Friday, July 30, 2010

WSJ reporter wants to talk to families from Marin Prep

NOTE: DUE TO SEVERAL REQUESTS, COMMENTS ON THIS THREAD HAVE BEEN FROZEN.

I’m a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and understand Marin Prep has lost basically its whole K-garten class after the headmaster quit. Do you know more about this, know others who can talk to me? Please email me at jim.carlton@wsj.com. Thanks! Best, Jim Carlton

65 comments:

  1. Why don't you report on something that actually matters to San Francisco parents, like the impact that the city's "diversity" policy is having on public school access, rather than the problems of a single kindergarten class at a single private school?

    I'm so sick of the press ignoring what actually matters to San Francisco parents.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I second 1:53's comment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree that the topic of Marin Prep is not interesting beyond the a small set of affected families. But I would argue that 1) school access is not as important to most SF families as this blog makes it out to be--it's something you go through at the K, 6, and 9 level and other times you are focused on curriculum, teacher layoffs, funding crises; and 2) what will be interesting though is to see the impact of the new policy on equitable access and racial and class over-concentrations in our schools--I think we don't know yet, but that will be interesting and something worth writing about. Sometimes I think the new policy will create more separation (and the corrollary, inequity) than ever, and other times I am more hopeful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Geez...maybe Marin Prep is part of a much larger piece on schools.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Since it is the WSJ, I thought the reporter might be interested in chain, for-profit privates, and the business issues they face. The impression I've gotten from the various postings on Marin Prep is that the head of school took a stand against the corporate bosses regarding class sizes and left over it. I can see a story in that.

    ReplyDelete
  6. My name is Chris Whitt. As an extremely happy and dedicated returning parent of Marin Prep, and a loving friend of the 7 families that have decided to move on, I am extremely confused about why the Wall Street Journal would have any interest in what 12 San Francisco families are doing regarding the 1st grade. These 12 families had a wonderful year last year, and at the end of the year some of the families decided to go in a different direction and start a new school. Certainly in San Francisco there is enough room for at least one more new school. There is no drama here. These 12 families are all friends who socialize, have playdates, and love one another. Mr. Carlton, I would be happy to talk with you. I simply can not imagine why any person would want to read a story in the Wall Street Journal about something so trivial. Feel free to contact me anytime, whitt_christian@hotmail.com.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This should be interesting.
    Maybe this WSJ report will expose Ed Walter's suspect employment history.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Move along....nothing to see here.....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Posh snooty private schools are more newsworthy to the WSJ types.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The comments on the thread are so archtypically San Franciscan. They reflect an antipathy toward people who are willing to pay money to educate their children fueled by a destructive underclass.

    School and city leaders continue to spend exorbitantly and impractically to win the "progressive vote" while ignoring pragmatic steps forward that could result in actual improvements in education.

    I'm thrilled that there are alternatives to this broken "theology."

    If the WSJ wants to tell the real story of what is happening in education in San Francisco, they can start there.

    ReplyDelete
  11. your children are fueled by a destructive underclass?

    what a funny, over-the-top, run-on sentence. can't wait to see what new breathless political rants appear next on this thread. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. "destructive underclass" ???

    Just say BLACK PEOPLE since that is what you mean.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The interest may have something to do with the people involved; it's the headline of this Chronicle article:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/01/BAR61EMIJP.DTL

    I'm glad that students will have these rich learning experiences, especially in science. I've found that students are naturally intellectually curious and that nurturing that builds confidence (especially in science in math). That said, I'm glad that Jill Tucker pushed them a little on not "moving that mountain" of the public schools. Still, I'm not sure that their (commendable) philanthropy is as useful to school funding as their (considerable) political power being directed toward the issue.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yeah, that sure was a lot of blather they gave Jill Tucker when it's actually all about keeping their kids away from black and Latino kids.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Is this the same Dr. Chowdhury?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/21/technology/21cnd-aol.htm

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is a great article from the Chronicle! What happens when the press digs deeper? Why is there only a partial bio on the head of school on the school website when there is a ton of information about Mr. Walters on the web? Why does he edit his bio? What is he hiding? And what about Chowdhury? We all need to dig deeper to find out who is going to be leading these children.

    ReplyDelete
  17. AOL Moves to Increase Privacy on Search Queries

    By TOM ZELLER Jr.
    Published: August 22, 2006

    AOL announced the resignation of its chief technology officer yesterday, two weeks after the company came under intense criticism from privacy advocates for releasing hundreds of thousands of its customers’ Web search queries.

    An AOL researcher who put the queries online and a manager overseeing the project were dismissed, according to an AOL employee who did not want to be identified because the company does not comment publicly on personnel matters.

    AOL, a unit of Time Warner, also said it planned to enhance data-privacy protections, reconsider the length of time that it holds onto the millions of search queries that customers make every day and re-educate its own employees about the sensitivity of personal data.

