A place for parents educating their kids in San Francisco
Strange article about strange neurotic people who want to show each other kitchen countertops and then talk about not being able to go through "the stress" of applying for a school?So their solution is moving away? Moving is stressful too.
If finding a school is that stressful for them, and causes them to fall apart, do they have the emotional stability to be parents?
I can understand the desire to avoid the lottery process. As someone who went through it a year ago - I can't believe we survived it. We received 0 of our choices in each round and my child was assigned a school that was unacceptable in so many ways. In our panic, we said "screw the City" we are moving from our owned house and will rent in Marin near a topnotch school. This decision was made out of pure panic. Every day from March through September my main focus was getting my child into an "acceptable" school. It made me nuts and took away quality time I could have spent enjoying my kid and the Summer months. In addition, my parents and my husband's parents thought I had lost my mind. In the end, we did not move - thank goodness - and we got into a school of our choice in September. Looking back - I don't think I would put myself through that situation again.
I'm pretty down to earth and I was pretty mad all last summer during the lottery process.Nonsense? Hmmm...maybe mellow dramatic, but the only nonsense I see is the lottery system itself.
But then the thing about your story, "Kate," is that you could have walked right into JOES, stress-free, from the first, with no wait or angst. So it's kind of like the frenzy was artificially created by needless fear, or lack of solid and convincing information, or excess bad information, or something. What do you think might have steered you there from the beginning?It's true that you would have still had to tour schools to determine that you liked it, but that's a given in a choice system, public or private.
Very good article. It describes our challenge. I think everyone misses the big problem. If most of SFSD schools had high quality teachers, principals, academics and where safe. I bet there would not be such challenges with the lottery. They should fire the underperforming principals and teacher. Give bonuses to the performing teachers and make it very visible to the other teachers that performance is rewarded.
"mellow dramatic" Unintentional humor?
"o it's kind of like the frenzy was artificially created by needless fear, "EXACTLY. Well stated.
It's an entitlement bananza!
Why is wanting a good education for your child "entitlement"?
How about wanting a good education for every child, not just your precious prince or princess?
The Forum show was not very informative or interesting. A shame.
I don't think the widespread stress caused by the lottery process is caused by wacko parents funneling their neurotic energy into touring and selecting schools. SFUSD is the culprit. The district makes an informal promise to parents: that if they tour all these schools, sacrificing time and money, they have an 80 percent or so chance of getting a school they like. This is patently untrue -- the statistics the district touts do not include sibling assignments. Then when parents protest that all their efforts have come to nothing, they're labeled elitist and neurotic. (That said, I have little sympathy for "Jamie," she of the fancy countertops and the pathological fear of any unpleasantness.)
Tt's a combination of entitlement coupled with a raving failure on the part of SFUSD to serve just about anyone.
Here is the trouble with the SF lottery: It tried to get people of color to schools where white people congregate. They didn't buy it. It unintentionally created a way for white people to get away from the reality of SF's school-age population. There is no way to have "balanced" schools unless certain schools remain unbalanced. Yet everyone here wants their school to be balanced. White people aren't leaving the city because of the lottery. They're leaving it because there are too many people of color here.
Sending my child to a public school will result in a better education for all? Gee, I'm not normally prone to delusions of grandeur, but if you say so.
Seriously, hasn't it occurred to anyone that this system of forced integration is obscuring the actual goal of education?
Middle class flight does hurt all of the kids in the district because school-system improvement, sadly, hinges on middle class interests.
It hinges on the private sector physically supplying the extra funds needed to adequately run what the government can not.
There's a lively set of comments on the next thread down ("Tune Into NPR"), too, whether you heard the radio show or not.
Oh, please. The private sector isn't in the business of funding education nor should it be. I, for one, don't want--say--Houghton Mifflin paying for my kid's school supplies.The government is supposed to provide free education and it should.
It should but it doesn't. That's why the middle class's resources (and the grants they write to solicit money from Houghton Mifflin–like companies) are required.
8:58 Excellent point. Any one of us who wished to avoid the stress and uncertainty of the lottery could quite easily select a first round school with a close to certainty of getting into at which our children could do just fine, if not better. As you pointed out, Kate could have just selected JOES in the first round and been done with it. No stress, all good. Others might select Daniel Webster, Rosa Parks, Glen Park, Cobb etc. The problem with the lottery is it makes you want to shoot for a school percieved to be better because it is more popular. No one wants Webster until they've tried to get Alvarado. I wonder if the preference given to 0/7 applicants contributes to this problem. If there was no waitlist preference for going 0/7, maybe folks would be willing to toss a JOES GE or Rosa Parks GE on the list just to ensure a school and then proceed with the waitlist. I know we would have but we also know if you don't get that magic 0/7, there is little chance in the waitpool at some schools.
11:41... very interesting point!
March 24, 2009 11:41 AM:I agree with everything you said. The 0/7 priority in the waitpool is something I've thought about too.It's like we feel you need to go through all this stress to be doing the best for your child and try to get them into a one of the "best" schools when it's not really necessary.
Interesting article in the education section of nytimes.com today:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/24/education/24schools.html?hpwGist is that they have a neighborhood assignment but schools are over-enrolled due to baby boom and parents re-thinking private in wake of economic downturn; thus families that live in the zone and were counting on that school are now on waitlists or are being turned away. Sounds even more frustrating than our system (people bought homes assuming it was easy entry into certain school). I guess there is no easy solution to the issue in times like these.
I recently went through many public school and private school tours, and it was definitely an experience. Although, I learned a lot, I don't think this should be forced upon everyone. I was so overwhelmed with the process I had my husband take charge mid way through because it was overwhelming. So, I can completely relate to the mom who wants to leave the city. This whole process has taken so much time and energy away from my family that I don't think it's worth it. I see nothing wrong with neighborhood schools. It makes it easier for your child to have friends, for your families to meet and to build a true community. My son currently goes to a pre-school that has kids from all over the Bay area, but we tend to see the kids that live near us the most because we can easily get together impromptu. Where does stress figure into all of this. Many of us live in the city because we work in the city and we want to minimize commuting and have more time to do things than schlep around. The argument should be no different for schools. We are a city that emphasizes being green, but yet we want to bus our kids all over town - that just doesn't seem right.
Neighborhood schools are the way to go. Let there be a lottery for immersion schools. Funny, De Avila is just up the street from me - I don't want immersion and am rather displeased that there wasn't a community process to figure out how to reuse the school. There was some kind of a process when the school was closed - but I guess that wasn't really a process, as the SFUSD new all along then too that they would reopen it - they had known at the time of the closure that CCSF needed to move out so that the John Adams campus could be remodeled. The trouble with the lottery is that none of it is transparent at all - it is ugly, secretive and insensitive to many, many people.
I was really disappointed by the article. It seemed to suggest that refusing to tangle with a system thats clearly broken is a bad thing.This whole thing about how we should stop complaining about the lottery because it may be better for somone else just obscures the fact that the system is broken. I toured more than 20 schools. And its clear that there are some good schools. Its also evident that there certain schools that just aren't performing. These schools are not serving anyone and SFUSD should shut down and/or reform them.And the amount of time and energy wasted on "the process" is just ridiculous. There has got to be a better way.But oddly, Kate isn't advocating reform or protest or anything that will hold SFUSD to the fire. Instead she suggests that it is more a sort of class war - complete with the fancy counter tops and all - and that dealing with unnecessary bureacracy (and endless touring) is a good way to test your mettle. Imagine if we directed all that energy and resource to the schools in a more meaningful way...I just don't get why diversity ranks higher than easy access to good schools for all students.
Well, it sounds from what Jane Kim said that the BOE is considering a system that would limit the "choice" factor and provide more of a guarantee of a particular school. This would eliminate the stress of touring so many schools and still going 0/7, right. I just can't wait for the hue and cry when whatever number of parents here realize that their default school assignment in that revised system is....John Muir.
"Imagine if we directed all that energy and resource to the schools in a more meaningful way..."Exactly. Imagine if every 0/7 assigned to john muir (assuming many were middle class families with resources) went there and used their energy to reimagine that school, instead of reform or protest against SFUSD.Look, there is room for improvement with the system, particularly in providing more data that will more clearly depict a person's odds for the lottery (although there was plenty advice posted by veteran folks warning people about what would happen if they put all their eggs in the popular school basket that was conveniently ignored). At the same time, I think the "system" is slowly accomplishing the goal of making every school a great school. The strategy of putting magnet programs such as language immersion to attract families into schools traditionally overlooked is gaining traction, slowly but surely. But it takes time. I am already amazed at how quickly a school like Sunnyside can reach the tipping point.A 360 degree turn to neighborhood choice would be a rash decision with unknown consequences.
