Wednesday, March 11, 2009

S.F. kindergarten classes growing to 22 kids

Read the story in the Chronicle:


  1. And what will happen the next school year? 500 more applications than last year?! Ugh.

  2. If all 500 of those students enroll, that's more than $3.5 million in additional revenue from the state.

  3. That's 22 average across K-3, so maybe higher...

  4. Too bad with the class sizes increasing each student will get a smaller percentage of individual attention from the teacher. The state of public education in California right now is shameful.

  5. I had 30 kids in my K thru 3rd grade classes in San Diego back in the "halcyon" public school days of 1970 thru 1974.

    One teacher.

    I still have class photo to prove it.

    Why is 22 kids such a big deal?

    I think it's a kid issue not a teacher issue. Kids have less discipline as do parents.

  6. 12:31
    How many of those kids entering school with you in San Diego back in 1970 spoke English as their second language? How many were special ed?

  7. "I think it's a kid issue not a teacher issue. Kids have less discipline as do parents."

    ^There's more to it than that. More students means more resources will be needed including supplies, furniture including desks, mats, books and chairs and the space for each child. Not to mention resources for ESL, Special Ed, etc, etc...

    We are cash strapped as it is in most schools.

  8. The upside is more spots open at coveted schools.

  9. Going back 13 years in SF, my daughter's kindergarten in a coveted SF public school had 35 kids (as did all the popular schools). It was a bit much. 22 kids is still great. My only worry is that it will inch back up over thirty in time. But still, given limited resources, the 22 kid move seems like the right one.

  10. Caroline, no-one cares about your 13 year old stories. Go away.

  11. 6:42 PM: lighten up. i'm actaully new to this blog and not sure what your history with "caroline" is, but your response seems pretty childish and certainly doesn't encourage newcomers like me to reply - i wouldn't want to say the wrong thing.

    I want to elementary school more than 13 years ago. Excellent public school. 45% non whites (primarily african american) and I know there was a full time esl teacher there too (it was my mom). I also know there were always 2-3 kids in my classes who had learning delays (they would see a specialists for an hour or so every day.) There were 28 kids in every class (2 classes per grade) and rarely an aid or parent.
    Sure I think that smaller would be better, but I think a really great teacher is more important. I'd like ot see more energy spent on incenting great teachers and getting rid of teachers who are mediocre. more professional development, etc. Class size is important, but I think going from 20-22 is reasonable considering the increase in enrollment and lack of $.

  12. what will this mean for tomorrow's letters? will these new spots go into the round 2 lottery? or will they call people before then?

  13. 9:26, that's a good question! I see on the sfusd website that they are doing a press conference at 1pm about the uptick in enrollment. Maybe they will answer that question then.

  14. I can answer the question about the additional spots created by increasing K class sizes to 22: those were added during Round I so people who turned in a Round I application will get the benefit of those additional spots.

    Also, while it's good that enrollment is increasing, people should know that next year's revenues will be based on this year's enrollment -- districts with rapidly increasing enrollment often get caught in this snag, because you have to accommodate new students even though they don't bring revenue with them for one year.

    The reason for this is to shield districts with decreasing enrollment -- it has worked in our favor over the past decade or two when our enrollment decreased - let's say in 2007 I lost 100 students from what I had in 2006; my 2007 revenues would be based on my 2006 average daily attendance and my 2008 revenues would be based on my 2007 average daily attendance. This allows me a "cushion" against rapidly decreasing revenues to give me time to close programs, eliminate staff, etc. The bad side is that it hurts me when my enrollment starts to increase.

    So all of this is a long way of saying that the increased revenues that come from increasing enrollment don't start to help us for a year or two. (and it's totally moot when the state is cutting more than our revenues are increasing. Grrr.)


  15. random questions-

    question 1:
    how do all of you know all these details about how stuff works and where do you find the time to learn about it? all i can think to do in my spare time is sleep. i am so exhausted all the time.

    question 2:
    who is caroline and what is the history with her that gets people all fired up? i don't see any posts signed "caroline" so how do you know commments are from her?

    question 3:
    why doesn't anyone add their names to their posts? it would make it easier to keep track of.

  16. hi heather, and welcome. i'll try, though no doubt others will chime in with different ideas:

    1) some of us are parents with children already in sfusd so we have been through whatever process was in place, and helped our friends in subsequent years. some of us are activists with pps, or our local school pta, so we know stuff that way. those of us with older kids in school don't mostly have babies at home, so we are getting more sleep than those of you with a first child entering kindergarten and little ones still waking you up at night.

