Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wary parents weigh public and private school

A recent New York Times article looks at how the down economy is affecting parents' school decisions. Below is an excerpt. For the full story, click here.

CAROLINE HALL was supposed to sign the contract a month ago guaranteeing a kindergarten spot for her son at an Upper East Side private school. He had already spent two happy years attending its early-childhood program.

But Ms. Hall, a corporate counsel, began ducking the school’s calls. Where was her deposit toward the $22,000 tuition? The school had an eager waiting list.

Her son, 4, knew the answer: “I can’t go here next year because Mommy didn’t get a big enough bonus.”

An annual rite is well under way, as families around the country receive their private-school renewal contracts or acceptance letters. In conventional years, grumbling over tuition aside, their outgoing mail would include signed forms and a registration fee.

This year’s hand-wringing over tuition might be dismissed as the latest hardship for the patrician class, which, like everyone else, can simply educate its young in the public system. But of the more than three million families with at least one child in private school, according to the 2005 census, almost two million of them have a household income of less than $100,000. According to a Department of Education survey, in 2003-4, the median annual tuition of nonsectarian schools was $8,200; for Catholic schools, $3,000.

So for every family that pays $30,000 and up to attend elite schools in Manhattan, thousands more will pay tuitions closer to $2,700 — next year’s cost for St. Agnes Catholic School in Roeland Park, Kan.

To many parents who step outside the public system, an independent or parochial school is not a luxury but a near necessity, the school itself a marker of educational values, religious identity, social standing or class aspirations. Whether tuition payments to the country’s 29,000 private schools are made easily or with sacrifice, many parents see the writing of those checks as a bedrock definition of doing the best by their children.

But this year, even as realistic qualms about employment, savings accounts and tuition increases stay their check-writing hand, parents across the economic spectrum feel guilty about somehow failing their children. Which priorities should shift?

“We’re finding that people are setting a higher bar for private schools this year,” said Roxana Reid of Smart City Kids, an admissions consulting firm in New York City. “In the past, any school would do as long as it was private. But now they’re saying, ‘Let me take a second and third look at my local public school options.’ ”

How many private-school students will make the switch to public school will not be known for months. In past recessions, enrollments in independent schools remained stable, according to the National Association of Independent Schools, which represents 1,400 institutions with a median first-grade tuition last year of $14,640. But it may be different this year. Smart Tuition, a New York-based firm that handles payments for some 2,000 private schools across the country, said that by mid school year, 7 percent of families had already dropped out, double from last year. And administrators, financial aid counselors and parents themselves say many families have been questioning for the first time their ability to pay for private school — and what to do if they cannot.

272 comments:

  1. Interesting.

    When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, almost my first thought was:

    Marin Country Day School will have to file for bankruptcy,too.

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  2. The economy is definitely figuring into our decisions. We are fine now, but it's hard to project into the next year much less the next decade.

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  3. I'm sorry, it's just hard to feel sorry for these people. I don't feel the scheudenfraude, but I don't feel their pain, either. Welcome to the world the rest of us live in.

    Seriously, to all the folks that are reconsidering the cost of private school in the new (or newly recognized) financial situation: We'll be glad to welcome you and your kid(s) to our world, our schools. You may actually find out it's not so bad over here, and as a bonus you won't have to stress so much about keeping up with the Joneses from the Upper East Side (or Pac Heights, in the case of our city). We work hard for the kids, we have a lot of stuff going on, but we are also pretty relaxed and have great community. Come on down.

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  4. The Economist has this to say about SF in its latest edition:

    "Mrs Pelosi’s district, San Francisco, is a combination of a playground for the ultra-rich and a sewer for the underclass, with the middle classes priced out of the market."

    Obviously an exaggeration.

    Nonetheless, the dwindling number of middle-class parents face a hard choice here in SF: Either caste their lot with the working folks (public school) or try to social climb up the ladder (as the NY Times article implies) by paying for private school.

    I am heartened that more middle-class parents are choosing public school each year. The pioneers have made blazed the trail, making it easier and easier for others to follow along their path.

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  5. My family went public basically just because that's what worked out, when our oldest started K back in 1996. Our preschool community offered enough guidance on getting into the "only five good (public) schools in San Francisco" (this was the belief among middle-class parents at the time). We toughed out the appeal process and got our first -- and, in our ignorance, only -- choice, Lakeshore.

    At the time I was working part time, for a large company, and my employer and specific job allowed me the flexibility to choose whether I wanted part time or full. So if we HAD ended up going private, I would have worked full time, and that would have worked out for us -- we assumed.

    After our kids were in public school, I wound up leaving that job and working freelance from home. My employer said I could come back any time; I had enough connections to feel secure that I could restart me career.

    Well, since then, the industry in which I was employed, and in which my husband still is -- daily newspapers -- has stumbled to the brink of collapse. My former employer is going through rounds of layoffs and has put the entire staff on unpaid hiatuses. My husband's employer has threatened to close down entirely, and layoffs, pay cuts and benefit cuts are a certainty. My once-valuable skillset is now all but useless.

    Savings and home equity will allow us to survive in the worst-case scenario -- even though we have one kid headed for college next year. If we had been paying tuition for two kids for all these
    years, we'd be screwed. If we had been paying tuition with a second mortgage as some families do, we'd be triple-screwed. We had no idea back then that the situation would be so dire.

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  6. She still manages to turn every subject into something about herself. Amazing.

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  7. I thought she was proud of the fact that she posted with her real name. Since we've heard it before, it's not exactly anonymous.

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  8. Honestly, why don't you people just let it go...your comments are inane.

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  9. I wonder what the impact will be of these families who expect only the best for their kids to be in a public school.... will they be the hyper super type A's that take up 80% of the administration and teachers' time , or will they bring their valuable professional skills, communication/networking, etc skills to the table and help the schools out....

    What an opportunity or what a ugh, yuck situation this could be... I guess all us public school drones should be on the look out...

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  10. I'd say the majority will be bitter and hostile and snotty... and, as you say, they will: "take up 80% of the administration and teachers' time"

    but some will be humbled and help out the schools a lot.

    The ex-rich are not happy people. To go from getting anything you want to having to "settle" for what others do, it annoys them. The fact that they used to have money or may still have more than most parents in the school will not carry and weight with SFUSD, and they aren't used to their social status not mattering a hoot.

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  11. Oh, be fair:)

    Maybe they can raise money for our scruffy little schools instead of for the OPERA.

    It will be interesting, especially seeing the look of horror on their faces when some kindergarten kid from the projects yells out; "that's my ball, mother F%^&er" to their kid who is wearing 100 bucks worth of hanna anderson crap

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  12. Ok, it isn't crap, the clothes are really nice, just super expensive.

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  13. "We'll be glad to welcome you and your kid(s) to our world, our schools."

    I share this sentiment.

    Some of the snide, bitter comments above about our (formerly) wealthier friends are way over the top, rude, and out of line.

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  14. I agree. it's so unbecoming. Can't we all just get along?

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  15. Caroline, you are not relevant and have nothing to add. Go away, please.

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  16. Everyone should have a look of horror on their face if they hear a 5-year-old calling someone a motherf*%#er.

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  17. 8:47 PM - I am a struggling prole, but I don't want my 5 year old around kids who talk like that, either.

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  18. Caroline, your tales of 1996 are not interesting or helpful, either.

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  19. your schadenfreude is showing...
    and wow these posts just made me a lot less enthusiastic about kindergarten and the parents I'm going to meet. what an awful bunch of stereotypes.

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  20. The people that were struggling to make private happen (i.e., 2nd mortgage and the like) will now be looking at public and religious privates. It's not that big of a deal. Those with the real money will still seek the name independents/privates. The system (public) can't handle a mass exodus from private anyway. Good luck to those waiting for the letters and try not to let the day to day drama of it all impact the zen-like peace you have cultivated thus far....

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  21. I'm the one that posted earlier about not feeling the scheudenfraude. I don't. I'm sorry for the snarky posts (and the inane anti-Caroline comments, btw, but oh well). Neither do I feel sorry and no one should expect anyone to feel sorry for those that have to "settle" for world that most of us live in anyway. The situation is what it is. I'm sure everyone has a story to tell....

    The point is that moving forward, if you join our school community and our efforts to help the schools, you are most welcome as far as I am concerned. And even if not, your children, as any children, are welcome anyway, as they should be in a public school.

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  22. Yeah, nobody wants their 5 year old around kids who cuss like that, but there are private school kids who cuss like that too.

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  23. What's wrong with a bit of schadenfreude? I admit to feeling some of it, especially for the people who always had the attitude that they would *never* send their kids to public school, and who acted like we were abusing our kids by doing so.

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  24. Funny -- I have one son in private school and one in public. We had to have a talk with the one in private school about his buddy's incessant swearing...

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  25. It seems like a good idea to think about how paying private school tuition will effect your savings for retirement and college. Even with financial aid, private school is really expensive. Some people end up feeling really trapped -- they can't afford it, but to change schools and admit you can't afford it is humiliating. Plus you might have to tear your child away from his friends. It's tough.

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  26. Either caste their lot with the working folks (public school) or try to social climb up the ladder (as the NY Times article implies) by paying for private school.

    I think you mean "cast" not "caste" but it works as a pun in this case for sure.... The article's tone and examples skew more towards educational values than social climbing, so I don't know where you picked up that implication.... Maybe because it's in the Fashion & Style section?

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  27. I think the "caste" pun was probably intended.

    Teddy Roosevelt originally proposed enacting an inheritance tax because he was worried we had created an aristocracy in America during the Gilded Age.

    Now, with the middle-class dying and our public schools, hospitals and roads crumbling, all the TRUST FUND BABIES have opted out by sending their children to wealthy private schools. And many people want to latch onto their coattails.

