Monday, March 8, 2010

SFGate: Vote on S.F. school assignment plan Tuesday

This from SFGate:
After years of debate, delay and endless controversy, the San Francisco school board will vote Tuesday on a new student assignment system - a hybrid plan that offers choice, prioritizes proximity to a school and addresses the needs of struggling students.

It's a compromise that gives a nod both to parents who have asked for a choice in where they send their children to school and parents who want a spot in the school down the street.

"I think we've tried to meet everybody's needs in some way," said Superintendent Carlos Garcia. "I think it's the best we could do."

The proposal on the table, however, would do little in the short term to address de facto segregation in district K-12 schools, a high priority for some school board members, but not necessarily for parents.

Forcibly desegregating the city's schools would require busing students across town in both directions - something the district did for nearly two decades under a consent decree. It's not a popular option among parents today.

"A decision that wouldn't make anyone happy is the district deciding where you go to school," said Orla O'Keefe, special assistant to the district superintendent.


Read the full story.

113 comments:

  1. "It's a compromise that gives a nod both to parents who have asked for a choice in where they send their children to school and parents who want a spot in the school down the street."

    Uh, yeah, and don't forget a nod to some kind of SFUSD-pre-school-in-the-attendance-area special interest, and a nod to those w/ siblings and also a nod to low-scoring census tract optimization. You betcha - a little somefin for evrabuddeh. I can see Garcia's head nodding like a bobblehead right about now.

    Another complicated attempt to ration limited spots at good schools when they should be making all schools good to begin with.

    This new system is simply the present one redux.

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  2. Until they get rid of so called alternative schools any plan which claims to pay attention to providing parents the option of sending their children to their local school is a lie; Marina residents (and many households located near the Marina such as Cow Hollow) by definition don't get to send their children to their local school.

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  3. OK, so I have a question. How in tarnation do you figure out what census tract you are in (I went to factfinder.census.usgov and it was a mishmash of useless info)? And will they use CTIP scores from Census 2000 or Census 2010? There are a lot of us on the SE side who will be screwed if we end up CTIP 2, because so many of our local schools will be citywide, but would do better in the new system than the old if we are CTIP 1. And when are the attendance area maps coming out? In other words, how do we know if our individual situation makes it even worth bothering to pursue public under the new system? I want to know where to put my energies.

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  4. ""A decision that wouldn't make anyone happy is the district deciding where you go to school," said Orla O'Keefe, "

    That is exactly what you are doing, Orla.

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  5. Rachel Norton (www.rachelnorton.com) has a map of the different census tracts. Basically, all the CTIP1 tracts include the city's public housing projects, and CTIP2 tracts are the rest of the city.

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  6. If you go to the census bureau website you can bring up the map and zoom in to some extent.

    Also, we have filed as a political committee and we are going to bring neighborhood schools to the voters in November.

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  7. My house is in the dark green zone, and my house is worth a lot of money.

    Pure luck.

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  8. I have been critical on this blog of the Superintendent's plan. But I must say that I think this latest reincarnation is truly a pretty good mix. I would have liked total parental choice, but I think what has been crafted here is something that both pro-choice parents and pro-neighborhood parents can live with. I am particularly gratified at the fixes at the middle school level. At the end of the day, and I mean this respectfully, I think the pro-neighborhood activists need to get their heads out of the clouds and start actually learning something about the wonderful diversity of public schools that SF offers. For example, on an earlier string I went through the pros and cons of each middle school, and how being "locked into" a particular middle school, because of your home's location, could be a disaster for your kid, depending on your kid's unique characteristics. Not one pro-neighborhood person responded with anyone like a rational response to that critique. I would hope that, rather than continue the pro-neighborhood school rant, they spend a little time actually studying how varied the elementary and middle schools are in the city. If they did, they'd realize that parental choice is really a wonderful system!

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  9. I don't want to hijack this thread, but the SF Chronicle listed Paul Revere as one of the 12 lowest-performing schools in the city. They will have to choose one of 4 drastic options: Closure, conversion to charter, firing the principal and at least half the staff, or firing the principal and some other gobbledygook.

    All of these options look dreadful for a school with a very smart, visionary principal who has raised lots of money, serves a lower-income population which might not be best served by charter status, and whose closure would leave Bernal Heights with only the rather small Junipero Serra as a local option.

    Am I being hysterical, or is this as terrible as it seems to me? Is charter the obvious answer? I am not a Paul Revere parent, but I visited it and was very impressed with the principal and what he's done. It was definitely in my top 5 schools.

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  10. Anyone who lives in the attendance zone of an oversubscribed school is unlikely to derive much additional benefit from this new SAS. So I don't think it is a nod to neighborhoods except perhaps in name. Anyone who wants to get into an undersubscribed school can do so up until November of the school year. It is the oversubsubscribed school that defines the SAS problem - a problem which would not exist except for this.

    Jeremy, the CDC special interest is simply SFUSD trying to place as many low income zone residents before others. If all zone residents get in, as you seem to think, there would be no need for preferences.

    Also, if you go to a citywide elementary school it appears as if you don't get the preference to go to the local middle school.(I'm not entirely clear on the proposed SAS in this regard.)

    And why SFUSD wants to do away with sibling priority at middle schools is strange given that this priority is otherwise viewed as an essential part of respecting family. Apparently, middle school is some kind of lost family values zone for SFUSD.

    If SFUSD was serious about neighborhood schools they would have considered how to increase capacity in oversubscribed assignment zones. Unless you can seat the kids, there will be no neighborhood schools where they are most in demand.

    Also, the ability of the administration to change boundaries and school designations w/o public comment is very disturbing. The issue goes to the heart of the meaning of community and neighborhood. If these institutions can be changed by fiat, leaving the residents without a voice, this is not consistent with a democratic society.

    Another reason why we are taking this to the voters in November.

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  11. All Choice proponents,

    I don't think a lottery is choice. And I don't think getting one of seven choices is choice. "Choice" is just a word that SFUSD uses to make you think you are decisionmaking. The fact is you choose, they decide. To believe otherwise is walking in the "clouds", to use some other poster's word.

    Nevertheless, I support the alternative choice system ONLY as a side by side SAS to true neighborhood school assignments - a way of opting out of neighborhood schools and because of the high demand for various educational program options offered at citywide schools. Of course, "citywide" too is a misnomer because all schools are at this time citywide schools.

    Regarding diversity, it is a fact that if neighborhood schools were instituted in a pure form, schools would be more integrated than they are today. Not necessarily every school, but in general. BVHP has a larger asian community than African American.

    The problem with SFUSD's thinking is that most people do not want to leave their neighborhoods if given a real choice. For many test scores and achievement are not necessarily the highest priority as long as they are decent. Parents and students look for many things in a school besides the API. The study of SDUSD by PPIC was very clear on this point.

    What really turns SFUSD logic on its head is the fact that the CTIP1preferences are only a political card if the district does not provide the busing to make the preference a reality. That ids not social equity. That's just politics, giving what essentially amounts down to a fake preference.

