Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hot topic: Last night's B of E meeting

This from a reader:
Could you start a new topic on the school board meeting last night? Iwas there and was pretty pleased with it, in spite of myself (and the fact that we are applyign for K now, so won't benefit from the changes)

8 comments:

  1. It seems like everyone tried hard and got "something" for everyone. I am concerned about the achievement gap and about not having to commute across town for my kids to go to school - the good news is it sounds like if the achievement gap doesn't improve, this system won't stay, and that resources will be put into lower-performing schools. I know in our 'hood, more will go to school if there is greater community around our schools. I wonder if there are transportation options for poor children who want to attend schools outside their neighborhoods. Everyone will be eager to see assignment tracts, of course; another great thing is that if a family is caught trying to fraud the system, the Superintendent can take the student out of the system immediately - there are much worse repercussions than there were before, which we hope will cut down on fraud and provide a major disincentive. I think the BOE deserves a lot of praise for working so hard on this even if it isn't perfect for everyone. I have a special needs child and this issue was basically tabled, so it isn't clear yet how their priority will be decided, but this should come up at the next meeting.

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  2. They cannot take the children out of the system. They can but won't prosecute the parent because it would be very expensive. And first they would have to prove that the person committed fraud. The district has a legal obligation to educate the child whether or not the parents committed a crime. All they could do is move the child out of the school to another.

    At the same time that they are rightfully concerned that someone might use fake addresses to get into a school, they do nothing to stop CTIP1 residents who own high priced real estate near projects from getting the preference though they don't need it. This shows a lack of attention.

    Next, this policy does nothing to put resources into lower performing schools.

    The only thing that was tabled regarding special ed was whether the district could make an appropriate placement without consent of the IEP team.

    But you are right - they did try hard - sort of.

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  3. do people who own high priced real estate near the projects really go to public school? and, isn't that population relatively static anyway(meaning, so a few "rich" people might get a ctip1 break, it's not a revolving door of kids b/c they are invested in their home and stay there even after their kids are finished with school). i don't know, this just doesn't seem like such a big deal to me. no system is going to be 100% perfect.

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  4. I was happy to see that Rachel Norton is advocating for a much-needed overhaul of the IEP process. SF has been out of compliance for too long and I'm glad that someone is paying attention

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  5. "At the same time that they are rightfully concerned that someone might use fake addresses to get into a school, they do nothing to stop CTIP1 residents who own high priced real estate near projects from getting the preference though they don't need it."

    I asked Orla O'Keefe the reason why they didn't include, say, an income component to the CTIP1/CTIP2. The answer was that they wanted to move entirely away from self-declaration.

    Investigating whether an address is valid can be done by checking public records: wheras even a random check on income would require hauling people into the district office and going through their income tax records and bank statements - much more intrusive, and frankly, it'd be mostly the poorest folks in the city going through it. I saw the logic why they didn't want to go there.

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  6. "They cannot take the children out of the system. They can but won't prosecute the parent because it would be very expensive."

    Yeah, but assuming they're not going to a 100% audit, but are only doing a 2-10% audit, they need a few highly public punishments pour deter les autres.

    Or a kid getting kicked out of a trophy school because of fraud and getting assigned to the Timothy O'Leary Academy of Recreational Pharaceuticals and Cosmic Conciousness on the other side of town. Yeah, the parents might try to shift the kid to private, but they'd have to do some mighty fast talking at the private school interview.

    A few Ed Jew-like public humiliations should cut down the fraud nicely.

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  7. I had mixed feelings about the way Rachel handled that amendment. On the one hand, she was clearly trying hard to advocate for special ed students and families so that goes to her credit. But she seemed unprepared to make her case. There was some argument of the wording of law, which she seemed to lose to Maribel Medina. We did she not have that wording right in front of her? The case would have been indisputable. And Garcia seemd very reluctant to give sped parents veto power, as members of the IEP "team", (another term that was disputed), to a district placement offer, which is essentially what Ms. Norton was proposing.

    I don't know what the law actually says in this regard, but I'm going to ask, as I have a special ed student.

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  8. I watched that exchange pretty closely because it was interesting political theatre. During public comment, there were three people I wouldn't want to mess with: one each from the NAACP and an affiliated group and the president of a special needs family advocacy group. It was very clear that Rachel Norton was using the same talking points as the group and that's understandable. But it also suggests that she could have prepped better.

    Here's why it was interesting theatre. This was the first time I've ever seen Norton really passionate about something. She got into a couple of tussles with Mendoza and the staff lawyer. In the end, they gave her two out of three of her suggestions. Her revised amendment passed 6-1 with Maufus voting against for incoherent reasons. So it was one of those situations where you wondered what was really going on.

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