8:20 PM - Are you serious? What sort of consequences?Do you not realize that almost every other school district in this country has neighborhood schools? Do you not realize that many, many SF public schools are over 70%, sometimes 80% Chinese/Black/Hispanic? YOO HOO - the schools are already severely segregated.
The following was firdt posted by Amy/Kate. Where did it go?My name is Lauren Smith and I am a vice president on the PTA of John Muir School and also a parent of a student there. In light of the comments that I've seen recently, here and on "the SF K Files," I would like to say a few things.First, I think it's unproductive and entitled to sit around on the internet and snipe about a school real children go to-- a school my child goes to, and a school that real parents are working at-- parents whose children actually go to the school. It's offensive and publicly devalues the work people are actually doing, and gives a false sense of superiority in what the internet complainers are doing to help. (Nothing.) Storming a school and attending a meeting in a place where you are unfamiliar is really the epitome of white (middle class) privilege. In fact, so is creating a blog to "turn around" a school you haven't spent any time at. Neither anonymously commenting nor storming the meeting were or will be productive or helpful for anyone at John Muir.As a parent of a student at John Muir, I have concerns and critiques of the school and constructive criticism to offer the staff and administration. I actually spend time at this school, know teachers, students, fellow parents, administrators, and involved community members. My critiques are real. The critiques of those who drive by the playground, look at statistics on a website and judge the demographics and neighborhood of the school are not based in reality, they're based on reactionary attitudes and for some, in prejudice. I will continue to work to better John Muir from the inside, in what I truly hope is a non-patronizing, positive way. And if anyone else is interested in working to make John Muir better, they are more than welcome to register with SF School Volunteers and come to school and get to work. Folks who complain about things on the internet lose sight of the impact of their words. They're shielded by their homes and computer screens from the consequences those words inflict on others. Some staff and parents at John Muir feel like the school is under siege. The things that people have said on the internet have created an incredible amount of stress for many of the people who are working at John Muir. Some of the criticism directed at the school might actually be valid, but it is lost in the mire of disgusting classist comments and race baiting.On "Turn Around John Muir" I see comments about the imbalance of ethnic groups at John Muir. First of all, The entire San Francisco Unified School District has a huge problem with racially segregated schools. This almost ALWAYS happens at the disadvantage of students of color. God forbid somebody's white kid should be the one who has to be different; God forbid your child should have to experience something that children of color have been experiencing in predominantly white schools for oh, well- ever. It smacks of white entitlement that people are actually demanding the SFUSD to increase the number of white students coming into John Muir next year. I'm sure if you make a bunch of demands on your blog, other people's blogs, and in emails to the school district that there will be BIG CHANGE following. It seems that whenever white people get all up in a tizzy about "demographics" the people that suffer well, they aren't white. So this line of "action" deeply concerns me. I feel slightly ill about the fact that that I am afraid to write the above without adding that I am a white, working class parent, because I know that doing so will calm fears of "reverse racism" because of my white privilege and working class status. I sincerely hope that the parents of incoming kindergarten students at John Muir this fall will be more respectful and humble than what I have seen on "the SF K Files" and "Turn Around John Muir." Otherwise we will end up with a lot of unproductive conflict in the coming school years.Thank you,Lauren Smith
Ms. Smith, the outrage at the John Muir assignments are not personal. This has nothing to do with you, your friends, the staff or the students.The anger is due to facts. The school has dismal stats and is in the projects.What part of reality don't understand?
What are my thoughts on the redesign? In short, I don't think the district should revert to neighborhood schools; we should avoid racial isolation. I believe that the intentions of the current system--to create diverse schools and close the achievement gap--are right-on and those should be maintained. Also the data shows that the majority of parents want some choice in the matter. But I'm hoping the district can make some tweaks that will make the process easier, less stressful, less time-intensive, and get people like Jamie to stay.I'm left wondering what "tweaks" the district could possibly do that will make the process easy enough, sufficiently non-stress-inducing and time-consuming, for people like Jamie to be able to "deal with it," and still improve student diversity and narrow the achievement gap at more SFUSD schools.The article doesn't offer any ideas along those lines, and it seems like a glaring omission. Perhaps the author has offered those ideas elsewhere, and I've missed it?
8:43I do believe that is an exaggeration. Can you list these "many, many" schools that are 80% or even 70% segregated, that is, one ethnicity? Besides the private ones that is?
Truthfully, a lot of hurtful things have been cast about re John Muir by people who are surfing the web and (maybe) driving by. Lauren Smith makes some good points about the importance of having some humility when you approach someone else's community.
Wow! This blog has taken on a new low. As a parent who has been assigned to John Muir, I was touched by Ms. Smith's comments. I thought she showed courage and grace. She clearly has made the best of a situation, and I, for one, admire her. Whether you decide to send your child to John Muir or not, why in the world would someone be belittle her by asking "what part of reality don't [sic] understand?" I thought this blog was a "safe" place to vent and to share ideas. This personal attack on Ms. Smith is unwarranted.
10:27Many of the west side schools are 70 percent or more Asian.
But wait, this blog is a freedom of speech. If you do not agree or like what is being said, you can choose to stop reading. Truth sometimes hurts. Muir has bad scores and is a bad neighborhood. I'm not a driveby, I lived there for 4 years and moved after violence became personal. Great for you that you are making a differenc, but NOT bad on others who choose not to go there. The US is based on choice. Unfortunately, SFSD touts that, but doesn't walk the walk. Choice is only for the poor, non-preschool going, non-English speakers. Nothing to do with race.
It appears that the entries about Kate's censorship of Ms. Smith's letters have been deleted. What's going on here?I guess it's good to remember that this blog isn't an open forum and that all opinions don't get equal weight.
Instead of conspiracy theories, Mrs. Smith could have deleted it on her own after realizing it perhaps did more harm than good.
I wonder why anyone would want to censor Lauren Smith's letter? (It must be a technical glitch or something.)Ms. Smith makes some important points, as do most people on the blog, including those who disagree with her, or who have mixed feelings about the matter, which is probably many of us.I have no connection to Muir, but I have felt pretty stung by some of the comments made about it since March 14--just at the level of civility and respect for other human beings, particularly those whose lot may be a whole lot harder than my own--and thus can only imagine how painful it must be. I believe that the vast majority of those comments surely come from honorable and well-intentioned people trying to sort through the future, but there have been more than a few that are really low and uncalled for, and those do all of us a disservice.
11:0925% of SFUSD schools have 60% or more of one ethnic group. Resegregation since the end of the consent decree and busing IS concerning, although many districts would be glad to say that 75% of their schools have no more than 60% of any one ethnic group--that is, I wouldn't call this "severe" segregation or "many, many" schools. The current system has forestalled the resegregation that would likely occur with neighborhood assignment that did not involve a measure of cross-district assignment.
My letter was temporarily taken down so that Amy/Kate could check to be sure I was comfortable it light of negative comments. I can stand the heat, and stand by my words. I didn't see the comments, but on reading these I want to say I appreciate the support from some and to point out that I have a better sense of the realities of JM than most or all of those sniping about the school.-Lauren Smith
11:58, Ms. Smith didn't post directly to the site; Kate (or someone she has authorized to post) did, so I doubt she had some revelation about the "harm" she's doing (after all, what would a current parent possibly know about the school her child attends?).
Although I am neither a parent nor an employee of John Muir, I have a close and current relationship with the school and the neighborhood and I can corroborate the playground criticisms. I've seen some pretty unsavory stuff, not so much from children, but from hotheaded teachers. It isn't pretty and maybe this "siege" will result in a change to how kids are treated on the playground.Further, I want to thank Ms. Smith for making some great points about the racism and classism embedded in many comments here. Remember that many of the kids who attend jm live in the projects and teachers choose to work there. Take it from someone who knows-there might be a lot of trouble in the neighborhood around jm, but there's also a lot of energy and many good hearts.
Do you really think our over worked and under paid teachers are the problem here? Public school teachers are heroes!!I've seen them try to teach while alsos providing kids clean underware and their first meal in a day. The problem is RESOURCES. A teacher should be able to call upon a social worker to help a kid out who is so behind because of their lack of family support.A teacher should be able to buy what they need for their classroom without dipping into their own pocket.Until all schools have proper funding, we will have angst in this lottery system.Kate didn't have angst for fun...it just took a while for her high expectations to be lowered enough to embrace JOES.
By law schools have to be diverse. There are two basic ways to achieve this:(1) Neighborhood schools with forced bussing(2) Schools choice with a weighted lotterySan Francisco basically has a hybrid of both. If we go with the Neighborhood schools model only, there will have to be bussing. Are you willing to have your child bussed?
