Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Would Gavin Newsom send his kid to public school?

The last thing I want to do is start yet another public vs. private debate but this topic is too rich to skip it. As you probably already know, our city's mayor, Gavin Newsom, and his wife Jennifer are expecting. If the two do decide to stay in the city, do you think they'll go private or public?

Here's an excerpt from the editor's note in the current issue of the Guardian:

I get a lot of shit when I talk about this; my blog post complaining about the Obamas choosing a private school got all sorts of comments from all over the country, every single one of them negative. But I soldier on: elected officials should send their kids to public schools. If the San Francisco schools aren't good enough for the mayor's kid, then the mayor needs to be working harder to fix them. I know it's none of my business, and that you have to do what you think is right for your own child and all that, but ... if the mayor, or the president, or the school superintendent, or the school board members, or the supervisors choose private schools, then they're saying that public education is good enough for the poor kids, but not for their own.

Hell of a statement, huh Gavin?

San Francisco has some great public schools, and I suspect you can figure out the admissions process. Or just gimme a call. I'll pass along some tips.

58 comments:

  1. Of course they will go private.

    Gavin's a Catholic School boy, and he'll subject his kid to the same system.

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  2. "Gavin's a Catholic School boy, and he'll subject his kid to the same system."


    hmmm...intolerant much?

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  3. Gavin would of course go 1 for 1 in "the lottery"...

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  4. Since 80% of dyslexic children have at least one dyslexic parent, maybe Mayor Newsom (who publicly acknowledges having this condition) might be interested in promoting early identification and intervention in the public schools for children with this learning difference. Private schools often reject or ask that dyslexic children to leave.

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  5. If they go private it will be MCDS or one of the single sex schools.

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  6. Actually, if they go private it will likely be the same catholic schools Gavin went to.

    Aren't there some privates that focus on kids with dyslexia? Shouldn't he be able to send his kids to whatever school he feels will be the best fit? It's not like he runs the schools, after all. Also, by the time his kid is school-aged, he will be termed out as mayor.

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  7. Public schools have to try to achieve the best they can for the most people. Why should a public official have to buy into that system for their child, any more than anyone else? It's not a question of the public schools being good or not, or what needs to be done to fix them - it's a question of whether an individual who has the means to choose otherwise has educational goals for their child that coincide with the goals of the public school system or not.

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  8. Some kids with dyslexia end up at Armstrong in Belmot - I know kids who have switched there from both public and private schools in SF.

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  9. I think the Charles Armstrong model is to work with the kids for two or three years and transition them back to the regular school setting.

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  10. Take it from me:

    If your child gets diagnosed with dyslexia at an SF Independent schol, you will probably be invited to leave when the term ends.

    And when you ask the admissions directors about this, come on out and ask how many children were asked to leave for any reason. They may not come out and say it, but dyslexia is usually the reason.

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  11. I send my children (first and third graders) to public schools in SF. That is my choice; however, if I were President, I would pick Friends School too. Not because I dislike public schools (I obviously don’t), but because I would be concerned about their safety and the disruption of the Secret Service guards in a public school setting. Presidential children have gone to public school in DC, but, by and large, most go to Friends or similar independent schools. Obama made a good choice for his family.

    As for Gavin, he will be Governor when his first child is school age. Not productive to ponder where his child(ren) will go to school that far into the future!

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  12. Speaking of which, where does Supervisor Alioto send her kids? Are they in K yet? Should be pretty close if not.

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  13. "If your child gets diagnosed with dyslexia at an SF Independent school, you will probably be invited to leave when the term ends."

    That is, unless you are a famous parent, like Gavin. famous parents never are asked to remove their children, even if the children are bullies and troublemakers.

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  14. Gavin will never be Governor. Mayor is as far as he'll ever go.

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  15. There is absolutely no way ever that Gavin will become governor. There's just no way. He didn't do enough. He's a nice guy and has a seemingly big heart but he needs the city behind him in this race and I don't think they'll back him. It's not as if he entirely screwed up the city; he just did very little.

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  16. Ditto. Gavin will never be governor. And what will he do when he loses?

