Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A letter from Carmen Chu

Note: This letter was forwarded to me by an SF K Files visitor.

Hi:

I wanted to invite you to attend a meeting on Thursday, August 7th to speak
on legislation I introduced at the Board of Supervisors, urging the School
District to reconsider its current school assignment process and
incorporate geographic considerations when assigning students to schools.

As you know, many students have been placed at schools far away from their
homes due to the current school assignment system - which was originally
designed to increase diversity in schools. However, after several years of
this system, a recent Civil Grand Jury report found that our schools are
not actually more diverse and are still segregated.

The school district currently takes into consideration a student's:
- socioeconomic status
- home language use
- academic achievement score
- extreme poverty level
- Academic Performance Index rank of the students' previous school

None of these criteria include considerations of where a student lives in
relation to the school that they are being assigned to. I am asking that
the School District at the very least consider incorporating one additional
component to the list of criteria, which is a student's home location
relative to their school assignment.

On Thursday, August 7th, this legislation will be heard in City Hall, Room
263 at the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee at 1:00 PM.
If you are a parent or know of anyone who has experienced any difficulties
with their child's school assignment, we encourage you to share your
concerns during the public comment period at this meeting.

-----------------------
Legislation urging school district to reconsider school assignment process
at City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee
Thursday, August 7 @ 1:00 PM
Room 263, City Hall
http://www.sfgov.org/site/bdsupvrs_page.asp?id=85787
-----------------------

Please feel free to contact my office if you have any additional questions
at (415) 554-7460


Carmen Chu
SF Board of Supervisors
District 4
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl.
SF, CA 94102
(415) 554-7460
www.sfgov.org/chu

130 comments:

  1. How is it that neither the Grand Jury, nor the BOS, know that there is a neighborhood preference under the current system? My understanding is that the neighborhood preference doesn't outweigh the other diversity factors, but it does give an applicant a better chance at being assigned to the neighborhood school, assuming it was listed as the applicant's first choice. So, it's not true that the current process doesn't consider the neighborhood factor.

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  2. Would geography become a factor for immersion programs, too?

    If so, count me out.

    We're unlikely to move to the Noe/Mission/Bernal/Potrero neighborhoods just to get a shot at language immersion.

    But will we have to?

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  3. Resident of SE quadrantAugust 5, 2008 at 10:19 PM

    Ms. Chu is pandering to her Sunset constituents, who strongly favor neighborhood schools; such sentiments are not so strong in Central and Eastern neighborhoods of SF. And, yes, assignment area IS taken into account in the current assignment program, as is the diversity index.

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  4. Wait a minute, I've brought up the whole neighborhood preference thing in a few postings here, because it keeps popping up as if it exist, then I was told each time that it didn't exist. So, does it or doesn't exist? I'm thoroughly confused now.

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  5. From the SFUSD web site on enrollment:

    How the Student Assignment System Works

    1. After placement of younger siblings and students with program needs, the system looks at all grades/programs where there are more requests than seats available and counts how many seats are available.

    2. The system averages the "profiles" of all the pre-assigned students to create a "base profile" for the program/grade.

    3. The system divides the students who have requested the program/grade into two groups: students who live in the schools’ attendance area and students who live outside the schools’ attendance area.

    4. The system selects students living in the attendance area and assigns the student whose profile is the most different from the base profile in the grade/program.

    5. The base profile is recalculated, to include the profile of the student just assigned.

    6. The system recalculates how many seats remain for assignment, and the process is repeated until students from the attendance area no longer contribute diversity to the base profile or no more seats remain for additional placements.

    7. When students from the attendance area no longer contribute to the diversity of the base profile, all students who requested the grade/program are considered for assignment.

    8. The system recalculates the base profile by including the profile of the last student assigned and assigns a student whose profile is the most different from the base profile.

    9. This process continues until there are no more seats available.

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  6. Neighborhood 'preference' seems to be at work on my block in bernal. Every single family on my block was placed, over the last four years, in J Serra (bilingual, not SI). This year that's were my child was placed, despite Fairmount and Flynn SI programs being on my list. Serra was not.

    What's apparently happening in Bernal is that the district is forcibly trying to diversify Serra and Revere by enforcing neighborhood preference in certain situations.

    So no, to the anonymous poster at 10:08, you dont need to move to this part of town to get language immersion, because a lot of us didnt get it.

    Still 0/15...

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  7. is anybody giving j. serra or revere a chance this year? i ask because yes, call me a big fat lemming, but i might give j. serra a go if i knew there would be a decent-size influx of new parent energy. we're 0/15 as well and assigned there. we tried to get out son into Flynn SI, but he flunked the test(and yes, i know they really need to get real spanish speakers in there, but i also think Flynn could stand some more bilingual families, who could help connect the two communities; in fact, didn't they kick out a bilingual family? Trujillo?). After Archie told me Flynn was a no go, he shifted into plugging Webster mode and J. Serra, saying they've gotten tons of interest in it. But I've yet to hear from an assigned family who says they're going to send their kid there. (With Archie, I kinda felt like I was dealing with a used car salesman -- i know you'd really like this Mercedes (well, in flynn's case, more like subaru outback), but can i interest you in this second-hand chevy aveo?

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  8. I'm giving Revere a go. And I know of a couple others that are, too. We're hot to help make a change there. I think its going to be really good.

