Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hot topic: Donations and fund-raising

This from a reader:
I'm the parent of a K-age child who is currently waitpooled for our local school (we were 0/7 in Round 1, so maybe tomorrow we'll find out some good news!). We were originally looking at some privates as well, but I was shocked that, in addition to the $20K-$25K that most seemed to be charging, there was the assumption that parents would also donate not just time, but potentially significant amounts of money. However, is this practice also common in the public schools too? If so, what if we choose not to donate directly or get involved in fund-raising?

On a more general note, I have always felt that fund-raising for schools should be organized so that only a percentage (probably half) goes to the school where the fund-raising takes place, with the rest going to a general fund, to be spread across other schools which aren't able to raise funds as successfully. The concept would mean that it's not just a few schools which get all the money simply because they have a higher proportion of rich, generous parents who have the time and means to get involved in donating time & money. At the same point, schools where there is a higher proportion of low-income, single parent families who have less time and money won't get penalized.


  1. Here's the thing: once you are in, you are in. Public or private. You can choose to donate or not to, volunteer or not. They can't kick you out for your decision. And the great thing about being a grown-up is that you can ignore other parents' gossip or judgment.

    As to the larger issue, of course you have a point, but they seem separate. You can actually want to see the resources divvied out more equally AND donate or volunteer. Or you can volunteer half the time/money you otherwise would, and quietly tell the other parents that you can't do more because you are volunteering/donating the other half to more needy organizations. Or you can do nothing for the school you are part of, and give it all to the neediest schools.

  2. There is no contract or expectation to donate or give at public school. Legally, there can't be! Of course there is encouragement though.

    In my experience there is usually an understanding that we have a very, very diverse community in terms of income and time to give. There are a variety of fundraisers that happen, some quite elaborate and some quite simple. There are ways for everyone to participate if they want to (our ELAC group always makes a lovely item for the auction, for example). There is an emphasis on numbers of people giving rather than amount they give.

    But ultimately, public school means your child has a right to the services whether or not you can or choose to give money or time.

  3. Public schools rely on parent involvement (both money and time) to survive and thrive. I am a new SFUSD parent and have devoted countless hours volunteering in my child's classroom and am also participating in school-wide programs. While there is no requirement to give, the economic reality is that we need all parents to give... time and money... to give our kids the best education possible. How much of each depends on you.

  4. One thing to consider though if you are in private school - you'll probably want to head to private high school. And your kid will need recommendations from your current school. Now in reality, I have no idea how this would work...but I do know that our coop families have been in high demand in the private school world because of their ability and willingness to donate and participate at the school where their child is enrolled. Our director's recommendations seem to carry an awful lot of weight.

    Ever heard the phrase to whom much is given, much is expected?

  5. I find it interesting that when real issues are upon us this blog is missing the boat.

    How does this make you feel about the pressure of fund raising?

  6. At our private school they really try for 100% participation in fundraising because it's a factor in the school getting grants and loans. They don't ask for any particular amount, but they really emphasize the participation.

  7. In other public school districts, fundraising is district-wide. Not in SF. This leads to disparities in what things are offered at particular public schools in San Francisco. Up until now, the disparities have mostly been the "bells and whistle"-type things -- PE, after school programs, tutoring. Now, with the budget cuts, they will be major: some PTAs will be able to restore teacher cuts and keep classes small. Others won't. Right now one can see some of this disparity in evidence from last year's cuts -- right now, we've got some schools with 33 in a class in 4th and 5th grade, and some with only 25 or so. Next year, these disparities are going to be huge. I and others on this blog have decried this situation. I think the postings' suggestion of some money going to a general SFUSD public school fund makes LOTS of sense. I just wish the powerful PTAs that raise lots of money agreed with this. As an aside, I think newbies looking at SF publics for next year should be insisting on information about current year fundraising amounts -- that's going to be a critically important piece of information.

  8. How much do the private school require you to submit.

  9. 9:38

    That's not true. Some districts may have district-wide PTA, but some have school-wide. After all, PTA is just a non-profit organization which can be set up whatever way you want. It is more challenging to have a district-wide PTA in a big district with diversified population like SF. Some small suburbs may have only one or few schools and it is much easier to do district-wide.

    Again, nobody says you cannot set up a district-wide PTA. However, it is the parents' choice to decide which kind of PTA to join (or not at all).

    Regarding the class-size - I believe only the poorly performed schools with title 1 fund have the small upper grades class sizes. I don't think the PTA fund can be used to reduce class sizes due to all kinds of legal and regulation issues. (I could be wrong) It can be used to hire dedicated PE, art, or music teachers and can be used for librarian, but not class size reduction.

  10. Very thoughtful idea. Unfortunately, nothing short of legislation would get folks to do this. I would also fear that some people would be demotivated from getting involved and donating. In then end, and over time, more equal distribution of funds (whatever the source) would resolve the issues (many that are discussed at length on this page) that are perpetuated by disparate resources in schools across the City.

  11. I think teaming up for grant writing with a sister school that has less parent involvement could be a good way to go. Perhaps this is a naive notion. (I have a kid entering K next year.) But it does seem like if you have do go through the motions for one school, why not duplicate the effort. Any seasoned grant writers out there who know if this would be a good idea? Bad idea?

  12. No, it does not work like that.

    Most grants have specific requirements. For example, it may require the school to implement certain programs with specific requirements. No two schools are the same. One program may work for one school, but does not work for the other. You cannot just copy-and-paste.

  13. I agree with the original post.. but I'm not sure how you would implement it. I think the advice of you personally adopting a sister school to support is a good one. Also once you are in, you can try to encourage other parents to do the same.

    There is no way the superPTAs would go for supporting the neglected PTAs. Unfortunately.

  14. 10:03 - there are no "requirements" at private schools to give, though it is certainly expected that you will contribte in some way (time or money). Some families will give a lot (over $10-$20K+), while some will give hardly, or not, at all. But most are somewhere in between. As 9:19pm said, you can ignore other parents' gossip or judgment and give what you can/want.

    I have kids in both private and public, and we're asked for money all the time from both: annual fund, school fair, silent auction, spell-a-thon, sScrip, annual gala etc., it's amazing how many ways a school can fundraise, and it all adds up to a sizeable amount. But no one can make you give if you don't want to.

  15. 10:21 -- this is 9:38. With all due respect, you are not correct. First, there are most definitely some schools with heavy fundraising PTAs that avoided the increase in class size at 4th and 5th grade. Sunset Elementary does NOT have class sizes at 33 for 4th and 5th grade. They have a split 4th/5th grade class with a teacher funded by the PTA. So it is not true that only poorer-performing schools have smaller 4th and 5th grade classes. Second, if you think that it is impossible for a PTA to hire a teacher to restore cuts, you have nowhere else to look but on this blog. Grattan billed its fundraiser on this very blog as a way to "keep class sizes small." So it is clear that some PTAs are at least attempting to fundraise to replace lost teachers. I've also heard anecdotally from friends whose kids are going to schools with PTAs that raise up in the $250,000 range that they in fact are planning to hire teachers to replace those laid off. Third, yes, it is true that San Francisco does not have a district-wide fund, unlike places like Mill Valley. But I and other parents were never presented with the choice of something like that. So it is not true that we, the parents, chose this inequitable system. We never got a vote in it. When I hear about schools struggling to raise $50,000, it breaks my heart. My school regularly raises $200,000 and is on track to make it to $250,000 this year. Am I the only one who thinks there's something just terribly wrong with this system? I don't think so.

  16. As someone going to a school where our nascent PTO raised a teeny tiny amount last year, I would love to share the rewards of a district wide system. It's pretty hard to $250K when 75%+ of your kids qualify for a free or reduced price lunch. BUT I also think that our school could benefit tremendously by pairing up with another organization's PTO to provide some mentorship and guidance to our PTO board. I think that we could benefit tremendously from a shift to a neighborhood based assignment system, but we do need to gain visibility and some fundraising prowess before we can really take off.

  17. 2:15,

    Regarding the class size, I have brought the same idea as you before (PTA funding classroom teachers), and was told by others that it cannot be done. The school is the employer when it comes to regular teachers. PTA is a separate organization. Think what is means to the union seniority etc.

    Having split class does not mean it is funded by PTA. If a school has 4 classes of K-3, it will have a split class at 4 and 5. That's just math. The same happens at Jefferson.

    Sunset principal is terrific. She is a hard fundraiser and she makes sure to obtain all the possible grants (I assume in this case, the grant is given to the school, not PTA). If she indeed was able to fund classroom reduction without title 1 with fundraising, I would love to know the logistics. However, I suspect the fund comes from the state or fed.

    Regarding school-wide PTA. You realize that PTA is just a non-profit organization which everyone can create, right? It is not "given" to you by someone higher up. Nothing prevent you from establish one yourself with like-minded parents. For those who wants a district PTA, I would encourage you to get together and make it happen! You will get much more tranction with an actual organization, instead of venting on the internet.

  18. The PTA does not hire the teacher. They money goes from the PTA to the district who hires the extra teacher.

  19. Added note - there may be a bit more to the process of getting the extra teacher, but the money is paid to the district.

  20. Anonymous @2:15pm: Could you please lay off the schools that raise "only" $50,000 through their PTAs? That's how much my daughter's school made this year. It's a record for us and we're proud. Of course it isn't enough; of course the schools with mostly white middle-class parents make five times what we do. But spare us your pity. It's insulting. Our school is kickass and we will pull together to make it through the budget crisis. A PTA with a $50K budget is not a tragedy. It's a challenge.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Todd David, an Alvarado parent, is trying to put together a district-wide matching funds program along the lines discussed here. More information on the PPS list.

  23. There are schools with weak PTA (hardly raising $20K) and kicks ass.

    A lot depends on the culture. Caucasian parent tend to put more into the school. Chinese parents tend to put more into the kid's after-school tutoring classes. They get similar outcomes. You cannot judge whether a school (or the parental body) is good or bad based on PTA fundraising.

    However, you do need to make sure that your involvement style fits the school.

  24. Many schools have been able to keep their 4/5 class sizes small due to Title I (Federal) and QEIA (state) funding. Miraloma got one of these several years ago (about 4 years ago, I think) and it's gone towards keeping these class sizes smaller for 4th graders for the 7 years of the grant.

    PTAs are not allowed to fund staff positions, but what schools often do is use PTA funds to pay for things that the school would otherwise have to pay for (supplies, copier, etc.) to free up funds to keep teachers. THIS is probably why it looks like fundraising 'pays' for teachers - it's a switcheroo, but not technically the case.

    In any event, as a parent leaving a school that just raised $90,000 in one evening, I agree with many of the posts here that the inequity is becoming more and more prevalent. It used to be just the 7 or so "trophy schools" that raised this kind of money. The good news about more middle class families joining the public schools is that there are more and more schools raising this kind of money, exacerbating the difference between have and have nots even more. Seems now there are more 'haves' than there used to be, plus state funding has been slashed out from under us.

  25. Also, the fundraising isn't just the money, it's money per kid. Of course Rooftop and Lilienthal raise $200K -- they're both K-8 schools! Grattan has 4 kindergartens; of course they raise $100K!

  26. Sorry, but Grattan has three Kindergartens. Please check your facts before posting.

  27. It's called privatization. Starve the public schools so that families will ante up private funds to make them decent. It's obscene, and wrong. That doesn't mean you are wrong if you contribute, but we should ALL be against the state shifting the burden of education, health care, safety, and other needs traditionally met by the public sector, onto private families. It's cruel to the families who cannot bear these burdens; it's cruel to the middle class who tend to bear the highest burden relative to their income (I assure you, an across-the-board tax increase would cost us less per annum than these private donations do). It only benefits the sectors that pay the least taxes relative to their profits--corporations and the wealthy, for whom philanthropy is cheaper than a geniunely equitable income tax would be-- and it perpetuates inequality. Why can't "don't tax me more" Californians see that? Ten years here, and I am still asking: what is WRONG with the people of this state?

  28. Regarding the class-size - I believe only the poorly performed schools with title 1 fund have the small upper grades class sizes. I don't think the PTA fund can be used to reduce class sizes due to all kinds of legal and regulation issues. (I could be wrong).

    You are. Title I has nowhere near that kind of money behind it. Some schools are QEIA and get money from the state for class size reduction, but one of those is Miraloma (hardly a low-income school). Several schools fund 4-5 down through PTA funds.

  29. No one has raised the issue of donating as a matter of personal liberty. If I want to donate to one school, why should that money be taken and given to another? It is my money and I should be able to donate it to whomever or whatever I wish.

    If I choose to donate via services rendered (volunteerism), will I be required to donate my time at other schools, too? How will that take place logistically?

    Don't you think that donations will drop if the donors are required to give away their own precious time and hard earned money according to someone elses's idea of what is equitable? The district doesn't believe that funding students evenly is equitable. Will you also take the bulk of the money and redistribute it according to your idea of "the most needy?"

    In an equitable world, each school should get exactly the same amount per student. Low performing schools get more per student after all sources have been factored in. Despite some comments to the contrary, it is well documented that low performing schools are showered with funding that is unavailable to higher performing schools. The most recent budget is an example of how SFUSD cut funds to higher performing schools in order to shift funds to the low performing schools. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Seems that I heard that somewhere before. I'm sure such thinking resonates in San Francisco.

  30. wow!! and I thought the private school posts were being awful!

