Monday, October 26, 2009

Student assignment presentations are posted!

(This originally appeared on the blog of Rachel Norton, commissioner on the SF Board of Education)

I promised I would post electronic copies of the two presentations we heard at this week’s Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment, and here they are, thanks to the diligence of Orla O’Keeffe. I am quite interested in what people think of the presentation from the researchers at Stanford — but I suggest you look at it while watching the webcast of Monday’s meeting (click on the “Video” link for Oct. 19; the researchers are on about 17 minutes in) to get the most out of this information-rich document. Additionally, I’m posting the presentation Ms. O’Keeffe delivered during the meeting, which summarizes the work done to date, the proposed options for a new assignment system, and the measurements that are being proposed for evaluating those proposed options.

Enjoy! And please let me know what you think.

29 comments:

  1. moving the dates of submission and assignment back by a month would mean you lose even more kids to privates because they have no choice but put down a deposit which they will have to walk away from if they like their sfusd choice.

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  2. 台灣處亞熱帶最適於它的繁殖,危害最嚴重的有家白蟻及大和白蟻。在每年四月至九月間,一大群白蟻集體飛出巢穴追逐(颱風或大雨來臨之前)雌雄配對後,迅速地脫落翅膀, ... 在台灣,住的房子雖多為鋼筋水泥,但早期居住的木造房子,就常受到白蟻的侵蝕。

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  3. I don't think the deposit matters all that much - it is a lot cheaper to walk away from a deposit than pay for private school for a full year, and getting into a public school is way cheaper than paying for private school for 6-8 years. The key is the private school option gives parents insurance against not getting a school they want.

    Question: how is this reform supposed to improve things? if it goes towards neighborhood schools, would we see a migration of families moving towards the good schools (would be interesting to see how it played out, we might have more family oriented neighborhoods clustered around the top schools)? wouldn't diversity get much worse very quickly?

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  4. I don't think the deposit matters all that much - it is a lot cheaper to walk away from a deposit than pay for private school for a full year, and getting into a public school is way cheaper than paying for private school for 6-8 years. The key is the private school option gives parents insurance against not getting a school they want.

    Question: how is this reform supposed to improve things? if it goes towards neighborhood schools, would we see a migration of families moving towards the good schools (would be interesting to see how it played out, we might have more family oriented neighborhoods clustered around the top schools)? wouldn't diversity get much worse very quickly?

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  5. As a parent who recently moved to the bay area and chose to live out of san francisco largely due to the appalling method I was presented with for determining which school my child would attend, I read with interest these presentations. First and foremost I would say that some of these choices are merely a regurgitation of what is currently in place. Secondly as someone who came mid year of 2008-2009 and was placed in corporate housing in the city, with no lease under my name, and none of the other ID requirements while in corporate housing, my child was forced to spend the year in another state with his father as I was unable to enroll him in the district. My point in saying this is that in addition to the student assignment changes, I would suggest that the registration process at the school district office is inconvenient, archaic and virtually impossible. I was able to register my son in the Reed school district merely by showing up and filling out the paperwork--no line up, no hassles and no stress. I was able to later present utility bills, driver's licenses etc when I had them. The SFUSD did not offer me these options or any in fact. My husband and I have 7 degrees between us, and we opted out of living in the city that we chose to come to. Further more, I work for a biotech company of over 10000 employees and I could find only 1 person who was willing to raise their child in the city in a public school. That speaks volumes. While I applaud the distric for realizing there is a problem, I would suggest that San Francisco is diverse, and if the focus was more on ensuring every school was an excellent school, the entire reassignment system would become obsolete and parents would be most happy to send their children to the schools in their neighborhood--a double advantage as this would also provide an engaged community of parents with a vested interest in ensuring that their neighborhood school is the best it can be.

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  6. Sorry 9:34 - I don't buy it. If I were in a similar situation I would have gotten documentation from the property manager which showed I was the tenant leasing the property (Working through the employer, property manager, etc.). Lot's of things in life require paperwork, administration and diligence.

    It sounds like you may have missed out on some great schools too. I have heard of lots of stories where families get good placements mid-year.

    Good luck in Tiburon.

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  7. I believe some schools (the really expensive ones) make you commit to the entire first year of tuition, but perhaps someone with more private school experience will chime in to say if that's true or not. A few hundred bucks at a parochial school is not a big deal but I do think it's an issue at some of the fancier schools.

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  8. 在網路上進行網路行銷的意義在哪裡?關鍵字認為網路具有極佳的互動性、即時反應、且容易與年輕族群作深入互動,關鍵字行銷積極進行網路行銷的企業,也易營造出創新的形象。除此之外,關鍵字廣告進行網路行銷最大的意義在於精確的量化測量方法。網站優化的特性可以容許自然搜尋人員在事前進行精確的評估、事後亦可以追蹤seo效果。以往許多網路業者對網路行銷活動的目的及期望成果往往沒有夠精確的規畫,造成執行效果不彰。其實網路排名應掌握這些量化的資訊,將其與實際的行銷活動、顧客購買行為等結合,將有助於建立更有效的行銷方案。

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  9. You have to look at the contract you sign when you put your deposit down. If it says you pay for the whole year whether or not you attend for the whole year, you're probably stuck.

