Saturday, August 9, 2008

Frustrated with the lottery system? Speak up in a survey.

The letter below is from SF K Files visitor Abigail Marks, who has put together a survey aimed at quantifying the opinions parents have about the SFUSD's public school lottery system. Marks has a social science background, and she plans to pass her survey results on to the district.

*****

Hi:

I just put together a survey meant to evaluate the experience of those of us who participated in the San Francisco public school lottery this year, to get a sense of what aspects of the enrollment process need to be changed, and to poll people about their preference for some sort of neighborhood component to the assignment process.

Here is a link to the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=I5MUhfoq_2bchh4XyVGeg64w_3d_3d.

The survey is an informal one, and by no means comprehensive. It is not official in any way. It's meant mostly to get a pulse of what people are thinking about the process, and to point a way to some possible changes for the future. Responses are anonymous. We will share the results with the District and with as many families in the community as are interested. Please forward it to as many people as you can! The more responses we get, the more reliable the data we collect will be!

Thanks!

Best,
Abby

37 comments:

  1. I'm definitely up past my bedtime, but I just discovered a cool website called Wordle that lets you make a visual word cloud out of the words used in any text or website...I pasted in the SF K Files blog and here's the visual image of what we've been discussing:

    The SF K Files Wordle

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  2. that is so funny--i can't see the image, but what a great concept! is there a better link?

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  3. You'll need the latest Java...click here to download it:

    http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp

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  4. That is an incredible image. In the middle of the whole mess -- Flynn, Alvarado, re-assigned, waiting -- is why we are doing this:

    families

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  5. Better yet, speak up at a BOE meeting.

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  6. Kate - For those of us lucky enough to have a school to go to. Do you have any more thoughts on getting ready for starting Kinder? Only a week to go. I still have uniform, backpack and lunchbag to buy as well as lunch to plan, morning routine to get into....I'm in denial.
    I am also not looking forward to giving up my family's spontaneous lifestyle (out of season long travels and vacations, fun days out, late nights staying up or late mornings lying in) to the school district for the next 20 years. Anyone else feeling a bit blue?

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  7. Right there in Denial with you, too. We've been sleeping in every morning (8am) telling ourselves that tomorrow we'll do a trial run of getting up at 6am. ulp.

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  8. I'm in so much denial that it is sad!
    I'm so torn which waitpool to go into as we have no assignment right now. However my dilemma is should i pick the 8.40 which i really want or the better school (stats wise)!! My daughter will be fine getting up and ready i just don't know if i will! it means getting up a whole hour earlier, that is early. Also i have nothing bought for my daughter as i don't know what she needs. Help..................

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  9. lunchbox, backpack, uniforms if it is a uniform school--don't buy anything else until the teacher tells you what you need.

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  10. There will be 4 BOE slots up for grabs in November's election. If you're sick and tired of the same old progressive bulls--t on the BOE DON'T vote for Lopez or Fewer.

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  11. For that matter, don't vote for Norman Yee either. What exactly has this guy, or any other so-called progressive, done in the past 4 years to make things better? The progs have controlled the BOE since November 2004 when Yee got elected, with Mar as BOE President in 2005, Yee in 2006, and Sanchez in 2007 and 2008. In that time, they have failed to fix a broken student assignment system, which finally went into total meltdown this year, but which has been causing headaches for new parents for several years. They have done nothing to close the achievement gap, which they claim to care so much about, or to achieve the desegregation they all so dearly love. They have voted to shut down JROTC despite the pleas of hundreds of students who thrive in the program (and you can thank Norman Yee for casting the 4th and decisive vote to pull the plug.) They have squandered tens of thousands of dollars on a small high school (June Jordan) which, according to yesterday's Chronicle, has experienced the largest drops in their standardized test scores of any school over the past 5 years, with only 13% of their students now testing proficient in English and just 2% proficient in math!

    Time to vote these incompetents out.

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  12. Yee is typically the swing vote between the moderate and progressive wings of the BOE. As such, he might be useful to keep.

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  13. Speaking of things the current board majority hasn't done, what have they ever done for special ed kids? Where is their "social justice"?

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  14. Middle-class families are clearly not the Progressive's constituency. However, having Progressives on the BOE does give a voice to their constituencies (UESF=teacher's union, SEIU) who need representation as well. What annoys me is the Progressives' posturing over issues which seem not terribly important to the schools (adding bike racks, denouncing war, banning irradiated meat which isn't served anyway) but are likely to appeal to the Progressive base in the city and raise their profiles for future BOS races.

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  15. Why do the unions need to be represented on the school board? Shouldn't the school board be making decisions based on what is best for the students, not best for the teachers or the janitors?

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  16. All stakeholders want to have representation on the BOE, and the teachers and custodians are stakeholders in the SFUSD. As a parent, I do feel that parents have not had sufficient representation on this Progressive-dominated BOE and hope that their views would be better represented on a future BOE. Certainly a new lottery system is something that we need sooner rather than later and hasn't seemed to be a priority to the BOE for the past few years. OTOH, UESF and SEIU contracts have been settled favorably and potentially disruptive strikes averted.

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  17. Teachers, Principals, school secretaries, lunch ladies, and janitors all have their unions to represent their interests. Who do parents and students have? Only the school board.

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  18. "Speaking of things the current board majority hasn't done, what have they ever done for special ed kids? Where is their "social justice"?"

    What have they done? They censored the parent special ed advisory council's newsletter, said they would only send it out if they agreed with everything the parents wrote. Really sucks, huh?