    Oh, and I live in the Bayview. I wonder if I'm in Revere's attendance area; I don't know. But it was our second choice, and we got it.

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  9. joy - PR was your second choice in round 1 or 2?

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. I am not so sure how the "attendance area" preference has any bearing on assignments. This whole system is a mess.

    The Civil Grand Jury Report speaks to the values of neighborhood schools and the benefits to the communities, and the children overall. They have many examples of other successful school districts and how having children/families going to school in their own neighborhoods, and how they are more likely to be committed and involved in their community and support their schools and children.

    Read the whole report at
    http://www.sfgov.org/site/courts_page.asp?id=3680
    Open the PDF under "San Francisco Kindergarten Admissions - Back to the Drawing Board"

    Not to mention it's better for the environment.

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  12. I agree that the system is a mess, but it is irresponsible having a Newsom appointee who is up for re-election spreading misinformation to parents just to get votes.

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  13. It seems pretty clear from this blog that geography does play a part -- if you don't get one of your top choices. Seems like most kids in the Bernal area who didn't get one of their choices got assigned to either Paul Revere or J. Serra (both neighborhood schools.) A computer can't really factor in whether you would have wanted those schools or not. And, the school has to have openings.

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  14. What do you expect from a Newsom appointee? All pandering, press releases, no substance.

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  15. Has anyone seen this? http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/default.cfm?page=home.spotlight_more1

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  16. Wait pools are up on sfusd.

    Anyone get good news?

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  17. "Has anyone seen this? http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/default.cfm?page=home.spotlight_more1"

    "Social Justice" in SFUSD?
    Yeah, right. We're not gonna hold our breath waiting for it.

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  18. http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/default.cfm?page=home.spotlight_more1

    Highlights from the SFUSD announcement:


    Tony Smith, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice, oversaw the creation of the plan, which features a scorecard for the district."

    SOCIAL JUSTICE? PLEASE DEFINE?!

    "SFUSD is at the beginning of a multi-year effort to create systems centered around three primary goals - access and equity, achievement, and accountability."

    EQUITY?

    LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT!LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT! LAWSUIT!

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  19. I cannot believe this double-talk and BS:


    School Board Adopts New Plan for District
    On May 28, 2008, the San Francisco School Board voted to adopt a new five-year strategic plan that places equity, student achievement and accountability at the forefront.

    School Board President Mark Sanchez said, "This plan is a roadmap for how SFUSD will bridge the gap between our high achieving students and our low performing students. It states, front and center, 'every child has the right to be well educated.'"

    Tony Smith, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice, oversaw the creation of the plan, which features a scorecard for the district. The "balanced scorecard" framework was created by Robert Norton and David Kaplan for use in for-profit business environments and has since been adapted by other school districts across the country.

    "The Balanced Scorecard is a planning and accountability tool that has led to great results in other urban districts across the country. It is a strategic management system that translates vision into specific, measurable outcomes," said Dr. Smith.

    'SFUSD is at the beginning of a multi-year effort to create systems centered around three primary goals - access and equity, achievement, and accountability.'

    "Over the next year, each stakeholder group in the district will have a scorecard. Last night the Board of Education agreed to its scorecard, now each of our schools and district departments will begin creating theirs," added Smith.


    According to the plan, titled "Beyond the Talk: Taking Action to Educate Every Child Now," the district has three initiatives to organize its efforts.

    The Performance Management Initiative will increase the personal and professional capacity of every employee in SFUSD. Building on the idea that everyone, from students to the superintendent, must have the resources, information, and support they need to do well, SFUSD is designing and implementing a comprehensive system of performance management directly connected to the balanced scorecard.

    The Equity-Centered Professional Learning Initiative will create and sustain professional learning communities.

    "This initiative will develop the conditions and structures within SFUSD to challenge all forms of inequity and develop opportunities for staff to learn from each other," said Smith.

    The third initiative is called the 21st Century Curriculum Initiative. This initiative is about assuring that classroom instruction is personalized, relevant, meaningful and engaging for each student. To create socially conscious and globally competitive students, technological literacy and critical thinking skills will be embedded in the curriculum and in all the subjects that compose this broader, more rigorous curriculum.

    Superintendent Carlos Garcia expects that people will see schools improve.

    "San Francisco and the American public recognize the urgency to move our education system into the 21st century. Our system is not keeping pace with our kids' aspirations. Right now we are educating children for a world that doesn't exist anymore. As we implement this initiative, you will see that change."
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  20. OMG - Carmen Chu and Mark Sanchez Board of Education.

    Both Carmen Chu and Mark Sanchez seem so out of touch? Carmen's proposal is a waste of everyone's time (if all schools were great - we'd all go to our neighborhood school. End of story. Move on.)

    Mark Sanchez and the School Board's strategic plan - Where is the funding to implement this plan?

    I wish our elected officials would spend more energy listening to the needs identified by the existing advocacy groups - Like the Parents for Public Schools, for example.

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  21. About the assignment area preference: in our experience (and in talking to the EPC) this is effectively nill. What happens is: siblings are assigned first to kindergarten classes. Then there is the general "lottery". If you are substantially different in the diversity index from all of the siblings already assigned to the class, you have a slight preference in being chosen if you list your neighborhood school first.