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  17. Supervisor Alioto-Pier's kids go to Stuart Hall.

    Often it's the parents who want the kids to go to Armstrong, and the indepdendent school is willing to wait and see how things go. This has been the experience of several families I know at multiple schools.

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  18. I agree about Newsom not being governor - with some of the things he's done lately, I'll do anything to make sure he DOESNT become the Gov.

    Having gimmicky ideas is not what we need right now in our City - we need good, solid fiscal policy and management. He knows neither. Additionally, he is terrified of being challenged - only hires and keeps people based on loyalty (who cares if they don't know how to do their jobs?) He has millions of dollars in pet projects throughout the budget that he and his Mayor Office cronies fall on a sword over (never mind program effectiveness or whether this is really the time to launch new so-called-visionary ideas.)

    And I admit: I was a fervent supporter of him when he first ran, wrote checks to his campaign and ever to retire his debt. But he checked out before the last election. If he was using this time right now to really make city government more efficient, effective, etc - it would help his run for governor. Instead he's spending all his time outside SF to try to woo others who don't know he is over his head as Mayor, and way under water as a Gov candidate.

    He hoped to be the next Obama wannabe (picked the wrong primary pick) and pales (!) in comparison to other up and coming leaders in the Demo party.
    Newsweek noted some think he's an embarrassment to the Demo party:
    http://www.newsweek.com/r...spx?subject=San+Francisco

    Sorry so bitter - I'm a moderate in our City and think we need better for SF.

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  19. That child will never see the inside of a public school.

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  20. Gavin was kicked out of Town, not a Catholic school, I believe, because of dyslexia. Then he was educated at a private school especially for kids with dyslexia. He ended up at Santa Clara, a Catholic university. I think Supervisor Alioto's kids go to Convent/Stuart Hall.

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  21. Newsom is an empty suit. He has a good heart, which explains the impulsive gay marriage inspiration. That rocked and he gets full credit. But he doesn't function well enough to be an effective mayor, let alone governor. I really don't think it would be possible to fool enough people on that count, either.

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  22. Why do people insist on using the term "kicked out" for a learning disability situation? Getting kicked out of a school means getting expelled for poor behavior or particular actions.

    A school, parents, or both can decide that the school isn't working for a kid educationally - that's not "kicking" the kid out.

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  23. When Gavin Newsom was 7, there was no such sensitivity. Hence he was kicked out.

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  24. It's hardly sensitivity ... private schools don't want to have to deal with any kids who are not "easy" to educate.

    But as I said earlier, they don't tend to kick children of famous people out for any reason at all.

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  25. There seem to be plenty of kids who aren't "easy to educate" at my kids' private school and their parents aren't rich and famous. There are also kids who have learning disabilities that are better addressed at schools with programs sepcifically designed to help those kids learn and overcome/adapt to their situations - and those are the kids who move on to those schools that are better suited to them.

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  26. "Newsom said he also had 'pretty severe' dyslexia, a disorder that causes difficulty with writing and spelling, and sometimes reading and working with numbers. It still affects him today.

    Newsom said he received a private education at the French-American bilingual school and Notre Dame de Victoire in the city, and, after he was unable to gain admission to a prep school, at public Redwood High School in Marin County."

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  27. "...if the mayor, or the president, or the school superintendent, or the school board members, or the supervisors choose private schools, then they're saying that public education is good enough for the poor kids, but not for their own."

    This is not only judgemental, but hypocritical. Only someone who would willingly enroll their child in even the worst-performing public school in the SFUSD could make this statement. I doubt the editor of the Guardian is in that category.

    If only SOME public schools are good enough for you, then you shouldn't judge people who choose private over public. We all want to give our kids the best we can, and at some point, may find ourselves compromising some idealistic principles to do so. Whether you draw the line at public schools in general, or just certain public schools, it's the same thing.

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  28. On this subject, where do Chris Daly's kids go to school? I think one of them is school age.

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  29. ^ I agree completely. Even Caroline Grannan has said things that indicate she basically agrees with this, too. She herself scrambled to get her kids into Lakeshore oh so many years ago when there weren't so many good options.