    I am all for a more equitable tax system, but I also pay 60K per year in property taxes and send my kid to private school. We give around 7% after tax income to charity, and we pay at least 45% of our income to taxes (we have very few deductions, very low mortgage (relatively), etc.). When we lived in Europe, we paid almost the same (a bit more), but we got a lot more (no property tax, and great education, health, roads); so how much more do you think you can tax people like us before we take off?

    It's very sad to see kids get shafted by a lack of good public schools; but this is the direction America has been on for some time now--does it surprise you? The question is what is the solution? poor people have to have a lot fewer kids, for one. Taxes do have to be more equitable, and everyone has to participate to support their school.

  31. In an equitable world, each school should get exactly the same amount per student. Low performing schools get more per student after all sources have been factored in.

    You are confusing equity and equality. They are not the same, and the former is not created by the latter.

    Moreover, your claim of Title One riches is just untrue. First off, federal funding provides something like 10% of all education money - not enough to cover such a claim.

    Also, you are clearly unaware of some of the very real inequities in SFUSD. It's true the district uses a "weighted student formula", but it also averages teacher salaries. Those southeast side schools about to lose all their teachers? They subsidize the higher-seniority, better-paid teachers on the west side.

    The most recent proposed budget is going to devastate poorer schools, who will lose more teachers and resources they can ill afford to do without.

    There are some resources poor schools get: some funding for a part-time LSP, an Elementary Advisor, etc. These are part of the STAR program. However, the simple fact of the matter is that schools AREN'T equal. Southeast side schools have more poor students. They have more students who struggle with poverty-related illness, family disruption, food insecurity, neighborhood violence, family mobility, housing problems, and so on.

    These students need more and different resources to succeed. Unfortunately, we don't fully fund what they need. Nor do we provide them with stable school environments.

    Admitting reality is not Marxist, and aspersions of the same are juvenile and unproductive.

  32. "poor people have to have a lot fewer kids, for one."

    Can we leave eugenics out of it? In a country where abstinence is taken seriously as a method of birth control, abortion is increasingly harder to get, contraceptives are not freely available to young people, and education -- the surest predictor of small family size -- sucks, that's not gonna happen. Not to mention that globally, American kids suck up ridiculously high amounts of resources. By your logic, Americans ought to stop having kids altogether.

    But 4:35 AM, for someone up so early/late, you sure make a lot of sense! Smart post!

  33. I'll second the comment about population.

    We need to talk about it.

    It's not a matter of "eugenics."

    We continue to allow certain religious groups to block all conversation about sustainable population growth.

    The effect of this is obvious to everyone. We are destroying state and national parks, our schools, our environment and promoting off-shore drilling because we are unwilling to talk about sustainable population growth.

    Even the most basic tax incentive measures to promote sustainable family sizes of one or two children are never discussed.

    That, in face of the fact that virtually all research shows that the happiest and most successful children are by and large from families with one or two children.

    I'm numb to these discussions about voluteering and public vs. private schools.

    The discussion is moot until we take action to secure sustainable population growth.

  34. Equitable distribution of resources is already built into the system. It's called taxes. The more people who want public services but consider taxation to be theft are allowed to block up the system the longer and harder all our problems will be.

  35. "Equitable distribution of resources is already built into the system. It's called taxes."

    "The more people who want public services but consider taxation to be theft are allowed to block up the system the longer and harder all our problems will be."

    Yes, our problems are going to be very hard indeed because, in aggregate, we have a much greater draw on services than we have taxes to support the dispensing of those services.

    The gig is up.

  36. Most private schools are operated as non-profits, some with religious affiliation, others secular. Their tuition does not cover the full cost of providing the education, so they ask for donations. Donations also fund scholarships that increase the socioeconomic diversity of the schools. Bear in mind that donations to nonprofit private schools are tax deductible for many people but private school tuition is never tax deductible. When you think about it that way, the school is actually sort of doing the parents who can afford it a favor by charging tuition that does not cover the full cost of the education and requesting a contribution to make up the difference. That said, you should never feel obligated to give money you can't afford or that you feel would do more good elsewhere.

    There are also some private schools in SF that are operated for profit (Adda Clevenger, Hillwood Academic Day, Kittredge, Marin Prep, Stratford). They don't do fund-raising through the school because tax deductible contributions cannot be made (though they may have partnerships with nonprofit entities that request fund-raising). Tuition covers the cost of the education and there is no financial aid offered directly by the school.

    The reality is that public schools in California are increasingly depending on fund-raising from the private sector: parents, community members, foundation grants, etc. The public schools with a bigger population of higher-income parents get more stuff. There are foundations that help public schools city wide and people with means could donate to them but I don't know how successful they are. The real way to spread the wealth around would be to collect adequate taxes to properly fund public schools in the first place. While San Francisco's voters have been fairly generous in this regard, state-wide, it hasn't happened in decades.

  37. "Those southeast side schools about to lose all their teachers? They subsidize the higher-seniority, better-paid teachers on the west side."

    This kind of makes it sound like the west side schools voluntarily pay their teachers more, but isn't that really only because teachers at west side schools tend to have been with the district for longer (ie - higher on the pay scale) than teachers at east side schools, which tend to be staffed by newer, low-seniority teachers? The obvious solution here would be to assign the more veteran teachers to work at east side schools, but then union rules don't allow that, do they? So if the more senior teachers choose to work only at west side schools, then those schools have to hire them and keep them, don't they?

    Maybe if the district offered incentive pay to veteran teachers to move to east side schools, it would encourage some of them to do so, but wait - isn't the union opposed to that too?

  38. 10:47 sounds about right. I know nobody wants to drive the 14 Mission buses, so the high-seniority drivers avoid those routes. I would expect that a critical mass of the most senior union teachers to prefer the west side schools and the trophies where the student populations are easier to deal with and you see a lot of kids able to learn what you're trying to teach. Big applause to the good senior teachers who stay in the most challenged schools though.

  39. 4:35,

    I didn't say one word about Title One funding. You are imagining things in the early am hours.

    About one-third of all state funding is delivered and earmarked for low performing schools in the main. That is a huge chunk of money and that doesn't include any Title one,two and three money. I did hear that some state categorical aid is no longer earmarked. But I'm not sure how that played out on school budgets.

    All children have needs. When you give more to one you necessarily give less to another. It's like showering one of your children with gifts and ignoring the other. Is one more deserving than the other? More money. More money. More money is not education reform.

  40. More money may not be education reform, but if you don't have enough money to adequately equip and maintain school facilities, attract decent teachers, and generally present education to children and their families as something worthy of respect, where is your "education reform" going to come from?

  41. "Big applause to the good senior teachers who stay in the most challenged schools though."

    They're retiring.

    As a resident of the SE who has been looking at the fiasco of schools in this city for the last three years, I will say that I absolutely do not care anymore about public schools.

    The wealthy on the rich side of the city can have their boondoogle public schools, parks, maintained streets, and preferential police service.

    But I could never afford to buy a house there. And even if I did, I do not work at CPMC, or in a law or financial firm downtown. I have a real job in Silicon Valley. I could never do the commute to the rich side of town.

    The schools where I live mostly suck. Of the good ones, most of the senior staff are retiring or have quit. The problems are too intractable to deal with.

    My goal now is to avoid paying more tax, since I do not benefit from the taxes I pay.

    No schools, no street maintenance, few public spaces. Decrepit public transportation. Poor healthcare options. Likely to be working until I'm seventy, since there probably won't be any social security.

    Oh, we do get police and fire. For now.

  42. When I lived in Bernal we did the special assessment to get underground wiring on our street and new street lights. We tried to get the nice fixtures like they have in Pac Heights and the City told us to get stuffed we could not have them.

  43. That's funny (about the lights).

    OK - 11:39 - Fess up. What's your story? public/private? Have you thought about moving down to the penninsula? What schools have retiring teachers?

    Sounds like you have a lot of interesting info and I'd love to hear it (I particularly like to hear from people like you - who have some experience, are candid and are not head-in-sand cheerleaders)!

  44. As an aside, can I just say how annoying it is that there is a 250$ tax deduction limit on teachers who purchase supplies and equipment for the classroom. I just finished our taxes (late, I know) and my wife spent around 4,000 dollars of our money on her classroom. I don't begrudge the money because we can afford it and I consider it to be a donation to her school - but I am annoyed that tax breaks are everywhere else in the tax code but thre is a limit of 250 just for teachers. WTH?

  45. Yeah, 12:05 PM, I know all about the overhead wiring/street lights thing.

    When we finally managed to get DSL service to our house, the phone guy almost had a heart atack trying to tap the Kafka-esque overhead wiring on our street. This overhead wiring thing doesn't exist anywhere on northwest of Market.

    Overhead wiring is just the tip of the iceberg. Seriously, does anybody not get what a garbage dump San Francisco is? When my friends from Canada and Europe come here, they are not fooled by all the hype about San Francisco. They just have to look at the 101 and 280 between the city and aeroport. Or take a ride on the BART. Seriously, nobody is fooled.

    The city is apparently broke, but still managed to fork out millions to improve Dolores Park. We have to keep the poor trustfund hipsters happy.

    I guess Dolores park is just close enough to Market and Noe Valley to warrant some attention.


    Yes, that's me.

    "What's your story?"

    In the end, it turned out to be private, since there was no public option available to us. Wasn't interested in genuflecting to PPS.

    "Have you thought about moving down to the penninsula?"
    yes, of course. I do like the private school we ended up at, but I know many people far wealthier than us who live on the pennisula and send their kids to the great public schools there. It's kind of a reality check on how ridiculous things are here in the city.

    "What schools have retiring teachers?" Principals, actually. ER Taylor, Sunnyside, for starters.

    We really do have to get the hell out of DOG city.

  46. We live in the Inner Richmond and have overhead wiring - lots of it. It takes a lot of money to bury the wires, and I have been told by neighbors that you have to raise a certain amount of money on your block to help pay for it. My point is, it's not isolated to the SE side.

  47. No, Richmond resident, that's incorrect.

    There was a city program to undergroung overhead wiring. No contribution from local residents was required to qualify for this program. However, you had to be "in the know" and able to organize your street to apply for the program.

    Some parts of the city were undergrounded without any resident application.

    It turns out that the limited funds for undergrounding went disproportionately to the more affluent parts of the city.

    You can read about that here:

    It's probabaly not by coincident that it is Bevan Dufty, supervisor for newly monied Noe Valley, who is trying to restart this program.

  48. This is not the attention deficit thread. It is about donations and fundraising. Indeed, if there is a problem with the wiring, it is not overhead, but a little closer to the bone.

  49. Richmond resident:

    You are incorrect.

    There is no longer an undergrounding program in the city.

    Local residents never had to pay for this program.

    All the money in the program got used up undergrounding streets that were mostly in affluent SF neighborhoods.

    Check your facts.

  50. "This is not the attention deficit thread. It is about donations and fundraising. Indeed, if there is a problem with the wiring, it is not overhead, but a little closer to the bone."

    Dear Condescending Person,

    I'm sorry if you don't like the fact that some SE residents are onto the fact that they are not well served by the taxes they pay.

    I know that as a priveleged non SE resident, you do benefit by the disproportionate spending of tax $ you receive for school, maintenance and healthcare access. So of course, you will be threatened if someone points that out.

    However, I do ask that you engage the converstaion directly, rather than smugly trying to demean the psychological state of those that are onto the selfish and extremely individualistic economies that this city, democrat and republican, willfully tolerates.


    Underserved SE resident

  51. PS.

    Why is the SE of the city so poor?


    Because the wealthy half of the city needs ultra cheap gardeners, house keepers, nannies and cleaning ladies.

    And because the restaurant industry needs ultra cheap labor.

    And because the hotel industry needs ultra cheap labor.

    And the ultra cheap labor is supposed to be happy with the crappy, third world schools that San Francisco crams their kids into.

    And the ultra cheap labor is not supposed to ask for or expect healtcare, clean streets or maintained green spaces.

    I'm sure that Nancy Pelosi has hired many ultra cheap nannies, gardeners and house keepers, so we can't expect the Democrats anymore than the Republics to give a damn.

    So which is it?

    Good schools across the city, no lottery, nice parks everywhere, good healthcare for everybody, maintained streets for everybody and proportional taxes that lead to the above.

    Or what we have now?

    Because if it's what we have now, I'll opt for private school and no more taxes. And I'll do my own gardening, house cleaning, and childcare, probably unlike the psychology major above.

  52. 11:39,

    Let's be fair. I also live in the SE of the city and probably a heck of a lot closer to the dump than you do.

    However, I do not blame all the the fact that the schools in the SE are crappy to the city or SFUSD. Some of the reasons are the parents of the children that attend these schools. I have gone to school with them since I grew up in the area I now live.

    The parents to whom I am referring to have children and don't give a rat's butt about them. Schools are holding grounds for those kids. Education is a joke to them and only catering to the "white establishment." They don't want to better their lot in life through hard work in the education system. And even if they do, their parents are ill equip to assist them and most don't even try.

    I feel for the parents that truly care about the education of their kids but can do little to assist them due to economic hardships or not even being educated enough to help their kids themselves. But I have often enough seen kids shoved, hit and abused by their parents that had them because they could and are not really interested in assisting their progeny in advancing themselves. I've seen them at Foods Co. and all along 3rd street where gang mentality is rampant. Where if the kids even tried to talk as I would or many others here on the boards, they would be decried as following the "White Establishment" or other words to that effect.

