race;

    2. how many of said applicants got 1st choice, 2nd choice, 0/15, etc., also broken down by race?

  147. So if the Spanish speakers are attempting to game the system by claiming English is their dominant language while the English-speakers are attempting to do so by saying their child speaks Spanish (due to the Nanny) maybe the computer program is actually working after all: junk in means junk out.

  148. Let's plan our outcry.

    (I am tired of pumping myself up on the way to EPC only to leave with no answers and to feel like I have wasted everyone's time...)

    What is coming up - board meeting? Should we all swarm EPC at once? What CAN we do?

  149. abigail -

    let's not forget that many schools are over enrolled. this plus that means wait list chances are very dim for the 0/15s.

    even more reason to keep the pools open through winter - this was an idea brought up at the tuesday night meeting.

  150. The only thing sf government responds to is bad press. Has anyone contacted the Chronicle? Does anyone know Nevius? Or the guy who broke the "Sanctuary City-$7,000 per month group home" story?

  151. Abigail and others-

    while I am also 0/15 and would love nothing more than to have the District commit to saving those "extra" spots for all of those on the waitpool, not just the 23 Flynn/Alvarado families, I also understand that the State will penalize the District financially for the larger class sizes. By how much, I'm not sure. But that was Mr. Garcia's answer when the question on Tuesday. My sense is that they also cannot afford to lose any additional funding for the upcoming school year.

  152. have any of the 0/15 families (or the flynnarados) discussed the situation with an attorney? I am curious whether it is worth a shot.

  153. 8:10: At first glance it appears that way, but actually, I think the district is "advancing" spots that would normally open up during the 10-day count to the 23 families. Through normal attrition, the class size would drop back to 20 without opening up additional spots. At least this is what Abigail Marks has reported from her visit to EPC this morning. This strategy will ultimately effect the waitlist pools.

    On the other current thread about the 23 getting dual preferential treatment: Is it really true that they get BOTH 1) participation in the extra "found" spots at coveted schools lottery AND 2) they then get to have super-priority waitlist status ALSO? It's unclear from my 5th reading of the district's FAQ. I thought the super-priority status kicked in if they wanted a school that wasn't on the coveted schools list.

  154. I was not affected by the f/a idiocy, but it smells like another violation of last year's Supreme Court ruling against the use of diversity as a compelling interest in public school assignments.

  155. Publics seem like too large a gamble, especially after this debacle.

    It's not the schools themselves that are the gamble (which is why so many want more and more--though not all--of them). Most people are happy once they are in a school they consider acceptable to great. It is the lottery of getting into the schools that is a gamble. Of course, that is true for private as well, though it happens in a different (private, behind closed doors) way.

  156. 8:51, I don't think so, as it doesn't none of this involves racial preferences specifically (despite the rhetoric thrown around on this blog on all sides).

  157. I think that seeking diversity in public school assignments is still legal, just not racial diversity per se. However, my guess is that the 23 families chosen to move from G.E. to S.I. at Alvarado and Flynn all had Hispanic surnames (not the Anglo kids who learned Spanish from their nannies) which would be illegal according to the Supreme Court ruling.

  158. hmmm..seems that "native English speakers" being given the boot 4 weeks before school starts is pretty clearly not Asian or Hispanic or Other.

  159. In your arguments as to why to keep the wait pools open -- kindegarten is probably the best time to have kids join a class.

    There definitely is a penalty to the district for over enrollment, I think approx $40K per child. So no, it would be in NONE of our interests as a whole to have the District do so. More money thrown down the drain. It would be in the interest of the few families who are able to enroll their child as the 21s or 22nd (until attrition occurs and penalty goes away then benefit is equalized). However, if spaces open up through Dec or even June, they should allow families on waitlist to join. However, I presume the District would like to make this go away as soon as possible as quietly as possible and keeping the waitlist open means more work for them and more possibly of error (ie calling someone out of turn etc).