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  10. "Further more, I work for a biotech company of over 10000 employees and I could find only 1 person who was willing to raise their child in the city in a public school."

    As there's only one biotech company in the Bay Area, I know of with >10,000 employees (Genentech), I'll call bullshine on this. I know of two Genentech employees in my social circle whose kids attend SFUSD schools.

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  11. DEPOSITS - yes they are large. At Friends school we would have been required to pay approximately $2,000 a month from May through September when a SF Waitpool spot opened, and not gotten any of that back. A friend of ours lost $10,000 they had already paid to Synergy when they got their waitpool spot. Granted in the long run you save by taking the public school, but it's certainly a big deal for a family to walk away from approximately $10,000 they would have already laid down on a private.

    I would hope that if SFUSD changes their notification date, that the privates would sync to it as they do now, so that parents have a reasonable window to make a choice.

    But I don't think changing the lottery application deadline would make a difference. You can see from the chart that the vast majority submit their apps right at the deadline. Moving the deadline will just shift everybody's apps to that day, and the same people that didn't pay attention before will miss whatever the new deadline is too.

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  12. "But I don't think changing the lottery application deadline would make a difference. You can see from the chart that the vast majority submit their apps right at the deadline. Moving the deadline will just shift everybody's apps to that day, and the same people that didn't pay attention before will miss whatever the new deadline is too."

    Agreed. One thing might be to reserve some slots to be released later in the year (say, about the same time as Round 2 is now) to reduce the disadvantage of not getting your application in on time by the Round 1 deadline. Disadvantages of that would be less people satisfied in Round 1 (or whatever replaces Round 1), and risk of favoritism or perceived favoritism with the reserved places.

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  13. In my opinion, changing the date will not achieve the goal asserted by the researchers. They say that moving it back will increase the timeliness of 10% of the applicants. I say that a large portion of that 10% will be late no matter what the date, i.e. the reasons people are late have nothing to do with the actual date, rather it has everything to do with making a definitive date, e.g. people make mistakes, applications get lost, the dog ate it, etc.

    That being said, moving the date a couple weeks away from the holidays would allow more outreach to occur in that important time period before the deadline. One would think that if the system is simplified, as recommended, eventually that date could be moved back a week or two while maintaining the same notification date in March.

    Finally, what about the remaining 10% that do not complete an application until August? I would like to see that data by neighborhood (zip/census block/school location) and see more outreach in those locations. If the system requires parental choice, SFUSD must put some money into educating parents about their role. I applaud PPS for their great work on this front, but SFUSD must make this as a priority.

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  14. October 27, 2009 9:34 PM:

    Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your moving ordeal. I'm glad you finally found your way.

    I also know a lot of employees at "biotech company with over 10000 employees." You're right. I can think of only one family who works at G that has their child in public school. However, they are not a researcher.

    Thanks for posting your insights.

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  15. The father of a girl in K at my daughter's (fantastic, admittedly "trophy") public school works at Genentech.

    Also, I am so tired of these self-important "I have 7 Ivy degrees" people and their assertions. My husband and I have a solid collection of degrees between us, from some of the most selective institutions in the world. We value education, and are certainly intelligent and educated enough to assess how good our child's education is. We could also easily afford private school. We love our public school and not least the social education that being in a truly diverse environment offers. No single group is a majority at her school, and she is absolutely "color blind". The kids I see in the higher grades are overwhelmingly sweet, bright, curious, artistic, and amazingly sophisticated.

    We have tons of friends in both public and private, and I can see the pros and cons to both, but please stop the condescending and patronizing tone. And, unless you have a kid in a SF public school, you actually do not know what you are talking about. Note, I am not criticizing private schools as such, I am sure many of them are great.

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  16. "
    The father of a girl in K at my daughter's (fantastic, admittedly "trophy") public school works at Genentech.
    "

    What you are describing is arguably as much a problem with the current lottery as parents sending their kids to private.

    Well educated parents can opt out of local, poorly performing schools and go to "trophy" schools. Not all manage to do this, but enough that the remaining well educated, academically focused families are faced with sending their kid(s) to a school with almost none of their peers.

    The immersion programs exacerbate this problem.

    The Genentech parent who posted is trying to point this out.

    It is my observation that parents who succeeded in the lottery and got their kids into a "trophy school" don't want to see this because they have benefitted from the status quo.

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  17. So if my neighborhood school happens to have a high API, mostly becuase students from out of the neighborhood have gotten in over the past serveral years, my son could possibly be sent to an underperforming school, to accomodate yet more folks from out of the neighborhood, who may come from areas with low APIs? How would that even work for schools like Lawton, Clarendon, etc.. I think this concept is flawed becuase it is assuming that the reason for the hight API is somehow linked to the neighborhood in which the school is located. But since we don't have a neighborhood preference, this strategy just doesn't work. I don't like the idea of linking school assignment based upon API scores, becuase it penalizes those folks that live in the neighborhood who have NO CONTROL over a school's API.