    2) caroline is caroline grannan, a schools activist with strong opinions about a number of topics, notably charter schools, public vs. private, and so forth. she has an education blog with the examiner online. she has older kids who attend sota. she has lots of interesting, veteran info on sfusd; she can also be a little....persistent....sometimes with her arguments, so she sometimes generates irritation, though others find her comments useful. she and some others over at the yahoo group sfschools get into tit for tat arguments pretty often. over here, she was one of the few who ever posted with her real name for many, many months. and, unfortunately for the rest of us, she is being stalked by an anonymous person who hates her. her comments are easy to spot if you follow the various school blogs--she has a consistent style, arguments that repeat, and a story that we all know. so this anonymous hater person follows her around and tells her to go away. many of us find the anonymous hater person to be more obnoxious than caroline, who at least is trying to put out information and arguments that are on topic. but we've never been able to make the anonymous hater person go away. so we ignore her/him. mostly.

    3) people are anonymous because kate (amy in real life), the owner of this blog, allows it and the anonymity has allowed a free-wheeling culture of passionate commentary that can be both more snarky but also perhaps more honest than a signed blog would be. plus it is scary to use your real name because, like caroline, you might get yelled at all the time. i think there are advantages and disadvantages to the anonymity, but since sfschools and ppssf listserves make you use your name, probably it's a good thing to have this one.

    hope that helps. will you be applying next year?

  17. Thanks, Rachel, for the informative response.

  18. It would be nice if we could just stick to the subject and not pay attention to the sniping.

  19. Newsflash: there is not an "anonymous hater person" stalking Caroline here. Multitudes of posters here have resorted to 2-word responses to her incessant soapbox anecdotes.

  20. 9:10

    Yes, many people are entirely sick of the broken-record rants, but the best response to such attention-seeking behavior is to totally ignore it, don't you think?

    I often think she posts insults to herself, to garner sympathy and make the discussion all about her, instead of sticking to the subject.

    So please take a deep breath and ignore her instead of fanning the flames. You guys are just making it worse.

  21. 8:23, a new person here asked about why someone constantly snipes at Caroline--whose identity is not at all clear to most people given that she has joined the rest of us in posting anonymously. A response to this new person was appropriate. The snipes *would* be confusing to a new person.

    9:10, I seriously doubt there are "multitudes" that give even a rat's *** about Caroline's posts. Since she started posting anonymously like everyone else, many people don't even know who she is. Many of her posts are informative for new people here, even if others of us have heard her stories and arguments a lot already. And, as much as Caroline's style and stories are highly recognizable to us, so are your "2-word" retorts. They are the work of one obsessed person carrying a vendetta, and that's you. You are more annoying than she ever is, especially lately. You remind me of the kids in middle school with their snarky texts, and I wish you would either grow up or go away. But, I realize even saying that is futile.

    9:39, I've been reading Caroline's posts for years on sfschools and pps listserves, and I'll be the first to say they can be repetitive and at times a little too much like beating a dead horse. Have to say this accusation of her posting insults to herself does not match her character at all, however. She's a remarkably consistent bulldog on some issues, but not much of a manipulator. You insult our intelligence suggesting that she is posting insults to herself. A lot of us can recognize you and your own writing style too, with your fly off the handle sharp retorts....but we choose not to make it about you.

  22. They are the work of one obsessed person carrying a vendetta, and that's you.

    Sorry, but unless my name is Sybil, I know for certain that I have contributed only a drop in the bucket in response to Caroline. But since you would have to take my word for it, it's easier to just go on believing as you do.

  23. Umm, the post that started the Caroline rampage wasn't Caroline's (her daughter is younger). She's actually pretty clear about who she is even when she posts anonymously, and I don't think she's posted on this topic at all.

  24. "9:10, I seriously doubt there are "multitudes" that give even a rat's *** about Caroline's posts. Since she started posting anonymously like everyone else, many people don't even know who she is."

    I beg to differ. I know I'm not alone in finding her posts infuriating and annoying. I have responded to her politely in months back defending my own child's school. I can imagine that there are many others who are not as restrained.

  25. does anyone know if they also increased class size in 1st grade or above for the 09-10 school year (either across the board or at select schools)? i have heard rumors to this effect and my daughter's kinder teacher told me she was told that as well. but i would like it substantiated. (not sure what the exact driver of that particular increase would be, unless SFUSD got a horrifying number of 1st grade applicants -- very possible, given last year's enrollment fiasco, which was a slightly less severe version of what appears to be this one's. or maybe, as with kinder, the $$$ to be gained by increasing head count offsets the fines incurred by said? dunno.)

    my hope is that when this year's "choice success" figures are disaggregated, last year's will be placed in context -- BEFORE the BoE finishes its enrollment needs analysis. SFUSD just has to stop with this nonsense that enough K families possess profiles that engender choice to really call the system choice-based. for far too many, both last year and this year, it's lookin' like, too few actually get a choice.

    just realized am not making any sense. sorry. have terrible cold!

  26. Hey Kim:

    I've been following your saga from last year. where did you apply for 1st grade this year?

  27. we reapplied to the spanish immersion schools we can get to via bike or walking from outer noe (fairmount, flynn, alvarado...the usual suspects). i'm actually out of town at the moment, so we'll check the mail when we get home. that said, i have warmed to clarendon jbbp this year and, given the situation, feel grateful my daughter has a spot there (assuming she still does -- have no idea at the moment).