    So it is not totally the fault of SF or SFUSD. I agree that for those parents that do care, there is little help at SFUSD. So those like you and I, either must try the lottery, lie, or go private.


    Eyes wide open!

  53. 2:51 PM:


    But there is a tax impact to allowing and continuing to promote a sanctuary policy that acts as a magnet for these highly challenged populations.

    We never try to deal with this. There is a tacit agreement between right and left to allow ultra cheap labor to continue to flood into our state and city.

    The SFUSD does turn a blind eye toward the residency requirement.

    And the city is absolutely at fault for promoting the availability of cheap labor at the cost of our schools.

    I really don't think in the grand scheme of things that San Francisco is a sanctuary city out of the goodness of its heart.


    SF is a sanctuary city because so many parties benefit from the business that sanctuary and ultra cheap labor permit.

  54. How come the SE part of the city has much better weather (warmer, sunnier) than the fog-shrouded west side?

  55. 3:34,

    I agree but that doesn't change the fact that these schools are hot beds for violent behavior and for children who's life are rife with all sort of disadvantages be it from their parents ill equip ability to deal with their lot in life or the disinclination to improve it.

    So the issue is more to the point, what do we do for the parents that really care about their children that are stuck being assigned to schools that they would violently oppose sending their children?

    I being one of the ilk.



  56. 3:35,

    And what has that question to do with the price of bread or the topic here in?

  57. "And what has that question to do with the price of bread or the topic here in?

    May 7, 2010 3:53 PM"

    Do you have something to add to this conversation?

    Or are you going to continue to derail a real discussion about why fundraising and volunteering cannot fix our schools, is a red herring made to make families feel guilty, and is in fact irrelevant to the ultimate education outcome of most of the kids in our city.

    Taxes and appropriate public policy matter.

    Volunteering and fundraising (public and private) will not stem the crisis that our schools are facing.

  58. PS.

    A measly little parcel tax will not fix our schools.

    It will be another feel good fake bandaid, just like the last parcel tax.

  59. "So the issue is more to the point, what do we do for the parents that really care about their children that are stuck being assigned to schools that they would violently oppose sending their children?"

    SE parent still here . . .

    To be honest, I see no reason why a child that is born to a poor, incompetent, abusive parent is any less deserving of a good education and a hopeful future than a child born to a loving family.

    The problem is that our policies now do not help either child. It's pretty much each family for themselves and let the chips fall where they may.

    Some groups who have organized do seem to extract a little bit of value from what's left, but many other groups are left out.

    It's dog eat dog, as far as I can see.

  60. Yeah, that's what happens at 4:35pm, and you're right: step increases = better-paid teachers. The overall point remains: southeast side schools are losing their teachers for whom they were overbilled in the first place.

    There is an incentive paid through Prop A to "hard to staff" schools, and over the last three years there has been a lot of work toward developing teacher corps at southeast side schools that want to be there - special hiring fairs, special hiring practices (getting to fill openings differently), work with teacher preparation providers, etc.

    All of the teachers who came into the schools that way are getting laid off, so it's really quite a waste.

  61. As a multiracial person who lives with the rich folks and a "K" sticker, and is not poor, Its interesting to see the dynamic of this argument.

    Who to blame? well,

    Blame your parents,parents.

    The Republican party duped them into voting against their self-interest by constantly proclaiming government is the problem, lower taxes were the most noble of goals, and to ask anything of the kleptocracy (short of bombs and invasions) was to aspire to be a "welfare queen". Now our infrastructure is crumbling, our schools suck ass, and even in San Francisco, we are pitted against each other, geographically, native born versus legal or illegal,white against chinese against black, rich versus poor (and in this city, lets face it, if you make less than $200,000 a year, you are REALLY POOR dammit).

    Do I blame the poor, illegal, non-white parents that have so many damn kids and can't care for them and flood the system with demands it cannot possibly meet? You bet I do! Stop having kids you can't afford! and stop neglecting them, beating them, abusing them. But, come on, what good does it do to kick people that are so far down, and not conscious of their own role in this disaster because they have never gotten a chance to even dream of a better life/way? That's just sadistic and unproductive.

    Most of my opprobrium is directed at the educated and white prents who are outraged (outraged, i tell you) that surprise, surprise, the urban school system sucks, and is full of intractible problems and inequality (against them). You love the city, and don't want to live anywhere else--why can't you get the schools you "deserve?"

    You may be the right color--and that was something 20 years ago, but economically, if you don't have money to spare for private school, you are basically viewed at the level a black person was in the 1980's. Now your children are viewed the same way I was 20 years ago--as a burden to the state because their parents need the collective benefits of government.

    I applaud the parents who quit complaining and roll up their sleeves and advocate and fundraise and work to make their schools better and and try to change fundamental structural problems to save this country.

    Its the ones who keep whinning about it and are so shocked that are just so annoying.

    Now you know why black people are so angry.

    Vote, advocate, picket--we need another civil rights movement for everyone to solve this problem because quite frankly, escaping to the suburbs can't even save you anymore.

  62. "That, in face of the fact that virtually all research shows that the happiest and most successful children are by and large from families with one or two children."

    What research is this?! I find it incredibly hard to believe. There are tradeoffs with all family sizes. Some sizes contribute to more families taking a larger share of resources. Some result in kids being selfish and not sharing. Some are great no matter what the size because the parents are responsible and try to model and set the best example possible and try to make up for things where they can. (If they have one child, they try extra hard to bring other kids around and to teach the child to share. If they have multiple kids, maybe sharing comes easier, maybe it doesn't, but maybe they volunteer more. Etc.)

    To say things like the above that are so reductive seems irresponsible, except if this generalization is right, and then I'd love to know about the research!

  63. Why are people SHOCKED to know that after $20 -$25K you still need to contribute?

    Do you really think it only takes $25k to educate your kids? The true cost is probably is probably $35k

    This is the reason why public schools are cutting... They do not enough money per child..

  64. thought provoking thread. Thank you 11:39 (that is what I am going to call you now...) and GP parent - Thank you as well.

    11:39 - did you participate in the lottery/waitlist this year?

  65. Does anyone have a good recipe for chicken soup?

  66. Reading this blog I know why San Francisco is the laughing stock of the nation.

  67. um, 9:37.

    SFUSD gives on average $4800 per student to each school. This is supplemented by the PTA. The most any PTA seems to give is about $1000/student.

    So, that $25,000 isn't enough makes no sense. Also, not every private school has gaps. Some have surpluses. Also the for-profit schools do it by not giving financial aid. But there is a MAJOR gap between what public and private schools are spending, that is for sure.

  68. If you are mad about the school district now, just wait a couple weeks. On May 15 the pinkslips that haven't been rescinded become permanent and hundreds of teachers lose their jobs. That doesn't mean that all of the positions they held will no longer exist, and those positions have to be filled. How can the district do that? Only by reassigning teachers. The supposedly final budgets that schools are currently planning on for 2010-11 are happy fiction. Class sizes will go up, teachers will be moved. There's no way around it that I can see. This is why the district's negotiations with UESF have gone into impasse, so they can have an arbitrator force these changes.

    Keep holding on to your fantasies of small class sizes, I think the final budget realities will ensure that even with PTA monies, most schools are not going to be able to keep classes from going as high as 30 in the lower grades.

    It's fairly straightforward. 877 teachers received layoff notices. If half of them are permanently laid off, it's going to require major restructuring to serve their students. If someone can see a way around this I'd surely like to hear about it.

  69. Before the negotiation with the union, the plan with the layoffs was to increase class size to 24 to 25, nowhere close to the 30 you claimed.

    Guess what, a lot of parents will be thrilled if that happens.

  70. K classes were slated to go to 24, 1st through 3rd grades to anywhere from 27 to 30.

    What makes a parent thrilled to imagine a teacher with less time to spend on their child? Or is it just about raising your chances of getting into a certain school?

  71. On 20 February, the District told schools to plan for 24:1 at K and 27:1 1-3. They also stated that class sizes could vary at school sites (up to 31:1 or so) depending on site budgeting, desire to avoid combination classes, etc.

    Overall, SFUSD has been very reluctant to release any information about this, partially due to negotiations and budget uncertainty and partially because small classes are popular and research shows they have a significant impact, particularly for historically under-served students.

    Whatever the case, Tuesday's BoE meeting is the last before 15 May. If you have an opinion on the layoffs, this is an excellent meeting to attend.

  72. @9:20am:

    Before the negotiations began and stakeholders made it clear that 30:1 was unacceptable, the District floated 30:1. In January, the Superintendent made many school visits and stated that 30:1 was very likely.

    So the lack of trust people in the District feel is understandable - there has been a great deal of vacillation on this issue.

  73. Four furlough days has already been agreed on in principle. Along with other cuts already in the pipeline, class sizes will be saved. The union is in weak bargaining position and should they fail to compromise the public will blame the union not SFUSD for the increase.

  74. The class size has been discussed to death in other threads. 30+ hasn't been on the table even before the negotiation (it may be much earlier). The pro and con have been also discussed. For well-off schools, students benefit more from more instruction days. Small classes benefit the poorer demographics. I am not going to repeat the whole discussion here.

    The parents who are waitpooled will be thrilled if the schools they like increase the classroom size from 22 to 24 or 25.

  75. It is no wonder so many commenters here are anonymous. Most of them don't know what they are talking about. It's a whole lot easier to be talking sh*t when your name is Anon. Class sizes in 1st grade where slated for 29-30 before the furlough deal was made and before the budgets were increased. Free speech does not prejudice against uniformed 'experts' and those that are just plain ignorant. Reader beware.

  76. 'For well-off schools, students benefit more from more instruction days. Small classes benefit the poorer demographics. I am not going to repeat the whole discussion here.'

    Please don't. It was nonsense then and it would be insufferable now.

    Let me get this straight. There is a relationship between rich schools, more instruction days and higher performance? That's brilliant.

    And if the school is the "poorer demographic" the students are will learn more in small class sizes. More than who? The higher performing student? Some how I find that hard to believe. If that were the case, why did California waste tens of billions on class size reduction for all of our higher performing schools? Why don't those schools simply transfer all the CSR money to the poor schools. If only we had many more good schools.

    Instaed let's have more furlough days for low performing schools and use the money to reduce class size. We could double class size in high performing schools and increase the number of instructional days. It's easy when you know what you're talking about. Voila!

  77. Back to the topic of fundraising: many schools are holding daytime Spring festivals. These events are great for the children and for community building, and the raffles and silent auctions raise some money; however, the schools that are bringing in the BIG bucks have moved away from this spring-festival format, and they hold their auctions at night, as adult-only parties, where the intent is clearly fundraising. Lots of EtOH, food, music, EtOH, you get the picture. Daytime auctions with lots of child-oriented activities don't allow parents to focus on the fundraising aspects.

  78. 9:37, there are studies showing relationship between instruction days, class size and performance. Don't be so narrow minded. Everything has a limit. It was heavily discusses in one of the furlough threads.

    Even the pro-class-size-reductions show the positive effect is most evident for economically disadvantaged students.

    Get real. There are many many factors in education. When everything else is constant, of course smaller size is better. However, if you look at the picture as whole, improves in other areas - like longer instruction time - may get you more benefits.

    Asian countries often have way more kids per classroom than in US. They also have longer school days and more instruction days. Some of the west side schools are 60% or 70% Asian. I would say those schools have no problem at 30 kids per class at 20% more instruction time. However, some SE schools need to get the class size even smaller than 20.

    I am all for increasing education spending. But the one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

  79. I just went to Grattan's Fun Fest yesterday. They split the major auction items to on-line for the two week period a bit before the fun fest. The fun fest had auction items that the kids made by class, count me in parties (mostly for kids getting together in laste spring & summer), activities with the teachers, and some kiid based items. They also had a recycle center of used (but outgrown and underutilized) sports equipment for the kids and children's books. The children could use their tickets to buy items (like a tennis racket for a ticket - the cost being 50 cents).The rest of the fun fair was carnival, good(actually great) live music for the adults and food sales. The place was packed and everyone seemed to be having a great time. I like the split. The on line auction was for the serious fund raising, but the rest of it was family-kid based.

  80. Two more points

    Some parochial schools have way larger classes than even public schools (35+), and they are viable alternatives for parents who don't like their assignment but cannot pay 20k independent school tuitions.

    Parents already pay for additional learning time in form of after-school classes, weekend classes and tutoring.

  81. No deal has been made final on furlough days or anything else and the negotiations are in impasse. The next talks happen tomorrow, after which the district will determine how many layoffs become permanent on May 15.

    The increases to site budgets were made on the district's assumption that the negotiations would result as they desired; the budgets can be revised later. Also, the state budget revisions due this month will effect the district budget. If the governor cuts education further, those cuts will be reflected in still more revisions to the district budget, and thus the site budgets.

    We're still left with the problem of how to fill the positions from which teachers are going to be laid off. Where do those teachers come from? Consolidations were done last week, so there is no large pool of teachers without assignments to move around. Another round of consolidations is very possible.

    The fat lady hasn't sung yet.

  82. The idea that donations should go into a pool is anti-democratic. Taxes should be distributed equitably. Donations are personal. Parents may want to donate to their kid's school and no other. There is nothing wrong with that. We should encourage more of it. If you take any donations and spread them out across the district you will end up with far less donations.

