Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hot topic: San Francisco Unified Expulsion, Suspension, and Truancy Information for 2007-08

An SF K Files visitor asked me to post the following:

When I looked for a Kindergarten, this is the type of data I looked at:
San Francisco Unified Expulsion, Suspension, and Truancy Information for 2007-08

sobering numbers:
http://tinyurl.com/m976tp

It's hard to imagine elementary-aged children being expelled ...

34 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this here ...
    I sent this in ... no Elementary children were actually expelled, thank goodness, but some were suspended.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Downtown High has a truancy rate of 103.45%, I think this shows how meaningful *that* statistic is. I bet a lot of those absences at Clarendon/Miraloma etc. are kids being taken out of school to go on family vacations.

    ReplyDelete
  3. yes, downtown high had more truants than students ... amazing!

    Still, what the numbers do tell us is how many kids at each school miss a lot of school, how many kids at those schools arrived really late all the time and disrupted the class when they came in late, and yeah, how many take their children out of school for weeks at a time to travel.

    But looking at the expulsion and suspension and violence information tells you a lot about the middle and high schools.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Downtown High School is a continuation school for students who are working full time, have babies, etc. Obviously this is going to affect their truancy rates.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Still, what the numbers do tell us is how many kids at each school miss a lot of school, how many kids at those schools arrived really late all the time and disrupted the class when they came in late,"

    I'm not sure the truancy/tardiness percentages tell all that much, really. The schools with later start times have much lower truancy/tardiness %ages than the early start time schools. Frex, West Portal starts around 8:30 pm, and has a truancy %age of ~20%. Alice Fong Yu, which is a close analogue of West Portal, has a start time of 9:30 pm and a truancy rate of <2%.

    Similarly, ER Taylor and Moscone are similar in demographics and academic scores, but Moscone has a much higher truancy %age (47%) than ER Taylor (3.4%). But Moscone has an 8:40 start time and ER Taylor a 9:30 start time. (And anyone who's toured Moscone ain't gonna say it's a chaotic, low-discipline school.) SF Community and Harvey Milk are close analogues to each other in my mind: but Harvey Milk has a 9:30 start time and a much lower truancy/tardiness rate (3%) than SF Community (47%), which starts at 8:25 am.

    IMHO, the useful information on truancy rates is obscured by the start time effect on tardiness.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That makes no sense. It may have a slight impact on the rates, but people who are habitually late to things will be late no matter what time school starts.

    ReplyDelete
  7. 9:01 am

    "That makes no sense. It may have a slight impact on the rates,"

    Err, no. The late start school have low truancy rates, the earlier start schools have higher truancy rates. How else would you explain Harvey Milk having a lower truancy/tardiness rate than West Portal?

    Crunch the numbers before you make assertions.

    "but people who are habitually late to things will be late no matter what time school starts."

    ReplyDelete
  8. "but people who are habitually late to things will be late no matter what time school starts."

    'Habitually' here is three or more days. Do you think you're going to have a greater likelihood to be late if your kid is having a bad morning if the target time is 7:50 am or 9:30 am?

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree, especially considering most working parents need to be at work by 9 a.m. and perhaps even drop off early for 9:30 start schools -- not so with 7:50 start schools.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 9:05 <-- (Caroline)

    I have crunched the numbers

    (Jezz, why so SMUG?)

    Clarendon starts at 9:25, has a 29.78% truancy rate

    Lilienthal starts at 7:50 has a 16.1% truancy rate

    Yick Wo starts at 9:30, has a 28.3% truancy rate

    Lakeshore starts at 9:30 has a 41.57% truancy rate

    Fong Eu starts at 8:40 has a 1.63% truancy rate

    Alvarado starts at 7:50 has an 18.13% truancy rate

    Your conclusions are based upon false assumptions, as usual.

    There may be a slight correlation, but that is all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Fong Eu starts at 8:40 has a 1.63% truancy rate"

    Fong Yu starts at 9:30. Check your stats.

    Also, I checked, and as I have a Y chromosome and outside plumbing, I conclude I'm not Caroline.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Fong Yu starts at 8:40, according to the SFUSD website :

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

    so ... uh ... check you own stats.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Fong Yu starts at 8:40, according to the SFUSD website :"

    My kid's going to Fong Yu in August (lucky us), and I can tell you the start time is 9:30: which you can verify from the bus timetable: http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/bus_schedules/48500_bus.pdf.