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  28. Must be weird to be the type of person who could be "humiliated" by having to send their kid to public school.

    How ridiculous. What happens to these folks when they have anything REAL to worry about?

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  29. 9:02 here. I didn't meant that it's humiliating to go to public school. It's humiliating to have to leave your private school, admitting that you don't have enough money to pay the tuition and keep everything else afloat. Maybe humiliating is too strong a word, but certainly difficult to leave a community that you like and would stay in were it not so expensive.

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  30. So much bitterness towards those who have (or had) more money than you. "these people"... "our world" ..."ugh, yuck"... "Maybe they can raise money for our scruffy little schools instead of for the OPERA"... Maybe you all need to examine that. Really, who would want to go to a school where a bunch of parents have chips on their shoulders?

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  31. Just for the record, we're considered upper middle class, I guess. We certainly aren't "rich", but we are comfortable. We're considering both private and public, but I can tell you that we are not considering private to latch onto the coattails of the super rich. I couldn't care less about rubbing elbows with debs and bankers or aging trust-funders. I mean, if they are nice, then cool, I'm glad to know them, but otherwise... It seems like everyone thinks that this is the reason people who aren't filthy rich want to go private. Uh, no. I like to hang out with people who are interesting and who share my interests. I've found that bank accounts don't have much to do with that.

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  32. 6:05 PM

    I don't understand your comment about MCDS - why would they have to file for bankruptcy? If only 5% of applicants are accepted don't you think that money will not be an issue? I mean, really, would you be admitting many families who could not afford tuition? They can pick and choose each family.

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  33. 12:30,
    I wrote that comment about MCDS and Lehman.

    I was joking, really. But I have attended several events there (as an aspiring applicant and otherwise) over the years and have noticed a large contingent of investment bankers there (some I know personally).

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  34. 12:14, in real life, as opposed to on this blog, these parents will not have chips on their shoulders.

    If you show up at our kids' public schools in September, no one will sneer at you or laugh at your "humiliation" for having to switch from private to public, or for having to forego your dream of that perfect private school. Seriously. You'll just be one of the gang. We all have our stories as to how we got there, and we are a diverse bunch in terms of background--and personality! As long as you don't go around moaning all the time about how sorry you feel for yourself because you can't afford some fancy place anymore, and don't act all entitled to special treatment and whatnot, you'll be welcomed just fine and certainly so will your kid.

    The anonymity of this blog is what is bringing out the cold-blooded venting about the circumstances of people whom we don't really know. It's blowing off steam and perhaps a little bit of getting back for all the put-downs about us and our schools over on the private school thread--also anonymous, of course :-).

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  35. We just submitted our deposit and contract for next year. We are mired in the middle class, but fortunate to have money available from family for this. The kid continues to thrive, so we will stick with it for another year.

    I do think the school will lose some families because of the downturn. Lovely families with kids who are thriving. Probably it will work out fine for those kids, but the situation is hard for those parents. Good luck to all.

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  36. I totally understand the schandenfreude that is posted on this site, and we are considering both private and public. We would go to our neighborhood school, but its a long shot (esp. now since I'm sure it will get a bump from the economy). But I think if these ex-privates do end up going to public schools, it would be a great bonus for the schools.

    We are from the kinda-affluent caste; thats the people who have more than 5 million(one step up from upper middle class), and less than 20 (the starting point to where you become defined as "rich" by rich people).

    That may seem crazy to you (as it did to me before I entered this nutty city), but that is how it is on the north side of the city.

    Still, I assure you, there is a whole lot of fear of public school in this group. Most of the people we know are not trust funders--they work crazy hard and did make the money themselves (sort of)--but these are people who have always been comfortably well off, and have always gone to the best of private schools and universities. They aren't slackers by any stretch of the imagination, but they tend not to acknowledge the advantages that wealth, connections and education has given them.

    It was unimaginable that public school would EVER, EVER happen to them, and so, psychologically, I could totally see how life is going to get hard for them. I have a creeping suspicion though, they won't be staying here long; most will downsize and move back east to where they're originally from, or rent houses where the public school system is better. Plus, 25K is just not that much to most of these families. A lot of them have 3 or more kids though, and I could see an exodus from the city in a few years.

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  37. I am a reporter looking for parents who may be enrolled in both the public and private schools for next fall. I need someone in the Bay area willing to talk on the record about it. If you are willing to do so - please contact me at publicprivate1968@gmail.com

    Thank you,
    Beth Hoffman

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  38. Good grief! These are public schools, right?

    Everyone is welcome!

    And if the rich parents whine about not getting the same special treatment they did before, you know, that be a good thing! Squeaky wheels and all.

    If we were all willing to quietly accept what the public schools had to offer, does anyone think the schools would be better off for that?

    If some parents used to send their kids to a fancy school that offered everyone violin lessons, and then showed up at a public school and said, "What do you mean, there are no violin lessons?", you would not welcome that person?

    I'd welcome them with open arms, and say, "Well, violin lessons would be great! How about you organize the fundraiser?"

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  39. We had our kid in private and public and private again. Being a parent is difficult when all you want is the best for your kid. In the end, it's what sacrifices you're willing to make when you choose public or private, live with the choice - and be proud.

    We finally chose the school that was right for our kid - not about who we were and weren't rubbing elbows with, not about the cost, etc. If you stick to your principles on how you want your child educated - there is a way to make it happen whether it falls in the private or public camp.

    In the end, it doesn't matter what people think. It's nobody else but you tucking in those kids at night as they look into your eyes and UNCONDITIONALLY say I love you too.

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  40. "The anonymity of this blog is what is bringing out the cold-blooded venting about the circumstances of people whom we don't really know. It's blowing off steam and perhaps a little bit of getting back for all the put-downs about us and our schools over on the private school thread--also anonymous, of course :-)."

    It is two sides of the same coin though. One is no less ugly than the other.

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  41. 2:26, if you're worth between $5 million and $20 million, you're rich. Not "kinda-affluent". Rich. In fact, after $1 million those of us who count our net worth in the thousands (4 to 5 digits, in many cases!) have a very hard time differentiating. Those with $20+ million are filthy-rich, maybe?

    And yes, there are plenty of families that would consider even us "thousandaires" to be affluent, it's all a matter of perspective.

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  42. 3:47, I don't disagree with you about the ugliness....I was just commenting that I think that is what is going on. You don't see the level of ugliness witnessed in this thread in real-life interactions at the public schools (at least the ones my kids attend), and I would guess not at the private schools either, despite the snottiness of many comments over on that thread about us proles. The anonymous form, and the stress of the present moment, promote the worst of all this to emerge. Not justifying, just trying to say that no one should make decisions about either public or private based on the venom expressed here.

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  43. 3:32

    "In the end, it doesn't matter what people think. It's nobody else but you tucking in those kids at night as they look into your eyes and UNCONDITIONALLY say I love you too."

    YES!

    kids don't know the difference as long as they have food, shelter and a family who loves them.

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  44. Good grief. Not to pile on, but $5 million is rich. Rich rich rich. I understand the filthy rich may have a different scale, but you millionaires are all in the top micro-percent of the population by income, and you hundred-thousanaires are in a pretty tiny group too, and that is a *fact*, so own it!

    Even in nutty affluent San Francisco, the median income--the middle point of all family incomes--hovers around $70,000. Five figures. That's right, half the population lives on less than that here. An absolute majority of us do not have six figure, let alone seven or eight figure, incomes. (I make right at median, myself, and I'm a single mom who is fortunate to own a home I bought a long time ago...but certainly have no money for private school!).

    Can we get some perspective here? I always figured that a characteristic of privilege was not understanding that you have it, but seriously, five mil is RICH and we should all really understand that.

    Obama is classifying those with $250,000 incomes as wealthy, and many take issue with how high that bar is--he set it high as a political gesture to the professional class in high-cost cities like SF and NYC that are a huge part of his political and funding base. The same folks are subject to the alternative minimum tax that they just rushed to patch, again: it's a potent group, those who make $100,000 to $250,000.

    One of the great things about public school is the chance to meet a much more accurate cross-section of our city than most of us tend to do. The schools are not perfect in this regard, but may be one of the few places that this happens, where the kids are treated the same whether rich or poor or (like my kids) truly in-between. Helps raise kids who have that sense of perspective of what is rich and what is poor and also avoid that sense of entitlement and blind privilege that comes when you don't talk to people outside the rich (yes, rich!) social class.

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  45. Alternative minimum tax really does need fixing. It was designed to keep those rich enough not to need an actual job from evading taxes altogether. It wasn't designed to penalize working stiffs, albeit well-paid working stiffs, or double income professional working stiffs, at an even higher rate than everybody else, even those with far more assets.

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  46. San Francisco public schools do have violin lessons, actually funded from the district budget.

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  47. Hey,
    just talked to my husband and we are now below 5 (stocks took a real beating)--so am i cool now?!

    Seriously though,
    my point is that we are into going public for the reasons articulated here: we want our children to understand it is mostly blind luck (and a bit of hard work) that we are in this situation so entitlement or social darwinism will not be tolerated in this family; that we think good public schools are really the backbone of a good democracy, and are fundamental to keeping this country from slipping further into plutocracy/kleptocracy; and that the best way to keep public schools strong is by the wealthier parents staying in the system (can you imagine how awesome it could be to have all these MBA moms I meet running the public school auctions?).

    It would be great to have these ex private parents be a part of the public system--sure some of them are neurotic and egotistical, snobby whatever--but they can lobby, grant write and fundraise like a MF. Plus, they can be so competitive, they're not going to stop til their public school is "the best!"