    Any student at a PI school is currently entitled by law to opt out and the district is required to bus to a new school if necessary. San Diego USD has an assignment system for those that choose to opt out. Why we don't just follow law instead of adopting new policy I don't understand.

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  12. Jeremy Bentham, what the new system will do for neighborhood advocates is give them priority over equally middle/upper class families who don't live in that school's neighborhood. There has been crowding out at some of the central and westside schools by middle class families from around the city. Most of the competition for these schools is from families that look the same in terms of SES status, and lots of cars criss-cross the city to move Janey and Johnny from one neighborhood to the next. That's what this will fix. It will still give access to to low-income kids, as it it should. It will just stop the mixing of middle class families, effectively, except at citywide-designated schools. That is the main effect of this proposal.

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  13. Don, it is a stupid idea to legislate this at the ballot box. The issues are complex and ballot box measures do a lot of harm with complex issues. I sure hope you don't qualify for the ballot. The BoE has an impossible task in reconciling competing interests, and they have done a pretty good job. I'm sure there will be problems and unintended consequences, but that's as much to do with the contradictions in the mission as the system they have come up with.

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  14. Census tracts: you should be able to find it at the factfinder site. You put in your address and then "map it" and the number and map of the tract shows up. You should be able to compare this, at least by shape, to the map put out by SFUSD. Mainly the dark green areas (lowest 20%) are in the inner Mission, BVHP, and Sunnydale. There are none on the north and west parts of town except for I think Treasure Island.

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  15. Marcia Brady, I agree with you that it's a shame Paul Revere is on that list. For some of these schools, I think it might make sense to take drastic action, but not with others.

    As the Chron said today, there are good things happening at Horace Mann since Mark Sanchez came on board--he is taking charge. Now, he's only been there one year, so he won't be subject to removal, but the measures are draconian. Given that Mann has huge numbers of ELL kids every year--many newly arrived--I have to wonder how any new principal or staff or charter is going to do so much better in terms of scores than what is already being done.

    Mission High has a lot of great things going on--their teaching staff is amazing. Seriously. They also have a very challenged population. But since you can't fire the kids, you fire the teachers.

    Regarding Revere, they are just beginning to see the results of the SI program and demographic shifts, and the new energy brought by the current principal. Since Revere is a K-8, the old ways and results will be showing up on test scores for a long time, even if the school is turning around in the K-2 grades. It is a terrible idea to mess with a school that is already making strides. I will be very curious to see what Revere's test scores are this coming year.

    So, no, I don't think you are being hysterical at all. Diane Ravitch, a leading moderate educational policy expert and one-time supporter of testing & accountability and NCLB, has recanted much of this kind of thinking in her latest book, just out last month.

    I'm glad some other schools in turnaround mode didn't make the list, like Webster....

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  16. Anonymous@10:41,

    Have you got a problem with democracy? I've heard this before. The electorate is not smart enough to weigh in. Maybe they shouldn't vote at all?

    If you think the Board has done a pretty good job you must have some sense of the complex issues and how they managed them. Are you the only one with this good sense and aren't other members of the community also capable as you are?

    What is wrong with asking those who pay for the schools to weigh in on the schools?

    This measure will qualify, but you should be pleased to know that it is nonbinding. It will put political pressure on the district, but it is not a charter measure. That means the leaders can ignore it at their peril.

    Most districts around the nation do not go waste time and money developing complex schemes to effectively increase segregation, as SFUSD has been doing for years.

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  17. The ballot box is NOT the way to approach this. The ballot box brought us Prop 13. The ballot box has brought us all kinds of idiotic, hand-tying laws at the state level. There is so much wrong with California politics. Term limits mean that once legislators have found their way to the bathroom, they're out of office. They certainly don't have enough accumulated wisdom to know how to write laws. Amateur legislation at the ballot box is even worse when it comes to unintended consequences. So I won't be signing any petitions to get "neighborhood schools" on any city ballots. What the BOE has come up with is not exactly what I want, but it does seem to be an honest effort to give stronger weight to neighborhood preference while preserving opportunities for low SES families to request high-performing schools. I would like to see some changes in the current "city-wide" school designations at the elementary. Really, why Clarendon, Lakeshore, Claire Lilienthal, Rooftop and New Traditions should be city-wide is beyond me. It seems like if anything should be city-wide, it should be language immersion.

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  18. I agree wholeheartedly with 9:28 that the new system is a good compromise and is worth a chance. Don, since the majority of families in CTIP1 tracts don't bother to apply in time for Round 1, I think the neighborhood school folks like yourself will end up doing quite well in this new system.

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  19. I'm not out for myself. But your point underscores the hypocracy of the SAS plan which conflicts with the stated goals of the redesign.

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  20. I am now in a CTIP 2 tract under the current proposal, which means I am now lumped with the top 80% performing districts. Under the old proposal, I would have been in CTIP 1.

    What this means for me: my neighborhood school is John Muir, which is one of the 12 lowest performing schools in SF as reported in today’s paper. So now I have no priority in the lottery for city-wide schools, but I also have the privilege of being assigned to John Muir. So even tough my CTIP is in the bottom 20-40% of CTIPs, I am assigned a school that is bottom 5% of all schools.

    The only way this can change is if the SFUSD draws neighborhood maps around the bottom 20% of schools that correspond to the CTIP1 districts. Does anyone think that will happen? Will the district map basically mirror the CTIP map? I sure think that it should.

    Anyway, I wish they had stuck to the choice option (option A I believe). But under this proposal, I feel very much at a disadvantage compared to someone who is CTIP 2 but in the neighborhood attendance area of a good school.

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  21. We democratically voted for the members of the Board of education. They represent us. This is the way things go with Representative Democracies.

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  22. Anonymous,
    "The BoE has an impossible task in reconciling competing interests"

    Voting would help to settle the matter.

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  23. Not putting votes to the people based on the complexity of the issue would set a very dangerous precedent in theory. Who decides what is too complex? The state legislature cannot decide on how to reform the revenue base for education, at least in part due to the complexities and political guagmire it presents for the individual legislators. They have said we need to go back to the ballot box for the answer. I don't hear anyone voicing their opposition to putting that fix to the voters.

    In any event, this measure is not a vote on an SAS. That should be made clear. It is only asking the people of San Francisco whether they want a neighborhood schools system. The district would still have to make the SAS itself. This does not in any way preclude choice. And, as I said, it is nonbinding.

    These are our schools. Why should such important decisions be made without voter approval? This measure will tell us if the Board and the administration represents the people's interests or the vested interests. This desision will affect SFUSD for years to come until it also fails and the Board is forced to tinker with it again.

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  24. "Anyone who lives in the attendance zone of an oversubscribed school is unlikely to derive much additional benefit from this new SAS. So I don't think it is a nod to neighborhoods except perhaps in name."

    Don, this is not the case. If you're in the attendance zone for Miraloma, you get in before anyone else save current sibs & CTIP1. That's a big chance from now, where there was only a slight edge on

    With folks advocating Lillienthal being turned into a neighborhood school, there's going to be no choice at all in the city soon.