    Guess we can't rely on the start times from the SFUSD portal.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Guess not. Sheesh, you'd think they'd be able to get the START TIMES right, wouldn't you?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm sure start time has some influence, but the greater influence - at least at my early start school- is the culture around calling in for absences. My son has probably missed 5 days over the year b/c he was sick but I have never once called in sick for him. I did it the first time when he was in K and the office staff acted like it was the first time anyone had ever done it. So I stopped. I guess my son is a truant. :) Our school makes a huge effort to get kids to school on time at 7:50, but we've never been reminded or asked to call in when they are sick.

    ReplyDelete
  16. 12:58

    The numbers mostly reflect record-keeping at that school. (How much they track down the reason for the absences). I just hope that schools are not losing a great amount of funding because of bad record-keeping.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I thought Moscone started at 7:50am. did they change it?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Please, please, PLEASE call the school before/after an absence (or send a note)! Schools receive funding based on the ADA (Average Daily Attendance). Excused absences don't count against the ADA; unexcused absences do.

    These statistics also don't take into account a school's culture toward tardy arrivals. Some schools mark a student tardy immediately after the second bell (whether or not this is the policy of the school's district), and some don't begin marking tardies until twenty or thirty minutes into the day (again, regardless of the district policy).

    ReplyDelete
  19. And what about the safety concerns. If your child doesn't show up for school, don't you want to know? Suppose you do curb side drop off and then somehow she wanders off? Will anyone call you to tell you they are not in class, or do you just wait until pick up -perhaps 8 hours later to find out your kid has been missing all day? Call in if you child won't be in school and make sure you understand the school's policy regarding attendance and absences!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I believe the middle school starts at 8:40 for Fong Yu and the elementary school start time is 9:30.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "I believe the middle school starts at 8:40 for Fong Yu and the elementary school start time is 9:30."

    Not aware of that, but if so, the bus schedule doesn't match the middle school start time, then.

    "I thought Moscone started at 7:50am. did they change it?"

    The SFUSD site shows a 7:50 am start time now. But I was sure I got the 8:40 start time from somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Jane Kim, the current BoE vice president, wrote in "Left in SF" a couple years ago that the high suspension rate among African-American males is due to racism.

    Any thoughts on that?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi 7:16 -- I was at Camp Mather and out of Internet contact from 6/13-20, speaking of incorrect assumptions.

    Though it's true that I previously speculated (on sfschools) that there might be a link between truancy and start time. But that was before I took a better look and decided that the truancy figures are so inexplicably erratic that there's some wacko error (or series of errors) in reporting and they all need to start over. For credibility, exclude any schools that I've ever had any connection to, and then look at the extremes -- these numbers make no sense. -- Caroline Grannan

    ReplyDelete
  24. Jane Kim, the current BoE vice president, wrote in "Left in SF" a couple years ago that the high suspension rate among African-American males is due to racism.

    Any thoughts on that?


    Yes. She's right; it's quite well-documented in research.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 6:42, what research are you referring to?

    Reality is more complicated than that, and I object to people who are not in classrooms (Jane Kim has no experience as an educator) bashing teachers as racists.

    I blogged about the book "Code of the Street" by African-American Yale sociology professor Elijah Anderson, which explains the reasons African-American boys are likely to act out in school -- oppositional that challenges authority and understandably motivates teachers to crack down:

    http://tinyurl.com/2robs3

    ReplyDelete
  26. Jane Kim also has no experience attending public schools.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sorry, I left out a word referring to "oppositional BEHAVIOR that challenges authority and understandably motivates teachers to crack down."

    ReplyDelete
  28. "Jane Kim, the current BoE vice president, wrote in "Left in SF" a couple years ago that the high suspension rate among African-American males is due to racism."

    African-American males are suspended at a much higher rate than African-American females.

    So does Jane Kim think teachers are SEXIST as well as racist?

    ReplyDelete
  29. I attended a rural school years back (all white). Some of the families took pride in their kids getting suspended or expelled. They thought it proved their kids were tough and independent, not wimps or suck-ups--and they could put the kids to work.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am 6:42, and I am a public school teacher at a school currently engaging in the process of questioning ourselves as educators for bias.