Most teachers at jm are fabulous, but there are a select few do real damage at jm and other schools. I know. My wife teaches at the school and I have been there many times. A lot of teachers are great. A few are borderline abusive to the children. The sad part is that some of the worst teachers are the ones who are closest to Alene Wheaton.There's no oversight of this because other teachers are afraid to speak up for fear of what will happen. The school district will not step into help though Miss Wheaton's reputation and disorganization followed her from a school that failed during her tenure.Lack of oversight is a big problem throughout the district. I think it's appalling that so many incompetent administrators, there are many, get away with so much and get paid so much compared to teachers who struggle in this expensive city.
Kate didn't need to lower her expectations to go with JOES - Alice had a spot at MCDS. The family chose JOES over one of the most sought-after private schools in the area.
The problem with parents storming jm and inappropriate talk about takeovers stems from the fact that many parents who haven't seen the school, didn't request it, don't live near it are in fact assigned to go there. It isn't just some parents deciding lets turn a school around -- they were actually sent there. It is the district's messed up assignment system, which sends families to schools with which they have NO connection that leads to this. I think the jm reformers are inappropriate, but that's what results from the "lets go to undiscovered schools and turn them around" attitude that is fostered by PPS and the district.
"By law schools have to be diverse. There are two basic ways to achieve this:(1) Neighborhood schools with forced bussing(2) Schools choice with a weighted lotterySan Francisco basically has a hybrid of both. If we go with the Neighborhood schools model only, there will have to be bussing. Are you willing to have your child bussed?"The foregoing quote is simply not true. The person writing it is either ignorant or lying.
What happened to the comments made after Smith's post? The negative ones as well as the positive ones should be restored to this blog. Hopefully this is an oversight on the part of the moderator and not blatant viewpoint discrimination.
Alamo: 63% AsianWillie Brown: 74% AACarver: 73% AAB. Vista: 65% LatinoC. Chavez: 86% LatinoChin: 85% AsianCobb: 69% AADrew: 79% AAFS Key: 78% AsianG. Lau: 84% AsianLawton: 75% AsianH. Mann: 78% LatinoMarina: 71% AsianMarshall: 77% LatinoMcCoppin: 72% AsianO'Connell: 76% LatinoParker: 82% AsianSanchez: 79% LatinoRL Stevenson: 78% AsianSutro: 79% AsianGW HS: 70% AsianW. Portal: 72% Asian
Thank you, Lauren SmithWell, I missed this the first time around... but it's not exactly the welcome wagon. I would've counted to ten and phrased that a bit more diplomatically...
Thanks, 9:31. Perhaps you could also post percentage white for the top 20 from highest on down
Lauren Smith - why wouldn't anyone want help at a school with such low stats & obvious challenges? Seems like John Muir needs all the help it can get. Unruffle your feathers and deal.Why do you think its the dumping ground for 0/7 white families?
Why is JM a dumping ground for anybody? That's the real question...
I'd also like to see comparisons for the percentages of non-English speakerssocioeconomically disadvanted (pc for poor)to see how the diversity index is really working or not.
That is a question, too. No child should go to such a messed up school in the projects.But I have to take care of my kid's well-being & education first. I want to be helpful to others, but by sending my kid to a "school" like that isn't going to happen.Why are so many of the 0/7 families assigned to Muir educated white people? I thought we were the minority in SF schools?
I think JM (along with Ortega, Sheridan and others) are just dumping grounds period -- race not considered. You are right, a school should not be a dumping ground period.
Forget bussing in SF. It's not going happen (thank, god) because the city can't afford it. Funding is a huge issue in California.
Plenty of non-white families are assigned to JM, they're just not here. Plenty of white families are sent elsewhere, too, as evidenced by ongoing records.Although I understand parents discomfort with the projects, I want to say this... what do you think will happen if you send your kids to a school in a rough neighborhood? They'll be IN SCHOOL during day time hours, not meandering through a drug den during twilight. They will, in fact, be in a school with a fence and security, down the street from at least two lovely parks, picked up by parents or put on a bus.
Are you high?Police patrols have been taken out of other districts and re-assigned to that neighborhood because of the high crime rate!
Ortega? Really? Ortega is an amazing school. Great principal, decent resources (the library has recently been re-stocked and is staffed with an excellent librarian and assistant), decent neighborhood (unless your standard is Pac Heights), sweet and well-behaved kids, gigantic play yard with a view, parents in the lunchroom every day. Etc, etc.
You got it. I'm as high as a kite, just like everyone else in the neighborhood.Actually, I'm a first-generation college grad who grew up in projects here in SF and now works for another local school district.What do you know about the neighborhood, really?
Ortega really. I didn't say anything about the school itself except it is also a dumping ground for those that went 0/7. It only had 27 requests (I think). I know many people that live in the Sunset that got placed there even those that didn't put only high demand schools. I toured it, it looked fine, fine neighborhood -- just very out of the way
I know that a co-worker lives on Fulton a block away & car has been broken into so often that he got rid of it. And I know from a friend who works at City Hall that police $$$ is being eaten up patrolling that area. And I know that I have seen drug deals happen while sitting at a red light - around lunchtime. I know that when I've been on a red light on Fulton Ive checked my doors are locked because of the young men who saunter out of the crosswalk and weave around my car. I know that my child is never going to set foot in John Muir.
I often worry that someone will break into my grade schooler's car.
No, genius, but If I park near there to run errands before pick up...
No one would send their child to a school in the projects like John Muir unless they had absolutely no other choice. Arguing otherwise is delusional; it would be negligent parenting.The foregoing has nothing whatever to do with race, etc. It is just reality.
"No one would send their child to a school in the projects like John Muir unless they had absolutely no other choice. Arguing otherwise is delusional; it would be negligent parenting."That's an egregiously classist thing to say. I mean, jeez, were you wearing a monacle and admiring the view from your veranda when you wrote that?"The foregoing has nothing whatever to do with race, etc. It is just reality."Well, it was all about classism until you used the R-word... hyper-defensive about the subject of racism, are you?
10:33 AM is right on. Parents want to protect their kids from life's ugly realities. That's a basic instinct. This supposed phenomenon of middle-class parents moving out of an urban area so that their kids can attend a suburban school is hardly new or unique to San Francisco. It's been going on for decades. That's what is ridiculous about trying to keep this Jamie person in San Francisco. Oh, and it's also ridiculous that she thinks granite countertops will help her in this housing market.
Who needs soap operas when you have blog comments?
John Muir is in the bottom 1% of California schools. It is not classist to refuse to send your child there. A school that performs that abysmally should be closed. Nobody should have to send their kids there.
Are parents who live in the projects negligent? Should their kids be removed from their homes, put in foster care (which, in CA, is privatized and utterly dysfunctional)? Or should we just ignore them and direct our children to look away (and raise another generation of entitled, fearful brats)?Sure, I get that you don't want your kids in the projects. But spare us the classist, de fact racist BS about negligent parenting. Plenty of good parents exprience hard times. Plenty of middle class parents choose diverse environments.
"Hopefully this is an oversight on the part of the moderator and not blatant viewpoint discrimination." Kate/Amy deletes posts all the time on this blog, especially the ones that criticize her icky "mommy file" sfgate blog. It's her blog, and she has the right to do that, but it shows a lack of backbone.
JM should be re-incorporated and restructured insterad of closed. With increasing enrollment, increased class sizes, layoffs, and a critical mass of kids living near JM, school closure isn't a good idea.What about change, both in the community and at the school?
There are plenty of diverse environments that are not in the projects.
Are you the same parent who made the comment about negligence? I still want to know how that isn't classist and what you think about parents who raise their kids in the projects?
11:19 AM, you are emotional and not quoting accurately. Just because some people live in subsidized housing doesn't mean I have to send my kids to school in that neighborhood. For the same reason we don't drop them off in the tenderloin to play.And its de facto
Some of you need to read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron
"By law schools have to be diverse." oh really? What law? Go look at most schools in the suburbs - Are those diverse?
s9 and other commentators really harm this blog through their offensive comments and accusations of racism, etc. without any foundation whatsover. Its really unfortunate. John Muir is a horrible school. Refusing to send one's child there is a more than reasonable response.
11:35 AM, I am not that person.
One of my son's best friends lives in public housing in SF. There is understood to be a spectrum within public housing, btw.... Yes, they became friends at a public school. They sit together on the bus on field trips and play funny imaginary games together at recess. My son's friend is funny and goofy, much like my son. Yes, they play at each other's houses. His apartment, like a lot of public housing, borders a gentrified neighborhood and when we go there we often park near a private school that is often mentioned on this blog. I have never felt unsafe coming or going. His mom is super-nice and probably hovers over the boys more than I do. I know this is only one story, but what I'm trying to say is, there are real people behind the names people throw around here. Someone keeps writing the word "projects" in capital letters as if we are supposed to take three steps back at the very sight of the word, as in I would NEVER let MY CHILD set foot on the PROJECTS, etc. Well, I do. I do not think I am a negligent parent because I do. I actually know some of the real human faces behind these words. I'm not saying that everyone must send their kids to a particular school. Although I grew up going to one much like JM (maybe that's why I'm okay with walking through public housing today!) and I did okay--went to a good college and so forth. I had educated parents and a bookshelf full of books and that made all the difference. But no, I wouldn't tell you you had to go to JM--I'm pretty sure that some of you would be detriments anyway, at least the way you come across here. I can only echo Lauren Smith's observation that we sure could stand to tone down the hurtful language about it. There are real people in that community that are reading this blog. Surely you can find ways to talk about this subject without using words like "horrible."