    "Also, we have filed as a political committee and we are going to bring neighborhood schools to the voters in November."

    Don,, this is a frigging stupid idea. This is a complex issue which the BoE and staff have been consulting with the public for *over a fucking year*. There are multiple legal, financial, logistical constraints on what the district can do. The proposed chance goes a lot further taking away choice than I'd like, but given what it intends to do, it does it pretty well.

    You'll write a proposition promising everyone neighborhood school and a pony, and the system you put will be *hard-wired*, not adjustable at the staff or BoE level (at least until the inevitable equal-access lawsuit strikes it down). We'll be stuck with whatever you write in, assuming you're successful.

    Unless you have confidence you can get it right first time, don't waste your money and the voter's time. Frankly, Don, I have zero confidence you won't screw it up. (I'd have zero confidence I wouldn't screw it up either.)

    However, it will gain you lots of attention and interviews in the papers. Which is the whole point, isn't it?

    "These are our schools. Why should such important decisions be made without voter approval?"

    We vote for the BoE. This is what we employ them to do. If you object to the BoE's decisions, put your money into running for the board. Or at least let the new system run for two years before putting your oar in.

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  25. I don't think a lottery is choice. And I don't think getting one of seven choices is choice."

    It's choice in the same way your kid applying to college has choice, or for that matter those applying to private school get choice: you choose where to apply to, but there isn't a guarantee of a place.

    Don, 91% of middle school applicants got their choice. 95% of those who didn't list a trophy school at the elementary level as #1 or #2 got one of their choices. You don't like choice, or rather you don't like people from other neighborhoods or SES backgrounds choosing your school; you'd rather folks in the SE stay where they are: fine. But don't pretend there is no choice in the current system.

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  26. "The problem with SFUSD's thinking is that most people do not want to leave their neighborhoods if given a real choice. "

    70% of BV/HP parents leave their neighborhood school when given the choice, as they have now. Community consultations indicated that people wanted good neighborhood schools, but they also wanted choice: which is not what you're asserting.

    Did you actually attend any of the board meetings or community meetings, Don?

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  27. 11:37: We've been assigned to John Muir in Round 1 for 2 years in a row and I fully expect another John Muir assignment in my mailbox Saturday. Don't panic. We've chosen to stay private for now, but last year we got DeAvila Chinese Immersion in Round 2 (ultimately decided we were not comfortable with immersion) and Grattan off the wait pools in September. I honestly think DCI is on the fast track to Alice Fong Yu land--the principal is charming and sharp as a tack, and the parents rock. You probably won't get your dream school in Round 1, especially if you don't have sibling preference, but even as a hardened lottery skeptic and someone who does not cope well with uncertainty, I seriously doubt you will have to send your kid to John Muir if you don't want to.

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  28. One thing I don't understand about the new system is whether there is only one round. In the old system there were several rounds of placement which allowed unhappy parents to attempt to get something different when things weren't OK. This adjustment allowed the system to *eventually* work reasonably well. Of course there was a lot of stress involved. If there is only one round in the new system then I predict some unhappy parents will literally explode in frustration.

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  29. Anonymous,

    You are a very rude person. Don't try to pin your racial stereotypes on me. Everytime anyone mentions neighborhood schools the racial fanatics start their smear campaign.

    I am pro diversity, pro choice and pro neighborhood schools. They are not mutually exclusive. Neighborhood schools will increase diversity.

    Re: choice. Seven is not choosing. That is drawing straws. I don't know anyone that was happy getting anyone one of seven.

    I can find no district in the country that uses census tracks for their SAS. Maybe they exist but I can't find them. Why are we experimenting with our children on unproven methods?

    As far as your willful efforts to mischaracterize me, I am for busing which the Board of Education is apparently against, since they intend to cut much of it off. They could easily find 3 or 4 million to save it, but they would rather have National Unban Alliance do their song and dance in the classrooms.

    Oh and one more thing - get stuffed.

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  30. 1:06--I have heard that statistic about BVHP residents but wonder which ethnic groups are leaving and how far they are traveling. Does anyone know?

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  31. Why, oh why, is every thread taken over by Don Krause? It's not that I disagree with him on every count, I just wish he didn't feel compelled to answer personally to every single criticism of his ideas. It's a kind of filibustering for this blog, since lots of people, myself included, wander off if a thread gets taken over this way. I'd like to hear more voices, anonymous or not. I guess we could all ignore and talk around his posts, but Don's ideas are actually interesting. It's the rudeness of his taking over the conversation as if we are all talking to him, not each other, that gets me. Anyone have any ideas?

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  32. 1:29

    That's why people are sick of him and his shadow puppets.

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  33. One more Q about census tracts. Will they be using the ones from Census 2010?

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  34. And you don't think that the anonymous posters are many of the same people over and over?

    If you want to participate in a blog get used to the idea of skipping over what doesn't interest you.

    But people who don't have the guts to post in their own name have no moral high ground to request that others who do post eponymously don't do so unless at the frequency they find appropriate.
    Therefore, everyone should just be anonymous in the brave new world of the kfiles.

    And you could get stuffed too Moggy if you weren't already.

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  35. "I don't think a lottery is choice. And I don't think getting one of seven choices is choice."

    Don -- I've been reading your posts for several weeks now. I thought you said your kids were in middle school. Can you give me bullet points about why you want neighborhood schools so much?

    The lottery gave me a LOT of choice last year. I could pick among start times, size of school, enrichment programs, after-school care, public transit convenience, etc.

    That's the beauty of SFUSD as opposed to suburban schools. There are so many schools within easy reach that you CAN pick among them for the one that works best for your family.

    We focus so much on how the lottery didn't work that we forget all the times it did -- and if you stuck it out until the end (I got my preferred school the day before classes started) it worked for most people.

    My neighborhood schools are Miraloma and Sunnyside, so with my second kid I'll probably do well under the new system. I still prefer a lottery.

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  36. Don, does Berkeley use census tracts in its school assignments?

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  37. "But people who don't have the guts to post in their own name"

    Hi Don. It's all about you. And that song by Carly Simon was too.

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  38. "I am pro diversity, pro choice and pro neighborhood schools. They are not mutually exclusive. "

    They are, Don: your fuzzy thinking about the topic doesn't make it so. If you have a guaranteed slot at school X, that means less choice for someone else, given capacity constraints at each school.

    On diversity: sorry, the simulations done by the Stanford researchers showed the neighborhood options reduced diversity relative to choice options. You're asserting counterfactuals.

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  39. "You are a very rude person. Don't try to pin your racial stereotypes on me. Everytime anyone mentions neighborhood schools the racial fanatics start their smear campaign."

    Don, I didn't say anything about race. I said folks from other SES backgrounds or neighborhoods.

    You thought I was talking about race. I wasn't. You put that in all by yourself. Funny that.