    What this means in practice is that, if most of the siblings did not go to preschool and are from families on general assistance, and your child did go to preschool and is not receiving aid, you will have a slightly better chance at going to that school. If most of the siblings already placed in the school did go to preschool and do not get government financial assistance, and that is your situation as well, you will not be chosen in favor of someone else who fits that profile farther down on the list.

    In other words: if you live in an impoverished neighborhood and are not impoverished and wish to go to the neighborhood school, you may have a slight edge. If you are living in poverty and live in a wealthy neighborhood and wish to go to a neighborhood school, you may have an advantage. You have to be different (not in ethnicity, but in terms of poverty) from the families already attending the school in order to have any sort of neighborhood preference. And yes, you can live in a working class neighborhood and most of the families will not qualify for the diversity index's definition of poverty...

    If one or both parent speak a language other than English at home, you may have an advantage as well (as long as this is not the case for most of the siblings already placed in the school).

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  22. Because there is not enough Chinese control in SF schools:

    Galileo 69% Asian, Garfield 79% Asian, Giannini 70% Asian, Jefferson, 70% Asian, F.S. Key 77% Asian, Lawton 74% Asian, Lincoln 69% Asian, Lowell, 69% Asian, Marina, 69% Asian, McCoppin, 70% Asian, Parker 83% Asian, Sutro, 77% Asian, Stevenson, 77% Asian, W. Portal 68% Asian, Ulloa, 75% Asian.

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  23. 10:59 AM wrote:

    "If one or both parent speak a language other than English at home, you may have an advantage as well."

    This is de facto discrimination against white and African-American children.

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  24. Carmen Chu and Mark Sanchez are not going to listen to anyone but other Chinese people and La Raza, respectively.

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  25. Better schools are formed from community support, interest and care. They build communities, people get to know eachother and work together in the interest of their children and neighbors. I am all for local schools.

    Why would I care about a school down the street if no one in my area goes to that school.

    Local schools are the way to go.

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  26. Chu and Sanchez will listen to folks in districts 4 and 9 I would imagine.

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  27. In fact, I talked to Mark Sanchez for quite a while about the situation of those of us who didn't get Round I or Round II choices, currently in waitpools and he was quite responsive. He said that he had already talked to the superintendent about various solutions (including keeping extra spots open for those of us in the waitpools) and would meet again this week to talk to him again about this.

    I live in Carmen Chu's district and she has always seemed open and quite responsive to the concerns of all Sunset residents without regard to ethnicity (why wouldn't she be?).

    I am amazed sometimes at the kinds of opinions and "information" batted about on this blog anonymously...

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  28. "I live in Carmen Chu's district and she has always seemed open and quite responsive"

    perhaps, but don't you think she should at least know what she is talking about before proposing "legislation"?

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  29. Anon @ 6:14 am -

    Paul Revere was our second choice in Round 1. Buena Vista was our first.

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  30. I agree. She sends out this letter, gets it all wrong, and could not even manage to take two seconds to look at the SFUSD website to see how the assignment system is actually set up.
    I won't vote for her.

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  31. Lets assume the all the powers that be jump aboard this legistlation. Does anyone know when it could possibly take effect? next year? 5 years down the road?

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  32. I live in Carmen Chu's district and she has always seemed open and quite responsive to the concerns of all Sunset residents

    seemed.

    duh

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  33. All of the white kids in the Sunset go to parochial or privates anyway.

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  34. I agree partly with 12:17pm
    all the kids except mine go to private schools. I live on street with about 15 or more school kids and they all go to private. Most because they could not get into the local school because either they are Asian or income is right in the middle.

    LAME SYSTEM

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  35. Lam system, agreed. And they're doing such a good job on their #1 educational priority, DIVERSITY. Good thing so much money goes into the diversity indexing:

    Galileo 69% Asian, Garfield 79% Asian, Giannini 70% Asian, Jefferson, 70% Asian, F.S. Key 77% Asian, Lawton 74% Asian, Lincoln 69% Asian, Lowell, 69% Asian, Marina, 69% Asian, McCoppin, 70% Asian, Parker 83% Asian, Sutro, 77% Asian, Stevenson, 77% Asian, W. Portal 68% Asian, Ulloa, 75% Asian.

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  36. Right, so being a middle-class Asian is the worst scenario. I wonder where the majority of that demographic lives, my guess is in District 4.

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  37. SFUSD's motto: "We put non-English speaking immigrants first!"

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  38. Nope, SFUSD's motto:
    "We don't listen to anybody -- we're bureaucrats -- we don't have to!"

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  39. Do we all agree that forced integration is not working.

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  40. nah, the motto is "If you are white & educated, you have a duty to send your child across town on MUNI so she can go to school in the projects!"

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  41. 12:49 If you are white you should apply to your favorite school and you should get in, as the % show less that 35% of the school is non-asian.

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  42. Of course forced integration is NOT working - does anyone know how the USD plans to comply with last year's Supreme Ct. ruling that says diversity is NOT a compelling interest in elementary school assignments? case name: PARENTS INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY SCHOOLS v. SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 et al.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/washington/29scotus.html

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  43. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/
    washington/29scotus.html

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  44. 12:51 PM - you wrote: 12:49 If you are white you should apply to your favorite school and you should get in, as the % show less that 35% of the school is non-asian.