    The special ed council is also mostly white and asian, so when they gave their yearly report to the board of ed the board of ed members didn't say anything about the report they made, all they wanted to talk about (and each one had to make a little speech about it) was how the council did not reflect SFUSD's diverse population. I thought that was so rude to the parents who volunteer their time, they had to just sit there and listen to those posers basically saying 'we aren't interested in your report because you are all white and chinese."

    Social Justice is just the latest "excellence for all" hype. They don't mean it, they don't care about doing what's right.

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  19. "social justice" = treat white kids as 2nd class citizens.

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  20. I will not vote for anyone who uses any of the following buzzwords:
    "equity"
    "diversity"
    "segregation"
    "social justice"
    and my new favorite
    "joyful learners"
    There is nothing "joyful" about calculus, but it sure is helpful to have taken it if you want to get into a good University. Not everything about school has to be fun fun fun all the time. All that self-esteem business is so 20th century!

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  21. What about "active and engaged"?

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  22. re @7:28, I hope the pendulum doesn't swing too hard the other way and that equity, social justice, etc. not considered at all. It is certainly daunting to think about how to run a school district to meet the needs of such a diverse population of kids, particularly those who are advantaged and/or high-performing AND those who are not. More balance would be nice, I agree, and absolutely more representation of current parents, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

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  23. With the large number of 20-somethings who know little about the BOE and just vote the SF Guardian's "clean slate" it's hard to imagine the pendulum swinging too much the other way.

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  24. But is the baby a joyful learner?

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  25. Perhaps a joyful drooler?

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  26. Sick of the so-called progressives (funny, I used to consider myself a progressive -- until I moved to SF and learned that "progressive" meant opposing restrictions on smoking in public areas because of the disproportionate effect it has on people for whom sitting in parks and smoking is a fundamental expression of their culture...)? Think that the teachers already have their own vehicle for advocating for their needs? Then ignore the UESF endorsements the other night, or at least one of them, and VOTE FOR EMILY MURASE! The UESF messed up -- Jaynry Mak has no experience in the schools -- zippo -- and, to boot, has a past of questionable fundraising. This is a political stepping stone.

    Emily Murase, on the other hand, is a smart, well-respected, committed CURRENT PARENT who endured a school closure/reconstitution as a parent. She has experience and good sense.

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  27. The UESF endorses candidates they feel will best serve their union's interest. Such candidates may or may not be in the best interest of SFUSD parents.

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  28. a parent, not a teacherAugust 23, 2008 at 1:08 AM

    This was posted on the sfschools Yahoo group RE: UESF's selection of Jaynry Mak over Emily Murase:

    Here's how this went down.
    There was a run-off for the fourth spot between Jaynry and Emily
    Murase. UESF went with Jaynry because A) her old boss Lantos - bless
    his heart and rest his soul - was a strong supporter of LABOR
    (http://www.sfbuildingtradescouncil.org/content/view/183/34/) and B)
    because Jaynry had campaign history and had shown her political prowess.

    Pay no mind that Jaynry has ZERO SFUSD history, while Murase was a
    champion of Prop A and a constant advocate for families via the Dept
    on Status of Women.

    In the most blatant gut-wrenching display and abuse of special intrest in action, UESF chose the best political resume over the best
    education resume. They chose the power player with the power agenda
    who might best give THEM power elsewhere up the political food chain, rising up which is the only thing Jaynry has an interest.

    Absolutely sick, and proof of where their hearts and minds are.

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  29. Yes, that Janray Mak is "Ed Jew: The Sequel."

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  30. UESF isn't even interested in candidates who might promote the interests of ALL teachers; they only care about the old fogey teachers who have been at their posts for a million years. Protecting seniority for those teachers is the name of the game, and new young teachers can go hang. Parents should make up their own minds about whether the BOE candidates are going to best serve the interests of the students, or whether they are just going to kowtow to labor.

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  31. As a parent, I would certainly agree that it is best to read up on each candidate and ignore the endorsements of Coleman Advocates, UESF, etc etc. They all have their own political agenda and it may not be aligned to what is really best for the middle 70%-80% of the school population, of which you/your child may fall.
    In a nutshell, watch out for the special agendas.

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  32. What the candidates themselves say about their own positions is SO much more important than what the unions or other special interest groups say about them. We need people on our school board who will keep in mind that the purpose of school is for students to learn, not to provide job security for teachers or janitors. They should be concerned about every student, not just students who have a non profit dedicated to their welfare.

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  33. 10:00 good observation, because it is hard to wade through all of this information.

    One person mentioned they would not vote for anyone who spoke all the right buzzwords, and that brought to mind that I would want someone with just plain common sense, but I guess if you had common sense you probably wouldn't run for BOE!

    Arguably, there are many noble goals out there but seems a lot gets lost in implementation and at times, it seems these buzzwords/goals are taken beyond common sense and take on a meaning of their own. And if anyone dares to question it, whapp, bam, the person is shut down with various labeling, and all conversation in public ceases. Though in private, people still think their own thoughts, and all none for the better in the end.

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  34. FYI, many of the current BOE candidates (Fewer, Khalif, Murase, Norton, Wynns and Yee + Davis who has since quit the race) have posted answers to the Democratic Party Candidate Questionnaire here:
    http://tinyurl.com/5w7orn

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  35. I *heart* Rachel Norton. She has been the voice of reason as a frequent commenter on this very blog and a long-time SFUSD parent and advocate.

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  36. Some people are saying, vote for this person or that person because they have kids in the schools who will be impacted by the decisions the board makes. Hmmm, maybe so, but does anyone really believe that a couple of years from now, if Jaynry Mak gets elected, she will be sitting there in a wait pool on the day before school starts, having gone 0/15 and assigned to John Muir? Somehow, I don't think the kids of BOE members experience the school district snafus the same way the rest of us do.

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