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  40. My kid enters K in fall 2010. We get a letter on Saturday for his K. If we accept whatever we get for just a year for K, does it mean that we can get our neighborhood school for 1st next year? Under the new SAS? Probably only if there are spots, huh? If you do the 1st lottery, do you lose your spot in the school where you attended K?

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  41. @2:56 --

    Currently if you enter the lottery for 1st grade, if you get an assignment you are automatically moved to the new school. If you don't get an assignment, you continue at your old school.

    As you said, you can only get a new assignment if there are spots available at the new school.

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  42. 1:02 said: "95% of those who didn't list a trophy school at the elementary level as #1 or #2 got one of their choices."

    So basically, 95% of the people who didn't make certain choices got one of their choices.

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  43. When poled most people choose neighborhood schools. It isn't an outlier idea. If it does go on the ballot I bet it will win.

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  44. No matter what system is in place, there are going to be some schools that are over-subscribed with neighbors because the schools are strong and the neighborhoods have a lot of kids (e.g., Alamo, West Portal, Alvarado, Grattan).

    Bearing that in mind, if SFUSD intends to severely curtail busing, it would be nice if the district could coordinate with DPT so parents with children ages 12 and under who are assigned out of neighborhood could get 2 parking permits, one for the neighborhood where they live and one for the neighborhood where the school is located. Every time I've tried to get my kid to school on public transit because the husband needs the car for something else, I end up taking a cab at least part of the way because MUNI is bollixed up. This even though the school is only a 10-minute drive from our house, and even though when we try to take MUNI, we leave the house 45 minutes before school starts.

    Right now I am lucky that there are a few blocks near the MUNI line by school that don't require residential permits, so I can drive to school, park and catch MUNI downtown. It's not affordable to take cabs every day or to drive and park downtown every day. It's not good for the environment to do two round trips to school every day when one would be adequate. If people who live near schools are worried about outsiders hogging their parking spots, the school-related permit could be limited to school days and hours.

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  45. 4:07 pm -- this is such a good idea. I REALLY wished I had a parking permit when my kid was in preschool in a particular neighborhood. The entire area was permitted parking and I really wanted to have my car close to my kid's preschool when they were little. We actually ended up switching from one to another preschool because the new one had less permitted parking in it. And it is certainly more green for a parent to drive a kid to school/preschool and then mass transit it to work. (Frankly, I know people keep trying to push parents to use mass transit, but it just doesn't work as an everyday matter. Rather, help parents so they don't do their entire commute by car, but rather just the kid pickup and drop via car seems smart and sensible.) My kids are now nearing middle school so I wouldn't be impacted, but I really think you should pursue this with the BOE -- perhaps they can start a conversation with DPT!

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  46. It seems to me that a complete (or mostly) neighborhood assignment program is the only true form of "choice." You decide where you'd like your child to go to school, balance that with a neighborhood you want to live in, and you move there. With this system in place, San Francisco would be far less likely to lose families to Mill Valley, Orinda and Piedmont. This system seems to work in San Jose, which I believe is a larger city than San Francisco.

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  47. I don't think Stanford's simulations quite replace facts in the real world, except yours.

    But this is a fact - over the last ten years of choice we have had less and less diversity, and more importantly, we have not positively impacted the achievement gap, something nobody on this website or down at the district likes to discuss.

    Here's what Lisa Schiff at Beyond Chron had to say this February in an article:

    "The latter point regarding school quality is most important. Parents and community members raised a host of questions related to this, including wondering way teacher and administrator placement were not being addressed at the same time student placement was being worked out. Perhaps more significant were comments pointing out that years have been spent crafting and agonizing over student assignment policies, but that there has not been a commensurate effort addressing school quality, which is really the more significant issue."

    Whether you are focused on achievement or just a bean counter, either way choice has failed. If you think the Board is so interested in real integration why are they providing a preference for the lowest 20 % without any busing? And certainly they know because they have acknowledged that this segment will not act to take advantage of the preference to a significant extent. Maybe the 20%ers don't want it. Maybe they do. But either way, they're unlikely to cross town on muni to get it. So why don't you take your complaints to the people you elected to do the job you want them to do?

    As far as having diversity, neighborhood schools and choice Seattle just instituted it so what's wrong with SFUSD? You have to build capacity for it. SFUSD has one of the richest portfolios of properties and they let it wither rather than use it to develop our district's potential to create capacity.

    We have small thinkers in charge. That's why they said this (the SAS) is the best they can do. Because it is the best THEY can do.

    Responding to choice, your use of the arithmetic is impressive. In the small world of the zero-sum gaming that might be true. But if you actually think in terms of creating a district that matches and serves the needs of the community, you could build were capacity is lacking. But it is more than capacity that is lacking in San Francisco - its imagination and focus. They have forgotten about student achievement in the meantime.

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  48. I am elated this will be going to the polls, nonbinding regardless. The ballot initiative was created by the SFUSD through their own inactions & years of disregard for what the parents really want. They had years to take their heads out of the sand and didn't.

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  49. Don:


    The problem with SFUSD's thinking is that most people do not want to leave their neighborhoods if given a real choice.
    --------------
    Where do you get this "most" data? It simply is not a fact - it's your opinion.

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  50. Don:
    "I don't know anyone that was happy getting anyone one of seven."

    Maybe you just don't KNOW period. Your anecdotal comments and focus group of ONE don't count for much.

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  51. To those who are concerned about Paul Revere, it is important that people understand that this school was ALREADY RECONSTITUTED only five years ago. Revere became a "Dream School" in 2005-06, while Arlene Ackerman was still our superintendent. I guess the term "reconstitution" has fallen out of favor, but that's what we used to call getting rid of at least 1/2 the staff and the principal, going to a longer school day, providing funding for tutors, etc. See how well it works? Now they want to do it again!! It makes me absolutely crazy.

    I don't mean to attempt to hijack the thread, but there's nowhere else to post this, and it's heavy on my mind. Give a school a chance, what good can come from turning it over and dumping it out every five or six years?

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  52. @4:30pm --

    It's apples and oranges to compare the suburbs or even San Jose to San Francisco.

    From the house where I grew up in Marin, the next closest elementary school was 1.7 miles away per Google maps.

    In SF, there are 14 schools within 1.7 miles of my house and over 20 schools within a 2 mile radius.

    That's what I consider choice.

    Sure, if I were going to move back to Marin I would choose a neighborhood based on the school, but since we're staying in SF I'm not going to move eight blocks.

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  53. @5:11 I'd move 8 blocks if it benefited my kids' education. But that's just us – their education trumps our condo.

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  54. If you guys just ignore him, and don't respond to him, he may go away.

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  55. Why do people in the 2nd most expensive city in the US still gripe about the cost of education? Just move to a place you can afford, or stop having children that you can't afford.

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  56. @5:15pm --

    But under the lottery system (or the ill-fated zone proposal) you wouldn't have to waste tens of thousands of dollars selling your place and moving eight blocks.

    You could just list any of several schools you were interested in and spend that tens of thousands of dollars on enrichment programs for your kid instead.

    That's the beauty of living in SF -- there are so many schools so close to your house that you CAN have a choice.