Typos happen. Opportunities to delete don't. Get over yourself.
If any of these posters ever met a real racist, they wouldn't be so quick to throw the word around. They are lucky to live in San Francisco where they are largely shielded from that kind of ugliness.
11:49Read your Civil Rights history. Generally school districts are not allowed to segregate. Suburbs exist in part to escape from cities and towns with diverse populations, to avoid integrated schools by class and race. Supreme Court has declined to order integration by class across district lines.I liked what someone wrote on the private school thread--in public schools, integration is seen as a *bug* by many white/affluent folks; in private schools segregation is essentially a *feature*; in the suburbs that would also be true.
Actually you need to read your constitutional law: there is a world of difference between de jure and de facto segregation. San Francisco has at most a rather mild form of de facto segregation with little history of de jure segregation. See last year's Seattle Schools decision for the current state of the law. That decision essentially prohibits the use of race in allocation schemes.
Are you kidding? I'm a person of color and I've lived in the South and abroad. I've seen "real" racism and, let me tell you something...It's just as ugly, pernicious, and offensive when it's subtle.Don't assume that everyone posting here looks just like you. We darker folks have (surprise!) access to the internet, too, and we're here and we know BS when we see it, as do plenty of white people.This blog is a great social experiment. Watch what people say under the veil of anonymity.And now I've said my piece. I'd love to hear what Ms. Smith and other JM parents and teachers have to say about Muir and some of the other struggling schools.What does it look like from the inside? How are kids really doing? Are teachers qualified, happy, supported?
11:58, you think racism stops at the edge of the most violent, overt ugly forms of it? Are you serious? What's going on here may be much more genteel, but it is still ugly, don't kid yourselves.
12:03, Berkeley's system, which uses race as a factor (looks at concentrations of race in delineated neighborhoods), just got the green light. I imagine the BOE is looking very closely at that decision. Seems to me we may be looking at school "zones" at some point. Which may still mean y'all get assigned to schools you don't like, by the way.
12:03Funny how some here are saying that our schools are *severely* segregated under the present system with *many, many* schools highly concentrated with ethnicity, and that's why the system needs to change;meanwhileothers claim it is only *mildly* de facto segregated and hence we need no remedies like busing.which is it?
Why is it ok to have so many schools with 70+ % one race, as long as it isn't white? Why are there so many Spanish/Mandarin/Tagalog/Cantonese/Russian schools, but none offering French or German?
Getting the green light from the 9th Circuit (the most overturned Circuit by far) is hardly persuasive in light of the fact that the Supreme Court just spoke on this issue last year. People who are bound and determined to discriminate against five year olds based on the color of their skin will cite to it regardless but its just the 9th doing what it always likes to do. In short, that decision doesn't have legs in all likelihood.
12:15Factor in class (socio-economic status), and academic achievement. The district is trying to reach those who traditionally underachieve. The children of French and German ex-pats are not usually in this crowd.
The Supreme Ct was pretty clear in the Seattle/Kentucky cases that this "non-whites first" BS is not kosher.
12:20 PM - But I thought that race had nothing to do with it? I thought "language diversity" was a valid factor. Are you saying it is a valid diversity factor only if it isn't a European language?I thought race was irrelevant!
12:15. To have an immersion school, at least the model that SF uses, you need a certain amount of native speakers who are willing to put their kids in a public-school immersion program.French-speaking famlilies, especially nationals, tend to send their kids private (the French government subsidizes) and there aren't enough German-speakers to get the ratio.
No, but there are more than enough families who want their kids to learn German or French. Doesn't have to be a strict "immersion" situation. Plenty of kids go to the 2 French language schools in SF and begin in Kinder.
Less-strict immersion programs tend to produce less naturalistic speakers (fewer native models + non-native speaking teachers).That said, why not lobby for such a program at your current school. It can't hurt...
As many of the public schools in SF cannot produce a student fluent in English (My bro teaches at City College & most SFUSD students need remedial English or ESL) I don't expect perfection in French or German. I want competence.
Who needs soap operas when you have blog comments?I know that's why I keep coming back!
Amy has disappeared entire posts and comments--which live on in readers everywhere.
I'm appalled at the level of discourse on this blog. It saddens me that so many - parents, no less - use blanket and sweeping stereotypes when referring to communities and children!I sincerely hope for the good of us all that time will change many of your perceptions and ideologies. Being a public school parent certainly did that for me.
11:46--"Unfortunately, SFSD touts that, but doesn't walk the walk. Choice is only for the poor, non-preschool going, non-English speakers. Nothing to do with race."Actually--I'm white, middle class and my child is in preschool!I feel horrible for people who didn't get any of their 7 schools.I am a believer in neighborhood schools and hope in such a reform with some sort of choice.
4:02 here- Sorry I left out the part that we got in at Clarendon.
ditto our family.of course, the exception proves the rule, no?
4:02 here-I guess what I'm trying to say is that people do win the lottery- but from just reading the this blog, most families went 0/7--terrible, terrible, terrible.I feel that having neighborhood schools with some sort of option, would help families have less stress in their lives. Visiting 20 schools- really, is it really that necessary?!
Ditto today 3:44. I am horrified by how nasty some people in this thread have been... and can only hope that the sarcasm and arrogance are not being modeled for their children. Look, we all love our kids and want the best for them. Most of us here support public education in principle but are very troubled by the current system. Let's focus on those commonalities to make some positive changes instead of wasting energy insulting each other. Let's disagree respectfully. Thank you 3/24 10:23 am, 3/24 3:49 am, and Lauren Smith. This is how I would prioritize the goals for SFUSD's enrollment redesign:1. Equal access to quality education2. Convenience & safety3. Community4. DiversityThe district thinks it should ensure equal access to good education by forcing the wealth to be spread, as if to say good education is not possible without (the infusion of money from) higher income families. This in and of itself is classist, because it assumes that only middle and upper class families are capable of raising a school up, and disregards non-monetary contributions that every family is equally capable of offering as irrelevant.And even if we are comfortable with admitting that at the end of the day only money talks, we are still failing because the system is draining those very resources from the city. Those who have the means will move or will go private b/c they don't want to deal with the unpredictable system. Yes, some of the frustration is due to lack of control, but there is also the element of wanting payoff for one's research, time, efforts, and investment (ie, the taxes we pay). Someone asked in the private school thread why people don't seem to get as upset when they are rejected from private schools; I think it is because in that situation parents feel that at least they were given some degree of control (by writing essays, hobnobbing, etc.) and the only sunk cost was the application fee.The system is also failing because, as some have already pointed out here, it isolates families rather than fostering a community spirit. When we have to send our kids to schools located at the other end of town, and the families within each school are spread out all over, we are not going to be inclined to form a community beyond school hours. City life is hectic and time-consuming enough, especially for families with two working parents and multiple children. Who wants to make life more complicated and inconvenient? Who wants to sacrifice precious family time shuttling their kids across town for play dates? I feel exhausted just thinking about it. Diversity will come in time, by virtue of living in a city. Let's create a supportive living and learning communities -- the proverbial "village" -- for our urban families first.The current lottery system might be achieving equal access by letting everyone have a chance at attending the existing handful of good schools... but it's failing to make all schools good... and that's what we really need. There has to be another way to improve the struggling schools besides this system where the district is asking families to go be pioneers in places that are out of the way or make them uncomfortable for whatever reason. We are not all cut out to be pioneers. We all have our own strengths, our own level of comfort, so let's respect that while we work to achieve the fundamental goals that we hold in common.
some people on this blog seemed to have visited 10 or 20 schools in making their list. i wish i could say the same for us. we just couldn't get to that many...and the half dozen we did manage to see involved such juggling of work and commute schedules and the like. my point is that we eventually just had to put on the list a couple of schools we'd not seen. if this is what it is like for us, with pretty flexible schedules, i despair for what it's like for those with fixed schedules and hourly wages. there has got to be some really profound outreach on this front. not everyone has the luxury of time to shop
Anonymous @ 11:50 AM complains that I've made accusations of racism here, but I think a reasonable reading of my comments would not support that view. I wrote two things in reaction to a previous comment on this topic: A) the comment was egregiously classist, and B) that following that up with a highly defensive remark about race suggests, well, that the commenter is highly defensive about the subject of racism.At no point have I accused anyone here of racism. I simply pointed out that specific comments were really quite classist, and expressed some curiousity about the defensive tone of the commenter on the subject of race. Go ahead and keep insisting that you're not talking about race, and sooner or later somebody is going to ask why you feel the need to be so insistent.