    What I'd really like to know is what the District is going to do if there are vacant spaces in the Flynn or Alv SI class (that is not enough Sp speakers sign up). That would be worth a write up.
    And this will again show the law of unintended consequences at work (on the part of the Flynn teachers or whoever it was that drew the line in the sand).

  160. "However, my guess is that the 23 families chosen to move from G.E. to S.I. at Alvarado and Flynn all had Hispanic surnames (not the Anglo kids who learned Spanish from their nannies) which would be illegal"

    There is a big problem in the district not testing for language capability (due to budget cuts). If they are to base admission on this, they should test for it.

    That said, it is not illegal to admit people based on language capability to a language program that is set up to be 50-50 (or 33-33-33) in order to ensure success, as long as the language capability is not assessed by race. The fact that many primary Spanish-speakers (including those who may now be moved to SI programs in Flynn and Alvarado) may identify as "Hispanic, not white" on the forms is not the point. In SF, some Hispanics do identify as white; many do not. The immersion placement system is still based on language, not race, at least officially, and I bet the district could prove that if necessary. Despite the stupid screw-ups (that actually have benefited English-speakers, and probably white folks, over the years).

    I don't disagree that the SI programs are in part intended to encourage desegregation by race/ethnicity AND class, btw, just saying that I do not think there is a legal case against SFUSD on the basis of using race. This is a legal work-around. One I actually think is a great idea, too.

  161. The state mandates an average of 20 per K-3 per school. So if a school has a couple of classes that are at 19, they can have a couple of others that are at 21. Some schools have fewer students in some of the 1st -3rd grades, so the district could still have 21 in some kindergartens and it would work out alright.

    I've been working on a petition to the Superintendent, school board and EPC. I'm going to post it on a hosted website, so people can sign it and emails will be sent directly to the superintendent, board members and EPC director.

    As my 5 year old would ask: "Good Idea?" Or do people think that an email or online petition would be more effective?

    I still think that we should ask for the maintenance of the 21 spaces, even if it is not likely to be given. If the District cannot do this, they will at least be faced with the fact that we realize there are consequences to what they are doing, and that we are NOT HAPPY. Maybe they will offer us something else, maybe not. I'm including the keeping the waitpool open thing in there, too.

  162. Abigail - I would definitely support your petition. Either method would be fine by me. Just let folks know when you have finalized things. Thanks for taking this on. This is exactly what we need!

  163. There could be a legal case if there were a number >23 of Spanish-speaking kids who requested S.I. at Alvarado and/or Flynn and received a placement in G.E. instead, the 23 selected to move to S.I. had all checked Hispanic under race, while the ones not selected were categorized Other White or something else other than Hispanic.

  164. of course it was done by race! like Kim Green wrote, there needs to be a neutral observer/ witness involved in whatever bonehead solution the district comes up with - like Jimmy Carter in third world countries...

  165. I'm not in an affected group, just an interested parent of kids in SFUSD and someone who cares deeply about making our schools work for everyone.

    And I must say I am full of admiration for the leaders who are emerging here, Kim Garcia-Meze, Kim Green and Abby Marks - never underestimate the power of angry moms with a following!

    You go girls!

  166. yes, kim green for school board!

  167. maybe jimmy carter's available...?

  168. Here is the petition (!!!!):

    Please, please sign it and pass it along to everyone in SF you know who you think may be supportive.

    We will have a running tally of how many people sign (emails will be sent directly to the sup., EPC, and board members), as well as email addresses so we can contact people later to organize further.

    Kim, I know many of those who sign this would also be happy to support the Flynnarado 23 in any way possible. Please let me know how we can be useful.

  169. 8:21 - That is a silly question. *What* you list as your first choice has a lot more to do with whether you get it than what racial or ethnic group you come from.

    8:23 - That's why you need language testing/assessment. I know it is tough to do now that there are so many more programs than before.