    Please explain. Thanks.

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  45. Well... I'm not even sure that I'm voting for Carmen Chu yet, but I don't think it's fair to say that she got things wrong in her letter. It is true that where you live has no weight in where you are assigned to school (except in circumstances where you are quite distinct from those that attend your neighborhood school) --please see my above post.

    And, please! there are plenty of white families that send their kids to public schools in the Sunset. In fact, of the families I know, most are going (or attempting to go) public.

    Where are you getting your "information" from?

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  46. 12:56, if the admission is calculated to diversify race and economic status and the school is already 70% asian of middle class, then they would not want anymore asian middle class, they would want white, black, hispanic, martian rich and poor.

    Right?

    Of course, how did it get that 70% in the first place? maybe 70% of all school kids are asian?

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  47. Oh, PLEASE. Go by any school playground in the Sunset -- or Richmond Dist. for that matter -- and 9/10 times you will not see ONE white kid.

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  48. Galileo 69% Asian, Garfield 79% Asian, Giannini 70% Asian, Jefferson, 70% Asian, F.S. Key 77% Asian, Lawton 74% Asian, Lincoln 69% Asian, Lowell, 69% Asian, Marina, 69% Asian, McCoppin, 70% Asian, Parker 83% Asian, Sutro, 77% Asian, Stevenson, 77% Asian, W. Portal 68% Asian, Ulloa, 75% Asian.

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  49. Show me one SF public school where more than 37-40% is white. Does it exist?

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  50. The SFUSD website has information about every school, and under "profile" you can see exactly how many children are designated "white" (or OW) "Chinese, Latino, etc. attend each and every school.

    For instance, Daniel Webster has TWO Caucasian children going to it.

    Where you live IS ALREADY A FACTOR in school assignment.

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  51. School demographic information:

    http://tinyurl.com/vjly8

    Some SFUSD schools that are more than 40% Caucausian:

    Miraloma
    Grattan
    Creative Arts

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  52. The SFUSD site is out of date. Look at Greatschools.net for up to date information.

    Grattan: White, not Hispanic 34%
    Asian 19%
    African American, not Hispanic 18%
    Multiple or No Response 14% Hispanic or Latino 12%
    Filipino 2%
    American Indian or Alaska Native <1%

    http://tinyurl.com/66yn7r

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  53. Does anyone know of a good place to see the demographic make up of the city per district?

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  54. Those Grattan stats are startling. When we started the SFUSD stats were accurate.

    K-2 (at the school) has a larger white/ow population than 3-5. It's amazing how fast it changed.

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  55. Gee Ms-know-it-all

    No,the SFUSD information is more current than the useless greatschools site ...

    the greatschools information is from 2006-2007

    SFUSD information is from 2007-2008

    it does not reflect the new school year though, but greatschools is the one with outdated info

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  56. Also, please note, that many kids in the "DECLINED TO STATE" category are also white/causcasian.

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  57. "Also, please note, that many kids in the "DECLINED TO STATE" category are also white/causcasian."

    "many" - how do you know this?

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  58. 11:16 -- They used to strive for one-third Spanish-dominant, one-third English-dominant and one-third bilingual.

    But even under that formula, it sounds as if your child would be grouped into English-dominant since he has strong receptive Spanish skills but is much more comfortable speaking in English.

    The "bilinguals" they looked for under that formula are balanced bilinguals who are equally comfortable conversing in both languages and can serve as language role models in both languages.

    My understanding is they couldn't find enough bilingual students who fit that mold, so they changed the formula to 50/50.

    Unfortunately, that reduced the number of spots for Spanish-speakers (both Spanish dominant and bilingual) from 66% to 50%. It is a shame, because even if they *did* attain 50/50, the results would not be as strong for the English-dominant students than if it were by thirds.

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  59. anonymous 1:04 (Go by any school playgound in the Sunset and 9/10 times you will not see one white kid)

    This is no longer true of the lower grades. If you look at the 3-5th grade classes there are few white kids. But at Sunset alone last year one K class had 10 white kids and I believe another one had 6 or 7. As for the incoming K class, there are at least 12 white kids that I know of.

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  60. 1:31, Grow up and stop with the name calling.

    Grattan Stats from SFUSD:

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/default.cfm?page=es.grattan.stu_demographics

    However, it's up to date here:

    http://orb.sfusd.edu/profile/prfl-589.htm

    The SFUSD has conflicting information on their site.

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  61. Guess what - It isn't such a picnic being a middle class white person in San Francisco.

    The school board is run by Mark Sanchez, green party. My district (9) is run by Tom Ammiano, green party, low-income housing advocate. The district that begins a block from my house is run by Chris Daly (no need to explain). My neighborhood is devoid of development due to the moratorium imposed by the Board of Sups lead by Daly and Ammiano. I have a porn studio (kink.com in the former armory) in my neighborhood (and blocks from Marshall school) because of anti-development efforts led by Daly and green party friends.

    Turns out that this blog is one place that people can actually say what is on their mind without fear. I do not think that the Board of Education or the Board of Supervisors, elected officials, serve the needs of middle-class SF residents that happen to be caucasian.

    It's not about "keeping families in SF", it's about serving ALL of your constituents, many who are middle-class and who can not afford private school.