I miss last year's blog.
Race is a significant factor in the District. I can recall being at a School Site Council (SSC) training session and listened to District personnel tell us to focus ALL of our discretionary money on programs that will aid the African American students. This was emphasized over and over. It was inferred that our budget would be rejected if there was not enough money being focused on this one population. I left the meeting shocked and disheartened.
There is nothing wrong with John Muir. There are novice and experienced teachers at every school. There are good and bad teachers at every school. Your child will succeed if you have the resources to be involved in his/her education whether it is at John Muir or Clarendon.
There is plenty wrong with John Muir and most of it isn't the neighborhood. It's not the student, either. Nor the teachers, at least not most of them.I've said it before and I'll say it again (and it seems that I'm not the only one: The administration is a mess. Alene Wheaton has egregiously mis-managed JM and the school she previously ran, Golden Gate.Golden Gate was shut down under Wheaton and John Muir will likely be restructured or shut down within the next year if Wheaton doesn't get her act together. Pay attention, people. Look up the stats on Golden Gate. Look at how the school's scores have changed under Wheaton. The decline is no joke.In that vein, it's too bad that SFUSD administration is allowing Wheaton to continue to mismanage schools. Will she be sent to De Avila next? Some other fresh, full-of-potential school.If you really want to do something? Ask tough questions to administrators at schools and city wide. Lobby for school funding. Listen to people and read stats lightly, but with deep scrutiny.
Jeepers, you really don't like her, do you?
I don't like her either, so that makes two!
She won't be sent to DeAvila, a Cantonese-language school. There are plenty of Cantonese-speaking principals out there.
Well said 4:53 on Mar 25th.
"This is how I would prioritize the goals for SFUSD's enrollment redesign:1. Equal access to quality education2. Convenience & safety3. Community4. Diversity"Well said. I have become very frustrated with the district's singular focus on racial diversity over all else. I do think the district has demonstrated a stroke of genius by offering language immersion classes - these programs have made families "want" to choose public and "want" to choose schools they may not have otherwise choosen. How can we broaden these programs? Another poster suggested science/math-focused programs. I think these are wonderful ideas. Aren't there students and families of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds that might want (and be willing to travel to attend), these types of special programs that might be a great fit for their particular child?
4:53 - while most of what you said is great, and I'm not saying that middle class parents are needed in all schools, under your system of communities how would you handle people who do want a specific program for their child not available in their "zone" or community? Do they move? Also, would everyone be ok with the District giving more resources to those "zones" that aren't as affluent if they are going to not bus students? SF is actually a fairly segregated city racially so you are going to segregate more than what we currently have by having these "zones". I don't know of a way to equalize all without simultaneously providing choice to all and the District investing an unequal amount in schools, and by this I mean WAY more different than what Title 1 and the WSF provide. Then you get people who are upset about that. I know that is what people think we have, but there are changes to the choice system that could result in more equality and more confidence in an assignment that is acceptable.The root of the anger belongs in fighting for funding AND real accountability (the ability to get rid of teachers who are ineffective and I do not mean via test scores, but other metrics) at both the state and federal level. Instead what we are doing is using all our energy sniping at the parents at certain schools and parents of certain race/ethnciity and being angry at the city about Rainy Day funds, etc. We really need to band together and address this at the root or we will continue to fight each other until our kids graduate.
10:09 -- Good ideas. I agree it would be a smart move for SFUSD to try to replicate their marketing success with dual immersion by offering other specialized programs that have broad appeal. It's not a new idea though. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnet_schoolI went to a magnet elementary school in an urban area, but don't know about the history/politics of magnets in SFUSD. There is one math/science-focused magnet elem (Spring Valley) with a high API. It hasn't seen high demand yet though. Why not? I think it may need to be better marketed. Lowell is also a magnet and that, from a demand standpoint, clearly has worked well.Also, 4:33, thanks for your post which makes many wonderful and important points. Don't forget though, CA public schools are GROSSLY underfunded statewide. In general, from an ed policy perspective, the literature shows that parent involvement is a key feature of effective schools, but not the make or break factor. However, Prop. 13 dramatically reduced the revenue available for public education. So in CA, parent contributions really can make all the difference in what a school can offer. It doesn't stop there. Of course, high quality teachers and administrators are crucial. But public schools in our state are totally strapped. Check out this PBS Merrow Report some time to learn more about the sorry effects of Prop. 13 on CA schools: http://www.pbs.org/merrow/tv/ftw/prop13.html
Oops, this is 10:42 again...the 2nd half of my post was in response to 4:53, not 4:33.
10:32--THANK YOU! We all need to band together and fight for all of the SF children's future.
Off-topic: If you're waitlisted at St. Philip's or St. Finn Barrs, I just phoned those schools to release our places there.Good luck.
I'd like my neighborhood school, De Avila, to be a general ed school. I'd like to walk my child to school, and then hop on the bus to go to work. I'd like to be involved in my child's school, which is more likely to happen if it is close to where I live. Involved parents help make a school great. How many of the parents assigned to De Avila live in the neighborhood? How many of these parents have the time to roll up their sleeves and help out at De Avila as a new immersion school?
I just found out from a friend of mine, who is an SFPD officer, that there is rampant drug activity happening around the Jose Ortega school area. It's the thugs that meander over from the Ingleside/Ocean View areas. Just a heads up.
10:57, I guarantee you that DeAvila will fill up solid with parents who are committed and want to make a difference. The Chinese immersion will be very popular, and DeAvila is located on a major commute route from the Avenues with their large Chinese population. The fact that it means building a school from the ground up means that parents who cannot/don't care to put the time in will be discouraged from going there, while those who are committed to the project will roll up their sleeves. It will be a successful school, I would lay odds right now about that.I do wish the district had taken the time to consult with the community about it, including neighbor parents such as yourself. Although one could argue that it was agile response to a huge increase in applications this year. Either way, it will be serving some families' needs very well, albeit not yours specifically.
follow up to 11:45, this is happening in broad daylight and not just the night time hours.
11:45, it's always good to have a heads up, so thanks.Of course, FAIS, CAIS, Friends, Synergy, Urban, and Lick-Wilmerding also have a fair amount of drug dealing going on around them, depending on how much the cops have pushed the dealers out of one location or another. The kids at JOES are safe and happy inside the school. It's good to keep that in mind too.
They are safe and happy inside FAIS, CAIS, Friends, Synergy, Urban, and Lick-Wilmerding too. So I'm not sure what your point is.
I don't understand how people can advocate for a strict "neighborhood school" model, or even a lottery with a heavy weight on neighborhood. Obviously that would lead to even more segregation than now. Plus, it seems like certain neighborhoods (especially on the West Side) wouldn't have enough spots for all the kids that want them- akin to the NY Times article referenced above. What happens then? While not as transparent as I'd like, the current system is an OK compromise in my mind. The only people I know (out of a LARGE preschool)who went 0 for 7 were people who only put the most popular schools, or put an "up and comer" as #6 or 7. Demonstrating appalling ignorance of the system, they then feel outraged that they didn't get anything.
For the most part, families who live in the projects choose neighborhood schools. Families who don't live in the projects don't want to go to schools that serve families who do live in the projects. Which one of these scenarios is the problem? Which one does the lottery facilitate?
1:07agreed the kids are safely ensconsed in those schools too. point was that there are many neighborhoods in this city, with public and expensive private schools both, that have unsavory activity happening on the streets just outside. lots of gentrifying neighborhoods that border on very poor ones. if sheltering your kids from this kind of thing is a major concern, you probably shouldn't live here or send your to school here in the city. also, any school that is experiencing this will be taking steps to protect the kids, whether they are fais, cais, friends or joes.
Regarding drugs/crime in school areas... This is a San Francisco problem, and not the fault of the schools. San Francisco residents tolerate a ridiculously high level of crime. This is an important issue - one that requires looking at the politics and priorities of our Supervisors, Mayor, SFPD and our DA. Hopefully if more families do choose to stay in San Francisco, more residents will demand more effective crime prevention strategies and safer neighborhoods.