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  48. 5:47, I would be the first to welcome you into my kids' school. You sound very grounded in your reasoning. While I do agree with the others that you are rich :-) even despite the stock slippage, I believe in keeping the doors open to all and you are right that there are plenty of gifts to be shared from your social circles (as well as all the others). Our public schools would be second to none if everyone felt and acted as you are doing.

    Other poster is right that we already have violin lessons available starting in the 4th grade. But we sure could use fundraising for some other so-called (but not really) "extras."

    My only little fear vis a vis formerly private school, possibly entitled (not everyone, but some) parents is that there will be a push to shift priorities. I am so down with parents using their talents to run an auction to raise the bucks for a slew of needed projects, as defined by the PTA and also the site council, aka, the school community. I would hate to see some of those parents trying to throw their weight around to move money from, say, literacy or free after-school/tutoring projects that mostly benefit the poorest kids. While I think it's important that some money go to programs that benefit all the kids, like arts programs, it's important to remember just how far behind some of these kids start, and to support community priorities of giving them a leg up.

    So there, that's my fear, now said out loud. Will these new parents recognize these issues of providing schooling for kids from such a diverse set of circumstances, and dive into help? Probably! Just had to say it though.

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  49. We applied to public & private.
    I'm hoping for public! As a professional fundraiser, I can't
    wait to fundraise at whatever public
    school my child is accepted to. We may not make millions, but I hope to do as much as possible to help our designated school.

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  50. Perhaps some of you fundraisers could consider "adopting" a school that doesn't have the benefits of moneyed parents and MBAs. It's great that you want to help your "designated" schools; please be mindful that all public schools are our schools, not just the ones our children attend.

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  51. Be careful your snark is showing..

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  52. I agree that it would be great to have those ex-privates as part of the public system.

    The advantage afforded by the public school is its real-world setting. The kids playing between the lines on the playground look just like the surrounding community.

    And the one group missing that has been missing from the mix over the past two decades has been the children of wealthier parents.

    Bringing them back into the fold is good for our children, our schools, and our democracy.

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  53. You guys have such a black-and-white ideas about private school families. My single new immigrant Mom put my siblings and I through private school here in SF. We are by no means so rich that we can afford to frivolously throw money at schools. It wasn't a status thing either. And there where plenty of families just like us in the private system. What gets me is some of the condesending bitterness on this thread directed squarly at families who chose private over public. Most are good people who want the school to have an influence on the child rather than
    the child having to influence the school. The public schools have much to offer and are very comparable to most parochial schools in SF.

    On the other topic....I have a family business with a net worth of over $5M but am by no means "rich". I pay over $50K a year in property taxes which supports SFUSD. And have nothing left over to even consider private schools if I wanted to. We will do public in the fall and (after reading this thread) am not looking forward to meeting the judgemental attitudes of some of the parents here on this. I will happily do my part in the public school come this fall. Everyone has a right to make choices on our society. We should not be here to resent the choices of others.

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  54. This is all great but WHERE would all of these children go to school in the public system? Would the city be filled with modular buildings to house all of these new students? Is there money and land somewhere to build new schools?

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  55. 11:16

    While I applaud your mother for putting you through school, I doubt she did it on a domestic's salary (my grandmother) or a teacher's salary (my mother). Great for you and her.

    We went public all the way, and while some of the schools I went to were brutal, it got me the education that allowed me to be even able to contemplate sending my child to private. Thank you civil rights movement, thank you head start, thank you public education!!!!

    How did it happen--how did my single mom do it? why choices of course! That's the point, isn't it? The choices we make as a society and individuals are EXACTLY what decides which direction this country is going to. In the seventies at least, we as a country decided to have a passable public school system, and it just pushed me over the edge towards continued success.

    Choices.

    What if we as a country decided your "single new immigrant" mother was not a welcome addition to our land? why, you wouldn't be here, complaining about other people's bitterness.

    We pay 60K in property taxes for our house in the city--and rightly so. We earn a good salary and think its important that our income bracket (and lets face it 11:16, if you pay 50K in taxes, you ain't po') be taxed more because 1) its bull that taxing the rich is a disincentive to work hard--competitive rich people will always work hard for their cash even if its significantly less through taxation but 2) because this country is falling apart due to the crappy choices imposed on the rich (of both parties) against everyone else, and the only thing that can fix it is more of a communitarian cultural shirt, coupled with money going into public goods--Schools, infrastructure and g--damn it a universal health system already!

    Now, I agree that most of the people who send their children to private school are good people. And no one is saying to sacrifice your children on the altar of public school. If you really think public school is no good for your child, by all means pony up the cash and send it there.
    But please don't ask for tax breaks and vouchers or think you are entitled to financial aid to accomplish your goals. That is where your choice gets on my nerves.

    Sorry for the dogma, but where do you think all of these "choices" lead to?

    Here's to seeing you in public school next year. :-)

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  56. No... see, the private schools empty out, then the district leases their buildings and their teachers and, hell, even their curricula. Then they set the lottery loose on them. Then every embittered soul here starts fighting to get into the new public schools...

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  57. But please don't ... think you are entitled to financial aid to accomplish your goals

    This is not government aid. It is OFFERED by the private schools. Entitlement doesn't figure into the equation.

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  58. As someone trying to decide between public and private, reading this sure helps me lean towards private. To all the bitter posters: put down your pitchforks and torches, and please either go get some therapy to help you be more at peace with your life situation. If a family makes more money than you and chooses to spend it on what they think is best for their children, does that make them bad people who are deserving of unhappiness.

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  59. What a remarkable testament to how messed up the admissions process, public and private, in San Francisco is that so many parents have become so hostile and intolerant toward each other...

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  60. Is it the admissions process, or the growing class divide in this country? Maybe both. Agreed, it is discouraging.

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  61. Most of the objections here are about the people whining that they can't afford 30K a year for private school for their kid anymore.

    Boo-frigging-hoo

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  62. actually a good part of the whining is from parents who don't seem to want these theoretical down-on-their-luck former private school parents to cross their paths in the public school because of the assumption that they're all high-maintenance snobs who are asking for pity and special treatment, or overbearing MBAs. has anyone met these parents (in real life) yet? let's hope the majority don't fit the caricature...

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  63. There are a bunch of snobs in San Francisco--that much I can assure you. They live a world unto themselves and its almost as if they could be from Westchester, the Upper East Side, The North Side of Chicago or Grosse Pointe in Michigan.

    But no worries--they would never send their children to the publics. They'll leave before they'd do that.

    The ones that will go to the publics will most likely be cooler, and eager to help the school in any way they can. And though they may use it in ways you don't agree with, more money in the schools is just a good thing.

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  64. 12:24, I see your point about the anger directed at the wealthy, but read the posts on that private school thread that has 1200-some-odd posts, and you'll feel the same way about the private school parents directing venom at public school advocates.

    I think there are just some people who use the chance to post anonymously to vent all the stored-up rage that accumulates in their stressful lives.

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  65. 10:26, I was being completely serious. Which is not to say that I expected to be given serious consideration...

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  66. "Perhaps some of you fundraisers could consider "adopting" a school that doesn't have the benefits of moneyed parents and MBAs. It's great that you want to help your "designated" schools; please be mindful that all public schools are our schools, not just the ones our children attend."

    I suppose condescending vitriol disguised as "serious" "comments" is hard to "take" "seriously"....

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  67. I'm just glad to see that charity and goodwill to those less fortunate is alive and well on the K Files!

    Please enlighten me, what's so horrible about suggesting that those with time and talent help others?

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  68. LESS FORTUNATE???

    "I'm only worth 5 million now"

    (gag)

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  69. I know race is a taboo subject but here goes...

    At every independent school open house I attended, the head master began his presentation with some version of this statement:

    "Here at [insert school name here], we embrace diversity."

    And yet, looking around -- at the parent community, the other visitors, the students -- perhaps 80% of the people around me were Caucazoids. This, in a city where probably 70% of the children are not. I happened to drive by Hamlin the while back when school the schoold day had just ended. Never have I seen so many blonde children in one place around this town.

    People feel uncomfortable sending their children to a school where only a small percentage of the kids are of their own race. And this does not apply only to WhiteFolks. I know two Central Americans (now going through the high school admissions process) who selected Mission High School as their first choice for public.

    I think there is a 20% threshold here.

    Once a school reaches the point at which 20% of the kids are of your own race, you will feel comfortable about enrolling your child in that school.

    I think one factor drawing many WhiteFolks back into public schools now is the fact that Clarendon, Lillenthal, and Rooftop are no longer the only schools with fairly large Caucazoild populations.

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  70. The popularity of a school can be directly linked to how few African American students attend those schools.

    People at those schools deny any racism at play there, of course, and claim it is all coincidental.

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  71. is it all racism or is it cultural too?

    I know of Hispanics that do not want to attend a majority black school, ditto for Asians, and I know of blacks who don't want to attend a majority hispanic or Asian school. So poster above is right -- people want to send their kids to a school where there are people like them -- whether it is race, cultural (does this school have families that place a high value on education, etc etc).

    In my case, I would be happy to attend a school of any race as long as the families place a high premium on education, that is, families support the teacher, show up for parent's night and parent teacher conferences (of course some parents work and cannot make any conference but then they come in am sometimes I see), don't EXPECT that it is only the schools' job to educate my child, ad nauseum. kids could be every color of the rainbow, from lesbian/gay households, poor or rich. Some rich would be preferable since hopefully they could donate money or be well connected in high places but otherwise doesn't matter.

    How about you guys... anyone else feel the same?

    I'm not born yesterday, I know racism does exist, but I would hope people who look in the mirror and say honestly what it is that bothers them. Who wouldn't want their kids to go to school with the Obama girls, pres or no pres for dad. Clearly their parents value education.