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  62. Tom Ammiano is a Democrat and a former teacher. When he served on the Board of Education, he was very helpful to my daughter (with a disability) who was struggling to be included.

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  63. Research indicates that if you are middle-class and college educated, your kids are likely to do well academically even if they end up at a sub-par school.

    That doesn't mean anyone in their right mind should settle for a sub-par school, but that is what the research indicates.

    Family background is a much stronger factor when it comes to those kids.

    HOWEVER, that same research shows that when it comes to kids from low-income, uneducated backgrounds, WHERE they go to school can make a HUGE difference in how they do academically.

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  64. You think immigrant and poor kids come first?

    Is *that* why so many of them are assigned to John Muir, Bryant and other schools middle class families won't even visit on tours?

    Why for *years* they have been shut out of the best-regarded Spanish-immersion programs even though those programs needed more Spanish speakers to maintain the integrity (and success rates) of the programs?

    Really?

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  65. Only 23 percent of school age kids in San Francisco are caucasian...

    But most of the white, middle-class families I know want to be in schools with twice as many ;-)

    There's something funky w/that picture, too...

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  66. I think the middle class has been voting with their feet for many years and choosing private. As the tuition for privates increases farther and farther into the stratosphere, many people have no choice but to send their kids to public and are finding that even if they do everything right (choose 7 schools, choose schools "off the radar", choose schools where they might offer economic diversity (i.e., Moscone, Marshall)), they are finding themselves still with no school.

    I don't know why people on this blog keep touting Bryant as a super accessible school. Last time I checked, Bryant had a waitlist too.

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  67. There's City statistics and SFUSD statistics ...


    in SFUSD, the breakdown of students is:

    White 9.6%
    African American: 12.4%
    Latino: 22 %
    Chinese: 31.9%

    and assorted others :)

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  68. Can we stop acting like the middle-class is a category recognized by the district? It isn't. Whether you make $50k or $250k the district treats you the same. Best I can tell there are two financial categories: getting some form of public assistance and not. And as we all know, if your income level is low enough to qualify for public assistance and you are trying to live in San Francisco, you are poor, really poor.

    Also, the district does not use race as a factor in assignments. The computer does not differentiate between an Asian, white, black, etc child who attended preschool, has english as a dominant language, isn't receiving public assistance, and whose mother graduated from high school. It seems to me that the problem is that there are just a heck of a lot of us in that category, more so than in any other category so it feels like we're being wrongly excluded.

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  69. does anyone know the exact weights of the admissions program? for instance, is there only 2 economic categories? race compared to economics?

    Also a show of hands, how many have kids in a public school? live in what district?

    1 kid in public pre-k and district 4

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  70. race isn't part of the current SFUSD admission diversity index.

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  71. Then how is the "base" profile created?

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  72. 2:37, they also factor in zip code, combined with the other factors you mentioned.

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  73. "race isn't part of the current SFUSD admission diversity index."

    That is because it is against the law to use race. They aren't allowed to use race as a factor. they WISH they could use race as a factor.
    How they can desegregate schools, without using race as a factor is beyond me.

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  74. Again, does anyone know how they make the base profile of a student? beyond the attendance area factor

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  75. "Neighborhood 'preference' seems to be at work on my block in bernal. Every single family on my block was placed, over the last four years, in J Serra (bilingual, not SI). This year that's were my child was placed, despite Fairmount and Flynn SI programs being on my list. Serra was not.

    What's apparently happening in Bernal is that the district is forcibly trying to diversify Serra and Revere by enforcing neighborhood preference in certain situations."

    It's hard to defend the assignment process as being halfway rational these days, but that aside, there actually is a pretty simple explanation. If you don't get a school you request (because as you know, Fairmount and Flynn have more applicants than seats), the computer assigns you to the closest school to you, geographically, that has openings. Since J. Serra and Paul Revere are undersubscribed schools, lots of Bernal families who didn't get the schools they requested are assigned there.

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  76. Sheesh -- you folks really should learn how to use a search engine.

    From SFUSD's website:

    The Student Assignment System Factors

    These are the five factors and accompanying questions SFUSD uses to create each student’s profile.

    • Extreme Poverty: Does the student live in public housing? Is the student a foster youth? Does the family participate in a homeless program?

    • Socioeconomic Status: Does the student participate in any of the following programs: free/reduced lunch, CalWORKS, and/or public housing?

    • Home Language: Is English the student’s home language? This is determined by the answers to the Home Language Survey on the application form.

    • Academic Performance Rank of Sending School: Is the Academic Performance Index ranking of the student’s current school 4 or above? The California Department of Education ranks every public school in California by academic performance, and assigns each school an Academic Performance Index (API). Note: this factor is excluded for Kindergartners.

    • Academic Achievement Status:

    - Incoming Kindergartners: Did the student attend preschool?

    - Students entering grades 1-12: Did the student score above or below the thirtieth (30th) percentile on the most recent standardized test of record?

    The answers to these questions are gathered from information provided on the application form and from test score data supplied by the California Department of Education.

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  77. For the sake of my sanity, I'm going to choose to believe it's just one or two of you who think you're being persecuted for being white and middle class, and not the majority of posters.