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  30. I would love to know where Daly's kids go to school (the hypocrite). I would not be surprised if they attended a private or trophy public. Much as he feels perfectly justified fighting endless battles against SF's entry-level working-class and middle-class homeowners (who typically by TIC apartments), I'm sure he would harbor no ambivalence about placing his offspring at Friends or Synergy or the like while he rips everyone else a new one for doing same.

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  31. Daly's kids are still too young for kinder - coming up soon, though. Maybe applying next year?

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  32. 6:53....I couldn't agree with you more!

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  33. Caroline here:

    Tim Redmond is a parent at McKinley, a now-popular school that was viewed with fear and loathing maybe 10 years ago. He started there sometime midway through the turnaround. It wasn't Malcolm X Academy, but it wasn't Clarendon either.

    I don't condemn families who choose private over public; my view is just that the mindful way to make the decision includes taking the social impact into consideration as they weigh the options. Or, for that matter, simply consider whether there IS any social impact -- it's possible to believe that there is not.

    But I take a different view with political leaders, school officials etc. I think they should have to answer for the decision. I know that isn't the norm in our culture now, but I think it should be -- I agree with Tim Redmond on this. Not that they should never do private, but the default expectation should be public and they should be prepared to explain themselves otherwise. Sorry; I know not everyone agrees; that's my view. I'm only elaborating on it again because my name came up.

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  34. In the interest of full disclosure, I moved one of my children to a private school after last year. So I have one in public 3rd grade and one in private 4th grade.

    I've been relatively open about the fact that my older daughter has special needs, and after six years (including PreK) in the public school system, we decided she would get her needs met more appropriately in a specialized private program going forward. We are paying out of pocket for the cost of her tuition (with some financial aid) and while it is not perfect (no situation is), it's working well for her.

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  35. I wrote more about our decision on my blog last summer:

    http://tinyurl.com/5levtq

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  36. Newsom did attend NDV. They were very happy to announce that on the tour when we visited that school a few years ago.

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  37. Caroline here:

    Two school board members that I've supported had kids in private schools for specific times and specific reasons too. In these cases, it was high school; both kids were having issues and also WANTED to be in the private schools -- and with teens, it's really pretty important that your student have buy-in to school (to put it mildly).

    I know a number of parents who have grudgingly put their kids in private high schools for that reason. ("My best friend is going to Sacred Heart and I really want to play football there" pleas...)

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  38. You "justify" any and every thing that you do.

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  39. "If your child gets diagnosed with dyslexia at an SF Independent schol, you will probably be invited to leave when the term ends."

    Exception would be Live Oak, I think. At least on the tour, I met several parents whose kids had learning or socialization issues, and their kids had been bounced from other independents, and they had only applied for the trophy publics.

    To be honest, it'd seem to me that if your kid had learning issues, that the public schools would do a better job, given that they have programs for special needs kids.

    On Newsom. No, he's not going to be governor; being Mayor was more than he could handle. On Newsom and NDV; has NDV issued its acceptance letters yet? How oversubscribed was it?

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  40. Live Oak supports learning differences, not learning disabilities or social disorders. Plenty of kids need to leave Live Oak for more specialized resources.

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  41. But how good a job does the district do? You have to be about two years behind in reading before you can qualify for special ed services. Is that acceptable, in light of the scientific evidence that only a small number of hours of intensive reading training are needed for at risk kids if caught in K or first grade? The amount of time needed for this expensive specialized training goes up exponentially if you wait till the child get two years behind. Since dyslexia, in its many manifestations, effects 17% of the population, this early intervention may be a better and cheaper model than waiting for the child to fail.

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  42. Chris Daly may be obnoxious and prone to getting into pissing matches with the other powers that be at city hall, but one thing you can say is that he does not lead a hypocritical lifestyle. He knows every block of District 6 (how do you think he got re-elected), he frequently travels around the city by bike, and his family does not live the high life.

    I don't always like his approach--will be interesting to see what David Chiu is able to accomplish with a much different style of working with colleagues--but Chris has also stood up for poor folk on certain issues when no one else would.

    But that aside, I'd say the odds are very, very good that he and Sarah will put their kids in public school when the time comes. The Newsoms, not so much.