    Personally, I only want to donate if I know how the money will be used. I have no idea how other schools will decide to spend their money and I have no input because I am not on the PTA or SSC of that school. If I don't like the way in which my school is using the money I can speak out and try to influence the decision on how to spend it or stop donating.

    An only district wide donation policy is an example of extremism gone amuck. If you want to donate to every school - do it. But don't try to tell me how I should donate. Next thing THEY'll be telling me is which charity is acceptible. Get out of people's personal lives.

  83. The May revise must reflect the $3 billion in state revenues above the Governor's January projections.

    The LAO has stated that 60% will go to education (above the ~40% Proposition 98 requirement, I believe as partial payment against the 11.2 in cuts the Governor agreed to repay (he is trying to renege on that, I understand.)).

    The Governor signed legislation that is intended to block his changes to gas taxes from impacting Proposition 98.

    All of these strongly suggest that the May revise will not be any worse than the January budget - and it may be better.

    Senator Harkin of Iowa has stated that his "Keep Our Educators Working" bill, which would direct $23 billion to districts nationwide to avert layoffs, will come to the floor of the Senate. It has passed the House (you should email Senator Feinstein if you support such a proposal; Senator Boxer is a co-signer of the legislation).

    Overall, I don't think SFUSD educators need to worry as much about state and federal funding - although both are still abysmal.

  84. Two unrelated comments.

    1. How much (total) did Grattan raise with 2-week online sales and Fun day?

    2. While it is benevolent to suggest giving money from high-earning schools to those with meager PTA budgets, it won't work. Underfunded schools do not have the parent infrastructure to receive and to use the monies appropriately. There is no accountability if a school doesn't have a fully functional parent governing body with broad representation across the entire student body.

  85. "The Governor signed legislation that is intended to block his changes to gas taxes from impacting Proposition 98."

    Please explain this. The changeover from gas sales tax to a bigger excise gas tax has been interpreted as lowering the Prop 98
    minimum, as sales taxes are counted towards the minimum guarantee but excise taxes are not. Arnold would WANT the changes to impact prop 98 because that way he has more money to play with that doesn't automatically go to education. Any increase in taxes would automatically have to go to repay education deficits first. So the only way he can get more money into the general fund is to lower the prop 98 minimum guarantee.

  86. 9:59,

    It isn't a matter of not have an accountable governing body. When has that ever stopped anyone from spending money? In fact, having no accountability makes it easier to spend.

  87. Hey,

    many public elementary schools in Los Altos and other ritzy peninsula communities raise over a million a year. I think the people should expropriate that money and give it to us. Isn't wealth distribution what the new administration in DC is all about? If we could could just get another thousand or two per pupil, I'm sure we could teach every child to read. Ya, it's just a matter of money.

  88. 10:29

    The ritzy people all used to live in San Francisco until they moved because the SF public schools are crappy. The school board of San Francisco forgot they need to try to keep this wealth in the city.

  89. Spoke too soon on state revenues - April was miserable.

    The Legislature sent the Governor a bill to change the gas tax into an excise fee, which would exempt it from the General fund, but wrote language that should legally protect Prop. 98 from taking the $800 million dollar cut this would predict through "accounting maneuvers" - as I understand it, by fiddling with which "test" 98 uses to determine what is owed to K-12 schools.

    The Governor signed that back in February, but the Chronicle is reporting that the May revise is going to be really ugly.

  90. Palo Alto does bundle PTA funds, by the way.

    But the real ripoff is "basic aid" districts, that keep all of their property taxes rather than pooling statewide in exchange for taking only the base sum from the state. These districts include Palo Alto, Santa Clara (huge industrial property tax base), and next year Beverly Hills will join them.

    Those beautiful schools come at the expense of the state. Gray Davis got into a lot of trouble for asking if this was the most equitable school funding plan, though.

  91. When you give money at a private school, you are helping 1-2 token scholarship kids get financial aid, or helping already rich kids have a fancier library.

    When you give money at a public school, you are helping potentially hundreds of kids get a better education than they otherwise would, kids who don't have the same advantages as private school kids.

    I am in awe of the wealthy parents at our elementary school, Alvarado, who managed to raise upwards of $250k this year. Those families could have easily afforded private school. They chose public instead and their generosity is benefiting the more than 40 percent of Alvarado children whose families can't even afford a 2 dollar school lunch.

  92. 8:17,

    Many parents are rolling up their sleeves, me included (Eyes)! However, we want a school where we are comfortable sending our kids. It has nothing to do with a poor school. It has to do with the children that also attend the school. If they are violent, do you really want me to send my child there? Would you? I have been to schools like these. Yes, actually attended them! Kids that are smart and care about school are beaten up, or at minimum, teased endlessly.

    Parent of the other students don't care. They certainly don't bother volunteering. They are too happy to let the system take them were it will. So I spend my time and effort and money to help a school get better only to see other parents do nothing, not because they can't but because they don't care! Don't talk to me about social justice. I've lived it. You don't have to be black to understand racism or prejudice. All people can be racist, not just white. Black people, Asian people, Hispanic people, etc. can be racist.

    Stop throwing the poor black me. "You can't understand how hard it is for me because I am black!" I have black relatives. Let me tell you, they get every advantage the city can give them. My black relative doesn't send their kid to public, they have a free ride at a lovely private school.

  93. 8:17, I thought your comments were right on and well stated.

  94. Check out this article for a better uderstanding of basic aid districts and peninsula problems.

  95. Every school related discussion fails to point out the obvious politically incorrect problem with schools. Classroom discipline is the biggest problem facing education, much bigger than our funding woes. No teacher can teach if the administration does not support them in their efforts to maintain classroom discipline. In fact, the district and especially this Board of Education is the enemy of the teacher in her attempt to create an atmosphere of learning. Any student that abuses the privilege of educational opportunity must be removed from the classroom as long as he is disruptive. No organization, especially institutions of learning can function properly when the work day is a minute by minute struggle to maintain order.
    All the talk of money - when the real issue is a matter of simle common sense. But we don't live in a world of common sense any more.

  96. The article about Peninsula schools is sobering. One of the educators makes the point that they can hardly afford to keep the lights on.

    Why not have a day between now and the end of the school year when every public school in CA teaches a whole day without the lights on? This would help illustrate the dire situation we are in. For education in CA, we are truly living in dark times.

  97. 9:42 - Great, great point. I think ALL parents would agree with this statement (rich, poor, whatever skin color).

    I think it is time we started figuring out how to properly and transparently deal with disruptive students. If we are going to cram 30 students in a classroom - we have to...

  98. How to deal with disruptive students? Restorative justice is said to be the answer. Not!

    Restore classroom justice. Students who want to learn should be able to do so without constant disruption and abuse from those that don't. Education is a privilege, not a right. There is a door in and and a door out. Decide which one you want to walk through.
    As long as schools are holding cells don't expect much from them no matter how much money society spends to "educate".

  99. What do you propose to do with the constantly disruptive and abusive? Turn them loose on the streets?

  100. 10:23,

    I say we give them to their parents. The parents should be responsible if their children are disruptive and won't behave. If we do that, maybe the parents would finally have to deal with their children and if they can't then maybe the children should be handed over to CPS. Can't have it both ways. Can't have children and make everyone else responsible for your child.

  101. "What do you propose to do with the constantly disruptive and abusive? Turn them loose on the streets?"

    The statement above is an example of the paucity in the thinking of the progressive establishment. Did it ever occur to the anonymous commenter that turning disruptive students loose in the classroom is worse than turning them loose in the streets?

  102. How much of a problem is lack of discipline in public schools?

  103. The law says public education is a right not a privilege. We have compulsory schooling. Public schools are required to take all children, no matter how severe their behavioral or cognitive impairments, and no matter how costly and disruptive it is to deal with those impairments. Parents are required to send their children to school regardless of whether they want to or not, care or not. People with special needs kids are entitled to an adequate accommodation at the school their child "would otherwise attend." If you even suggest that there might be economic efficiencies in establishing a single program within a district for kids with a particular need, rather than having a program in every single school in the district that has a kid with that need within its attendance area, watch those parents scream bloody murder about their legal entitlements and how you are trying to ghettoize their children. That's the public policy choice we've made and, in typical American fashion, we don't want to tax ourselves to pay for it.

  104. You have a right to be free and you can abuse it and loose that freedom when incarcerated. Having a right to a public education is not a free pass for incorribles to abuse the system. All rights and freedoms have their limitations. If you want to maintain that every child has a right to an education and can therefore destroy the classroom climate with impunity, you are encouraging the public schools to become the educational provider of last resort. The middle class will not support public education and vote against it if they have their children in private school. Furthermore, such thinking will lead to increased support for charters, vouchers and every other form of public school privatization.

  105. 11:03

    There are many education policy changes going on in Sacramento. Maybe it is time we make education a privilege, not a right, if that is what's necessary to uphold the integrity of the institution. I 'd rather have the privilege of a good public education than the right to a crappy one.

  106. I am sad to say that in a number of converstations with Latino children in the last several years, they have expressed to me that they think it is acceptable to settle their disagreements with violence.

    They have told me that it is "cool" to be disruptive in the classroom and that is a mark of cultural pride to do so. The kids that have expressed this to me are not particularly disadvantaged. Their parents are quite attentive. I'd say that these kids are expressing what has become a matter of pride in their culture: to be disruptive.

    I've wanted to embrace Latino culture, but this is unacceptable.

    I read a banner the other day posted above the highway:

    "We did not cross the border, the border crossed us."

    Most Latinos are not related to the indigenous people of California (not in the last 5000 years, anyway). They're related to Mexican and Central American indigenous people as well as to Europeans (mostly Spanish.)

    Would we ever allow Canadians to come to the US and trash our schools, saying that the border should have been drawn at the 45th parallel, rather than the 49th parallel?

    So what gives?

  107. 11:55

    Just to clarify, California was part of Mexico. It was taken by US in US-Mexican War. The line about "border crossed us" has nothing to do with who's whose ancestor.

    I am not defending their lack of interest in education. I felt surprised that when I visited Mexico, it was difficult to find a bookstore. I am not defending some of their interest in violence either.

    I am Asian.

    However, I can understand their resentment. A lot of issues (including illegal immigration) will not be solved without understanding this resentment. History does have an impact on present and future.

  108. "Just to clarify, California was part of Mexico. It was taken by US in US-Mexican War. The line about "border crossed us" has nothing to do with who's whose ancestor."

    Yes, I know the history.

    However, the question of who took what is really up for grabs, if you really want to get down to history.

    The Spanish did explore and attempt to colonize what is now California.

    However, the hold on California was always tenuous at best.

    The indigenous people of California did terribly both under the Spanish and after the Spanish-American war.

    I really don't think it is constructive for Mexicans and Central Americans to carry on this way.

    After the War of 1812, the Canadian border was also settled quite a bit further north than many Canadians would have liked.

    However, Canadians are not complaining about it. Instead, 200 years later, they've built a nation that is arguably more liveable and prosperous than the US.

    Mexico, rich in natural resources, could do the same. However, it does not.

    That is not the fault of Americans and if Californians are not careful, they will soon be sitting in Mexico, for all intents and purposes.


    In case anyone is interested...

  110. 12:57

    I am not arguing for either side. I am just saying the immigration issue has a huge history component to it. Talking without listening won't solve any problems.

  111. 2:16 PM:

    I've listened. But after listening generously for many years, I realize that there is no point to listening. It won't change anything. They're just going to keep having as many children as possible, very early without regard to their economic circumstance. They're just going to keep thinking that they are the chosen people, that California is really theirs and that they can flaunt our laws with impunity.

    I'm a dual US/Canadian citizen, I have an exit plan. While I'm very sympathetic to the plight of the Mexican and Central American people, I am not an idiot.

    Between the "bet against the American dream" financial corporations, the "hidden charges" banks, the medical insurance companies, and the current "La Raza" over all approach of the Latinos, I think we've reached the limit of listening.

    They've won.

    I'm just planning my exit strategy.

  112. 3:13 - regarding closing statement - good, glad to hear it

  113. I'm not sure why I'm bothering, but.

    I grew up poor and white in San Francisco. My familial expectation was that if someone hits you, you hit back.

    Many many many many families and cultures share this sentiment. Many governments, too.

    Since that is not an acceptable solution to one's problems at school, it is important for children to, at the least, be taught that different norms of behavior are appropriate in different environments.

    I want to stress again: I'm white. I know several fellow white people from different (wealthier) class backgrounds than my own who also were taught this. I know people of color who weren't.

    Making broad generalizations about people based on race, ethnicity and "culture" is the kind of behavior that I believe is inappropriate for an online forum - or anywhere else, for that matter.

  114. 3:15 PM

    Things don't look too good out there:

    What's your plan?

    Since you think that the status quo is so wonderful.

    Just curious.

  115. "I want to stress again: I'm white. I know several fellow white people from different (wealthier) class backgrounds than my own who also were taught this. I know people of color who weren't."

    Look, I really don't know many kids of any race or ethnicity who would collectively plan, on a regular basis, complete class disruption.

    "Making broad generalizations about people based on race, ethnicity and "culture" is the kind of behavior that I believe is inappropriate for an online forum - or anywhere else, for that matter."