    Take a look around. Are you living with 12 people crammed into a one bedroom apartment? Are you working 12 hours a day in a hot kitchen? No? It's possible that life isn't really all that bad. Yet you want to tell Asian people to clear out of a high test score school to make room for your kid? Who do you think made that school high-scoring in the first place? You want to create Spanish Immersion programs, but without any of those pesky Spanish immigrant children in there hogging the seats and maybe needing a little extra help from the teacher? Are you sure you even like living in San Francisco?

    Anyway, like I said: I'm hoping that's just one or two of you.

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  78. Thank-you 3:03. I totally agree with your sentiments.
    Also, caucasians are not an ethnic majority in SF, so its the private schools that are 70% white that are unbalanced.
    Furthermore, as a caucasian who went to public schools that were predominantly Asian (not in SF), I have to say that race was not an issue. So, for all the parents who are afraid of sending their kid to a school where not everyone looks like them, the problem is with you, not your kids. And maybe in this day and age it will be good for your kids to know what its like to not be part of the majority.

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  79. part of the immersion problem is it isn't often Spanish immigrant kids taking seats - their parents are suspicious of immersion and often have to be talked into trying it - the Spanish speakers are often kids who have college educated parents and are already bilingual - the parents want them to be biliterate too (no problem there and everyone should be welcome) but don't think that the majority of the Spanish speaking kids are immigrants - they aren't - they are kids of people who know the advantages being bilterate as well as bilingual will bring.

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  80. I don't think the computer model works as advertised.

    I tend to believe that the computer model does not prioritize diversity as advertised (i.e., seek economic balance), but prioritizes placement of those that have a "low-income" diversity element.

    Why else would there not be more economic diversity in Marshall and Moscone if people requested them in round I?

    I don't know what went on with the spanish speakers not getting assignment to the SI programs all these years.

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  81. a lot of times they didn't ask for SI I guess - does anyone else think it's suspicious that they have only the number of people they are kicking out that wanted in SI that are Spanish speaking -weird? I mean, way more English speakers ask for SI than are seats, but it just so happens that ONLY 23 Spanish speakers put it down as first choice - this whole thing seems somehow wrong and like it's done in more secrecy than we all realize

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  82. Breaking News!

    Webster opening this year and waitlist open until November 7.

    http://www.ppssf.org/Issues/Flynn_Alvarado/8-6-08_CG_waitpool_letter.pdf

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  83. how many classes are opening? it looks like Webster only has 2 K classes - that means if they are only opening one as immersion my child will only be with the same 19 other kids for their entire time in grade school - any clues on how many classes are being opened?

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  84. webster will have two GE and one spanish immersion class for fall.

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  85. 3:03

    Thanks, I agree with you, and I am a white middle class person who is offended by what a few (and maybe it is only one, and the same person) are saying.

    It seems that instead of wanting to raise bi-literate children, they'll be raising bi-ignorant ones, if that is the sort of crap they believe and talk about in their homes.

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  86. But, Carmen, location is part of the assignement process. I learned this and many other basic facts at the EPC and PPS enrollment fairs. Perhaps you should attend one.

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  87. Could it be that what Carmen Chu is proposing is that the geographical factor takes precedence or is given more weight. So unlike now, if you live in the attendance area but you no longer add to the diversity index, you get looked over and placed at another school.

    Just a thought. Maybe she was not clear in her letter because it may have been too complicated to explain.

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  88. 4:25 -- That's not correct.

    They are only opening up Flynn/Alvarado SI to Spanish-speakers in GE programs at those schools who requested Spanish immersion at Flynn and Alvarado as their 1st choice.

    But there are LOTS of Spanish-speakers who requested the SI programs at those schools -- including as their first choice -- who ended up in GE programs at other schools or in bilingual programs. They are not being given the option of joining Webster, Flynn or Alvarado SI, though there are parents trying to move SFUSD in that direction.

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  89. People, location is only nominally part of the process. Neighborhood preference effectively doesn't exist right now for the reasons described by Abigail Marks above.

    That said, many people try to get a spot at their "neighborhood" school, so it only follows that in a heavily Asian school district schools in the heavily Asian western part of the city would have many Asian kids in them. I don't really see the problem here and don't understand why someone keeps posting those statistics. Racial integration is a laudable goal, but one can only take it as far as the demographics allow.

    If only 23 percent of school-aged children in SF are white, not all of them go to public school. White, school-aged children make up less than 10 percent of the population in SFUSD schools. None of the schools are going to have many white kids in them. With 7-10 in a class, you've got A LOT of white kids relatively speaking. Even if the schools improved to the point that nearly all white children attended them, these kids will never be a majority in the classroom. Asian and Hispanic kids will. There are more of them.

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  90. Unfortunately, I'm starting to believe this blog is becoming a source for mass hysteria. I can't even summon the energy to refute the half-truths and false assumptions I've read on this thread. It's pretty disheartening.

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  91. "Even if the schools improved to the point that nearly all white children attended them,"

    whoa, that is so racist!

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  92. No... the poster is just assuming that the reason most white families opt for private school is because they don't think public schools are "good" enough for them.

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  93. Yep. If all the private schools closed down tomorrow and white kids were forced to go public, they'd still comprise only 22 percent of the students in the public school system in SF (up from 9 percent)...

    So if you are white and uncomfortable with having your kid attend school with children of other races, best to stick with private.