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  72. "I would be happy to attend a school of any race as long as the families place a high premium on education, that is, families support the teacher, show up for parent's night and parent teacher conferences (of course some parents work and cannot make any conference but then they come in am sometimes I see), don't EXPECT that it is only the schools' job to educate my child."

    Very well put. I agree.

    The public elementary schools that have made dramatic turnarounds (Sherman, Grattan, etc) did so because parents made huge commitments to helping the school.

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  73. you'll feel the same way about the private school parents directing venom at public school advocates

    It's not like they're all going, "public school sucks nyah nyah nyah." A bunch of public school advocates over there claim that people who choose private school commit moral and social atrocities by doing so. Defense is in order.

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  74. Our number one public's demographics are mixed, but African American is the biggest percentage. Our white kid is definitely in the minority--one of the lowest percentages. It is the school that impressed us the most in terms of energy, atmosphere, staff, and certain aspects of the curriculum. I'm glad we will almost certainly get in now because it will be on the popular list soon.

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  75. We're applying to both public and private and I have to admit the private schools are MUCH better. They invest more in prof'l dev't for teachers, have smaller classes, more engaging curricula, etc.

    However, the retail price is outrageous. I don't doubt the costs are actually that high. But while private school might be twice as good as public, the price is infinitely higher.

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  76. As a black mom who comes from a family of teachers, I think there are two issues of the race of the students.

    1) no one wants to send their children to a school that has a large black population and 2) people--even the most latte liberal--prefer there to be a majority of their own race at a school. There was even an article in the WSJ a few years ago about how many white parents were pulling their children out of the excellent public schools in the Peninsula because they felt there were too many Asian families there. So it isn't about just an excellent education, but about a cultural connection and also a fear of the other and of being subsumed by another culture.

    As for the truism that no one wants to go to school with black kids who are in the majority (and I have seen some great exceptions at William Cobb with white parents who totally send their children there), there are many reasons for that. Racism yes, but also that there is a historical oppression that has put Black people at the bottom of this country, and the bottom of this country rarely get the best of anything, including education. Couple that to the fact that Black kids tend to poor (generationally poor)--which creates a whole host of pathologies. A culture of poverty does not typically support long term goals like success in education--and does have a higher level of "in your face" attitude and violence, and the end result is you have a perfect self-supporting storm of prejudice.

    Even when the public school is integrated, the interior of the school tends to be tracked (all of a sudden, all the white/Asian kids are "gifted" or AP tracked, some of the Hispanic/Hmong/ Vietnamese kids are in regular classes and the blacks are put in remedial classes), so that internal segregation is the rule. I was almost exclusively the only black kid in my AP classes although my school was 30% black.

    Also at school when I was growing up, the first thing the Vietnamese kids (pejoratively called "Boat People") learned was don't talk to the blacks and stay away from them; I would have friends for the first few weeks and then they would wise up and disassociate themselves from me. Years later the exact same thing happened with the Iranian kids that showed up.

    During the White Flight years when white families left the cities and certain suburbs in droves for more white ex-urbs and parochial schools, the public school systems in this country used the Magnet mechanism, to keep the white families in the system.
    The result is still segregation.

    This country has failed in its commitment to educate everyone, and because it has isolated black people it has created a self-fulfilling reality: Black people are perceived as not being committed to education. But one unexpected outcome of this is that it is no longer isolated to the black community. "Ghetto" values--never backing down, violence, extreme sexism and putting down education as acting white hasn't stayed in the ghetto. It has trickled up the general culture and is largely seen as a culture of protest and admired by all races and social classes.

    And that’s why I think there is such segregation in the schools and why saying "I just want to be where people value education" is disingenuous--it’s not the whole story, and it’s impossible for most of our poor to reach that goal.

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  77. It has trickled up the general culture and is largely seen as a culture of protest and admired by all races and social classes.

    I don't understand what you are saying. What has trickled up?

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  78. But while private school might be twice as good as public, the price is infinitely higher.

    To you. An education takes money, regardless of who pays for it -- the government, the church, or you. The cost of a private independent education is roughly $20,000 (to you -- philanthropy covers the rest). The SFUSD has less than $9000 to work with.

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  79. 9:54 ...

    Excellent post. I agree the "I just want to be where people value education" statement and attitudes are totally disingenuous and simplistic.

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  80. Private schools are NOT "twice as good as public schools"

    What nonsense.

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  81. You're right -- based on spending per student per year they are 2.75 better.

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  82. It isn't all about money, but rich people always think it is.

    If your idea of what makes a school great is how much it costs to attend, you're deluded.

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  83. They *are* better... Maybe even twice better.

    But assuming you donated $1,000/year to your public school (and most people don't) they are 20 times more expensive!

    That is what the poster was trying to say!

    You don't pay 20X for something that is only 2X better. Doesn't make sense.

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  84. On the subject of donations, I've heard people in other local districts talk about the "suggested donations" they are asked to give annually. Does this happen in San Francisco, too? If so, how much are people being asked to donate?

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  85. "Ghetto" values--never backing down, violence, extreme sexism and putting down education as acting white hasn't stayed in the ghetto. It has trickled up the general culture and is largely seen as a culture of protest and admired by all races and social classes.

    First, I believe this is a racist statement. Many people in poor neighborhoods (I hate the term ghetto; it implies mandatory isolation) DO value education and deplore sexism and bullying.

    Second, these views (sexism, approval of bullying, demeaning of education) are NOT admired or valued in any social class or among any race, fortunately. They have not trickled up or down or sideways or anywhere.

    What on earth is there to admire about those values?

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  86. But assuming you donated $1,000/year to your public school (and most people don't) they are 20 times more expensive!

    To you.

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  87. If your idea of what makes a school great is how much it costs to attend, you're deluded.

    If you believe $8500-and-dropping is working out well for CA public schools, you're deluded.

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  88. First off, I don't want to sound racist, so I just want to start off by saying that I myself, am a minority.

    The african-american poster above had some valid points, but I can assure you that the problem lies with the black microculture. Their family unit, in terms of their grouping as a whole, is very different from that of other minorities ad caucasions. We all know that good values and educational prowess lies with the family, NOT the school.

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  89. The comment below is one of those misinterpretations described elsewhere here (perhaps by someone cruising the Net over a couple of glasses of wine?):

    "A bunch of public school advocates over there claim that people who choose private school commit moral and social atrocities by doing so."

    The strongest point made in that vein is that choosing private school has a social impact, and that mindful parents are urged to consider that social impact in making the decision.

    This comment misses some points:

    "The popularity of a school can be directly linked to how few African American students attend those schools."

    African-American students, overall on average, tend to be the lowest-achieving demographic. So schools with a lot of African-American students tend to have low APIs. Informed parents tend to seek out (in general)schools with high APIs. So are they avoiding schools that have a lot of AA students or schools with low APIs?

    11:17 asks:

    "WHERE would all of these children go to school in the public system? Would the city be filled with modular buildings to house all of these new students? Is there money and land somewhere to build new schools?"

    SFUSD owns lots of property around the city, including several school facilities that are currently not used for schools and are occupied by tenants. Two examples are the old De Avila school in the Haight and the old Cabrillo school in the Richmond, and there are a number of others.

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  90. choosing private school has a social impact, and that mindful parents are urged to consider that social impact in making the decision

    When deciding on independent schooling, I did factor in the positive social impact of supporting freedom of choice (public, independent, parochial, charter, homeschool). I did factor in the positive social impact of supporting a push beyond governmental constraints to shape and define better ways of learning and teaching for all. I did factor in the positive social impact of freeing up my time and energy to focus on social problems rather than worrying about whether my child's mere presence at an institution could contribute to its salvation. Feels right.

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  91. Very good comments all re poverty and education.

    However, poverty does not always equal poor education --

    Is it Yick Wo, John Yehall Chin -- schools with high minority Asian pops and low income/free lunch -- they score very high on API. Granted API isn't everything, but it is one measure.

    Yes, there are a lot of issues that go into why Black/AA do not do well on API -- one that is intriguing is the one the poster actually mentioned it -- its considered acting white to do well in school.

    Ok, lets hope Obama's wife, who is all black (so no one can accuse her of being white) can make an impact here - her parents valued education and pushed her. She pushes her kids.

    I still say -- where is Colin Powell? Clarence Thomas? or even Kobe Bryant? Where are the black educated class right now - THEY need to be the ones going around saying it is COOL to be educated, and it is not acting white or Asian or whatever to be educated. Your ticket to a better life is to get an education. Go demand one.

    Any white, Asian, Latino person saying this would be blasted as racist. So step up Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton. Condelizza Rice. Go into the ghettos. Where are all the rap singers?

    Bill Cosby tried to do it and got shot down.

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  92. 1:24

    Good for you. But you're at least 8 years too late to be cheered for your excellent choices. Perhaps I have some New Wave music and power shoulder pads to go along with your Reagan/Bush era politics.

    12:24

    It is BOTH the government and the family that is responsible for creating an excellent public educational system. They are both necessary conditions and neither is sufficient. People like to forget that this country spent the vast majority of its run destroying the African-American family. Then after a generation of half-assed social policy, love to talk about how blacks have awful family values, and education really begins in the family, so what can ya do?

    11:46

    Of course many people in poor neighborhoods value education and aren’t into hating women and bullying. Those qualities are pathological but that is becoming the dominant characteristic of a people trapped in generations of poverty and neglect (sorry you don’t like the word ghetto because it implies mandatory isolation, but if one hasn’t any money to move, that sounds an awful lot like mandatory isolation to me). “Many people” deploring those values can’t cut it. The majority of the community has to value education and eschew violence as a strategy to wealth or the “good” people drown in a culture of nihilism and death.