    I'm not making broad generalizations. Amougst children I have spoken to in the city, Latino children seem engaged in a culture of disruption. A very specific, planned attempt to defeat learning and an orderly classroom environment.

    More than any other ethnic or racial group I can think of.

  116. Just a couple of points to clarify:
    - SE schools do subsidize more experienced teachers elsewhere, because the district requires school sites use the same average cost per teacher to set budgets. In my school we would have about $75K "headroom" in our budget if we looked at the actual cost of paying our on-average younger teachers, which would allow us to keep one additional position. Westside schools with more experienced teachers would have to make larger cuts if they faced "actual" costs of paying their more experienced workforce. There are some good reasons for using an average, but I think there should be some compensating factors to make sure poorer schools don't get gutted in times like these.

  117. There is a direct correlation between budgets and discipline in the classroom. My school is wrestling with the question of cutting teaching positions, or cutting paras. If we cut the paras we can keep smaller classes, but we will have literally NO ONE who can take disruptive kids out of class (and believe me, we have those kids). The only others on staff will be the principle and the secretary. Which is better for learning - smaller class size or adequate services to keep class discipline. This is the ridiculous Hobbesian choice schools are faced with. All the comments about a fairer tax structure are right on.

  118. I'm not making broad generalizations. Amougst children I have spoken to in the city, Latino children seem engaged in a culture of disruption. A very specific, planned attempt to defeat learning and an orderly classroom environment.

    More than any other ethnic or racial group I can think of.

    You ARE making broad generalizations based on a few conversations and your own prejudice. Unless you now want to say that you have made a large sociological study of this issue, with appropriate controls and peer review. I also have anecdotes and they do not match your impressions--and my children actually attend two different schools every day with significant numbers of Latino kids, unlike your child.

    I am so so tired of you hijacking this blog to go on anti-immigrant and now anti-Latino screeds. You already have your French language private school that you seem to really like. Why do you haunt this blog, and why do you constantly raise this off-topic issue?

    Immigration is a federal issue, and we are legally and (I would argue) morally and pragmatically required to provide education for immigrant kids whether or not they or in or out of status. Yes, we desperately need comprehensive immigration reform. I work on that issue every day. Meanwhile, we have to work to improve our schools. That is a state and local issue, and there are things we have done and can do to do that. Even with the cuts, most of our kids are getting good educations, thanks to strong teachers and parent communities; it is the poorest kids who are suffering the most, not middle class kids like mine or yours. Your rhetoric of victimization and defeat is misdirected. An exit strategy? Really? You are doing fine and you will do fine wherever you are. You are not a victim.

    This isn't Arizona. We voted down Prop 187 in 1994 in San Francisco. I for one am not distracted by this divisive rhetoric. We have problems to solve that will not be addressed by stereotyping Latinos or immigrants in this way.

  119. Yes, and it isn't 1994, either.

  120. Your attitude toward the US-Mexico War is exactly school yard bullying - "I took it, too bad for you, deal with it".

  121. 4:19 PM

    The Mexican-American war was fought more than 160 years ago.

    Can you imagine what would happen if every country in the world that was the loser of a border dispute continued to grind their axe 160 later, as Mexicans do today?

    Fine. California is yours. Turn it into another Mexico. I can't wait for the drug warlords, overpopulation, disappearances and ill treatment of women. Bring it on!

  122. Interestingly, a strong education system is the one thing that has the power to keep California from becoming the next Mexico. But we're starving the system of money. (Hence the need for this particular thread.)

    By the time we get our collective heads out of the CA sand, it will likely be too late. I am for closing the borders - as a society, we can hardly care for the people we already have here - and it's something we CAN do. But I am also for educating all of the children in our midst. It's the only way to keep the future bright.

  123. Yes, and it isn't 1994, either.

    3:55 here again.

    This is a meaningless response. Of course it isn't 1994 anymore. Your point?

    If you mean, just taking a guess here, that times have changed, and so have voter sentiments, then I would just say [as someone who has walked endless precincts and made countless phone calls and had innumerable conversations on the topic] that San Franciscans then and now care about the problems created by undocumented immigration and would support reforms that secure the border, yes. But they (we) also strongly support more viable and less-Eurocentric quotas for legal immigration; new rules allowing gay partners to sponsor each other; a presumtion of support for family unity for those already here; provision of a reasonable pathway to legal status for those here without felony convictions; enforcement of worker rights for ALL workers; and due process and humanitarian treatment for those in immigration proceedings.

    As I said, I work on this every day. I don't think attitudes have shifted that much, other than urgency. I certainly don't believe San Franciscans would vote for a law like Arizona's SB 1070--which doesn't mean I believe the majority support absolutely open borders either. I also think San Franciscan voters in general would reject the racial stereotyping being tossed about so casually here on this thread. Latinos are not monolithic--they are many communities, classes, and colors. It is *odious* to see the ethnic profiling being done here--including this ridiculous idea that Latino students are collectively planning, on a regular basis, to disrupt their classrooms, as a matter of cultural pride. This is a hateful LIE and conspiracy theory in the teabagger mode.

    And I ask again: given that we must, legally (and morally and pragmatically) provide education to all the children who are here--and please remember that many, many children of undocumented parents are actually themselves citizens--what does this topic have to do with this blog, other than to kick up dust and make a somewhat veiled attack the public schools and the children in them? You like your French private school (La Perouse), right? You say you have an "exit plan." Good for you. So why are you here fomenting conflict on an off-topic idea? Please, do us the favor of dropping these attacks so that we can talk about education for all our children.

  124. 4:39 - What does immigration have to do with this blog? Are you serious? I am not the poster you have a banter with - I am just a reader.

    The reason it is relevant is because a family's culture toward education affects the child's success in education. Why do you think the asian immigrants do so much better than the latino immigrants (using objective data, not generalizations or stereotypes)? It is because the asian immigrants come here and bring their culture of education with them. The latin immigrant population that comes here does not bring with them this same culture for education and the test scores for this group refect this reality.

    So I am asking the question to you - since you are an expert on this topic. What can our government do to make more latino families (immigrant or non-immigrant) value education? What are concrete things that our government can do in this area? Carrot / Sticks?

  125. "It is *odious* to see the ethnic profiling being done here--including this ridiculous idea that Latino students are collectively planning, on a regular basis, to disrupt their classrooms, as a matter of cultural pride. This is a hateful LIE and conspiracy theory in the teabagger mode."

    Like it or not, that is what was happening at one of our local schools.

    It was enough of a problem that the principal had to implement military style discipline methods.

    What is amazing to me is that people don't want to talk about what is going on. It's true that I don't know what is going on at every school. However, I do have a rough idea of what is going on at about 10 or 15 schools. I've had my ear to the ground for a while.

    I'm sorry if you think it is odious to talk about a pattern of disruptive behavior that has continued to defeat improvement at an SE school.

    I have to admit that they kids at that school may be bored. There may be something else going on. But it is pretty tough to want to send your child to that school when the only disciplinary resort the principal has been able to come up with is military style enforcement of discipline. No thanks.

    Of course, it is the principal who is blamed for the situation. The families and children cannot possibly have anything to do with this unfortunate state of affairs.

  126. *Sigh*

    I really hate to bring this up, but ...

    Talking about school bullying and violence, please take a look at the school shootings over the last 10 years. How many are latinos? Or would you say they are too poor to buy guns?

    I have seen all races of spoiled brats at parks and playgrounds, who do not share, fight other kids for toys, zoom around with no regard for small children. Sorry, I don't see a particular pattern on the race.

    You see what you want to see. It is more a reflection on yourself.

  127. WTF, how did this blog become a Tea Party organ?

  128. It is true that this thread has changed tact slightly from discussing fund raising in wealthy schools to discussing the financial and general state of SE schools.

    It was actually concerned school teachers who first brought up the fact that senior teachers do not want to teach in SE schools. And, on top of that, junior teachers are getting laid off.

    Then some parents piped in with some other concerns about SE schools, such are racial tension and violence.

    One parent mentioned a situation at a particular school.

    A Latino parent became angry about someone quoting a recent banner they had seen: "We didn't cross the border, the border crossed us." The hispanic parent feels that Californians should make appeasement to Mexicans for the Spanish American war.

    And, apparently, many parents feel that there is no connection between race and violent school behavior and that it is not a problem.

    Just to sum things up.

    No tea party movement in sight. Just concerned parents. Please read the whole thread if you are just stumbling in now.

    We're all pretty tired of the usual attempts to silence concerned dissent by accusing people of being rabid conservatives.

    Perhaps you don't live in the Southeast of the city and are not aware of some of the problems.

    Lucky you.

  129. I have lived in the SE (Inner Mission) for over 20 years. I am well aware of the issues. I have also sent my children to diverse public schools with significant Latino populations (though not overwhelmingly so).

    I am not in denial of any of the problems facing our schools or my neighborhood.

    I also find this thread to be racist. There have been many generalizations about low-income people and also Latinos. Yes, generalizations. An incident at a school has now been connected to an entire ethnic group. There are statements like "The latin immigrant population that comes here does not bring with them this same culture for education" and "amougst children I have spoken to in the city, Latino children seem engaged in a culture of disruption" and "they're just going to keep having as many children as possible, very early without regard to their economic circumstance" and "what has become a matter of pride in their culture: to be disruptive."

    No nuance or appreciation for the diversity of cultures with "Latino" in this town. Lots of extrapolation from anecdote. All blame on one group.

  130. "All blame on one group."

    While it is true that other ethnic groups may also experience various consequences of poverty, it is only Latinos that are:

    1. A large ethnic group
    2. Constitute the majority of undocumented residents in the city
    3. Have the second highest crime rate in the city, of any ethnic group

  131. I've been teaching Latino children for years. The families tend to be close-knit, with multiple generations raising the children and instilling community values. If we must generalize, I would say these families do an excellent job of teaching their children to be respectful of adults. Again, if we absolutely must categorize people based on their upbringing, Latino children tend to be friendlier, better-behaved and happier, even, than the children of certain extremely permissive, "progressive" white parents I have met. Many teachers agree with me.

    Enough of the racist garbage, already.

  132. Thank you, 9:25.

    Enough already with the racist garbage and immigrant scapegoating.

  133. A good example of the racial problems facing the country is typified in the recent incident at a local school down south where students were reprimanded for wearing American flag tee shirts. The were considered provocateurs for doing so on Cinqo de Mayo. I suppose if you believe that Californa ought to be part of Mexico that would make sense. But if you believe that it is still part of the USA, it is an unfortunate commentary of the American scene.

  134. WTF,

    The tea party is made of far more tolerant and fair minded people than you. It is obvious by your disgraceful comment that you are a narrow minded political bigot. You can hide behind your anonymity with your fellow progressive comrades, but you don't fool those who can see right through to your hatred for freedom of expression.

  135. "A good example of the racial problems facing the country is typified in the recent incident at a local school down south where students were reprimanded for wearing American flag tee shirts. The were considered provocateurs for doing so on Cinqo de Mayo. "

    uuuh . . .

    yes, I did hear about this incident and of course I thought it was very unfortunate.

    nice try at trying to stick a concerned SE parent with responsibility for this one.

    and no, i do not hope that California will be become Mexico. However, I do wonder when I see the Mexican flag flown so prominently in many parts of the state, without the US flag.

    And I also wonder when I see the statement brazen declared:

    "We didn't cross the border, the border crossed us."

    That is a statement that Mexicans do not feel that they should have to respect the Mexican-American border.

    If not, just what does that statement mean?

  136. Quite honestly, though:

    Speaking as a SE sider and a teacher at a school on the SE side, if you hold racist opinions - for instance, believing that children of color are violent, dangerous and devoted to the destruction of public education*, please: don't send your child to a southeast side school.

    Side note: I have been teaching at a high needs school for years, and of the teachers I have known who have retired or transferred, the factor most commonly cited was the heavy emotional toll of working with children facing the generational poverty brought upon them by institutional racism. That is an ugly and unceasing part of our job.

    *All of these are far more descriptive of our Governor than any of the children at my school.

  137. What can we do to help Latino students - immigrant or non-immigrant - do better at school?

    Please - I am specifically asking those of you that are teachers and those of you that have expressed your experience in this area. What is the reason - root cause - that these children fail to excel at school? For the record, I am not trying to generalize, I am talking strictly about why this population does more poorly on school test scores than others. There is no race - bating here at all. I am trying to understand the root cause, so I can better understand how this could be addressed.

  138. Simon said, "Speaking as a SE sider and a teacher at a school on the SE side, if you hold racist opinions - for instance, believing that children of color are violent, dangerous and devoted to the destruction of public education*, please: don't send your child to a southeast side school."

    Oh no, you don't want to have to teach the children whose parents you don't see eye-to-eye with politically. No you are far to egalitarian to stoop to that level. Thanks for the tip, though.

    Reading this statement I have to wonder - are you really a teacher in San Francisco? Because if you were, you would probably have found out by now that the district ultimately decides what school you will go to, not the parent. Oh, I know.... you get to fill out that form with the seven blank spaces, you know, that one that gets fed into a computerized lottery and often comes out 0 out of 7 or else get sent where? For heaven's sake, the south east of beautiful San Francisco.

    Quite honestly, though...

  139. "There is no race - bating here at all. I am trying to understand the root cause (of poor academic performance), so I can better understand how this could be addressed."