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  57. @5:57 or you can ride off the backs of families who work hard to stay in this city so you can educate your children and stay at home and watch Oprah.

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  58. Re: focus group of one.

    Let's see. Maybe I think that neighborhood schools are popular because most everybody I've talked to at our school wants them. Or maybe it is because the vast majority of districts in the state, nation and world use a neighborhood assignment system.
    Or maybe it is because it makes sense to have a school close to home and to have a consistent group of friends throughout childhood as well as a community that will support its children. Maybe it is because the district has lost so many to districts where they do have NS. Or maybe it is because even SFUSD, knowing that NS is popular, tried to call their plan a neighborhood one even though it isn't (MS excepted.) Or maybe it is because our polling shows that it is a winner. Spend money on a focus group? I don't think so.

    To answer someone else's question -FYI - I have two kids in elementary, one going to MS next year.

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  59. Pasted below from a member of Students First, the organization that is sponsoring the ballot measure:

    In the current issue of Newsweek the cover story is: “ The key to saving American Education”. It is a critique of what is wrong regarding the educational system today in America. In the first paragraph it states that “Once upon a time, American students tested better than any other students in the world. Now, ranked against European school children, America does about as well as Lithuania, behind at least 10 other nations”. The blame is on the current state of the teaching profession and its lack of accountability. Among the accusations is the “defeatist mindset” in the inner city schools. What the article says of the profession is also true for San Francisco – “often the weakest teachers are relegated to teaching the neediest students, poor minority kids in inner-city schools. “ “For these children, teachers can be make or break. “The research shows that kids who have two, three, four strong teachers in a row will eventually excel, no matter what their background, while kids who have even two weak teachers in a row will never recover says Kati Haycock of the Education Trust..”

    We have wasted untold millions in focusing out attentions away from student achievement. It is a distraction that allows the District to avoid the real educational issues of our time. They are living in the past.

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  60. People seem to think there isn't a relationship between desegregating schools and improving the quality of schools. When I asked Orla O'keefe this question, she said that there are many studies that demonstrate when low performing populations comprise -- i think it was 40% or less at any given school site -- this improves their achievement. She added that they wouldn't be putting energy into "reversing the trend of racial isolation and the concentration of underserved students in the same school" if it wasn't an evidenced based concept. (BTW, I mentioned that the District needed to articulate this more clearly and offer up some of these studies). I don't think its some utopian, political issue. I think its an academic one. I suspect its a kind of threshold in terms of numbers of higher need kids and managing those needs.

    This is one strategy, along with others like the allocation of experienced teachers to schools in greater need, that can be implemented in tandem to close the achievement gap.

    And Don -- "Maybe I think that neighborhood schools are popular because most everybody I've talked to at our school wants them": I don't know that everyone at your school adds up to a significant or relevant demographic. What school is that, Don? Is it an under the radar, underperforming school where you can actually see first hand how teachers are able to serve (or struggle serving) the needs of underperforming kids? I actually don't know so I wonder if your perspective is related to your lack of exposure and experience. Or is it a "trophy" school, minimally impacted by underperforming populations so most families don't have a reason to think about, let alone understand, these students?

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  61. "Jeremy Bentham said...
    I am elated this will be going to the polls, nonbinding regardless."

    Hi Don. Missing a sock?

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  62. "No matter what system is in place, there are going to be some schools that are over-subscribed with neighbors because the schools are strong and the neighborhoods have a lot of kids (e.g., Alamo, West Portal, Alvarado, Grattan)."

    Despite Noe being stroller central, there's not that many kids there (about 1,400) relative to Bernal (3,400) or Excelsior or Vis Valley (about 4,500 K-12 each). So Alvarado GE may not be as oversubbed as you might think.

    Attendance areas are going to change in the first few years though, no doubt about it. You'll also may see shifting of kids out of the privates/parochials in the west which will affect boundaries there.

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  63. This is disappointing. Choice was one of the most attractive features of SFUSD, and a major factor in improving schools. Now CTIP2 residents will be essentially shut out of any meaningful choices.

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  64. "But this is a fact - over the last ten years of choice we have had less and less diversity"

    Yes, after an order that limited the percentage of any one group at one school was struck down. Remember? Maybe that might have had an effect?

    Look at Orla O'Keefe's presentation to the board for the first BoE assigment subcommittee in February (http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=rpnorton.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Frpnorton.files.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F02%2Frecommendations_february-2-2010_feb-2_final.ppt). Look at slide 93, which has the ethnic breakdown of SFUSD kids by neighborhood. This city isn't a smooth mix of ethnicities - it's lumpy. Which is why a pure neighborhood system would increase segregration: it was the reason why a zone-based system was rejected: the city's transportation routes run North-South, but the ethnic gradients, roughly, run East-West.

    I think you don't understand the ethic geography of the city, which is why you believe something that a glance at a map showing the ethnic breakdown of the city would show you your idea neighborhood schools will reduce segregation is wishful thinking.

    This proposed system with CTIP1 mitigates some of that, but it's not as good as the other more choice-based option presented by Orla O'Keefe. Sorry, that's a fact. If you've got evidence aside from "I, Don, believe it to be so", show it.

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  65. "Choice was one of the most attractive features of SFUSD, and a major factor in improving schools."

    Yes, but guess what: the folks who disliked choice were more vocal, so the likes of Don killed it.

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  66. "Pasted below from a member of Students First, the organization that is sponsoring the ballot measure"

    And make an argument about teacher retention and teacher quality which is *completely unrelated* to student assignment. It's the Chewbacca defense.

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  67. " Or maybe it is because the vast majority of districts in the state, nation and world use a neighborhood assignment system."

    The majority of districts in this country don't have the population density our district does. They don't have 120 schools in an eight mile diameter. Choice is practicable here that it's not in Placer County.

    As for lotteries: used all over the country for access to charters and for magnet programs. Some neighborhood school systems are using lotteries or first-to-apply to ration places for schools with insufficient capacity (Rachel Norton's blog had a story about parents camping out for days to get a place in their neighborhood school in San Jose).

    Lotteries are also used district-wide in other districts (like far-away Pacifica).

    "Maybe it is because the district has lost so many to districts where they do have NS."

    Really? People are moving to Daly City, South City, Oakland, Richmond 'cos they have NS? No, they're moving to Marin or Piedmont or Pleasanton because they have high test scores. Why? Maybe because the percentage of low-SES students is a rounding error there. Socioeconomics plays a huge unacknowledged role.

    SFUSD has a high proportion of low-SES students, but scores equivalently to districts with much lower percentages of low-SES students, like Mountain View, Sunnyvale or Alameda. Personally, I think the lottery plays a large factor in that, because parents value what they got through the lottery rather than taking it for granted, plus success or failure by a principal are rapidly acknowledged in demand for that school.

    You want to take away our choice.
    Some of us resent it.

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  68. What mibb said: there's going to be lots of pointless churn in the SF housing market as people move to different attendence areas, which in the old lottery system they didn't need to do.