    Or, alternatively, there should be a harsh penalty along the lines of "If, upon the start of kindergarten, your child's language dominance is found to be different from what was described in the enrollment form, we reserve the right to reassign the student to a different program or school." That might help keep people honest.

  170. does anyone know if they did an audit at the other SI schools? Buena vista, Monroe? Just wondering if they have issues too.

  171. I think they let each school decide whether they could live with the imbalances, if any. In the initial years, when 90% of the curriculum is in Spanish, there are fewer issues if there are too many Spanish speakers... so Monroe might have passed on requesting a solution for this year. I think BV has slightly more English-speakers, but the imbalance is not as dramatic as it is in other schools.

  172. Not to disparage the efforts of Kim, Abby, etc, but I have a feeling these amazing women would much rather be enjoying their summer than building their community organizing skills right about now.

  173. Especially since it will not do any good and SFUSD will do whatever it wants to do and not listen to parents at all.

  174. When the district opened up the extra spots for the 23 Flynnardo families, they're obviously counting on attrition to bring the class sizes back down to 20.

    the average size is 20 for K-3, so extending the K offer past the 23 impacts people on the waiting lists for the upper grades. If somebody is waiting for a spot in the 2nd grade (for example), they won't get it if the K's are over 20.

    The district is causing problems for the wait list beyond K.

  175. Does anyone know of English speaking families assigned to Flynn or Alvarado Spanish Immersion programs who did not get displaced and might not attend, after all?

    If there are any families reconsidering, could you let the Flynnarado 23 know?

    Please e-mail

    Kim, sorry if this overloads your inbox, thought it might be worth floating around. You never know.


  176. I still think the Flynnarado families are a lot better off than the 0/15 families. The SFUSD is bending over backwards to offer them solutions whereas the 0/15 people are exactly where they have been all along, with the added insult of all of these spaces being "found" but knowing that for the most part they are not and never will be available to them.

  177. I agree with 8:27 am . Disclaimer: I think what happened to the Flynnarado folks is awful and the outcry is well deserved. If only to put the district on notice.

    However, the solution the district has offered comes at the expense of not only those on the wait list , but existing school communities who may face larger K class sizes this year.

  178. I don't understand it. SFUSD sent you a placement letter stating where your children would be going to school, and what program they were in. That is a legal document, an official placement. That is a contract. They have to do what that says or they are in breach of contract. You could all stand up to them and demand that they adhere to the agreement. Get a lawyer to represent all of you, that is the only thing SFUSD pays any attention to, when they are wrong.

  179. 8:47 - right, but not just larger K classes this year, also potentially smaller K classes in the next three years. K-3 classes are limited to an average of 20 students per class, if this year's K has 22 students then next year when they move up to 1st grade there may only be 18 K seats available in order to preserve the average class size of 20. No matter what solution is pursued, it is going to have some lasting impact. I wonder if the district is looking ahead to the birthrates for 2004, 2005, etc.

  180. It isn't about birthrates. There are more than enough seats district wide.

    There just aren't enough seats at the particular schools everyone wants.

  181. Turns out, there are a lot of Spanish-speaking families who put Spanish-immersion programs at Alvarado or Flynn as their first choice, but got shunted to bilingual ed /ELD programs at other schools. They are *not* being given the option of taking one of the Spanish-speaking spots at Alvarado and Flynn. That might be okay if they end up filling up those spots with Spanish-speaking kids who were assigned to Gen ED programs at Alvarado and Flynn. But if those seats remain vacant when there is clear demand for them from Spanish-speaking families, the forced reassignment of the Flynnarado 23 will have been for nought.

  182. 9:22. Great point. I understand and appreciate the intent behind the petition to keep these slots open for the wait list people. However increasing the K class sizes has both an immediate effect and as you point out will ripple through the third grade.

    There are people on the wait list for grades 1-3 at some of these schools, this year they'll lose out if the K slots are kept open.

    And the lottery participants in the next few years will have less slots to compete for.