    Well, how can I say this? Think of how genuinely considerate, thought and concerned you are, and just a tad naive,too) and think of the exact opposite. Only joshing.

    It has to do with lack of interest for education in the home. But that could be considered racist, so it can't possibly be true.

  140. 11:12, for a start,

    Reasons for low success:

    * Poverty and its multiple stresses--parents working multiple jobs or looking for work; hunger/food insecurity; noise due to overcrowding; home insecurity. On and on.

    * For migrants--fear of deportation or parent being deported; dislocation; post-traumatic stress from exposure to violence in some cases.

    * Parents who are not well-educated--some would be lucky to have an 8th-grade education.

    * Still learning the English language but expected to test in English (especially new arrivals).

    What we as a community can do to help:

    There are a variety of interventions that can work.
    Wrap-around services, including on-site health care and screenings, social worker, nurse, sandtray therapy, food pantry, intensive parent classes in literacy, ESL, nutrition--and inculcation of middle-class educational expectations. Parents *want* their children to succeed but often do not know how to unlock the door to education, e.g., read to your kids every night (in any language), go over homework (if you are home to do so), eat nutritious food (McDonalds is a huge treat in Latin America and so cheap here, cheaper than cooking).

    It is proven that extended classroom day and year are effective. Combine them with enrichment learning in the afternoons and summers, including time outdoors. Host family dinners at the end of the long day and build community, hold short talks on literacy, nutrition, etc.

    A study in Louisville, KY demonstrated that mixing children of different social class and race backgrounds was helpful. 60-40 split of middle class versus low-income kids meant that schools were less overwhelmed by the effects of poverty and middle-class expectations were the norm. Middle-class kids did not suffer, but low-income kids did better.

    Have high expectations. Cultivate trust with the parents.

    Some of these remedies take money. They work, but they take money. E.R. Taylor is a success in part because it has extra money from a wealthy donor for some of the services described above. Significant additional funding will NOT solve all problems, but it is needed. It is necessary if insufficient condition for success.

    Moscone is a success in part because it has high expectations and a rigorous approach.

    Mixing the kids to avoid racially and income-isolated schools can work too, but require cooperation from middle class parents, many of whom balk at more than 25% low-income kids in their kids' school.

    Btw, scapegoating Latino kids or immigrant kids or their families will most assuredly not work at all to improve their scores.

    Anyway, that's all off the top of my head so I'm sure others can chime in.

  141. Latino is beautiful. They are not the ones throwing old asian ladies off muni platforms and beating up old men at bus stops. Is this racism or fact?

    You make the call!

  142. 12:07,

    If all the reasons you claim are the causes of low success, why do Asians significantly outperform their SES peerswhen they are also subject to all the various social issues you mention? No, it is deeper than that. There is a strong cultural component that you did not mention.

  143. 11:12 "There are a variety of interventions that can work."

    You make some good points. But some of the interventions you mention are provided in various programs at school and in the community. So why don't they make a difference?

    1. We don't provide enough services for immigrants of all kinds.

    2. The services we do provide are not tuned specifically to each immigrant group.

    3. The services are not dealing with the root cause.

    If you are a social democrat are likely to say that more services are the answer. If you are conservative you look toward the family and not the government to instill values.

    Government has a role, but it cannot overcome every failing of home culture to inculcate educational values. Realistically, do you expect society to pay for all the services that you are recommending, especially when we have no control over the immigration issue at present?

    The schools have hardly enough to provide basic educational services. And for every dollar you spend to prevent failure that is another dollar taken away from ensuring excellence.

  144. " Anonymous said...
    Latino is beautiful."

    I would say that all cultures are beautiful in their own way. To say Latino is beautiful is somehow to imply others are not. But we don't want to paint cultures with a broad brush. If you don't like racial profiling, which I assume you don't, why inist on describing a whole culture in a monolithic way? Is that not the same sort of thinking that leads to prejudice?

  145. "Government has a role, but it cannot overcome every failing of home culture to inculcate educational values"

    Government can try, and government used to play a bigger role in trying to influence the home "culture". The government used to produce propaganda to try to encourage all americans to adopt "american" values of working hard, going to school, dressing in a presentable manner. I am not saying these were great, but the government realized that they had an interest in having citizens adopt these "values"

  146. Well the problem with that is society has changed. Even encouraging people to adopt American values would be interpreted by many to be racist. We are reveling in nuturing our differences, not our similarities or what binds us together as a nation. Historically there is only one way to create a significant bridging of differences and that is when there is a common goal for national survive in times of war or revolution.

  147. Fed Up:

    You have just illustrated why we have so many issues with race and prejudice. You are overthinking and putting words in my mouth.

    When I say Latino is beautiful, I am not implying or saying anything else, other than that. For you to say that other cultures is not is absurd and obviously did not come out of my mouth. When you say you are proud of your child, are you "implying" that you are not proud of your other children? Obviously not. Please, do not stoke the flames of hatred by ignorant extrapolations. If I must be clear, and need to spell it out for you, yes, ALL cultures are beautiful!

  148. 7:05 You got a point. Definitely can't argue that! All I can say is, you are what you make of yourself. If you want to study hard and have goals, you will succeed and do better at what you are aiming for. If you want to hang out on the streets beatin' up on the elderly, well....can you say "Would you like fries with that?" or "Can you spare a dime brother?"

  149. So I am the social democrat who advocated wrap-around services.

    If you look closely you'll see I said those services are necessary but not sufficient. I never said family wasn't important, or culture. It is true that our Chinese families beat the demographic expectations of socio-economic status.

    Leaving aside moral considerations for a minute, and seeing the immigration situation pragmatically. This country is not going to send 12 million people home. We're just not going to do it. It would be hugely destabilizing to their home countries to do so. In many cases countries less than one generation away from civil war (El Salvador, Guatemala). Countries whose civil wars we funded and fomented, by the way, as part of the Cold War. Or countries whose ag economies in particular have been turned upside-down by free trade agreements like NAFTA and the arrival of cheap, subsidized basic grains from the U.S. that have made local farming obsolete. And then there are our own labor considerations--guarantee you a significant sector of American business does not want 12 million hard-working immigrants to be sent back. And finally, family disruption, since many, many families have mixed status. It would be a humanitarian nightmare.

    Therefore, the only way out--and I know this is a hard lift, politically--is comprehensive reform that provides a reasonable pathway to legal status for those who are here now, along with increased border and employment controls. Which are likely to affect all of us, by the way, by requiring us to carry biometric ID with us. That's our future (read the Schumer bill to see more).

    What does this have to do with education? Well, a whole lot of kids, those who are undocumented or who do have status but whose parents do not, are here to stay. The *pragmatic* as well as legal and moral response is to provide them with the best education we can, or risk raising a lost generation.

    The Dream Act--in-state tuition for undocumented kids--is a start. Don't we want these kids to go to college? I do! If they can make the grade, they should get the opportunity. They were brought here as children by their parents. They are essentially American and will be on a pathway there soon. We need these hardworking, bright kids to have a future.

    Another important piece is to educate our preK-12 immigrant kids. Yes, that means resources. But we will spend far more on the back end if we don't invest on the front end. My ideas WORK. They have never been funded at scale though.

    My ideas also include elements of family engagement and inculcation of middle class values in terms of education. I believe that most parents want the best for their children, but don't always have the keys to success, including in education. If you never had books in your one-room shack in a shantytown or in the campo, why on earth would it occur to you to read to your child? This idea has to be taught. Most of us here learned it from our parents when we were children--it didn't just occur to us. Wrap-around services with family outreach and engagement can do this teaching.

    There should also be classes in American life and civic culture--especially as people pursue a path to citizenship. I consider myself to be a citizen of the world but I am also an American. Post-Vietnam, we have neglected to do this in our schools, I think, in the liberal places. I don't mean America is #1 jingoistic kind of stuff, but genuine appreciation for our multicultural democracy and the beauty of our land and our struggles and our ideals. This can be combined in a sensitive way with an appreciation for the Old Country where kids' families come from. In my day growing up it was Italy, Ireland, Cambodia. Now in SF it is Mexico, China, El Salvador....but we are all Americans.

    This sense of civic pride can only come with genuine opportunity though. If we blame and scapegoat people, how can they feel a part of us? That should be the goal. It is the only practical way forward.

  150. Dear Latino is Beautiful,

    Did you not say this:

    Latino is beautiful. They are not the ones throwing old asian ladies off muni platforms and beating up old men at bus stops. Is this racism or fact?

    You didn't sound so "all race s are beautiful" a few minutes ago.

  151. 10:30 AM:

    In a perfect world, we would have all these things.

    Maybe you haven't noticed, but California is broke.

    Many hard working Americans are out of work, even if they have done all the right things, gotten the advanced degree, etc. etc.

    Our institutions of higher learning are bursting at the seams. There is less money and more kids trying to go to college. Many kids are graduating form college without any prospect for a job.

    Many of the kids being turned away from institutions of higher learning have above average GPAs.

    At the bottom end of the scale, we don't need any more agricultural or construction workers.

    According to the Obama administration, Americans are not in an immigration reform mood. The Obama administration has stated that there will be no movement on immigration reform in the next several years.

    The employment picture is not expected to improve for another five years.

    It's true that 12 million Central American's and Mexicans (60% are from Mexico) have crossed the border illegally and intend to stay here, regardless of whether there is work or not.

    The state and much of the country is bankrupt.

    It's true that Americans will probably do their best to provide for these 12 million people. However, as they can't even provide for their own citizens, I fail to see how they are going to be providing gold plated service for 12 million people that have decided to enter the country illegally and stay.

  152. 10:30,

    I like you and find my more conservative side being pulled by the grace and concern you bring to our views.

    Please, you wrote considerable and with passion, but where do we get the money to pay for all this benevolence? Words are free here in America. But services cost.

    Europe is apiraling towards insolvency and the US is not far behind. Every major budgetary review authority has stated unequivocably that our debt is unsustainable.

    Your ideas may work - I don't know - but who's going to pay for them? Corporations? They just pass the costs back to society in the price of goods and services. And please don't tell me that government will be able to provide those services cheaper. When has that ever happened?

  153. Think of the parallel:

    "White" is beautiful.

    People would be insulted at the narsissism of this statement if someone said it.

    That's not what this country is about.

    And by the way, there is a civics lessons that immigrants to this country are expected to take:

    It's called a citizenship interview and exam. If you enter the country legally and go through the process, eventually, you must take this exam.

    The reason that we have so many people who don't understand what this country is about is that they haven't taken their citizenship exam.

    And the reason that they haven't and will not take a citizenship exam is that they have entered the country illegally.

    And the reason they have entered the country illegall is that the US does not provide a legal path for 1/10th of the population of Mexico's poorest and least educated people to flood into the US.

    Because we do not need and cannot bear the burden of another 12 million uneducated, non-English speakers and their children (statistically speaking, four children per family.)

    But, alas, they're here.

  154. 11:09,

    Pragmatically, we should be investing in education for all our children, including special services for the immigrants who are here and not going home. The costs will be much greater down the road if we do not. It is very simplistic to say we can make a dent in our budget crisis by denying immigrants what they need to succeed, long-term, as Americans. That would be handing our children's generation a far worse crisis.

    It's all very well to blame immigrants and insist that we should deny them services, but they were not the ones who bulldozed a gaping hole in the federal budget....that was George W. Bush, who took a surplus and cut taxes to the richest of the rich and started at least one unnecessary war.

    Rather than thinking of immigrants as a separate category of less deserving kids needing "gold-plated services" (shades of "welfare queen" code language from the Reagan era), why not think of them as American kids? Why not invest in education for all our kids at the rate that Finland does, or Sweden? They are American, they will be legal Americans. The best investment we can make is to help integrate them and educate them. You don't like the la raza separatist language from the 70's and 80's? You don't think that came from being scapegoated and discriminated against? Scapegoating only makes things harder. You are playing right into that.

    I know, it's a pipe dream right now to get full funding for education, but one reason it seems impossible is that we have allowed ourselves to be divided and race-baited. The folks that take our tax money and spend it on bank bailouts and bad wars--while cutting taxes to the wealthy or allowing corporations to keep low property taxes as residents pay higher and higher through Prop 13--the powers that be must be pretty happy that we argue over whether or not to provide adequate education to these immigrant kids who absolutely will be, someday, Americans--because, again, 12 million are not being deported, I promise you.

    What a great excuse to de-fund public education, because it goes to educate "those" kids, over there, who don't deserve it because of their legal status or because we think their parents don't care about education as Latinos (!).

    We should be storming the halls of Washington and Sacramento demanding that ALL kids get adequate education as a top priority even if that means restoring the taxes that Bush cut, and getting the hell out of Iraq.

    Tough love, but how else do we stay strong as a nation? Nations that find positive and strong ways to integrate rather than separate immigrants do very well, historically. We are making a huge mistake if we don't do this.

  155. Anonymous is beautiful!

  156. Hey, it's up to Californians to vote down prop 13.

    Do you think they are going to do that?

    I absolutely doubt it.

    Sweden. Come on! Sweden has an immigration policy as tight at Fort Knox. And they've still had problems, by the way.

    I'm not against a reform to prop 13, but Californias will never vote for it. Especially, long time oh so liberal San Franciscans, the greatest benefactors of prop 13, will never, never vote it down.