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  94. the sfusd doesn't use race? Hmm, they use language spoken at home. How many white families don't speak English at home?

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  95. actually the population of white kids is much higher - until its time for kindergarten, when there is a mass exodus to the suburbs, because of SF public schools.

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  96. White people speak French, German, Swedish, Dutch, spanish and many other languages you racist fool.

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  97. Yes, "white" also comes in many languages. So, yes, maybe if SFUSD did work to improve all schools and allow neighborhood preference the highest priority, then they may come close to their desired diversity. On a previous topic posted on this blog, I heard of an African American neighborhood kid getting kicked out of Alvarado. Does that make Alvarado more diverse?

    Although I think the immersion programs need special attention to achieve the correct balance, I think this great City we live in is generally very diverse, many colors, sexual orientations, religions and cultures in most every neighborhood.

    Improve ALL schools and families will have more success and pride in their neighborhood schools.

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  98. San Francisco has a sizable Russian immigrant population, too. Speak Russian at home, tend to be white, may or may not be lower income (relatively speaking).

    I'm not sure that race matters here. Socioeconomics does. People go private not because they don't want their kids to be around kids who are not the same color they are, but because they want their kids to learn with kids who have had breakfast, been read to the night before, have a relatively stable home life, are relatively well behaved, and show up mostly ready to learn.

    From what I've seen, kids like this come in all colors. And kids who don't have these advantages come in all colors, too, though in this city are disproportionately kids of color.

    More funding for state-run preschool (or free private programs for kids who qualify), would help a lot. More funding for class size reductions so that teachers could better help the kids who need extra attention get into "school mode" would help. Spoiled middle and upper-middle class people pretending to want "diversity" or whining that there is not enough diversity when racial diversity doesn't really matter IN THEIR CASE--not helping so much.

    White, black, Asian, Latino--we're all just trying to get the best education we can for our kids. Hopefully with a few other kids who look like them (this is important on many levels). Hopefully in a school with caring and experienced teachers. Hopefully in a school where teaching is happening (as opposed to crowd control). Etc.

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  99. 9:57 - well said. The diversity police is not necessarily coming from the whiney upper middle class kids. They go to private school anyway.

    I agree that socioeconomics, values matter way more than race. Yes, racists still abound (it goes all ways though -- don't for one minute anyone think that Latinos, Asians, African Americans cannot be racists too).

    Feelings of comfort by being with those who "look" like you cannot be discounted, but as an Asian, I would not want my children to go to school with other Asians who happen to be gang members and don't value education etc. I don't care what they look like. I think that can be said for the majority of the population. Speaking of "whites" -- I seriously doubt they would want their kids to attend school with the "poor white trash" even though those kids are white (though again, there are racists that see color above all else).

    I think same can be said for Latinos, African Americans etc -- for anyone who values education, they want their kids to go to school with kids who come from families that value education (ie, listen to teacher, go to school to learn and not be disruptive or think of it as a playground, read at night, learn to speak properly, etc etc).

    No race has a magic bullet that poof makes their "school" become great -- its hard work, valuing education, having a stable home environment, etc.

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  100. If only 22% of school age kids in SF are "white", they are *WAY* over-represented in private schools.

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  101. 9:57 and 10:15 - Extremely well said. I agree completely and I am indifferent to race. I would agree that typically socioeconomic status is an indicator (not an absolute) of whether or not a child will enter school somewhat prepared and with a positive approach (and support structure) for learning.

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  102. I vote to have this conversation turned in a new direction. Lets not comment on race and negatives anymore, what would you want Carmen Chu to propose?

    I want location to be the the most heavily weighted factor in admissions.

    Everyone else?

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  103. "I want location to be the the most heavily weighted factor in admissions"

    Not me - I want to be able to go beyond my neighborhood - I want choice

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  104. anyone else?

    what is the closest school to you too?

    Mine is Lawton then Sunset.

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  105. There are no immersion programs anywhere near me... wouldn't want to be shut out of them because of location.

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  106. We hope to move in 2-3 years, so we'd rather look at schools in the areas we are hoping to move to, than be locked into attending a neighborhood school.

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  107. My next door neighbor sends her kids to school across town since that is where her Mother-in-law lives and she watches the kids after school.

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  108. I want choice.

    I thought the reason that some of the public schools were getting "turned around" and improving was due to the market effect of the choice system (i.e., if you offered a good, improving program, more families would select your school, more students, more funding, etc.)

    The converse is that people had a choice not to attend an under-performing neighborhood school, forcing the school to improve or risk closure.

    The system is is not perfect but frankly there are not enough spots for all the people at the neighborhood school (they are not going to add classrooms to accomodate all the neighbors that want to attend Miraloma or Alvarado). I do not know how this plan is feasible.

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  109. I want choice.

    I thought the reason that some of the public schools were getting "turned around" and improving was due to the market effect of the choice system (i.e., if you offered a good, improving program, more families would select your school, more students, more funding, etc.)

    The converse is that people had a choice not to attend an under-performing neighborhood school, forcing the school to improve or risk closure.

    The system is is not perfect but frankly there are not enough spots for all the people at the neighborhood school (they are not going to add classrooms to accomodate all the neighbors that want to attend Miraloma or Alvarado). I do not know how this plan is feasible.