    But don’t lose the point: Instead of just declaring that statement racist, think about what I said—-that this country has failed in its duty to educate everyone;That it has for too long pitted the poor against the middle class while the rich earn windfall profits; that it has systematically isolated black people (which is the definition of a ghetto); that such isolation is indeed pathological if the only people in this ghetto are poor and see no middle class people and therefore no use for education; and that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that justifies the middle class--OF ALL RACES—to avoid schools with a large amount of Black students (even going so far as bankrupting a family for the sake of parochial/private education).

    And secondly,

    Do you really believe that “ghetto” values don’t trickle up and infiltrate a society at large? How many white kids use “ho” now? How many rich kids dress like they just got out of prison with their pants hanging low? How many people think 50cent is totally cool for the amount of bullets in his body? How many kids think Eminem is awesome for writing a ballad to killing his wife? Kids seek to shock and to rebel and nothing scares the bejeezus outta parents like gansta rap. The only thing is, it becomes part of the general culture. Have you seen how many middle class kids think Rihanna deserved getting beat down—do you think that’s taught in the home?

    Materialism, misogyny and violence were always a part of the dominant mainstream, but the adoration of the gangsters gives voice and validates this (the same thing, btw, is happening in Mexico right now with the Narcotraffic culture and violence). No one comes out and says it, but quietly it permeates the subconscious of a culture. Its this type of thinking that makes girls think
    they have to dress sexy to get boys, but at the same time puts them at risk for being called out as a Ho (and then anyone can do anything to you) and or disrespect someone that if you get mouthy, it’s okay to get a smack, etc.

    You are right in one tiny part of your post though—“what on earth is there to admire about those values?”

    Nothing at all, but if a society doesn’t take care of all of its people—educate and teach people parenting skills, those social ills can seriously damage a country, and divide it fatally. Let's hope Obama--and all of us--try to address this.

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  93. 2:42

    I would go to Yick Wo in a heartbeat but Chin IMO is too teaching to the test for me. still, I was recently talking to a black parent who sends her child to Chin and she loves it. She says her child does have friends and that she is doing very well there.

    Being poor isn't pathological, and black people, when i was growing up, had some of the most straitlaced, education at all costs super duper go to church all day on Sunday and Wednesday night values. But there was always an underclass there (often, like ours, in the same family) and when the black middle class, freed by the end of de jure segregation left, things fell apart.

    The black middle class seems overall healthy (though their children also have to deal with not only mainstream racism, but also taunts from certain black kids who accuse them of acting white for talking properly and wanting to learn), but since i was a kid at least two more generations of isolated people who no longer see a middle class exit from the ghetto have come along. All they see is a society hell bent on ignoring them or blaming them for all social ills.

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  94. very thoughtful, 9:54/2:47. your arguments are complex, hence some of the reaction, but i think valid.

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  95. Much as I think that 2:47 makes some extremely valid points about social structures and entrenched patterns, I can honestly say that don't know anyone in my (admittedly largely white, upper-middle class) social circle (adults or kids) who fits the description of admiring misogeny or "gangsta rap" values. If her point of it spreading everywhere is right, then I should, no matter how sheltered I might be. It sounds incredibly alien to me actually.

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  96. " “Many people” deploring those values can’t cut it. The majority of the community has to value education and eschew violence as a strategy to wealth or the “good” people drown in a culture of nihilism and death."

    So, people hate violence and value education because they are trying to get wealthy? Otherwise, the good people drown in nihilism.

    Sorry, you are spewing nonsense. And your incessant references to pop/TV cultural figures/icons really don't carry much weight with anybody beyond the realm of living room imagery.

    Ultimately, all of our problems are are own fault. The system is not to blame.

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  97. Oh, please. Talk about simplistic. Nice try at the Ann Coulter impersonation, though.

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  98. Why is it OK for a school to be over 80% Asian, but not 80% white?

    Have you ever seen ONE blond kid at Alamo or Argonne?

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  99. In a city where the demographics are heavily white, then an 80% white population is a logical thing. In a city where the demographics are not then a school of 80% white isn't kind of indicative of self-segregation. Kind of skeevy? There are lot more Asian people than white people in this city.

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  100. not "isn't", I meant IS indicative.

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  101. "choosing private school has a social impact, and that mindful parents are urged to consider that social impact in making the decision"

    No, whichever school I choose for my kids means I think that that is the best school for my kids.

    WTF? I should put my kids in a school that has documented violence issues because why....?

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  102. How many school age children in SF are white? How many would there be if there wasn't still a huge white flight exodus out of the city soley b/c of the public schools?

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  103. Have any of you even been on the bus near a public high school or middle school when school lets out?

    Scary! Go take the geary bus near geo washington some afternoon.

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  104. I don't get it, you think it is "scary" because there are lots of Chinese kids?

    What an icky person you must be. (shudder)

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  105. No - because of their BEHAVIOR

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  106. I can't figure out if the personal nastiness on this blog is one person posting anonymously, or some cadre of parents somewhere that is to be avoided at all costs, or an indication of the general parent community in SF. Unless it's the first, I dread the whole K thing.

    For whatever it's worth, my single mother sent me to private school on a teacher's salary. We never had a family vacation, a new car, dinner out, or meat more than once a week; we never owned a house or even had people over to our crappy rental. Many people with kids in private school are making huge sacrifices and are not, repeat not, rich. I'm actually not sure if I would want to do that or not, if we even got into a private. It was a hard way to live.

    On the other hand, for 10 years I have taught the products of the CA public schools at the college level, and they are about 5 grade levels behind the products of private schools I taught in my last job -- 5 grade levels in their knowledge base, critical thinking abilities, and writing skills. And they are the *top* 12% of their graduating classes. That is deeply scary to me, and makes me think I just can't do that to my kid if I have a choice. Given that I am not even close to that $100K someone mentioned, I may not. But that doesn't mean I have to deny what I see coming out of the CA public schools.

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  107. So are you teaching at CSU or UC systems?

    If the kids are 5 grade levels behind, does that mean they are at 8th grade math/english?

    Please clarify.

    Thanks.

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  108. 5:03 -- actually, I don't think we need to look all that far. Do you recall a few weeks ago when there was a "riot" in downtown Oakland over the BART shooting? And it turns out a bunch of white kids from the 'burbs were out there making trouble? They weren't even necessarily for the cause so to speak.

    I think of those kids as probably idealizing the ghetto culture..

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  109. I don't understand why you are so committed to the claim that ghetto culture is spreading in this society. You don't need it to prove your other points, and it doesn't ring true in any meaningful way. I am sure you can pull out anecdotes, but then it isn't really clear what it proves. Some white suburban kids used an excuse for being bratty? You think being white and suburban automatically means being resourceful and well off? That said, well off and resourceful white kids (suburban or not) can be jerks and idiots just like everyone else. That is nothing new, or connected to "ghetto culture".

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  110. 8:27 - you are saying that the college students you teach are at a 7th or 8th grade level and were the top 12% of there high school graduating class? I find that so hard to believe, it seems crazy to me? All from SF?

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  111. Ghetto culture is spreading, through popular culture, the internet, hip-hop, rap, whatever. Look at the murder the former assembly speaker's son was "allegedly" involved in. He is an upper-middle class kid who felt he needed a gang moniker, THC, "The Hazard Crew". His crew carried knives, used gang lingo on their My Space sites. It's ridiculous because they all went to private schools.

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  112. Recommended reading: "Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling" prepared by the US Department of Education's institute for Education Sciences (easily found online). This is just one of several recent studies showing that public schools do GREAT in comparison to private schools when you look at similar populations of students. The results are downright astonishing when you take into consideration (the studies don't control for these factors) that private schools often kick out students with learning disabilities or emotional disturbances, foisting them back on the public schools which serve all comers.

    But if it makes you feel better to spend the money, hey -- go for it.

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  113. I know several kids who went from public middle schools (granted, good ones: Giannini and Presidio) into private high schools (Urban and University) and said they were generally ahead of the private school kids in math.

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  114. 8:27 PM

    I am assuming you must be teaching freshman writing or equivalent? Anything higher level, students who were initially behind would have either improved their skills or dropped out. I don't think anything really prepares you for college except going to college.

    I went to a private school, and still found college expectations for writing exponentially higher than anything I'd encountered in high school. My grammar and usage were fine, but I wasn't used to actually thinking that much about what I wrote. English 1A was a pretty life-altering experience for me, as it is for a lot students. A wake up call that babe you're not in high school anymore.

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  115. Anyone else sick of Caroline's anonymous postings? There's usually a little bit of unfunny sarcasm at the end of them.

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  116. "Anyone else sick of Caroline's anonymous postings?"

    The anonymous complaining about the anonymous. Irony, with lots of iron.

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  117. Never mind the source being the US Department of Education, Caroline left out a few parts:

    Cautions in Interpretations.... Consequently, an overall comparison of the two types of schools is of modest utility.... There are a number of other caveats....

    She also assumes that an education consists of reading and math scores.

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  118. Slightly out of date but:

    San Francisco Unified students
    32% Chinese American
    9% other Asian groups (Filipino, Japanese American and Korean American)
    13% African American,
    22% Latino
    9% white
    12% other nonwhite groups

    San Francisco's whole school-age population
    44% Asian and Pacific Islander
    12% black
    23% white
    19% Latino of any race

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  119. and to add the final data points:

    SF population - (2000 Census)

    White - 49.66%
    Black - 7.79%
    American Indian / Alaskan- 0.45%
    Asian - 30.84%
    Hawaiian / Pacific Islander- 0.49%
    Other Race - 6.48%
    Mixed Race - 4.28%

    I seriously keep this in a drawer by my desk so that I can dig it out whenever I read something along the lines of - there are more Asians in SF than whites.