  157. 11:36 AM

    And, by the way, 11:36, you're assuming that I want to defund public education. Not me. But on a pragmatic level, that is already happening, and was in the process of happening well before the Bush administration came to power. California's budget was unsustainably, even before Bush. We couldn't even vote to increase the vehicle license fee. Yeah, go ahead, stuck it to Gray Davis.

    Or have you forgotten how Arnie got elected in the first place?

    You wanna talk Sweden. Why don't you check out their tax structure.

    (I'm not a conservative, by the way)

    But I am a pragmatist. Any dope can see what's happening. California for too long thinks it can have everything for nothing. It's the everything for nothing society.

  158. 11:36,

    George Bush should take blame for ballooning the deficit as you point out. But Obama increased it four fold in a little over a year and that you ignore much the same as you ignored the Afghan war which is now Obama's war. And let us not forget how Iraq is now paraded out by this administration as a big success. That wasn't what Obama was saying in the campaign.

    As for illegal immigration it exists for one reason. Cheap labor. Employers pay under the table or minimum wage and the taxpayers cover the "benefits" like free health and free education.

    As for this thread about donations, aren't we already donating enough? There is death struggle going on in America for the soul of the country. It isn't about illegal immigration. It is about socialism versus capitalism. In San Francisco, the socialists have the upper hand.

  159. It may become possible to vote down pieces of Prop 13. For example, split the rolls. It makes no sense that corporations have such big loopholes to avoid having their property reassessed while residential owners are shouldering an increasing share of the burden. Especially the younger generation of homeowners.

    Finding a way out of the budget crisis will require BOTH raising taxes (and rejiggering taxes, like splitting the rolls) and spending cuts. No way can one approach alone suffice.

    Also, spending cuts should also mean a discussion of priorities. Between investment in the war in Iraq and education, I take more investment in education and pull out of Iraq. Invest in long-term solutions to foreign oil dependence so that future generations will not deem it necessary to spend billions on military bases in oil-producing countries.

    There is pain in our near future, no doubt. I would like to hope that this generation will make the hard choices the boomers did not. Education spending is an investment, not an entitlement program. I recognize that will go hand in hand with other painful cuts--as long as they are proportional and include pulling back from military spending too. We incur half the world's spending on military while other countries, including, yes, Sweden, invest in education.

    I am a social democrat who is willing to recognize the need to work with fiscal conservatives to chart a sane course. I'm willing to talk priorities, such as education. I also think scapegoating immigrants is incredibly short-sighted and is a way short-circuit a serious conversation about our future. It plays to the tea partiers (even if you are not one) and drives the kids into la raza-style rhetoric. Stop with bashing Latinos and immigrants, recognize that whether or not you think it's right that many will stay (for lots of reasons), and let's talk pragmatic investments in our future, along with necessary spending cuts, and tax reform. In the long run, education, including of immigrants, will raise all our boats (much more than the Laffer curve trickle down economics ever did....).

  160. 11:56 AM:

    11:53 here.

    NO, it's not about socialism vs capitalism.

    Please, let's skip the cold war.

  161. 12:03 PM

    While I agree with many of the things you are saying, I do think that in the mix, the illegal immigrants impose more of a burden on education than you are suggesting. Many countries who do not have an Iraq war spending problem (France, for instance) are struggling with triple burden of immigrants that have a high birth rate, are difficult to educate and have difficulty understanding and adapting to Western European cultural norms.

    I'll leave it at that.

  162. 12:03,

    So if I went to Mexico, would they educate me for free? Would I get welfare because I don't speak Spanish? Would I get free health care and other social services free too?

    If you want to partake in this country, do it LEGALLY! Our services should be for our own citizenry first. If there is additional money, then we help others.

    It seems, especially in San Francisco, that things are exactly the opposite. Why is that?

  163. 11:56, Obama inherited an enormous economic and financial crisis from George W. Bush. Only the government had the power to bring us back from the brink with stimulus spending--even conservative economists admitted that. Republicans voted for TARP, remember? And the initial TARP package happened when Bush was still in office.

    I don't love the Obama approach to Afghanistan, but realistically speaking he inherited that too. Bush recklessly took us to war in two countries. Obama says he seeking the best pathway out (even if I don't like his chosen path). I haven't seen Obama taking us into a new war.

    Socialism? Ha! Not in SF and certainly not in the nation. The new health plan is a centrist one that preserves private insurance companies. It's not even single payer as in Canada. Certainly not a socialistic national plan as in Britain. It's more conservative than the one proposed by Nixon back in the early 1970s. The Republicans have moved so far to the right that centrist politics that are common in (fiscally prudent, not free-spending like Greece) Germany and Holland and across Asia look like socialism. Crazy.

    I agree that immigration is tolerated by business because of cheap labor. We could put some brakes on that by enforcing labor laws for everyone regardless of status--no payments under the table, pay workers comp, etc.. Isn't it great how corporations get the low taxes AND cheap black market labor while the middle class picks up the burden?

    I'm also in agreement that we are in a huge mess in California because we want to be a high-service state but not pay for it. Most of us would benefit from being in a state with more taxes (and a sane tax system) and high services. Like Massachusetts. Or Sweden. So yeah, I thought Arnold's campaign against the vehicle license fee was crazy. I'm fine with more taxes.

    I recognize we could also, logically, be a low-tax, low-service state. I assume many libertarians would like this option. I don't want that though; I don't want to be Mississippi or El Salvador. But at least it would make more sense than trying to pay for things without any revenue plan. We can thank Prop 13 and other initiatives that have handed us a 2/3 rule for raising taxes. We have a majority to create programs but need a super-majority to find funds to pay for them. Dumb. It's not just the legislators either--we voters constantly create entitlement programs but vote down taxes. Dumb!

    Meanwhile, again, pragmatically speaking the 12 million are not going back. Denial of this reality is not a mature approach to the conversation.

    As I see it, long-term our best hope is to invest in education for ALL the kids who are here. This is a hope for attracting jobs in industries that increasingly demand educated workers. Whether you are a social democrat or a libertarian perhaps we can agree on the importance of investing in education at least. That would be a place to start. For my part, I can agree we need some other spending cuts--but not in education. Health care is another area that was dragging down our country....hopefully the very centrist plan being rolled out now will create more certainties for corporations and reel in costs, while creating a more healthy workforce. These are BASICS.

    I would also suggest that we can find some common ground on tax reform--like splitting the rolls to rebalance the tax burden, or hauling in internet sales taxes.

  164. 12:34,

    I agree with some of what you said but if a child doesn't want to learn and makes it disruptive for other children, especially an illegal immigrant child, kick them out of school. No, can't return until their parents come and sit with them for a minimum of a week to ensure their child behaves and to help the school. In addition, 3 strikes and you are permanently out and deported! Sorry, but tired of trying to warehouse other countries kids.

  165. FYI:

    11:09 AM, 11:43 AM, etc

    is not


  166. 12:31,

    Actually, yes. I believe that if you went to many countries, including Mexico btw, you could access education and social services, such as they are. Ever been to Europe and gotten sick or injured?

    I understand the simple appeal of what you are saying, but it is frankly simplistic and it won't solve our problems. You are being used by those who want to cut funding for social services--"why should you pay taxes for those people, those illegals?" That divide and conquer strategy has been used for a long, long time in this country.

    Better get used to it--other than demogoguery, no one seriously contemplates sending home the majority of undocumented immigrants who are here. The consequences in debstabilizing countries, economies including our own, and humanitarian crisis are too dire. There are proposals to stem to flow of future immigration in a serious way, yes. But not to send home those who are here. It is therefore impractical in the extreme to suggest that those who are here should be treated as second-class and have to wait (forever, right) for basic services such as education. It will do our country in not to educate those kids. Think about it: they are here to stay. We should keep them out of school?

    We could have a better system overall, with a real and honest conversation about spending priorities and tax reform. I have my position on all that but understand the need to compromise with those who are more conservative than I.

    Unfortunately the Republicans are not willing to compromise at all right now, or really even have a conversation. It's all no taxes, ever, and blame the immigrants for our problems. That is not a serious position, any more than spending what we don't have is a serious position.

    It's why I so frustrated with knee-jerk blame the immigrant postings here and everywhere. It's a wrong turn, it sends us down the wrong path of demogoguery and blame (and yeah, racial profiling while we are at it), when we desperately need to have a serious conversation about our future. Thus I spend too much time here today :-) Back to work....

  167. 11:09 AM, 11:43 AM, etc

    is also not


  168. "The Republicans have moved so far to the right that centrist politics that are common in (fiscally prudent, not free-spending like Greece) Germany and Holland and across Asia look like socialism."

    OK. Canada sits between the US and Germany.

    However, it should be emphasized that Canada, Holland, Sweden and Germany all have tight immigration policy, tight fiscal polical and a cautious approach to defence in order to afford their social programs.

    No country with an open immigration policy such as the US has been able to sustain social services.

    You can look the UK for an example. It's social programs are weakened under the burden of an open immigration policy.

    France too is under considerable duress due to the lack of upward mobility and size of its immigrate sectors.

    And France does not have a traditional underclass like the US.

    To impose the burden of a huge class of recent illegal high needs immigrants is unfair to the traditional underserved underclass of the US.

  169. 12:48,

    No way would Mexico treat an illegal alien with the benevolence they expect here in the US. You try it. You will see your butt in jail faster than sliding on a oil slick. Have you read what Mexico does to its illegal aliens from Nicaragua and the like? It is more than enough to make any ones hair curl. I didn't say not to educate them, I said services for the American people first! Also if you abuse the system in any way shape or form, out! If you are caught doing anything illegal, out!

    This is the same thing, less awful, than what would happen to you if you did these things in Mexico. Wake up and do the reseach!!

    There was an article in MSNBC the other day about how badly illegal immigrants are treated in Mexico. So no way would you get any free social services there for illegals. Think again. Try actually learning the facts first!

  170. Here is the link to ho Mexico treats its illegals!

  171. The left in SF thinks George Bush was a conservative extrem ist and in the same breathe cites him for ballooning the deficit. Excuse me but conservatism is not about fiscal irresponsibility. As you can see by reading this thread the progressives are the ones who want more and more social services and have no idea that the tax base to make them possible does not come from moribund socialist economies like many of those found in Europe - the model they hold up for America. Why do you think they have struggled with double digit unemployment and massive debt for the last three decades?

  172. 1:15 PM


    Canada, land of single payer healthcare, to which I can personally attest provides superior healthcare to the US (Vancouver vs San Francisco) does not have a moribund economy. It's per capita national debt is quite a bit lower than the US.

    In any case, it has a mixed socialist/capitalist economy.

    It does not attempt to roll out a capitalist model where there is in fact a monopoly and priciples of capitalism do not work.

    It also does not have an illegal immigrant problem to the extent that the US does because corporations there would never get away with lobbying the government in the way that US corporations have.

    (Just before we all hop on the free markets can fix everything bandwagon, I thought I would point this out.)

  173. Here again another article about Mexico's treatment of illegals.

    First, Mexico put its military and police forces on its porous, zigzagged, mountainous, crime-ridden southern border with Guatemala. Chiapas – the South Carolina-sized southern Mexican state that shares the longest border with Guatemala – is Mexico's poorest, most illiterate state. About Chiapas, one United Nations human rights commissioner said, "Mexico is one of the countries where illegal immigrants are highly vulnerable to human rights violations and become victims of degrading sexual exploitation and slavery-like practices, and are denied access to education and health care."

    Did you read the denied access to education and health care? So go to Mexico and demand your rights as an "illegal"! We'll see how far you get! Hahaha!!!

    Also this is how they feel about us: "Do Mexicans appreciate the way America has allowed so many poor, Mexican illegals to enter the United States? No. According to a recent Zogby poll, 73 percent of Mexicans call Americans "racist"! " Wow! Eye opener for me.

    And as for their benevolences:


    Mexico should look in the mirror. According to the Houston Chronicle's Rachel Graves, around the turn of the 17th century, Mexico imported more African slaves than anywhere else in the New World. As a result, tens of thousands of blacks (no one knows for sure – the Mexican census does not recognize them) live in Mexico, mostly in destitute villages in its poorest states. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 blacks live in Costa Chica."

  174. I don't think anyone is suggesting sending anyone back.

    What we are trying to crack is how do you get this population to give a shit about education?

    I don't care about the reasons why... history, lack of books, education. It doesn't matter.

    What do we do about it? Wrap-around services are probably effective but are the costs of these services realistic? What else could be done to influence the culture? What about teaching life skills?

    What about all of the groups that serve this population? Why not make a requirement for federal funding or tax status that the groups serving these populations has to "educate" their customers?

    1. Children Cost Money - You need to plan to have enough $ to support your children - food, healthcare and educational services. This is your responsibility.
    2. Education First - To survive in America, you and your children must be educated. Education must be your number one priority

    I think we are doing these families a disserve by NOT teaching them life skills for success, not to mention the burden this creates.

  175. As lovely as this thread is, it seems the best place available on this blog to remind everyone that the teachers and the district have still not reached an agreement. As a result, the district will proceed with layoffs, and almost certainly let go many more teachers than it would have with an agreement.

    Here's what UESF sent out this afternoon:

    After a 17-hour marathon session that ended at 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, no significant progress was made in negotiations between the United Educators of San Francisco and the San Francisco Unified School District.