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  18. "So if my neighborhood school happens to have a high API, mostly becuase students from out of the neighborhood have gotten in over the past serveral years"

    I think there's real perverse incentives built in here, because for schools on the cusp, it's in my interest for the neighbourhood school's scores to tank so we'd get preference.

    I suspect the way to get around it is that the API threshold for preference to be pretty low - only covering the bottom 10 schools in the district.

    It would have an interesting effect on real estate in those areas with the lowest-scoring schools - they might see a pop in their value as parents gaming the system moved into the area (or at least, rented there).

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  19. Ok, maybe my brain is fried, but I'm completely confused by the last post!

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  20. I am too. I think it is implying that you either want to live close to a really good school, or a really crap one. In the former case you have a good school, and in the latter you have "free choice" (a lottery much like the current one presumably).

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  21. I think this concept is flawed becuase it is assuming that the reason for the hight API is somehow linked to the neighborhood in which the school is located.

    It is a concept that makes such an assumption because many, many data points support it. The correlation is robust.

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  22. What's the silliness with the biotech companies? I also work for one, not with 10,000 employees worldwide, but it's a well-known, successful one, stock trading at over 40$/share. Yes, I'm a researcher and my kids are in public elementary and very happy. Not all employees at biotech companies are making top salaries and can shake private tuition easily out of their sleeves. There are certainly some, but the majority are just normal people...

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  23. Well, the 'biotech' dad I know from said company started his kid in a new immersion school that has historically been underenrolled for many years - yet is a fine school.

    There clearly are plenty of SF public school parents within this company - and they certainly aren't all going to 'trophy' schools.

    I had a great conversation with this particular dad many years ago at Camp Mather where we divided parents into two simple groups: Those that want to help build a great school, and those that want to join an established school. No judgement on either but we both happened to belong to the former.

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  24. "I think it is implying that you either want to live close to a really good school, or a really crap one."

    Yup. So if your crap neighborhood school starts improving, that's bad news under Option 6.

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  25. Does this mean that all the schools will sink to levels of mediocrity under this system?

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  26. "Does this mean that all the schools will sink to levels of mediocrity under this system?"

    No, but it would make it difficult for very low API schools to recover - there's an incentive for those in their neighborhood to go elsewhere, and it's not like those schools are going to get others from out of their attendance area.

    Now, the district may want this to make it easier to close those lower-performing schools, but it's hard for me to see how, say, Daniel Webster would have survived in this system.

    Also, I'm not clear on what the procedure will be for neighborhood schools if they're oversubscribed by neighborhood families.

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  27. As I understand Option 6, low-API-neighborhood families would have higher priority than neighborhood families for a given school. High-API but not-neighborhood families would have last priority.

    I doubt most schools would be flooded to capacity by people from outside the neighborhood who have the low-API preference. There will be those who want out of their neighborhood schools, but not all (for various reasons), and they won't all go seeking the same school. I bet there is still room for the local neighborhood families, especially since they won't be competing with other families like themselves who live outside the 'hood (as happens overwhelmingly now with Clarendon, Miraloma, West Portal, Alamo et al). I'm guessing this system would actually create more certainty that way.

    The only way to SFUSD to keep the low-API schools from remaining as isolated silos of low performance would be to create magnet programs like immersion to draw families in. I think Webster could still be what it is--local families band together, agree to work to build up a magnet program, and stay in the neighborhood. That's basically Webster's story, and frankly many told them they couldn't do it under the present system, yet they did. They had a winning combo of a group of committed families, help from the neighborhood (Pre-Fund) and an attractive magnet program. I don't see why this couldn't happen with Option 6.

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  28. "Well educated parents can opt out of local, poorly performing schools and go to "trophy" schools."

    So can low-SES parents. IIRC, a high (I want to say 50%, but can't recall the exact number) of the parents in Bayview opt to send their kids out of their neighbourhood assignment area. Now, those tend to schools in Visitacion Valley or Bernal or Mission or Potero or the higher-scoring schools in Bayview (there's a 100-point API difference between Malcolm X academy and Willie Brown), but those parents, even if many are not getting applications in on time for Round 2, are still exercising choice.

    Not all manage to do this, but enough that the remaining well educated, academically focused families are faced with sending their kid(s) to a school with almost none of their peers."

    Well, as 41% of SFUSD's intake is Asian, I'd beg to differ with your assessment that there's a scarcity of academically focused families. I think you're meaning something else when you talk about a scarcity of "well educated, academically focused families".

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  29. "The only way to SFUSD to keep the low-API schools from remaining as isolated silos of low performance would be to create magnet programs like immersion to draw families in. I think Webster could still be what it is--local families band together, agree to work to build up a magnet program, and stay in the neighborhood."

    But under this scenario would a school with a magnet program, like Webster, still be a neighborhood school? If not, then it would be flooded with families from other parts of the city and neighborhood families could still be out in the cold.

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