"I miss last year's blog."Why - because last year's blog was focused on the delusion that "it all works out in the end" and false claims about how the lottery works? I am not trying to be mean at all but I prefer the topics of late. I feel I have a deeper understanding of the lottery, the priorities of the district (whether I agree with them or not) and the success and failures of the district in meeting its objectives. I never would have this level of understanding without this blog (or it would have taken me years to learn via the system). In a nutshell - This blog has helped me sift through the BS propaganda, the cheerleading and the outright misinformation. I am committed to public schools and I am still trying to understand the best way for the residents of San Francisco to help shape the priorities and objectives of the San Francisco’s Board of Education.I think some posters have raised some great points and some great ideas.
1:25--Unfortunately I know plenty of families who went 0/7 and put down up and coming schools. I know a couple who put their 7th choice for AFY and the other for West Portal. That's about it. It's a wide scope of families that went 0/7 just look at the stats. Some would have been happy with lower tiered school, but the system failed to identify them.As for families that live in the West Side of the city- hey kuddos to them that they can afford it. If you're not happy with where you live- then move!Hey- I'm not buying or leasing a Porsche if I can't afford it!Having a system with neighborhood schools WITH some sort of CHOICE would help the franticness and the unknown SF families have been going through. Enough is enough!
down at the epc today....a room and line of stressed out parents with many other things to do...one woman was scolded by another for using her cell phoneanyway, I feel good about our round 1 schools. My son doesn't need to go to school with people who won the lottery and settled for public education.we'll take our up and coming school, thank you very much. Even Jose Ortega.I've come to the realization that EVERY school has those that love it and those that hate it. I've decided to love whichever school we end up.It would be nice for it to be our neighborhood school, Miraloma, but since so many others have decided to claim it as theirs, maybe we'll be better off in the next neighborhood, Sunnyside. I really hope we get in there but if not Sheriden, J. Ortega, Glen Park, Hillcrest, P Revere or J. Serra will work just fine.as for how to improve this system?Complete transparency. It is so unfair that the answer to you question has far too much to do with the person you ask. I asked today for a list of the schools that had spaces at open enrollment last year and was told that info isn't available? Someone here had posted they were told ortega, etc... so is the info available or not? I can't (and don't) beleive that it isn't. They have to know. I was given the list of schools with waitlists in September but that isn't what I was looking for. I know sochools had waitlists in August and aren't on that list... is that because they didn't have waitlists in September? My guess is that NO it meant they didn't have wiatlists in May. Example: sunnyside had two on the waitlist in August. And while they did both get spots at sunnyside (I asked the principle) they didn't get them until the 10 day count. THIS IS THE INFO I NEED TO KNOW!anyway,thanks all
Sf mom, that looks like a good list. I like your spirit! Totally with you on the byzantine information loop down there too.
6:09I wasn't the person who said I miss last year's blog, but I do, too. I do think you are correct that there is more accurate information about the lottery this year, and that is good. Seems like the experience of the previous two years is beginning to add up. We, collectively, could create a reasonable Wiki entry that would far surpass the information and strategic thinking available on SFUSD. However, the blog is full of a lot more ugliness this year, especially the disdainful language used to describe certain school communities, the not-so-veiled racism, the sense of entitlement. Not everyone is doing it, no. But it is making me feel ill sometimes to read it. I guess the blog is just more widely exposed, but it sure seems a lot more like the odious comments on sfgate than it did last year. YMMV, but that's my view and I have read the blog since the beginning.
SF Mom, you are so so right that every school has its boosters and detractors. They fall more or less along the spectrum, obviously, but you just can't make a judgment based on a few random comments because there will always be those who talk it up or down. Great point!
I feel like a much more informed parent afterreading this year's blog. Sure, there's a lot of snark. I hold it lightly, but pay very close attention and do my own research.Sometimes anger is well-founded. Sometimes it's not. Although I'd prefer that everyone's anger was packed respectfully, I'd rather hear people's truth than come to a place where everyone just wants to make nice.
---It would be nice for it to be our neighborhood school, Miraloma, but since so many others have decided to claim it as theirs----Maybe the tone wasn't intended, but those that 'claimed' Miraloma as theirs went there and partnered with principals past and present, and teachers to make it what it is today. Many parents chose it as their school from outside the neighborhood when neighbors were actively trying to get away from this school.I appreciate that you are open to seeing that there are many great schools from which to choose and your positive attitude about joining these school communities.
9:00I didn't read that tone in SFMom's post. I read it more as rueful in the wake of not winning the lottery, which is a reasonable response to disappointment (without being entitled or anything). She has a great list for round 2. Good luck, SFMom--I hope you win your waitpool try or at least that you get a school in round 2. With your attitude, it'll be fine.
how many parents of the K class for 2009 have worked with principals past or future?I meant people who claim it as theirs as the ones that are running around with the happiness of winning the lottery. (okay I'm jealous yet I don't wish ill will, just wish I had that chance as well.. why didn't those people adobt a school somewhere else?) Yeah when I over paid for my house I was told by my real estate agent that there was a home address component to the SFUSD process, think I can sue and get some money back? (ha) You see Miraloma is a neighborhood school, its not an alternative with no neigborhood. Its just a playground/school my son is very familiar with and wants to know why he can't go there.At the Round II meeting last Saturday there was a woman with a story of a swim class mate's mother who said she got Miraloma and had no idea where it was.Also I guess I misudnerstood the orgin of the Miraloma miracle, I thought it came from the miraloma co-op preschool... a miraloma/sunnyside neighborhood school.
"Also I guess I misudnerstood the orgin of the Miraloma miracle, I thought it came from the miraloma co-op preschool... a miraloma/sunnyside neighborhood school."No. you're right. It was Miraloma co-op parents. If you've ever been to the Miraloma Co-op gala auction, you'd understand why. The rise of Sunnyside in popularity is related to the slew of Miraloma co-op parents assigned there last year.I'm not a Miraloma co-op parent, but I respect them a lot. They're the parental equivalent of Special Forces.
"Yeah when I over paid for my house I was told by my real estate agent that there was a home address component to the SFUSD process, think I can sue and get some money back? (ha)"When we bought our house we thought it was in the Commodore Sloat assignment area. Wrong--it was Sunnyside. So we enrolled our son in Miraloma eleven years ago when no one in the neighborhood would touch it with a ten-foot pole. Ironic, isn't it?
I had a Stephen Fowler of Wife Swap siting along with his wife outside the SFUSD on Franklin St. when I dropped off my Amended form. He looked a little teary eyed -- I wonder if his Wife Swap appearance and the economic downturn has forced them to leave Lycee Francais and look at schools in the district.
Real estate agents tend to know very little about the schools at all, in my experience. Mine told me with great confidence that "no one sends their kids to public schools" (I supposed meaning people like me, white, middle class, educated). I said, "Ahem....I do and I love my kids's schools." He was shocked.
^ that's just offensive on so many levels! If a Real Estate Agent told me that (as someone with young children), I'd fire him/her.
want to hear something even worse? during our parent interview at a private school (for K admission), the admissions person said to us, "well, you wouldn't want to throw your son into the public-school system, that would be terrible, he just wouldn't be prepared for that"(in fact he's a super robust kid who goes to a preschool with true ethnic and socio-economic diversity, but that's not the point here obviously.)needless to say we raced out of her office as fast as we could and never looked back...
^I heard that said too, by the then headmaster of a reputable private school (and past headmaster of another). In such a dismissive tone, just dripping with certainty. It wasn't in the context of us applying or anything; it was at a different kind of event altogether that he said this to me. My oldest was in preschool then. I don't think it occurred to him that we would in the end even look at public schools, let alone send our kids to one--and in the city, no less! He wouldn't have ever even considered Marin public schools. So, so out of touch. I lost so much respect for him that evening.
I don't understand how anyone not involved with kids thinks they have the right to judge someone else's family...
This may be a discussion that can be had in another thread but what is the difference between the parents at Miraloma and those at Sunnyside? (or insert some other 'normal' school, I'm choosing these because I know K parents at both schools as well as toured both and applied for both)At Rooftop and Miraloma, all the classes had parent volunteers in helping out. Was this just for the tour? When I spoke with Ms Schlenke (principal at sunnyside) she commented that most of her parents are working and can't volunteer and that those that aren't working have small children to care for so they too can't volunteer. She did remark that they get student teachers from SFUSD and City college (I'm parafrasing and not directly quoting her here) so there was some help. Next year there will be 22 children, one teacher. Some schools do have para's... why? I would guess they are paid for by the PTA?
Do any parents currently have their kids at the less "hot" schools? What are there reportsfrom the inside?
Please tell me a less "hot" school on the West side. Really.
Yeah, I'm still waiting for someone to name that school, 6:16. Guess everyone is too busy berating West Siders for putting "unrealistic" schools on their lists.
Is Ulloa or Stevenson considered West Side?
I think so. I put Ulloa on our list but went 0/7. Demand for the school was way up this year.
Yes, I would consider Ulloa or Stevenson west side. Unfortunately, both schools received "triple digit increases in total demand this year" - per the SFUSD website. I do believe they were previously under the radar but this is no longer true.