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  43. I met Chris Daly briefly at my brother's wedding in Mexico several years ago. Given the number of margaritas I'd had, I could be remembering wrong, but I recall being shocked to hear he owned a condo himself. I was like, so you're allowed to and I'm not because there aren't enough affordable rental units in this town? What's up with that? Humbug! If all you have to do to walk the talk is get pissed on at 6th and Market and commute by bike, then *I* should be nominated for Green/Prog of the Year!

    As far as the public officials/school thing goes...dunno. I kind of think there is a not a big market in kidnapping, ransoms or terrorism attacks on mayoral offspring. The Obamas gotta put their kids where they'll be safest from a strict security perspective -- there is so much personal risk in their family's position. Gavin's gang? Feh -- I'm guessing the social climbing Brooklyn couple on Real Housewives is not far off....

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  44. Kim, I always love it when you have time to post a comment. Always succinct and funny, funny, funny. Thanks for cheering up my day.

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  45. It does seem a bit odd that a Quaker school is viewed as top security central, though, doesn't it (referring to Sidwell Friends).

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  46. Have you seen Sidwell?

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  47. I have passed Sidwell from the street -- just saw a gate. But I mean philosophically speaking -- how do unbreachable security fortifications fit in with " 'tis a gift to be simple?"

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  48. 'Tis a gift to be simple
    'Tis a gift to be free
    Within the walls of
    our gated community

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  49. Do you really think that ANY school (public or private) would allow free, unlimited access for anyone off the street? Would anyone feel comfortable about their kids going to a school without some kind of access control? Quakers may be simple, but they're not stupid.

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  50. 9:15 here.

    I have no problem whatsover with the Quakers or the Obamas sending their kids to a private school. I trust the Secret Service could protect the kids in a lot of schools, public included. But a private school can kick out families who violate the Obama family's privacy no questions asked. In these days of cameraphones and Youtube that's pretty important. You want those girls to have at least some chance at a normal childhood.

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  51. During the discussions of the Obamas' school choice, it was made clear that Sidwell was exceptionally high-security.

    9:15, you said it!

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  52. Somebody asked Chris Daly on his blog if he would choose Besse Carmichael, his neighborhood school, for his son Jack, who will be starting kindergarten next year.

    He ignored the question.

    I hope he and Sarah put their money where their mouth is and choose a non-trophy public school for their boy.

    But Chris was raised in an upper-middle-class neighborhood by white collar parents. It is sometimes hard to buck your DNA makeup...

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  53. So wait, we'd be happy if Gavin sent his kid to any public school (but figure he won't), but we demand that Chris Daly sends his kids to one particular school? That doesn't seem fair. I think it would be great if he and all the other pols send their kids to public school under the same assignment rules as the rest of us, no more, no less. Unless they have some special circumstance as with Rachel Norton's kid--and she has explained her circumstance very publicly.

    District 6 doesn't have too many schools to choose from at the moment, anyway. I think Marshall is part of the District though. Daniel Webster wouldn't be too far from where Chris & family live. And Bessie Carmichael, as mentioned. I'm guessing the west side schools would be a little far for them, but hey, again, that's for each family to figure out.

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  54. Who said "demand"?

    The verb I used was "hope."

    And I "hope" Oldsome does the same.

    (One section of the STAR test is on READING COMPREHENSION).

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  55. Re reading comprehension: Sometimes I wonder if a lot of the posters here are on the Internet with the second glass of merlot at their elbow.

    "...we demand that Chris Daly sends his kids to one particular school?"

    "Who said "demand"?

    The verb I used was "hope." D"

    I've also seen "hope" interpreted as REQUIRE. And also "encourage people to consider the social impact of private school" as "ban private school."

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  56. Hair Gel & Cookie Puss will never let their heir with 100 feet of a SF public school.

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  57. Where do the children of the other Supes and Board of Education members go to school?

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  58. Mar and Avalos kids are in SFUSD. Dufty and Daly kids are too young. Isn't that true also for Alioto-Pier? Not sure of the others, but not all have kids (I think Chiu and Campos, for example) or kids of school age.

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