    Good for realtors and for the city's property tax receipts, but generating no real value.

    I expect I'm gonna lose the nice neighbors with a 4 1/2 year old, but I imagine the attraction of Forest Hill will be too strong relative to the SE.

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  69. "Choice was one of the most attractive features of SFUSD, and a major factor in improving schools."

    Not only that, but you could choose the. Didn't like the local principal? You didn't have to list it. Wanted a very 3-Rs focused school? Go for McKinley or Moscone or Taylor. Want arts focused? Maybe Alvarado GE. Want science focus? Spring Valley or Grattan. Want an emphasis on citizenship? Harvey Milk. Despite the strictures of the curriculum, there was an opportunity for principals and staff to experiment and differentiate their schools, because they didn't have to be all things to all people - if you didn't like that school's philosophy or emphasis, you could choose another.

    That choice, that drive to differentiate schools is mostly gone in the new system.

    There's still some choice through the Alternative schools, but it's radically reduced. Plus, I don't expect the non-immersion alternative schools to last long, given the lobby to convert CL to a neighborhood school.

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  70. This new system gives choice first to students in CTIP1. That is consistent with the goals of the District to diversify schools. So what is the complaint, that you don't get more of a priority being in CTIP2? Excuse me, but that seems a bit disingenuous if you believe in equity.

    I watched the entire assignment portion of the meeting tonight. The most curious part of it was when Jane Kim (along with many other Boards members) expressed her concern, (paraphrasing here), about the possibility of CTIP1 parents not opting to use the preference. The idea being that this could cause the plan to fail to diversify up to the Board's standards. If this happens than the Board would support dialing up efforts to encourage the use of the preference.

    If the Board supports choice, why then is it that when people choose the Board don't support their choice and want to change their minds if that choice is not consistent with driving the diversity goals? The best way to encourage use of the preference is to support busing, which most appear not to.

    I support choice and neighborhood schools. I have said this repeatedly, although many want to mischarachterize me simply because I also support local schools. Someone suggested that the two are not compatible, but that isn't consistent with what Orla O'keeffe said tonight to the effect that choice balances out local demand. That critic never responded to the point that Seattle just instituted such a system of neighborhood schools and choice.

    Even though some ridiculous person wants to blame me for the Superintendent's perceived anti-choice proposal, I have nothing at all to do with it at all. If I was designing a system I would increase the choice offerings, schools and seats to draw demand from the neighborhoods. It can be done. The district has vast untapped reserves in surplus property.

    As for one other critic, our Students First organization is not only about neighborhood schools, but an effort to draw attention to the need for quality schools in all neighborhoods. I know that is easier said than done, but the lack of interest in student achievement by SFUSD is driving disinterest in the subject of student achievement.

    Lastly, there seemed to be a great deal of apprehension on the Board that the new SAS would work as intended. Not a good way to start.

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  71. Neighborhood schools are the only way to go; the "choice" system disenfranchises parents. It doesn't empower them. My parents chose where we lived (i.e. sacrificed) so I could go to the best public school system. In San Francisco I can't do the same for my offspring. That is fundamentally wrong.

    Putting neighborhood schools to the voters rather than trusting the incompetent SFUSD and BoE is the way forward. It would be very interesting to see some polling data on the issue. My bet is that NS would prevail by a pretty decent margin.

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  72. Marcia Brady -

    Has the principle of Paul Revere been there less than 2 years? If so, he is safe.

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  73. Pre-school in attendance area # 2...are you kidding me??! My family went through the Preschool for All program this year (for high and low income families) and the only great school that I could get my daughter into was in SOMA - 2.5 miles away!! My family does not drive, so that means schlepping our children and my pregnant belly for an hour + each way to get our daughter to and from school. I really hope for the city residents' sake that more public preschools will be available in the coming years or that more private preschools are open to adopting PS4A into their programs.

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  74. One of the new factors taken into consideration in deciding who goes to what elementary school is--
    "Students who attended preschool in the school's attendance area"

    Is this any preschool? or only public preschools?
    thanks

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  75. Only SFUSD child development centers and must be a zone resident as well

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  76. OK --- I'm going crazy here wondering what happened at last night's meeting. What exactly was the final resolution on the new assignment system? Has it been amended from the press release SFUSD has posted on its website from yesterday (3/9)?

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  77. The board passed the recommended red-lined version that was circulated by PPS. There were a couple of ammendments: one regarding language adjustments to the assignment of special education kids (plus further exploration following some kind of assessment of the current process by experts) and language added regarding consequences for families that commit fraud (lying about your residency, etc).

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  78. It was passed mainly as is with the only change being stronger language to go after people who fraudulently use incorrect info ie. addresses, utility bills, etc.
    And Rachel Norton got them to wait for more discussion on the final language related to SPED placement.

    The overriding issue with the whole process is this IMHO - CTIP1 residents most often do not take advantage of preference at distance higher performing schools, especially so if they have no transportation. That means the preference will go largely unused given a de facto increas to neighborhood enrollment.

    The commissioners expressed a lot of doubt that the system will meet their diversity goals, as was stated by the researchers. Therefore, expect large scale modifications down the line in terms of noncontiguous boundaries and reclassifications of schools to meet the goals by fiat.

    In the meantime I expect the neighborhood schools measure to win easily. (See SF GATE article from this morning.)

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  79. "I support choice and neighborhood schools."

    Don, these are mutally exclusive, given capacity constraints at the schools. Either you get choice or you get certainty. Neither of the two.

    "The commissioners expressed a lot of doubt that the system will meet their diversity goals, as was stated by the researchers."

    Y'know, you didn't believe me upthread when I told you that the move towards neighborhood schools would decrease socioeconomic diversity. Glad the message finally got through.

    "Therefore, expect large scale modifications down the line in terms of noncontiguous boundaries and reclassifications of schools to meet the goals by fiat."

    I think noncontiguous boundaries are off the table (at least unless there's a lawsuit). That question was explicitly asked, and that's not a direction the staff or PPSSF want to go. Kim wants to consider noncontiguous boundaries, but I expect she'll have moved on to the BoS in a year or so: I don't get any sense that others .

    'In the meantime I expect the neighborhood schools measure to win easily.'

    You might also have noticed the shot across the bows from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. As long as the CTIP1 preference is in place, though, I'd imagine the new system would stand up in court.

    Don, please do not tie the hands of the district with another friggin' referendum. We do not know how this is going to play out legally yet: the consent decree and the Ho decision made designing the new system tricky enough as it was.

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  80. Does the students first organization have a website?
    I'm interested in learning more.

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  81. "I support choice and neighborhood schools."

    I'm in the SE, but not in a CTIP1 area. A neighborhood system takes away a roughly equal chance of getting into Alvarado GE (API ~850) or Taylor GE (API ~850) or Clarendon GE (API ~950), in return for a guaranteed slot at Flynn GE (API ~700), with the chance of getting bumped to Cesar Chavez or Hillcrest if Flynn doesn't have enough space: and if I'm lucky I might get whatever slim pickings are left away you more fortunate folks in the West are done: not Grattan, probably not McKinley. but maybe Harvey Milk if I'm lucky. I don't even get preference for getting into Flynn's SI program: no, you have the same chance as me. You'll pardon me if I don't think that's a good deal for me. Thank God the alternative programs will still be around.