    The failure of the superintendent to deal positively or consider a compromise aimed at preserving classroom instruction and student services means that the school board will take final action on layoffs tonight without a negotiated agreement. This almost certainly means that the district will send out a far higher number of layoffs than if they had worked to resolve this issue at the bargaining table.

    Despite meeting with Superintendent Carlos Garcia, his chief deputy Richard Carranza and the mediator and apparently making progress, the district's last written proposal contained no guarantee on saving a single paraprofessional job, while demanding more money than they had claimed previously. The have also rejected almost all of the union's proposals on working conditions.

    UESF bargaining team members sincerely regret the posturing and arrogance of the district that has prevented the achievement of a settlement prior to this evening's Board of Education meeting at which time the final layoff numbers will be announced.

    UESF's goal in all of this has been to preserve the quality of education in classrooms and to preserve needed student services and supports. We worked to put money on the table and offered modified language on working conditions in an effort to achieve an agreement.

    The question we have now is the same one we had at the beginning of this process - what will it take to preserve these jobs and the quality of education in our schools?

    Dennis Kelly
    President, UESF

  176. "what will it take to preserve these jobs and the quality of education"?

    Note the order. Jobs 1st, kids 2nd. SFUSD belongs to UESF and the bureaucrats.

  177. Well, it looks like they are going to rescind 1/2 of the layoffs, so about 350 teachers are going to be cut. There are fewer than 80 teachers that did not get assignments during the consolidation process, so where do they intend to get the other 270 warm bodies?

    Aside from which, Garcia's most recent press release is ridiculous. He claims "The teachers union is demanding we agree to no layoffs next year." The union has never made that demand. It's been apparent to everyone for a long time that some layoffs are inevitable.

  178. "so where do they intend to get the other 270 warm bodies"

    Clueless in San Francisco

  179. 6:18

    I think Garcia referred to "next year". Everyone knows there will be some layoffs THIS year, but union wants no layoffs next year. I don't blame them. However, I also feel it would be irresponsible for the district to allow that condition in, given the current economic situation.

  180. uuggghhh.
    I'm so tired of those union trolls taking over the conversation.

  181. The union is not looking good. They appear appear to be the obstructionists that want more concessions at a time when most people have to make due with less. This is not winning them any positive public sentiment.

    Those that like to point out the equity consideration of high versus low seniority staffs and the subsidizing on the high by the low, don't mention that it is the union that would obstruct any change to that structure. The rank and file would not take kindly to bing told by SFUSD that they can't trade up over time to a better school. Nor would they like to see themselves passed over for those prized jobs when given to new graduates on the cheap .

    As for donations, let the free spending social democratics donate all the money they like to the schools. I am going to be selfish and donate only to the 600 children at our school.

  182. "I'm so tired of those union trolls taking over the conversation."

    Now that's such an intelligent and enlightening comment. Thanks for sharing. (Not.)

    Yeah there are problems and obstacles and no one says the union can't / shouldn't give, but....really? You think we'd have the weekend, the 8-hour day, workers comp, social security, etc. -- without the unions? The less union density, the worse workers are paid and treated across the board, union or not. They're not perfect, but we're better for workers having a voice than not.

  183. Excuse me but conservatism is not about fiscal irresponsibility.

    They are synonymous now! How many Republicans voted for Bush's irresponsible deficit budgets (tax cuts for wealthy, Medicare Part D with no funding, and two wars, one of them based on a known lie (WMDs)?

    Republicanism and conservatism = fiscal irresponsibility, no matter what they say or believe they stand for. Clinton delivered a surplus, and Bush delivered the worst deficit in history. Those are facts on the ground.

    Sorry to burst your fantasy.

  184. Hey 9:00
    I'm just relishing in my 'intelligent and enlightening' remark.
    But isn't there some other forum that union members can use as opposed to this one. I actually enjoy hearing what other parents have to say. Not some scripted response from the union.

  185. And I guess the last year never happened.

  186. The exchange on this thread between far left progressives and those that are more moderate illustrates the deep divide between the local political camps. Given the relatively mild commentary from the political center (considered coservative in extremist SF), and the breath of the divide between the Left in SF and these moderates, one can only imagine how far to the left political thought is in San Francisco. It is so much so that one recent commentor in which George Bush's deficit was cited as the biggest to date, forgot to mention what has happened to America's debt under Obama, as if that never did happen.

  187. "Not some scripted response from the union."

    I'm not a member or employee of the union. No ties to the union here, other than my dad having been a union member who sent me to college on his union wages. At this point I'm just a parent who thinks that it is better if workers, including teachers, have a voice rather than not. This is radical or revolutionary? Or have our politics skewed so far to the right?

  188. George Bush's deficit was cited as the biggest to date, forgot to mention what has happened to America's debt under Obama, as if that never did happen.


    Clinton inherited a deficit budget from George H.W. Bush. Eight years later, he produced a surplus budget.

    George W. Bush inherited that surplus budget from Clinton. Eight years later, he produced the worst deficit in history. Why? Because of unnecessary tax cuts that benefited primarily the uber-rich. Because of the unpaid-for prescription drug plan. Because of a stupid and insanely expensive war that was based on a lie or a fantasy (not sure which, really, maybe both).

    Obama inherited from George W. Bush the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Those in the know were *scared* that the whole system was going down. Obama inherited the same stupid war that is draining our coffers. Same tax cuts. Same spiraling medical costs.

    Obama has had just one+ year, so it's too early to judge what will happen over eight years. But the economy is improving, albeit slowly, which will improve the deficit and the debt if it continues. Health care plan will insure 31 million new people and unlike Medicare Part D will be largely paid for over time. There is a plan to get out of Iraq. We'll see what happens once this crisis eases and gov't spending is no longer so crucial, but it is likely the deficit (and debt) will ease.

    The fact is that the Republican party of my parents and grandparents generation in the Northeast has evolved from a small-c conservative tendency to a fiscally irresponsible, ideologically radical (right) party. It's a shame.

  189. At the Board meeting tonight, the Superintendent claimed that he plans to send out no layoff notices next year, so don't put that on the union.

    While I don't support our union's present leadership, I do not believe that the District has shared enough information with teachers and parents to feel certain that their decisions are in the interest of students. When even tonight tens of thousands of dollars were sent to consultants from unrestricted funds, the lack of clear information from the District suggests to me that they are unwilling or unable to budget effectively and with clarity.

  190. " can only imagine how far to the left political thought is in San Francisco."

    No, it isn't. It's the rest of the country (and lots of SF) that have swung so far right my neck hurts. The union-bashing, racist, anti-immigrant, poor-people-hating sentiments on even this mildly progressive blog shock me. Lots of what I take to be the basic tenets of secular humanism (i.e., eighteenth century liberalism, which was once what conservatism reflected) are now considered "leftist" or "socialist."

  191. 11:20,you should look at Rachel Norton's blog -, where she has a complete breakdown of the budget. What many do not realize is much of what is spent on "consultants" is federal money that is not allowed to be spent on things like teachers salaries or general costs, i.e. it can only go to certain things. In the budget the biggest amount spent on consultants is under special ed which is a federal mandate. There are problems in the district, but we are fighting the wrong people. The budget reflects realities in CA that this district hasn't had to deal with yet due to rainy day funds. You should check out other districts to see what they have had to do. State receivership is a very real possibility and then no one here -parents, teachers, board, etc. will have say in what happens at schools.

  192. "scripted response from the union"? As opposed to the cheery ad libs the superintendent spouts? Get real, they're all giving us carefully crafted propaganda. But for some reason, Garcia's rhetoric gets front page billing, and union responses are relegated to the comments. Is there really not enough room in the sandbox for everyone? Please try to remember that the union members are your children's teachers, I'd think you might want to hear from them on a blog devoted to education??

  193. "No, it isn't. It's the rest of the country (and lots of SF) that have swung so far right my neck hurts."

    It's not me it's them! It isn't San Francisco that's crazy, it's the whole rest of the country ( and parts of SF,too!

    Wake up and smell the coffee. Didn't we just elect the first African American president who also happens to have had the most radical leftist voting record in the Senate in the history of this country? That doesn't sound to me like the good old US of A is a bastion of radical conservatism. I'm a political moderate and I was no fan of George Bush for many reasons. I am no fan of Obama either, mainly because his back room dealing is a disgrace and in total contrast to his political campaign that emphasized transparency.

    But the biggest problem is his willingness to allow Iran to become a nuclear power. This is what he will be remembered for when we vote him out in 2012.

    The reason there is likely to be a more repbulicans elected to office in this November's mid-term election is because the US has always been a politically moderate nation and the pendullum has swung too far to the left under Obama. Whether you like the health care bill or not, pushing through reforms that the majority are firmly against, is going to get you in trouble st the polls.

  194. Receivership is not a real possibility unless SFUSD's fiscal problems grow considerably worse. There are so many districts that are running the risk of receivership that the State cannot handle it all, and the y don't want to. We are in new territory. It isn't the same landscape as a few years ago when Oakland went down. If SFUSD was about to go into receivership they wouldn't have just rescinded half the layoffs.

  195. "Sweden. Come on! Sweden has an immigration policy as tight at Fort Knox."


    Sweden was in the first round of opening residency to the more recent Eastern European EU members like Poland and Lithuania(with the UK and Ireland). 8% of the populatio is immigrant now, which is a big chance over a short period of time for what was a very homogenous country.

  196. Rachel Norton skips some key points:

    1. Within Special Education, why are there so many children we are unable to serve within our District? Much of that money goes to private schools. SFUSD has a very large budget for that, comparatively.

    2. Restricted Funds come from a variety of sources and can be used to cover many expenditures. SFUSD makes decisions with their restricted dollars that are not sunshined.

    3. There are significant District cash drains (technology, the Superintendent's discretionary fund from Prop. A, Legal's contracting with many law firms) that need to be discussed. Is it the most efficient policy for Legal to outsource so much work? Given that some areas of law come up again and again, would it be a better use of District funds to hire more lawyers? Where does the IT money go, and how are distribution decisions made? etc.).

    Overall, school finance is complicated and the information available is nowhere near sufficient for the sweeping generalizations the Board makes, particularly when it makes those generalizations at the expense of schools.

  197. I am also really tired of the receivership issue. First, it would behoove the Board to admit that they - and the Superintendent - would all lose their jobs in that case. They should also note that they would only enter receivership if they needed a loan from the state to continue functioning, and that they have been financially certified for next year already.

    Besides, I see plenty of corporate-speak and charters in SFUSD already: using the possibility of state takeover to warn of such outcomes is offensive.

  198. Dear Drivel,

    Copied below is the summary from Migration Information Source.

    Issues on the Horizon

    Sweden, like all countries in Western Europe, is facing an aging population and low birth rates. It is reasonable to believe that Sweden will have to rethink its immigration policy in the not-too-distant future and to accept low-skilled labor immigration from non-European countries.

    Sweden will also have to rethink its self-image as a European nation-state, which is not compatible with the multicultural image Sweden is trying to establish. The notion of "Swedishness" will also need reconsideration in order to become more inclusive.

  199. "Didn't we just elect the first African American president who also happens to have had the most radical leftist voting record in the Senate in the history of this country?"

    It's true we elected the first African American president.

    Drivel that he had the most "radical leftist voting record in the Senate in the history of the country," no matter how you define those terms. He mostly voted with his party, true, but the whole congressional agenda has moved so far to the right compared to the Johnson or Roosevelt eras that there is NO current senator who can lay claim to the title of most radical ever. Not even Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-identified democratic socialist. None of them are talking, let alone voting, on nationalizing major industries or setting up a system true socialized medicine (other than the VA)--unlike in past eras.

    By comparison to historical trends and in comparison to several in his own party or caucus who run more to the left than he on several important issues (Sanders, Ted Kennedy RIP, Harkin, Boxer, Feingold to name a few), Obama is a solid Democrat but somewhat cautious and even centrist. His inclination is compromise and trying to bring sides together. A good example of this is gay issues--DADT and gay marriage (which he opposes). Read the frustrated commentary at Huffington Post, the Nation, and Daily Kos to understand how he relates to the progressives in the Democratic Party. David Remnick's new biography also makes this argument quite convincingly. There are good things about his approach imo--it is refreshing to have an intelligent, cool-headed, mature person in the presidency--but frustrating how unprogressive he can be at times.

    Calling Obama a socialist or a radical, let alone the "most radical leftist" of all, does not make it so. You have to make a case based on his policies and voting record, which certainly prove otherwise. Quoting the rantings of Hannity and Limbaugh does not make the case either.

  200. Um, 9:03, I think you just strengthened 8:49's point. Sweden is in transition to more immigration than it has been. It's at 8% immigration population now, and climbing.

    Sweden has historically been strong in refugee aid and resettlement as well. To its credit, it and the other Scandinavian countries make one of the highest per capita contributions to foreign development assistance, which is intended to get to some of the root causes of mass migration in the first place.

    Sweden has its problems, and will surely face more as it moves to become a more multicultural nation. But they also have notable successes in literacy, employment, longevity and other factors on the human development index. It is therefore worth looking at Sweden's relatively high-tax, but also very high-service, model. They have a much lower gap between rich and poor there, and lots of family-supportive policies including health care, school funding, maternity and paternity leave, and so on.

    Certainly our low-tax, try-to-high-but-always-in-crisis service model is the picture of insanity no matter what your political persuasion.