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  120. I posted at 11:35. I am definitely NOT Caroline, whoever she may be.

    I thought the self-selection for families who really want their children to succeed might give private schools an artificial edge, but I wasn't totally shocked to find research backing public schools. As previous posters mentioned, teachers make a huge difference in the classroom; none of the people out of my teaching program had the slightest interest in private schools. Mostly, I suppose, we were all interested in making a positive difference, and public schools seemed like the way to go. The long-term benefits and union protection in public schools are also a motivating factor.

    I'm sure there are a some terrific private schools in the Bay Area, but meanwhile all public schools guarantee credentialed teachers, adherence to the (rather ambitious!) California Curriculum Standards, multi-leveled (the state, school districts, principals, teachers' unions and school site councils, including parents, all have a say) decision-making, which creates checks and balances. There are public schools that fail in spite of all that, but it's easy enough to find an excellent one.

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  121. TeamLaLa: Were Latinos lumped in with whites in the census data you shared?

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  122. Whoops - Left out the latinos.
    They skew the results because they can be of any race.

    Latino (of any race) - 14.1%
    White alone - 43.63% (with the white latinos taken out)

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  123. 9:38 - I think it is ridiculous to compare *all* private schools with *all* public schools.

    Also: Most private school teachers have experience teaching at public schools. That's where many of them got their start in the profession. So the fact that your peers weren't interested in teaching in private schools doesn't carry much weight. THey might feel differently in 20 years. In fact, some of them will have left the teaching profession altogether.

    THe fact is that while many teachers would love to work with at-risk kids and help them get the education they deserve to change their circumstance, it is also nice to have a class size of just 15-20 kids, a teaching assistant, resources and freedom to be creative in the classroom, and lots of professional development opportunities.

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  124. Sort of an off the wall question. I think many would agree that $8400/student is pretty skimpy. What's the ideal number?

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  125. That's a loaded question. School spending doesn't necessarily equate to better results obviously. But for comparison's sake - National School Spending per pupil is about $9,200 per student - So California would have to increase by $800 dollars just to get to national average.

    NJ / NY are around 12- 13 K per year as a comparison of the top of the scale.

    Unfortunately school spending is like healthcare. Throwing money at the problem is not always the solution.

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  126. http://ftp2.census.gov/govs/school/06f33pub.pdf

    Lot's of fun facts for statistics geeks. I especially was interested in the local / state / federal breakdown.

    BTW 60% of funding goes to instruction.

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  127. NY / NJ are up to 14 K.

    Also DC is over 13K - as a exemplar of the notion that spending increases don't necessarily equate to better results. Bu tthat is a notoriously corrupt and inefficient district ruined by patronage. We'll see what happens with the new school administration. Michelle Rhee has been getting a lot of press but the results (good or bad) won't be evident for at least a couple of more years.

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  128. NY nearly $15000

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  129. 9:46am: You say that that there are many opportunities for professional development in private schools. In public schools, professional development is not an 'opportunity', it's a requirement. We are constantly being trained in new pedagogy. Workshops and collaborative planning are built into our schedule. At so-called low-achieving schools, in fact, many teachers complain of 'binder fatigue', meaning mental exhaustion from trying to constantly absorb new pedagogy.

    I only know a few private school teachers. One did flee the public system: she was having a hard time with classroom management. Another had a credential from another state and hadn't been able to qualify a California one. That's a miniscule sample: I'm sure some of my colleagues in the private sector are amazing. I wonder what their motivations are: more money? Fewer responsibilities? Smaller class size and an assistant would be nice, but I love public schools. It would take more than that to lure me away.

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  130. Everything costs more in NY. Same with San Francisco, but that's not reflected in the amount we get.

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  131. Fewer responsibilities?

    Different responsibilities.

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  132. --I seriously keep this in a drawer by my desk so that I can dig it out whenever I read something along the lines of - there are more Asians in SF than whites.--

    But there are way more Asians in the school age population in SF--almost twice as many as whites.

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  133. ahh, you see how that saying about statistics go....

    beware my friends.

    you can use data to prove any point you want (to a certain degree of course)

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  134. 1:24 -- you have your own unusual, outlier take on the social impact of choosing private school, but at least you gave it thought.

    Even insiders in the private school community -- and even avid opponents of public education, those who want to see education fully privatized and public school eliminated entirely -- overwhelmingly agree that when parents with resources choose private school, it harms public school. The anti-public-schoolers sneer at public schools for this (you know -- nyah nyah, everyone's going private and you're dying the death you deserve -- a la Grover Norquist's wish to see government so small it can be strangled in the bathtub).

    But admittedly there's nothing wrong with holding a contrarian opinion.

    7:18/7:25, as the parent of two teens (an age group I actually enjoy more than little kids, I've learned), I still find myself recoiling when I encounter groups of teens I don't know -- there's an instinctive reaction that because they tend to be loud, unruly and exaggerated in their behavior, they're likely up to no good. I have to remind myself that they're just kids like my kids.

    I understand the automatic reaction, though. But your kid/s will be behaving like that themselves one day, I guarantee it! And put them in a big group of others just like them, and it's pretty overwhelming.

    8:27, when you make this statement, I have a feeling you don't have a means to control for demographics:

    "...for 10 years I have taught the products of the CA public schools at the college level, and they are about 5 grade levels behind the products of private schools I taught in my last job..."

    If you're claiming that the very same kid will be 5 grade levels behind if he attends public rather than private, we simply know that's not true. There's data (as 11:35 points out), and anyone involved with a variety of older kids can see it with our own eyes.
    My public school high-schoolers have many friends in private school -- there's simply no way that claim bears out. If it did, I'd be scrambling to put mine in private school too.

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  135. I taught in Oakland public schools for a while and definitely felt "binder fatigue" because of the amount of random workshops we are required to attend. I teach in a SF private school now and have attended fewer PD workshops each year but the ones I attend are well planned, directly related to the school's curriculum and pedagogy and immediately useful in the classroom. Lots of PD requirements do not equate quality teaching. I am not saying private school teachers get better or worse PD opportunities. I just want to point out more is not better.

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  136. ...overwhelmingly agree that when parents with resources choose private school, it harms public school.

    Caroline -- where do you get this data?

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  137. when parents with resources choose private school, it harms public school

    when parents without resources choose private school, it helps public school

    when parents with resources choose public school, it harms private school

    when parents without resources choose public school, it helps private school

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  138. "In a city where the demographics are heavily white, then an 80% white population is a logical thing. In a city where the demographics are not then a school of 80% white isn't kind of indicative of self-segregation. Kind of skeevy? There are lot more Asian people than white people in this city."

    I agree with the point of the post in general. Just took exception to the oft repeated false perception that somehow asians are the majority of the population in SF. Yes, there are disproportionatly more asian kids in SFUSD. What exactly is the problem with that?

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  139. there's simply no way that claim bears out. If it did, I'd be scrambling to put mine in private school too.

    Ohhhhhhhh! Now I get it! Public school is the socially, morally right thing to do, so long as it is good or good enough. But if it's bad then it's okay to bail.

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  140. The Republicans have Caroline on the brain. What are you going to claim now, that Caroline is actually Nancy Pelosi?

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  141. Yes, there are disproportionatly more asian kids in SFUSD.

    That is not correct. All groups except white attend public school in fairly close proportion to the make up of the school age population.

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  142. Sorry, I am in no way, shape, or form a republican or even a libertarian. Calling someone a republican because their opinions about the social obligation to choose public school are different than yours just harms your cause.

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  143. Whew, I hate to think about what kind of vitriol we will be seeing once the public and private school letters come out next week.

    As otehrs have said, it's kind of silly to make a big point out of Caroline posting anonymously -- if that is in fact her -- when 95% of the people who post on this site (including those making the criticism) do so anonymously. Besides, if it is Caroline, she's not exactly trying to hide her identity; she says she has two teenagers which we all know she has. But who really cares if she's posting anonymously, other than one or two people who seem devoted to trying to "catch" her.

    And I'm sorry, but it is hardly hypocritical to say that choosing private school has a negative social impact while also saying that if my kid were going to be five grades behind if he/she went public then I would choose private. Definitely count me in that camp. I believe in public schools, I want to be devoting my time and energy and fundraising to public schools, and I hope my kids will be in public schools through the course of their education. But if I find that public schools are bad or harmful for them, I will consider going private. All of us make some choices that have negative social impacts (driving cars instead of taking public transit, buying things for ourselves instead of giving more money to charity, taking a job that pays more but contributes less to society, etc.) And each of us needs to decide (a) whether we agree that choosing private schools is socially harmful, (b) whether we think public or private is better for our particular child, and then (c) if the answers to those questions point in different directions, how we weigh those against each other and make our choices.

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  144. The problem with Caroline, er I mean, Anonymous, is that she believes there is only one truth: choosing private schools is socially harmful -- It's ok if you do it and all, just note that you're a part of the problem rather than the solution. I disagree.

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  145. If there weren't white flight from SF public schools, the SFUSD would sit around with their thumbs up their arses, content to let rich people run and fund the public schools while the government sucks away every last bit of support.

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  146. Bravo (or brava), 4:12. Being mindful or weighing social impact does not equate with making social impact the only factor to the exclusion of "what will or will not work for my child." Most public school advocates here are reasonable and ask only the former, not the latter.

    To the college or university professor who sees big differences between public and private grads, I don't discount your experience. I can only say this:

    1) SF has a better reputation and test scores than other urban districts and many rural ones too, so that is in our favor; our top 12% are presumably better off than the top 12% of say, Oakland or Richmond or L.A. or Fresno. Which isn't to say I don't care about those kids, but in terms of making a choice for yours, it's worth bearing that in mind. I'm assuming your students are not all from SF public schools.