    This is critical. Whether or not you are a fan of Anderson's work (and I think there are serious issues with his methodology), if we know that African American boys are likely to exhibit behaviors that (white, often female) educators read as defiance, shouldn't educators be

    1. Checking their understanding of defiance?
    2. Sharing their reaction with the student, in the interest of teaching some codeswitching that will help the child be successful in educational settings?

    If African American boys are being suspended for the same behaviors over and over again and the school staff does not have some hard conversations about that, those children are not being educated. One can blame pathological behavior in the African American community (cleaning it up a little by using "street" and "decent" doesn't change it, and "street" is an awfully loaded term with extremely negative connotations), but the job of the school is to educate children. Not the children who are "decent", but all of them.

    It's not an attack: it's reality. Since I am a (white) teacher, and I have African American boys in my classes, AND I see my responsibility as making sure all students meet the standards AND I do that successfully, I have to wonder why you (not a teacher) assume that I (a teacher) am attacking my colleagues.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Here are some studies for you.

    http://www.principalspartnership.com/Disproportionality.pdf

    http://books.google.com/books?id=MgQOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=suspension+racism+education&source=bl&ots=nB7jBkJU_U&sig=VM14mBQfjfYd2Yev5PbZuSs1z_4&hl=en&ei=trhBSvn_MomgswPb8-H8CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm sorry; I think the notion of redefining defiance is absurdly PC and unrealistic:

    "... shouldn't educators be

    1. Checking their understanding of defiance?"

    But yes, this does seem like an intriguing notion. Whether it's likely to succeed is another question:

    "2. Sharing their reaction with the student, in the interest of teaching some codeswitching that will help the child be successful in educational settings?"

    "Street" and "decent," according to Anderson, are the terms often used in the community, which is why he uses them.

    In my opinion, most of the people making these judgments are not teachers -- Jane Kim, who was the subject of the discussion, is most certainly not -- and yes, I view their comments as attacks on teachers. When a teacher makes the same comments he or she gets a pass on being accused of attacking, I suppose. The implication that a non-teacher has no right to defend teachers against unjust attacks doesn't seem valid or helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  33. 10:22, you raise some interesting points. I appreciate teacher comments on this blog and the amazing work public school teachers do with limited resources. I'm glad to hear that there is questioning of whether there are unconscious cultural assumptions about what is "acceptable" classroom behavior, and whether it's possible for teachers to expand their notions of the classroom behaviors they can live with. This is particularly so when we see African-American boys suspended and expelled in such disproportionate numbers--and African-American men later making up such a disproportionate share of the prison population. As we've seen in some of the work on gender in education, it can really benefit boys if their generally female teachers take a more accepting approach to "typical boy" behaviors and learning styles.

    Some questions that are not entirely related if you don't mind:

    Have you ever run across kids (any gender or race) who don't care about learning and whose parents don't care if they learn either? If yes, what happens? Do they drop out? Is there intervention? Do the interventions succeed?

    Do you find yourself spending so much time on the troubled kids that, as is said so often it's almost assumed to be correct, the bright kids excel on their own, the troubled kids get the bulk of the teacher's attention, and the average kids get lost in the shuffle?

    If it's true that the average kids get lost in the shuffle instead of being pushed to do their personal best, what would you suggest for parents of those kids?

    Do you think all kids have the capacity and inclination to learn a college prep high school curriculum, or would it be less frustrating for kids and teachers if kids who do not like and are not particularly good at school had more opportunities to train, through schools or apprenticeships, for professions and trades that don't require a great deal of book learning?

    Thank you for your insights.

    ReplyDelete
  34. 9:39AM,
    Many interesting questions there. I would like to address just one:

    "Have you ever run across kids (any gender or race) who don't care about learning and whose parents don't care if they learn either?"

    Let's admit it. These kids are the ones who impede learning for most of our children (the average kids who are not geniuses). Since their parents aren't interested, either, the children get inadequate support at home, and schools don't have the resources to address all of their needs individually. These kids coast through the school years, sometimes graduating, and sometimes not.

    Let's face it. The main reason people put their children in private school is to get away from these children who impede our own children's learning. Private schools are EXCLUSIVE. That is their main draw. They weed out the problem learners, the ones with negligent parents, the ones who will hinder our own children in their academic development. Private schools keep the barbarians at the gate.

    So, in public schools, how to stimulate these kids, who get no assistance from their parents on the academic front, is a real challenge.

    The funding is not there to help. So what to do? Promote vocational learning? I'm stumped myself.

    ReplyDelete