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  110. We also want citywide choice over neighborhood schools. We don't want language immersion. We live near schools with mediocre GE programs and good SI programs. We are not in a position to move.

    That said, it would be great if our neighborhood school turned around. As neighbors we are happy to help fundraise and support our neighborhood school-as it benefits our whole community. Our nearby schools are still not a good fit for our child right now.

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  111. We live near Grattan, Rooftop and Clarendon but really want language immersion and there are no nearby programs. We feel language immersion is the one thing SFUSD does better than the private schools.

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  112. I would vote for neighborhood schools for the Gen Ed programs, but choice for the immersion, etc other programs (eg. alternative schools - Rooftop, Alice Fong Yu, Buena Vista, Clarendon - JBBP).

    So very similar to what the distict uses now, but to weight the neighborhood more heavily.

    Then, the district/citizens have work to do to make the underperforming schools become performing schools so that people are not penalized based on the neighborhood where they live.

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  113. Since the district has everyone's address, it wouldn't be that hard to find (and give preference to)the dozen or so schools that are the closest to each applicant in point-to-point distance (avoiding the contentious and easily outdated "zone" definitions). I do think putting immersion in a separate lottery has some merit since distance weighting doesn't make a lot of sense for the few immersion programs there are.

    I'm not actually advocating for distance based preference - I think simplifying rather than complicating the lottery process would be a better way to go, but if there was a weight to be given to vicinity then something like this would be better than having an assigned "neighborhood school". Commercial mapping software should be able to handle this distance calculation automatically.

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  114. What if you'd rather send your kids to school near your place of work?

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  115. If only 22% of school age kids in SF are "white", they are *WAY* over-represented in private schools.

    Only 9 percent of kids in SFUSD schools are white. The remaining white kids (and YES also Asian, AA, Hispanic, and other kids) are in private and parochial schools.

    This is changing, though, as private schools are pushing to enroll incoming classes that look more like the city--more Asian, Hispanic, African American, middle class, different family structures. So if you are straight, white and live in Pac Heights, you might have a harder time getting your kids into private school these days.

    If you like to look at demographics, check out http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us (lots of data) AND http://www.edsource.org/index.cfm (policy news and data).

    For a little perspective, following are some demographics for K-8 2006-2007 California-wide:

    African American 7.6%
    Asian 8.7%
    Filipino 2.6%
    Latino 48.1%
    Native American .8%
    White 29.4%
    Multiple/No response 2.7%

    English Language Learners 25%
    Special Ed 10.8%
    GATE 8.2%
    Free/Reduced Price Lunch 50.7%

    About 8.5% of kids in California attend private school.

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  116. Elite private schools in SF are 60 to 70 percent white in a city where only 23 percent of the school-age kids are white.

    So while they may seem quite proud of having a more diverse student body than most private schools nationwide, the white kids in SF private schools are over-represented by a magnitude of 3X. That's not really something to be proud of, now, is it?

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  117. As I said above, the times, they are a changin'.

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  118. I hear the work scenario for where your kids go to school, but do you all believe that communities can help raise a school to new levels. If there is no immersion program, how does the community get one?

    Also Clarendon does have Japanese.

    If you lived near a school that did not do so well, isn't the community to blame as well?

    Of course, who wants to send their kid to the bad school and hope it turns around.

    Still for geography over economics

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  119. Clarendon does *not* have Japanese immersion. It is more of an enrichment program. They certainly don't come out fluent in the language.

    BTW: I expected to *love* Clarendon when I toured, but it seemed, well, overcrowded. ANyone else feel that way?

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  120. We didn't like Clarendon. Our *tour* was overcrowded, which may have colored our impression of the school. Loved the principal. Didn't love the physical space, the portables, etc. Italian and Japanese nice, but would rather have art, music, etc., get more attention.

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  121. I'm with you. We thought we'd *love* Clarendon--esp. the Japanese Enrichment, but the school felt too big for us and too far away (we live in the Mission). I felt like my daughter, being very shy, would feel lost there. Our main criteria was a smallish school close to home so we didn't even list it. (loved the late start time, tho :)

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  122. "We didn't like Clarendon."

    Yeah, me neither. It was ugly and there were boxes of junk all piled in all the hallways. And yes, over-enrolled and too many mildewy bungalows.

    But friends of mine love the place.

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  123. Well see that is the great thing that not all of us love Clarendon.
    Just shows the importance of touring schools, keeping an OPEN MIND regarding all schools and ignoring much of the hype.
    Some people just put down schools because of what they have heard, and just make it all the harder for those who really really love the school to get in (the oversubscribed ones that is).

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  124. I was impressed by the teachers I saw on my tour of Clarendon but really turned off by the physical space, especially the crowding and bungalows like the other parents said. I was really happy when my child got into another school on my R1 list that is much smaller (2 classes in each grade) and has no bungalows.

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  125. I wonder how the meeting turned out... I'm sure no one on this blog attended but anyway to find out?

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  126. I think it makes sense to give neighborhood preference, but allow for a separate immersion (or other special program) lottery--but keep it simple. You get one of, say, 3 or 4 schools.

    my neighborhood schools are Flynn, Fairmont, Revere, Moscone (order of closeness)

    I didn't put any of these on my R1, but still would support neighborhood schools. Go figure.

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