    Also, 2) the fact that you are seeing kids who are so far behind is probably more based in the fact that--I am guessing here, but tell me if I am wrong--they are first in their families to go to college. Family background matters most. The kids who come from educationally privileged backgrounds, including yours, will be literate and articulate at normal college freshman levels or above, no matter where you send them to school in the primary and secondary grades. You are the biggest factor. The question is not, will your children turn out like your students, but rather, can your literate children get what they need in our public schools. My guess is, not knowing your children, that yes, they can. Certainly in elementary school, but from my own experience I would say also in either honors classes at the upper levels, or in schools that do a very good and intentional job with differentiated education. That's not all the schools in the district, but there are some good ones at all levels.

    As has been pointed out, studies that do the right kind of statistical sorting by socio-economic demographics have found that the public/private difference not in what is taught or how, but in who is taught. Kids like yours graduate from SFUSD and go on to plenty of good colleges, both public and private, and have the kind of skills you are seeing in your private school grads.

    You don't need to be afraid, basically. That's not to say that you shouldn't weigh a lot of factors, including your children's special needs (gifted or special needs), your children's personalities, the cost issue (!) if you make less than $100K, the social and civic benefits going all directions of making your family part of the public schools, and whatever else may be important to you. But I just really think you needn't feel like your kids will turn up at college with an 8th-grade levels of literacy. Not going to happen, with your college professor background. Seriously.

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  147. Do the people applying to public and private know what they will do if they get all their choices? I mean, I know that is unlikely, but if you get top choice private and top choice public do you know what you'll do?

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  148. 4:12 and 4:55
    great posts and nuanced and everything; I would totally like to have my kid go to school with yours.

    In our home, we would take Live Oak first, and then our local public, and then SF Day and then our second Public and then the rest(public/private). Only Live Oak is by far the school we would leave our public for.

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  149. If we got our top public and private (which will not happen), then I would want to go public, and my husband private, and we would have a seriously hard time.

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  150. --Yes, there are disproportionatly more asian kids in SFUSD. What exactly is the problem with that?--

    Uh....I give up. Did someone say there is a problem with that? I was just pointing out that it's true that among the school age population SF, Asian kids are by far the largest group, almost twice as big as whites. And, no, since that group includes my own kids, I don't consider that a "problem".

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  151. By the way would anyone care how many "whites" were in the SFUSD school system, if they were to come from trailer home families, with uneducated parents -- think, "po' white trash"?

    What is the real issue here? Isn't it that we want middle class, upper middle class, families to join the system?

    Is anyone berating blacks, Latinos Asians, etc who send their kids to private school? What about the Obamas? Sheesh, when they were no names in Chicago he sent his kids to private.

    By the way, I'm not white. Just sick of the focus on race in our society. Yes there is institutional racism, yes, there are barriers, yes I'm sick of the greedy Wall Street types who happened to be majority white, but can we get away from constantly focusing on race?

    Besides who wants to go to school with someone like Michelle Obama, who calls you "whitey", like she meant it in a real nice way. Racism goes both ways folks.

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  152. Looks like we have at least one Dittohead posting here.

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  153. Caroline, PLEASE go away.

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  154. 8:06,

    Well, you may not be white, but I'm guessing you probably aren't black either.

    Unless you're like Mr. Steele, you know why there is a discussion on race and why race is part of most discussions of problems in America. It’s always there, even in San Francisco.

    Yeah, I'm sick of talking about race too. Its draining. And I was really pissed off when a guy in a maroon jaguar called me "f-ing nigger" in front of my children on Sunday night on Market street too. And it’s true, racism cuts both ways, and is a sickness that to varying degrees hurts everyone. But if you don't note that race matters in this society, and actively try to avoid the subject, you are definitely going to miss something in the discussion of what the issues are, and how we can fix our myriad problems.

    Race and Class are inextricably connected in this country, and now that the country is no longer just Black/White, the issues become even more complex and difficult.

    So yes, it does suck for you that we do have to talk about race when we are also primarily talking about class--it sucks for me too.

    BTW, Michelle Obama seems A-OK by me and I have NEVER heard any black person ever say "whitey"--except on the Jeffersons a few decades ago. Now, if by some trick of cameras and mirrors, Michelle Obama was a guest star on "Good Times" or "welcome Back Kotter" in the 70's, maybe I could see it. But come to think of it, she would have probably said something like "Honky" or "Jive Turkey" instead!

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  155. 10:33

    Right on (to quote the 70's) to everything you said.

    I wish we didn't have to discuss these things, too, because I wish they weren't necessary discussions. But they are! Let's not make people feel like they need to suck it up and be quiet. It makes me sick to hear about things like what 10:33 described. That people can be that shitty, especially with kids around. So disgusting and disturbing.

    Don't shut up, please!

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  156. Race does matter and it is complicated. I've heard 5th graders of various shades name-call each other "yellow butter" and "burnt toast" - it isn't just a problem between races, it also exists within races. Ignoring it does not make it go away.

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  157. I agree.

    Race--and now that we are so mixed up is a big issue for our children, but comes out in weird ways.

    There are so many different issues and at least for us, private does have a slight edge in that, oddly, private schools (some of them) do seem to have a good mix of mixed kids (like mine). The public schools have many kids of different races, but once they start noting their differences, they start to congeal around being Mexican, Hispanic, Black, Asian, and even Asian-White and White. sometimes its like the way they're in Prison! That's sad, but at some point, instead of mixing it up, they want mixed kids to "choose" which race they belong to (and we all remember the Black table at High School/College, don't we?). I understand why, but its stifling to really connect and understan different cultures.

    Most of the more progressive schools have racial identity groups, and some, like SF Day, and Live Oak have a group called "White Allies" , which just sounds awful, but does make sense: There is an identity that comes from simply being white (being a white ethnic--i.e., white Polish, Ukrainian, Irish, etc.)notwithstanding in this country, and even white kids do need to understand that there are issues associated with that.

    So in that sense, there is a benefit to private schools.

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  158. I was thinking about the whole point of this post is how to finance pirvate school and what sacrifices will be made and whether its just better to go to public school.

    Everyday, it seems someone I know has either gone bankrupt and had to leave the city or has lost a job, or is in the process of losing a job.

    Do you think this will affect the private schools? If I give up everything (date night, babysitters, etc.), I still don't think we'll be able to make enough without serious aid.

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  159. "There are so many different issues and at least for us, private does have a slight edge in that, oddly, private schools (some of them) do seem to have a good mix of mixed kids (like mine)."

    An African-American student I heard speak at Lick said one reason she liked the school was it is the only private that does not merely pay lip service to expanding diversity (whether racial or economic).

    As much as I liked Live Oak and SFDS, you can't help but say to your self during the tour: 'lots of upper-middle-class and rich white folks here (compared to the overall SF population).'

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  160. I think at SFDS the tours were definitely skewed that way, but in the younger grades we saw a lot of diversity. And they do have staff diversity. So, hopefully, the diversity will stay as the kids grow and it won't be only the younger grades that have a good mix.

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  161. I agree with you that diversity is improving in younger grades--on racial terms.

    I don't see it happening on economic terms, though, given that only so much scholarship money is available for poorer students.

    Lick is the exception, as I noted. The school must have a large endowment available for scholarships.

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  162. The private schools REALLY want diversity. They are not just paying lip service. It's just that it is very hard to attract people to a place where most of the other people don't look like you. The same problem occurs in the public schools, where there just aren't enough white people to go around and make every school "comfortable" for them, and blacks, for example, don't want to leave the 'hood to go to, say, Clarendon (the original intent of the lottery). (The SFUSD confirmed this in a public survey and white paper.) This is where (in private schools anyway) our mixed race families (mingled or adopted) are beginning to tip the scales and can serve as a bridge to greater diversity. We'll get there eventually.

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  163. Yes, I do agree that we will get there racially.

    Because, as Lyndon Johnson once said (paraphrasing here), 'we'll all keep fsdfdxving each other until we all look alike.'

    But diversity on economic terms? I don't think so. Private schools have only so much money available in their financial-aid coffers.

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  164. Yeah, racial diversity will happen in part for the reasons you mention, but classism won't ever go away.

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  165. Well, obviously, offering financial aid is an attempt to address classism. Again, it takes time. And money. But the goal is range, not to just throw the poor in with the rich.

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  166. That's so funny,
    when i toured Live Oak and SF Day and Friends I thought, "wow, there are a lot of brown faces here" , not just the usual white families or white/asian families.

    I guess its all a matter of perspective. We live in Pac Heights, and you almost never see black people like us around (unless they're just visiting). Our preschool is almost exclusively white, with a few asian/white families thrown in, and I was thinking how diverse just the open houses/interviews/playdates were.

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  167. After Pacific Heights, anything will look diverse.

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  168. why would anyone think that you can really fix classism in a private school?

    private school divides us largely between who can pay and who can't (hence, PRIVATE SCHOOL); unless Bill Gates funds your school there's NO way you could have a even distribution of incomes at a school. The school, to survive, has to either have super low tuition (parochial) or skew wealthy.

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  169. FYI, "private" means not funded with government (public) money.

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  170. People who receive financial aid from a private school are indeed working on fixing classism, as is the school offering the money. How could it be otherwise? Maybe it's not enough for you, but it is a conscious and deliberate action, often backed by a curriculum that examines social issues and fosters self esteem.

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  171. True. The ultimate attraction of private schools is that they are EXCLUSIVE.