Despite repeated court-ordered efforts (like the current lottery system) to integrate San Francisco public schools, there is no doubt that the schools remain racially and socioeconomically segregated:--Almost 20% of SFUSD elementary schools have a student body where more than 70 percent of the students are of one race. --54% of SFUSD elementary schools have a student body where over half of the students are of one race. --42% of SFUSD elementary schools have a student body where over 70 percent of the students receive free/reduced lunches.But our segregated schools do not exist because of the lottery system. Resegregation is going on in schools throughout the country, and many districts look much worse than San Francisco. In fact, some recent studies have shown that the levels of school integration are lower than they have been in over three decades, and many schools are looking as segregated as they were in the 1950s. This doesn’t make what is going on in San Francisco any better; I just thought people should remember that our lottery system is not the root of the problem. We have had increasingly conservative legal and court actions dramatically affecting public schooling in the US—this is what we need to fight against if we want to see better schools for our children.As far as what integrated schools look like, our goal should be to keep our schools with the same demographics as our city. Below is the racial breakdown for children living in San Francisco County: African American/Black - 9.0%Asian - 34.10%Caucasian/White - 25.60%Hispanic/Latino - 22.50%Unfortunately, only 6% of SFUSD public elementary schools fall within 1 percent (above or below) of this racial breakdown, and less than a quarter (23%) fall within 5 percent.
11:06, thanksWe had court-ordered desegregation but it was ended. At one time no school was supposed to exceed 40% of one ethnicity. That was struck down. The lottery is an attempt to prevent the kind of severe resegregation that a neighborhood system would most likely effect. It is true that the current system has not prevented a fair amount of resegregation, but it has mitigated it at some schools by1) allowing access to schools in more affluent/whiter/asian neighborhoods to kids who are diverse from that profile, and 2) by expanding access to those popular schools beyond just the neighborhood, forcing some parents further out, thereby desegregating schools like Sunnyside, and3) creating magnet programs, primarily language immersion, in poorer neighborhoods, in order to draw in parents from the more affluent ones.Other than racial/ethnic caps and busing, I'm not sure what would work better in terms of preventing severe resegregation. Certainly, neighborhood schools would not be better.And caps/busing, besides being struck down, had the problem of "white flight" -- hard to desegregate the schools when more than half of your white kids are choosing to attend severely segregated private schools.
11:06 wrote: "Below is the racial breakdown for children living in San Francisco County:African American/Black - 9.0%Asian - 34.10%Caucasian/White - 25.60%Hispanic/Latino - 22.50%"But here are the percentages, not of those living here, but those attending public schools:African American/Black – 12.4%Asian – 31.9% (ﬂChinese number, not including other Asians)Caucasian/White – 9.6%Hispanic/Latino - 22.9%
Wow ...so that would mean almost 2/3rds of San Francisco's white people do NOT send their children to public schools.That's unsettling, isn't it?
Have you controlled for children in San Francisco who are too young to be in SFUSD? For demographic shifts in population?Certainly some white people in San Francisco are choosing to avoid the public school system and have the financial wherewithal to do so. Honestly though, I'm not convinced that it is SFUSD's most serious issue. Also, it's a group that is pretty empowered to make themselves heard in the media and on blogs like this one. That creates something of an echo chamber effect. I don't think it's as large a group as its members believe it to be.
The fact that 2/3 white people in SF send their kinds to private schools is hugely significant...it would be even higher if you could factor in the many, many families who move out of SF as their eldest child approaches 4 or 5... I know dozens of people who have done that, I think we all do.
I think White Flight is a very serious issue, one that folks just do not want to accept. Look at the North West side of the city - lots of families and kids and chalk full of preschools and private schools. What public elmentary schools? Well there is one, Sherman. If you count Claire Lillenthal's Marina campus, then two. If you cross across California St to Cobb, then three. A "choice" that is clearly on the opposite end of the SARC reports. SFUSD has generally not spent any effort to try to keep these families as there is very little option. Have you noticed there is no bus service in these areas either to other schools. There is a school sitting empty at Jackson and Webster - why not open it as opposed to DeAvila?
"I think White Flight is a very serious issue..."Disagree. It's not like they're being forced out. They're just exercising privilege. As usual. If their cultural anxiety makes them want to leave San Francisco for someplace that looks more like Salt Lake City, then trying to prevent them won't help them calm down any.Let 'em go. Maybe they'll write if they get work.
I'm not convinced of white flight from San Francisco - I hear lots of ancedata but no hard numbers. There is unambiguous black flight, though. This is a serious issue and one that deserves consideration.
"I'm not convinced of white flight from San Francisco..."Well, okay. I suppose I'm not really convinced of white flight from San Francisco either, but I think there's a case for white flight from SFUSD. The U.S. Census says that 45% of the population here was "White (not-Hispanic)" in 2007 and the California Department of Education (Demographics Office) says that only 10% of the students in the SFUSD schools are "White" ("Hispanic" is a separate category). No other ethnic category shows such a wide disparity between the census and the school demographic profile as the "White not Hispanic" category. The difference is stark.If it isn't white flight from the public schools, then there's a curiously unreported epidemic of infertility among the "White not Hispanic" people in San Francisco.
s9There is more infertility among white SFers. 45% are white folks overall, or thereabouts, but only 23% of school-age children are. Partly this is because our older population is whiter, some of it is young white hipsters who don't have kids (yet), some of it is the significant gay population here (despite the obvious gay baby boom of recent years, parenthood rates do not match those of straight couples).Which still means a big disparity in terms of population overall and public school attendance--more than half of white school-age kids in SF do not attend public schools. No other racial or ethnic group approaches this level of disparity.
"...more than half of white school-age kids in SF do not attend public schools. No other racial or ethnic group approaches this level of disparity."Yes. My hunch is all that can be explained by White cultural anxiety and sense of entitlement, combined with White privilege in the private school system.I still don't see any problem that needs a policy solution. Instead, I think the appropriate thing for individuals to do is A) to ridicule White cultural anxiety for the pearl-clutching hysteria that it is, B) to mock the White sensibility of entitlement with blunt derision, and C) to describe the existence of White privilege in the private school system as basically the same thing as Kountry Klub Konservatism.To that end, I'll add that you can see all three of these things in Anonymous @ 10:57pm 2009-03-28's comment: A) the use of scare-quotes around the word "choice" [Hold me, mommy!] before B) disparaging SFUSD with a fine whine about it having "not spent any effort to try to keep these [White] families" in public schools, while C) drawing an invisible demarcation down California Street as if the 1968 Civil Rights Act didn't strike down all those Sundown town covenants two generations ago.Really, this is all of a piece with the sort of thing that Lauren Smith is complaining about in that front page post. She's right to do so, you ask me. More like that please.
The Public School Lottery clearly is not educating a large group of SF Children. I wonder if there was available data if we would find that children of all races who have parents parents with higher educations are disproportinately choosing to opt out of the system. Would it matter? Is there a fix?
"Pearl-clutching hysteria"... What a divine gift for imagery you have, 2:20pm! I find the classism and racism embedded in so many of these posts more than a little shocking, but I'm guessing most of these diatribes originate from just a few swinish individuals. As a public school teacher, I'm hoping these people will find their happy place at some exclusive private school where they can dwell among their own kind.
It's certainly possible, even likely, that SFUSD is for some reason unappealing to some subset of whites in San Francisco. (You should control for the "Other" categories though - to use ancedata myself, I know a number of Caucasian families who either declined to state or chose OW/ONW.)It's just that I don't think it's that interesting that upper-middle class white folks are choosing to avoid the public schools. Since I teach in SFUSD I'm really more concerned with the students we have. I hope that more white families join SFUSD because I believe in a robust and diverse public education system. I also believe that diversity is, in and of itself, an important value that should be affirmed and grown.But from my perch inside the classroom, I will work happily with the students I have.
Groupthink in action. White people bad. White people talking about race and school choice - bad, bad, bad, racist and elitist.Way to stifle constructive debate.
As a public school teacher, I'm hoping these people will find their happy place at some exclusive private school where they can dwell among their own kind.Wow. That statement is truly the definition of racism/classism.
10:48, the whole point is that the debate has not been constructive. It's been all about a certain class of people whining and yelling and also making toxic comments about the projects and the people who live there. I think we would all welcome constructive debate about how to build up schools that are good for all the kids (as opposed to debate about how to improve the odds at certain popular schools for the kids that are already privileged). I don't see a lot of talking, let alone listening, about the educational needs and experiences of disadvantaged kids, who are after all a majority of SFUSD children. If you as a white and advantaged person would be willing to engage respectfully on these questions rather than defaulting to the easy reverse racism argument then you wouldn't get the push-back.