    Now, I think it's time for you to tell me everyone gets a super sparkle pony under your neighborhood schools idea.

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  82. Wayne said:

    "Does the students first organization have a website?"

    Don. one of your socks went walkabout.

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  83. Anonymous March 9, 2010 10:58 PM posited:

    --> "Hi Don. Missing a sock?"

    WRONG. Not Don. Nothing to do with him. Never even heard of him until this week.

    You've really gotta have your facts straight before you swing at ghosts. To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail, I guess.

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  84. Anonymous said...
    >Wayne said:

    >"Does the students first >organization have a website?"
    >
    >Don. one of your socks went >walkabout.

    I'm sorry, I don't understand this.
    I'm a San Francisco parent. I don't believe that I know anyone on this board. I an using my real first name and am not posting anonymously.

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  85. I've already warned my neighbors in Lower Haight of their loss of choice. We're not low-achieving enough to be CTIP1, but we have one of the lowest-scoring schools in the state, which will inevitably turn some people off.

    Where's my sparkle pony?

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  86. KWillets - I think you and I may live in the same neighborhood. Like the person who lives in the SE, but is not CTIP 1, we're screwed under the new system (at least relative to anyone who lives in the neighborhood of a good school).

    Remember when they floated the idea of giving preference to people who live in the attendance area of a low performing school? At least that would have helped us a bit, and still given give the nod to diversity since low performing schools are predominately populated by “diverse” student bodies. But they replaced the preference for low performing school attendance areas to CTIP areas. So if they don't draw new attendance area maps that correspond to the CTIP 1 maps, then people like us are seriously disadvantaged under the current plan.

    People locked into a terrible school but who do not live in CTIP 1 are SOL now, unless they have the incredible luck to get into one of the city-wide trophy programs. Great.

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  87. Please, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights have virtually no ammunition at all (and they are not much of an opponent to begin with). After the Seattle Schools decision the trend is away from discriminating against children because of their skin color not in favor of discrimination. Next stop is school districts trying to use other facts as a thinly veiled proxy for race. Are you listening SFUSD?

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  88. 3:52 welcome to how it has been for every non diverse parent living in the Marina and Cow Hollow for years.

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  89. Wayne,

    Thanks for taking an interest in Students First. We will setting up a website over the next few weeks.
    You can email

    Studentsfirstsf@yahoo.com

    There is an article about the asignment system on SFGate that came out to today with a paragraph about our organization and a quote from a member.

    Just to let you know in brief - Students First is dedicated to focusing attention on student achievement first and foremost. We also are advocating for neighborhood schools and for some amount school choice. We will also support candidates for the Board.

    If you email us we can send more info. You will be hearing more from us as the election season begins.

    Don

    PS I suggest you just ignore the anonymous posters who want to slander pro neighborhood advocates.

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  90. Wayne,

    correction- the email address is sfstudentsfirst@yahoo.com

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  91. very excited about the new enrollment process. i don't have a neighborhood school yet but this was the first step in getting sanity back into our system. i know some of you folks that live in fringe areas are not happy. my advice to you, reach out to those local schools and tell them you want to help make things better!

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  92. izzieNmags, my memory from touring is that Lance Tagamori came to Revere 5 years ago. If I'm wrong, anyone, please correct me.

    I think the new system is much less socially just on any number of counts. Apparently you can own a house worth millions and be in CTIP 1 because of sheer luck (watch the real estate value of those fancy houses in CTIP 1 zones go up!). Or you can be in the SE at CTIP 2 and see all your up-and-coming nearby schools with immersion programs designated citywide, but all the trophy schools listed as neighborhood (watch the light-green neighborhoods empty out). And the cuts in buses, which someone out there suggested was the real motivation behind all this, will keep poorer CTIP 1 students even further locked into low-performing nearby schools, or riding MUNI as little kids, which isn't viable for anyone.

    I began this process thinking neighborhood schools were a good idea, because a lot of people over here have put energy into turning around schools that their neighbors with later-born kids were then potentially shut out of. But once I saw the variety of schools, the niche each had carved out for itself, the effect that (gasp!) competition had of lifting everyone in the boat a little higher, I was won over to the current lottery system even though it did not personally benefit me.

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  93. The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights referred to a legal obligation of the school district to desegregate, pointing to a system of separate and unequal schools. Did the legal obligation to desegregate expire with the expiration of the Consent Decree? Is the Committee charging the school district with intentional discrimination, today, for this new student assignment system? Why could not the NAACP and the school district defend race based student assignment in the Brian Ho case? What kinds of voluntary desegregation can the district implement?

    What is the achievemnt gap for African Americans in reading and math at the 4th and 5th grade levels? What are we doing to close that gap?

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  94. Don,

    Seriously, with all the issues facing us in public education in SF right now, a ballot measure which can only be advisory to the BOE is where you choose to put your energy?

    Really? THIS is most important NOW?

    We've been dealing with student assignment for close to a decade. Thousands of parents have weighed in, dozens of researchers and what feels like a million hours of the BOE and SFUSD administrative time has been sunk into this.

    There is more neighborhood choice in this system than there has been in more than 8 years! Yippee, you won!
    Student assignment is DONE and no one can claim they didn't have the chance to weigh in.

    Please, as a school district, let's MOVE ON to other educational reform issues that REALLY make a difference.
    nd the convoluted way budgets get distributed?

    I could list a million more things that need attention - let's get on with it.

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  95. "welcome to how it has been for every non diverse parent living in the Marina and Cow Hollow for years."

    Crap, frankly. The BoE laughed Marina parent's attempt to dig a moat around Claire Lilienthal because the number of Marina parents applying for the lottery was ridiculously small historically. The attitude of many parents in the Marina is sending your kid to an SFUSD school is tantamount to child abuse.

    You self-selected yourselves out, not the big bad district persecuting you.

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  96. "Students First is dedicated to focusing attention on student achievement first and foremost."

    Great. How about starting with helping repeal Prop 13? Or would that distract you from your favored sport of school district-bashing and getting chucked out of offices?

    "We also are advocating for neighborhood schools and for some amount school choice."

    No, neighborhood schools are *in conflict with choice*. If you guarantee someone in the neighborhood a seat, you are *excluding someone else outside of the neighborhood*, given that popular schools are oversubscribed. So neighborhood schools reduce choice.

    50% of SFUSD parents don't choose their neighborhood school as their first choice (according to Rachel Norton's blog) in the lottery, and 61% get their first choice in the current system. So a strict neighborhood system would *reduce* satisfaction with student assignment.

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  97. At the Board meeting it was said there would be non-contiguous boundaries in some cases. I like the idea of small children getting the chance to go to the neighborhood school. But what is aneighborhood school if the boundaries go any which ways.I support having a ballot measure. Non-binding measures are commonplace. They serve a purpose.