    You keep out the troubled child who didn't perform well during the play circle; who has a behavioural problem or a lunatic parent.

    You have created a gated community.

    Nothing against that at all! I fully understand why any parent would want put his/her child in such a safe environment.

    But it is not authentic diversity.

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  172. private school divides us largely between who can pay and who can't

    Public school in SF seems to do that too.

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  173. If that is your definition of authentic diversity, what is it's benefit in an educational environment? We all have to deal with sandbox Sally on the playground and her lunatic mom at the grocery store; I don't think we're missing anything in the socialization/tolerance/reality department.

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  174. It always makes me laugh that people seem to think that private schools are filled with well-behaved, compliant children who get thrown out if they look at someone wrong, and easy parents with gobs of money. Believe me, there are plenty of kids who have issues of one kind or another at private school, because they're human beings and we all have our weaknesses. Some of them are - dare I say it? - outright brats, and those are not always the ones with rich and prominent parents.

    And as for the parents - they too come in all forms at private school, and are far from an easy group. In general, they are pretty driven people, which can manifest itself in obnoxious and demanding behavior towards teachers and school administrators.

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  175. The administration gets to pick and choose.

    Nothing wrong with that at all!

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  176. "We all have to deal with sandbox Sally on the playground and her lunatic mom at the grocery store; I don't think we're missing anything in the socialization/tolerance/reality department."

    Nothing wrong with that at all!

    When my children reach school age, I want to keep them in a safe, cloistered environment, too.

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  177. Safe and cloistered in the classroom and all bets off outside of it. That's my SF and that's the way I like it.

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  178. Agreed. They'll get enough of the real world out there in open space in public.

    I've seen enough film noir movies to know that much-;

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  179. I didn't feel so safe in my private school when I was being bullied by a group of bratty, entitled girls. Human nature, including the bad stuff, exists everywhere. Can't shut your kid out of bad experiences, much as we might like to. It's also one way we/they learn about resilience and coping with adversity, although I wouldn't call down a bad experience for the sake of it or anything.

    Also, I don't know about the lunatic mother or whatever but public school, whatever the problems with the assignment system, has much more real diversity than any other institution I have been a part of (not counting spending the day at the DMV or whatever, but being a part of something). Not lunatics, but genuinely great people that I would be unlikely to interact with much otherwise, from all walks of life. It's a baseline experience that is valuable. I'm not saying there aren't good things at private school, or issues to weigh--that's not the point of this post, to trash private school, but just to say it IS a plus for public schools that private school just do not match, not even close. Synergy creeps in that direction, but only barely, and the rest just don't despite their good intentions and their good talk.

    No school is perfect. You get something, you give something up. You go private, you pretty much give that up. Not saying it's the wrong decision, but you should understand that's the case.

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  180. I'm so torn. I have no idea which way our decision will go. (assuming we have a choice.)

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  181. I like a lot of the posts here because they really do highlight what a struggle it is to decide public or private for your children. I also think most people on this site aren't really a-holes; we're all just frightened about the choices in front of us and the uncertainty of the future. Opinions just get heightened with all that stress.

    We are not financially struggling, but it is a lot of money, and we don't live in a wealthy neighborhood, so we would stick out if we sent our son to private. Plus, in this economic climate it somehow seems the equivalent of buying a Hummer--sending a child to private school that is; it does seem in poor taste. On the other hand, the government is bankrupt, and they are going to eviscerate the public schools, which were struggling with meager resources even before we the taxpayers had to BAIL EVERYONE out.

    If I definitively knew which one would be better for my child it would be easier. I don't know if he has a learning difference yet (he is quirky), so what if he does and is asked to leave a private--like several kids were at certain privates this year? That would be so traumatic.

    But what if he enters public and life is just an endless trial of fundraisers to try to bring the whole school along (btw., has anyone ever been to a PTO meeting when it gets really ugly? When certain groups want the resources directed in one way--but they didn't make the money--and other groups want it allocated towards music and art? It sucks and can be a fate worse than death).

    I know wonderful parents at both private and public schools, and i have financially supported both. I know both awful and great kids in private and public schools this year.

    Perhaps it is best to just let the schools decide.

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  182. 10:33, I'm 8:06 -- I don't think I was able to express very well what I was trying to say re race. Yes, I did come across a bit ditto like. And no, I'm not Caroline because she does not come across ditto like. Much better writing skills (guess I was one of those 5 grades behind, being a product of public schools).

    Yes, race does matter and I'm not trying to ignore it. But instead of just remaining neutral, our society only seems to highlight it more and more -- by making people choose what "race" they are on forms, etc.

    I'm very sorry that some idiot fool would call you that -- see, I wouldn't want my kids to go with the kids of that moron in the maroon jaquar -- white driver or not. That's what I mean when everyone says ooh, lets get more white folks into the school. Hey no thanks if they are bigots.

    But I do take that back to some extent, because we would hope we can impact their children.
    But I wouldn't enjoy conversing with their parents.

    Another poster said it much better -- that at some point many of us start identifying by race, to the point that in colleges you have the Asian American this, the Hispanic that, the Latino etc, (but no Caucausian whatever because that would be considered discrimination, which I disagree, because then ill will just builds up in some White/Caucausian people). Yes, to some extent minorities need to group together in order to right wrongs, and yes, it will take time, but I'm hoping that we work more together instead of constantly highlighting our differences.

    I just want people to stop focusing on race unless you have to -- such as, if you are discussing how it came about, if you are teaching the harmful effects of racism etc. Otherwise,stop making us check boxes. Is that the only way we can correct past wrongs, by identifying how many of X race does this, or X race does that?

    Ok, done, back to choosing private vs public --- and how to pay for private if one chooses that route.

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  183. I have so many comments to make about this post, so I will address three issues.

    1. People choose the best school for their child, based on program, reputation and ideological/philosophical fit. To say that people select private because they want to be exclusive is not always the case. There are many working families who SACRIFICE to afford private school tuitions because they like the school and they are happy with the education provided for their children.

    2. As a public school teacher, and an advocate for public education, I am disgusted by the constant cuts being made, especially in the classroom where districts apply the "scissors" first. In my district they decided to make drastic cuts in school programs-less art and music, class size-from 32 to 37 in high schools, 20-32 in K-5, and teachers-pink slips go out next week, before they fired their own staff.

    Which brings me to my next statement.

    3. Even though I attended public school all my life and teach in public schools, I decided to send my child to a private school. I don't make much money and I am certainly not affluent, but I am willing to sacrifice everything for a school program that I know will remain consistent throughout my child's primary education.

    I am not trying to proselytize or extol some virtue or value about public or private education, but I think it's important to note that people make personal decisions about their children's education and we should not form judgements based on those decisions. To each his own.

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  184. Half the teachers I know send their children to private school.

    And yes, teachers do not make much money.

    That says a lot.

    They know more about it than we do?

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  185. I understand why they do it, but it seems if you get paid from the public system, you should commit to the public system. If its good enough for my kids, it should be good enough for yours or stop drawing a paycheck.

    Perhaps find a job in a private system and get a free education for your children in the mix?

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  186. Well, maybe there aren't jobs available? Or there might be other reasons. Your statement is ridiculous.

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  187. Maybe they are people who want to do right by society, but don't feel the need to have their children fight their battles?

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  188. "Maybe they are people who want to do right by society, but don't feel the need to have their children fight their battles?"
    Why is it that if you send your child to public they are fighting your battle? There is not enough room in the private schools - not everyone can go. Everyone can, however, attend public, and it is often peoples only option. Public schools are not all battlegrounds.

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  189. It seems most of the people commenting here choose public school because it is the "right" thing to do.

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  190. Put another way:

    If you have to, no problem.
    If you want to, no problem.
    If you don't want to, NO PROBLEM!

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  191. If half the SFUSD teachers send their kids to private, that still means half of them choose public, people!

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  192. I wrote that half the public school teachers I KNOW send their children to private schools, I would bet that way more than half of ALL SFUSD teachers DO NOT send their children to public school.

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  193. I'm a public school teacher. My child has gone to private school for elementary, middle and now high school.

    You need to understand that no one cares more about education than teachers. We want our children to have the best. Unfortunately, we do not see the "best" at public schools, much as we would like to see this. We see the huge problems with public school. We try to remedy them to help our students, but see just how little power we have as teachers...

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  194. Hey, "Half the teachers I know send their children to private school": How many do you know? Maybe two?

    I know many, many public school teachers. Perhaps hundreds. I don't know a single one who sends their children to private school. Methinks you exaggerate a wee bit.

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  195. Methinks you have no idea what you are talking about.

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  196. If the teachers see all these problems with public schools and find it hopeless, than shouldn't more teachers be for charters and vouchers so that all students have access to the privates, and less restrictive bureacratic school districts?

    Who do these public school teachers think they would be teaching -- guess these are the dregs kids -- kids whose parents are too poor, too stupid, too honest, too society do-gooders, to know better to send their kids to private.

    The Teachers' Union is one of the strongest forces against charters and vouchers for private schools yet so many public school teachers are sending their kids to privates?

    Geez thanks. The irony is just too wonderful.

    I find this somewhat hard to believe.

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  197. No, most of us are very proud of the public schools where we teach, know of many other fine public schools, and would never consider private for our own children.

    Another study comparing public schools favorably to private:
    "Are Private High Schools
    Better Academically Than
    Public High Schools?" from the Center on Education policy.

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  198. One of the reasons I left teaching was because of Teachers' Unions. Not all public school teachers support TUs or agree with their POVs. In fact, most young teachers are very much against what teachers' unions stand for. I don't find it unbelievable at all for public school teachers individually to support private school and send their children there.

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  199. Numbers, people. How many actual public school teachers do you know who send their children to private?

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