    I strongly feel the district should've contained the damage to the Flynn and Alvarado sites. Instead they're spreading the damage through out the system.

  183. At Flynn, they are essentially allowing half the SI track to swap with the same number in the GE track. Why couldn't they have turned that swapped out GE class into another SI class? I bet they could have gotten enough GE families on board with that.

  184. Is that really how it is working at Flynn? I don't think they are letting people swap. Only those Spanish-speakers who had already put Flynn immersion first, and were assigned Flynn GE (not other programs). I doubt that is half the class.

  185. Flynn has opened 7 spots in their gen ed program, enough for the displaced 7 from the spanish program. So if the Flynn 7 want to switch to the gen ed, they have the option.

    I don't know how many people would want to do after how this was handled.

  186. But Spanish speakers at Flynn are NOT being given the option to just swap/switch to Spanish-immersion... Only if they put Flynn immersion as their first choice and ended up at Flynn GE, right?

  187. 1055, I think the whole point of going to Flynn is the immersion program.

    I'm not so sure the GE is any better, more interesting, or more desirable than any other middling school in this district.

  188. All they had to do was tell the whole school that they would like to add a new SI class, populated by current enrollees. And market it to GE parents who might not have otherwise considered SI. Raise your hand if you're in.

    One up SI class, one down GE class. Same kids. Same school. Done.

  189. 11:07: What a tremendously fantastic idea. But would have been probably unacceptable to K teachers at Flynn as it would have represented a loss of a job to one of the teachers.

  190. Sending the extra K teacher on an all-expenses-paid vacation for a year instead of defending a lawsuit: priceless.

  191. 11:03: Agreed. Especially given the gen ed spots offered at high demand schools.

    11:07: Great idea. But I think 11:16 hit the problem. It would mean the gen ed teacher would lose his/her job.

    I still think the bubble class would've been the way to contain the damage to the 2 schools. The district could have given support for K-3, not the full 6 years.

    The way they handled this, may in the long run, cost more than 2 bubble classes and the resourses those schools would require.

  192. To 11:07,

    I did talk to Kim Garcia-Meze, suggesting that very idea and asking for her help since she seemed to know most of the Flynn community.

    She told me "they would oppose that idea, that it was our turn to feel what they have been feeling".

    I was shocked by the hate of her answer.

  193. Kim Garcia-Meze doesn't run the show.

  194. Turning a GE class into a SI class would have the same problems as a bubble class: That class would need a brand new SI teacher, equipped to teach a new grade, each year as the class advanced.

  195. Isn't Flynn the only school in SFUSD to be applying the I.B.O. curriculum?

    To me, that would make the GE track very attractive.

    It is an inquiry-based approach that is quite popular in top private schools around the world.

  196. I have my doubts as to your conversation with Kim G-M.

    I think you are looking for excuses to berate her.

    You didn't even get her name right!

    BTW: She's just a Flynn parent. Chill...

  197. Turning a GE class into a SI class would have the same problems as a bubble class: That class would need a brand new SI teacher, equipped to teach a new grade, each year as the class advanced.

    This is what they are offering at Webster.

  198. Plus a bubble class doesn't leave a trail. A converted class continues, K after K

  199. For those of you that agree about the scope of the problem (how the district is handling the Flynn/Alvarado situation) but disagree about the solution (advocating for keeping extra spots open for the waitpools this year), I hope you will consider signing our petition anyway (

    Your personal comments go at the TOP of the petition, so you can make it clear what kind of solution you would like, and the more signatures we have, the greater the possibility that the District will listen to us and agree to a meeting to not just try to find the path of least resistance in its "solution".

    So far this morning, 22 people have signed, which I think is a good beginning number, but we certainly could have more signatures if everyone who is upset about this issue were to sign!

    Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions!

  200. If SI is a good option for Spanish speaking kids -- an option that they have been systematically, or programatically, or culturally steered away from -- why not start fixing it at ground zero? To Flynn GE families: Did you know...? Do you feel...? Would you like...?