Honestly - do you think this is constructive?"Instead, I think the appropriate thing for individuals to do is A) to ridicule White cultural anxiety for the pearl-clutching hysteria that it is, B) to mock the White sensibility of entitlement with blunt derision, and C) to describe the existence of White privilege in the private school system as basically the same thing as Kountry Klub Konservatism."
Wow, 10:53, talk about projection.This teacher is *responding* only to the swinish and racist posters who have stated pretty clearly that they do not want their children to be in classrooms with the children s/he is already teaching. There are parents here who have said over and over, in a variety of ways both subtle and ugly, that they don't want their kids in school with more than a small handful of kids from public housing and other disadvantaged settings. Of course this teacher would hope that the children of such prejudiced people would not end up in his/her classroom, and of course s/he feels protectively toward the kids who are being talked about with such fear and disdain! The only desire to exclude here is an understandable thought that *those who only want an exclusive environment for their children* will indeed segregate themselves in an all-private, non-low-income environment, and not bring their elitist attitudes to bear on the kids in this teacher's classroom. What teacher would want such ugliness and divisiveness? It's about these parents' attitudes and behavior toward people of other races and social class (attitudes as evidenced on this blog), not what race or class they happen to be themselves. This is in contrast to the wholesale slams against the people in public housing that have been made on this blog--as if that category didn't include a wide variety of people with a wide variety of behaviors and attitudes.I'm sure this same teacher would be welcome families of all races and classes who approach the classroom with the respect and tolerance and humility toward others' experiences that has been so lacking in these toxic posts.
11:52I don't know if it is constructive, but it is sorta funny--and contains some truth, if not all truth. It probably *would* be constructive if the white and the privileged folks on this blog were to acknowledge the humor in it, and maybe examine our own prejudices a little. Can we really deny that there is still a race and class divide--and inequality--in this town? It comes out with a vengeance at tense times like this when we go looking for scarce so-called "good" school spots....otherwise, we can float through life in the city in our own little cultural bubbles, right, thinking we are so great for living in a diverse city, but not knowing people of a different social class from us. This is true, right? And it hurts to have this pointed out, and we get defensive. The thing is, yelling at other people, like Lauren Smith, or the person who wrote about pearl-clutching, for not being nice enough or being angry or whatever doesn't really do *our* part, does it? The charges of entitlement and fear do hit their mark, which is why people are so reactive about them. But doesn't change begin with ourselves, not other people? I say: Laugh ruefully. Then, acknowledge the truth that is there, and think about breaking down what is fear/prejudice and what is fact-based concern about how your kid would really succeed or not in such-and-such a classroom.
oh I understand - It's funny to laugh at white people. Not so funny to laugh at anyone else. That sounds about right. This is so moronic. I wish we would do away with the useless and harmful stereotypes (White people are bad, everyone else good). These stereotypes are insulting to all families.
1:02pm -- The laughter is at the expense of those who puff themselves up in righteous indignation over what they perceive as the failings of certain schools, neighborhoods, social classes and races. People laughed at Marie Antoinette, too. Clueless snobbery is the joke, not skin color.
I'm not laughing at all white people. I'm just laughing at the ones whose cultural anxiety makes them act like blithering idiots and whose sense of entitlement and privilege is all out of proportion with their actual contribution to the vitality of our city. Those people will either learn on their own to get a grip on themselves or they just won't. They probably won't even try if they never feel ashamed of their silliness and frivolity.I'm assuredly not laughing at those [thankfully, few] white people, here and there, who insist there's some virtue to be found in promoting policies they know will lead to more ethnic segregation and higher concentrations of poverty in our public school system. No, those white people I take deadly serious, because they tend to mistake silence in response to their toxic remarks as a signal of agreement with them, and I, for one, am completely done letting them hold to that pretense. Done.
S9 - Just curious - Where do your kids go to school?
He turned three in January.
good luck with that
2:59, s9's family will be okay in the lottery because they won't be gunning for only top schools. We've had other people posting here who shared similar sentiments, and they were happily placed in round 1. There were happy families in round 1, you know. A majority, in fact, even excluding siblings.
Can we go back to square one here? What is wrong with wanting a top school for one's child?
*Nothing* is wrong with that, 3:26. It's just that:1) There are not enough spaces compared to the number of requests at the so-called "top" schools. Therefore, there needs to be a way to allocate those spots. There is nothing that says that you or I or anyone else has a special claim to one of those spots. You can argue about how to organize the allocation of those spots, but someone will always be unhappy about missing out. And if a real hard look at the numbers--rather than wishful thinking and other "shouldas"--tells you that you don't have a great or secure chance of getting Clarendon, you would be wise to look at a wider pool than Clarendon, right? You have a right to look only at Clarendon, of course, but then you might want to think about a back-up plan like private/parochial/move out of town, or otherwise have guts of steel to wait through the summer and maybe into the school year and even then very possibly come up empty handed. So on a practical level, you hear us tell you to look beyond.2) There really are decent schools besides Clarendon and the other top ten or top twenty. Not all will be a "fit" for your child, but there are many that might be, if you take a look. Not all, but some. This process of not getting Clarendon et al and moving on from there is how the circles of "acceptable" schools have widened in the last 5-10 years, and continue to do so. I do realize it's a cliche to say all this by now, and many of you hate hearing it, but most of us have been through this already and we're just letting you know--there are other options besides the top ten schools by request, ones that you may come to feel very lucky about. I've been around long enough to remember that Grattan was a definite second-tier request the year we went through this with my daughter.
I keep re-thinking ways to make the process more transparent and fair and giving due weight to neighborhood preferences while preserving access to our public schools to kids from all different socio-economic backgrounds. What I came up with was this. Define special needs and socio-economic disadvantage, eliminating the language, preschool and parent education components from the socio-economic disadvantage calculation but considering ELL status as a special need upon parent request. Set a deadline for sibling and special need enrollment. Anybody who misses the deadline is in the same pool with everyone else. Announce available spaces in K, 6 and 9 and open the lottery. Figure out what % of applicants is socioeconomically disadvantaged and what % is not. Say it's 50% each for simplicity's sake in this example. For each general ed program, pull out everyone who listed it as number 1. Divide those folks 50%/50% by socio-economic status. Fill half the spaces from the advantaged pot and half the spaces from the disadvantaged pot. Everybody who listed a school as #1 will have an equal chance to get it, subject only to socio-economic balancing. For those who don't get their #1, put them into the pot for their #2 (if space is still available), or whatever is the next highest ranked school on their list that still has room. For the immersion schools, do the same thing except replace socio-economic balance with language balance, either 50$ English 50% target, or 33% English, 33% target, 33% bilingual, depending on the program policy. Require enrollment by anybody who got one of their seven choices in Round 1 or they go into the General Assignment pool at the end of Round 2. Don't assign people to schools they did not request. For those who did not get of their choices in Round 1, announce available spaces at each school in Round 2 and go through the same process again. Again, don't assign people to schools they don't want. Anybody should be allowed to enroll a school with available space after Round 2 results are announced and the enrollment deadline has passed, and anybody should be allowed to wait list one school. If a school does not attract the necessary pot split, hold its drawing until all the #1 choice schools have been drawn. If people in the needed category who did not get their 1st choice listed the unbalanced school as #2, draw their names for the unbalanced school until balance is achieved. If you can't get balance by looking at all the people who listed the school, leave the spaces open until the general enrollment period and let people who fill the category you need enroll in the order they ask until you're full. If after the school year starts you still don't have balance, choose names off the wait list at random. You can only do so much. But don't assign anybody to a school they do not want or to a school that they don't want as much as another if it's not necessary.This option retains opportunity for kids from all backgrounds to go to schools with high APIs, people's preferences actually mean something clear, people who prefer neighborhood schools can list only schools within distances they find acceptable, and nobody is put into a school they don't choose. If a school is not full by the time the year starts, you're not going to fill it by forcibly assigning people to it. If they need a school, they'll take a place somewhere the district says space is available during the general enrollment period. If they've got other options, you're not going to get them to enroll by assigning them to it.
2:32, that actually makes some sense in terms of balancing the contradictory needs and pressures.
I personally think that this school lottery is the most idiotic thing that someone could possibly come up with! I live in Saskatoon,Saskatchewan and you attend the school near you, or your parents drive you to another school. The only 'crisis' in trying to get your child into Kindergarten is if you want them to be in the equally funded and avaiable to all Public System or Catholic System. They both have their quirks but they are equally as good. There is only one school in the city that is hard to get into and that is just because it is on the edge of town and serves a large area.The States need to get something going on the proper track. 80% getting their choice isn't enough. No school should be above another on a parent's list. They should all be equal.It is things like this that make me glad that our school system (and healthcare) are not so underfunded that only a handfull of children get what they need!