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  98. ""Welcome to how it has been for every non diverse parent living in the Marina and Cow Hollow for years."

    Crap, frankly. The BoE laughed Marina parent's attempt to dig a moat around Claire Lilienthal because the number of Marina parents applying for the lottery was ridiculously small historically. The attitude of many parents in the Marina is sending your kid to an SFUSD school is tantamount to child abuse.

    You self-selected yourselves out, not the big bad district persecuting you."

    You are totally clueless and full of it, frankly. Scores of parents in the Marina (no local school at all because CL is alternative - Cobb, the designated local school is in the Western Addition) and Cow Hollow I know all would love to send their child to CL but couldn't because of the prior distribution scheme. Quoting numbers as Norton has done based on the prior scheme as proof that no parent in these areas is interested in CL is at a minimum grossly irresponsible. Parents were instructed to complete their top 7 list with an eye toward finding "hidden gems" because they didn't have a chance to get into CL. As such its no surprise that conclusions drawn from these queered statistics dramatically understate the demand for CL. Furthermore, even if past demand was low that is no justification for disallowing current parents (of course current parents had nothing what ever to do with what occurred in the past) from being able to send their children to their local school under the new distribution plan.

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  99. Then let's be sure to turn every other popular alternative school into a neighborhood school, too. It's only fair to the people who live across the street from those schools if you are going to convert CL.

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  100. 2:08, 1:16 here.

    You are absolutely correct. The entire concept of alternative schools needs to be abolished. Any system that claims to give preference to neighborhood schools is a bald faced lie if a number of schools are designated as not local for anyone even if the child lives next door to the school. The entire concept is something that would make Orwell proud (or shudder, really).

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  101. To the person who said "welcome to how it has been for every non diverse parent living in the Marina and Cow Hollow for years." This is 3:52. Not trying to pick a fight, but under the current system, you and I have exactly the same chance of getting a school we like under the lottery. Maybe odds are not good, but they are the same odds. Neither of us has an advantage over the other. Under the proposed system, you will now have an advantage over me assuming you live in the assignment area of a good neighborhood school (Sherman?). If you are not one of those lucky people, then you and I are both disadvantaged under the new system.

    I am just identifying the fact there are clear losers under the new system. And since you seem to live in the neighborhood of Cobb, then you and I are in the same boat going forward. We BOTH would do better under the current choice system than under the proposed “neighborhood” system - that's my point.

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  102. 4:26 I understand what you are saying however the only reason why my "local school" is Cobb is because CL is not local for anyone. If CL was classified as a regular school then "as the crow flies" my local school would be CL.

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  103. "At the Board meeting it was said there would be non-contiguous boundaries in some cases."

    Which meeting was that? At the subcommittee meeting in early Feb Orla, in response to a question, specifically ruled out non-continguous boundaries, so at the staff level, that idea is not popular.

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  104. "Scores of parents in the Marina"

    Scores. You have scores. But just fourscore (not even fourscore and ten - only 86 at SFUSD schools in K-5. Not enough to fill up a single class for each year at a K-5 school.

    By contrast, there are thousands of kids going to SFUSD K-5 kids in the Excelsior, Outer Sunset, Visitacion Valley, Bayview. All took their lumps in the lottery.

    Why do those families not get a guaranteed trophy School, but Marina parents deserve Super Duper Trophy School Sparkle Ponies or they'll take their marbles and play elsewhere?

    It's not like Lillienthal is swarmed with diversity applicants - it has 20% free/reduced lunch, and only 12% ELLs. It's not like you're being crowded out of your neighborhood school by the great unwashed.

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  105. Spin, spin, spin . . . I think the Marina folks that have been posting here are a bunch of hypocrits claiming the value of neighborhood schools as a strategy towards improving achievement and quality at each school (community building, buy-in, sustainability, etc) unless their neighborhood school is Cobb, of course, then hmmmm... all of a sudden -- why can't CL be our neighborhood school, dammit!

    I would be very interested in learning how many members of the Students First movement would be assigned to an underperforming school under a neighborhood preference model. Or conversely, how many stand to gain by getting preference to a popular, oversubscribed school. That would be revealing indeed.

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  106. Orla O'Keeffe said at the last BOE meeting that there could be noncontiguous boundaries and put up a map to show an example.

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  107. Sparkle Pony,

    Marina parents opted out because most can afford to, unlike many others in the city. Some would have chosen private in any case. But the lack of applications, while partially reflecting lower family sizes, also illustrates what happens when families leave the public school system. We end up with people like you disparaging the rest who stayed. It is bad enough being poor, but absolutely despicable being rich.

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  108. Wow...Jeremy Bentham...you really know how to make school better....do you know what makes top schools good?....well, I can tell you the ONLY way thing that separates "top" schools from bad are 2 things:

    1. education level of mother of the children

    2. MONEY from the PTA or such organization

    By the way, sounds like you are talking about top schools.....there are actually some really good schools with good tests scores but since there are not a lot of wealthy parents they can't support all the programs that a school with big PTA money can.....thus no white kids are sent there!

    "a little somefin for evrabudde" thanks for blasting publicly that you are racist so if my family ever encounters you, I can run!

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  109. hmmm....for all those who truly believe that the MAJORITY wants neighborhood schools...funny because families have had the choice to get into their neighborhood schools, and if that was true than there would be NO PROBLEM. duh...am I missing somethings.....

    Oh, I see people who live near top schools with rich (and many rich parents)programs want to go to their neighborhood schools.....Oh, I see....so this is the majority is really the minority with LOUDER voices and more time on there hands.....

    STOP complaining elite ones.....go back to your suburbs so you can be surrounded by other like-minded people. and stop trying to get your child ahead by shooting another child in the foot. It takes village certainly is not a philosophy in this thread.

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  110. If you really think it the lottery is unfair there is one loophole which no one is talking about...

    TOp schools....look at the % of families who are very wealthy but speak another language at home and are quite fluent in English. There are more families like these taking spots from neighborhood people, than low-income families.

    I personally feel like the language point was to help low income immigrant families, not wealthy Europeans. But if you look at top schools, this group has a HUGe advantage over others.

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  111. 11:16, they largely closed that loophole this year with testing. Kids who were proficient in English (even with another language in the home) did not get that diversity point. Only truly ELL kids got that point. That pretty much eliminated the wealthy families since most kids in SF who are wealthy, no matter what the cultural background or nationality of the family, do speak English.

    This factor will not even be anywhere in the mix in the new system, btw. They are trying to make it simpler with the CTIP designations--you just give your address, they verify it. They say they will be pursuing and punishing address fraud. CTIP will be a blunter instrument for sure, but it will simpler and not so many loopholes.

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  112. 3:18 yes, but all they had to do was fix that loophole and things would have been much more fair!

    I am totally OPPOSED to giving neighborhood preference....and fully believe it is "separate but equal"...if people want to go to school in their neighborhoods MOVE to the SUBURBS, this it the city!

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  113. Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
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