    “This incident took place because some employees did not exercise good judgment or review their proposal with our privacy team,” Jonathan F. Miller, the chief executive, wrote in an e-mail message to employees released yesterday afternoon. “We are taking appropriate action with the employees who were responsible.”

    Chowdhury

    ReplyDelete
  18. Perhaps this thread should be called inane media wars? Not seeing why any of this should be a hot topic.

    ReplyDelete
  19. There are two schools in San Francisco that are not affiliated with each other. This thread is completely inappropriate. Both schools are fine options for the children of San Francisco. We need more choice in this city. I don't understand who is served by this back and forth. This is all irrelevant to the children. I hope that in the future the families in SF are served by additional options to the more established private schools. And, I greatly hope that the public lottery system is changed so that families that would have liked to have been in the public school system can participate. The kids just want to have fun and learn. Every family in SF should have the right to choose a school that fits each individual child. Rather than a system so rife with frustration that families are pit against one another...be it public vs. private, or which "trophy" public is acceptable, or which "trophy" private is acceptable. The parents of SF are the great losers in all of this negativity, competition, and anger. I really hope that more choice in either the public or private realm will begin to ease this horrendous situation that we are all forced into in this city. I hope that this thread ends. It makes me feel sad.

    ReplyDelete
  20. The children of San Francisco are the losers -- especially the low-income children -- when families leave public school for private, and when elitists start more private schools to try to convince more families with resources to avoid public schools. It's racist and immoral.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Newsflash - life isn't fair. People who have more money have more options, including how they educate their children.
    If you want to make a larger argument that wealth disparity is immoral and/or racist that's one thing. Or if you want to say that the public schools are failing many, if not most children, that's another.
    People who have the luxury (and it is luxury) to choose better options, usually will. It doesn't make them racists or immoral - just lucky.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I greatly hope that the public lottery system is changed

    Surely you know it is being changed this year?

    so that families that would have liked to have been in the public school system can participate.

    This statement needs unpacking:

    1) no one is barred from participating, so the words "can" is a dodge; it's your choice.

    2) since presumably means you didn't like your lotto school: most families, esp those of us without the option of hiring our own de facto tutors and governesses a la Alta Vista, ultimately found public schools that are fine (I know some of the schools are not fine, btw).

    3) the sense of entitlement that runs through this--"would have liked to participate"--the *assumption* that one has a choice, well, it makes me sad too [to coin a phrase].

    I know some people are lucky. I know that rich people have always bought their kids' schooling. Please spare the rest of us your hand-wringing about making that choice.

    I won't apologize for being negative. We are not all the same. I have watched social inequality grow over the last 30 years, and while I do not blame you personally for this, I do think we need to say clearly that the interests of those who are the winners of the Reagan Revolution (the top 5% or maybe 10%--six figure earners etc.) do not align with the interests of the rest of us middle class schmucks and those who are truly poor.

    I don't really care if you would have liked the idea of public school but found the reality (maybe even my children's school) unacceptable. I don't have to care, because I know you have other choices, so I know your kids will do well. I DO care about those of us who have fewer, or no, other choices for education. These are the families whose interests matter to me.

    Every family in SF should have the right to choose a school that fits each individual child.

    I really hope that more choice in either the public or private realm will begin to ease this horrendous situation that we are all forced into in this city.

    Yes, all families should be able to find good schools. But your efforts to create more private schools will not provide choice for most of us. Your efforts will not help poor or even middle class kids. Your efforts will offer more choice to rich and upper-middle class kids, which is good for you guys, so hooray. But your efforts will also siphon off energy from the huge fight to fund our schools at the level they need--not boutique fundraising efforts through Donors Choose, as helpful as those efforts are. Your efforts may also undermine the sense of the commons, the belief that we, the community, are to be judged by the quality of our schools and the health and education of all our kids, our kids together and not segregated by class and race.

    If you want to join us in our efforts despite opting out of public schools for your own kids, I welcome your energy. If not, please just stop talking about how we are all in this together but you are forced to look elsewhere.

    I hope the new public school assignment system will work more smoothly. However, neighborhood preference, pushed by west side parents, is unlikely to offer more choice to the kids whose families can't afford to live in the nicer neighborhoods. Hopefully CTIP1 will offer some outlet (though with buses being cut, who knows how real this is), but some parents are already complaining about offering CTIP1 to kids in our poorest neighborhoods. You see, our interests as parents do not always align the same way. This is why honest conversation, even if negative and hard at times--is needed.

    I really doubt your situation is "horrendous" compared to the situation of most families. Hardly anyone I know can afford private school in this town, and most have never even heard of Friends or SF Day. They have heard of the parochial schools, but the private schools are not even on the radar. Please remember that you are in a small, privileged group of families.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I wonder if the folks starting this new school have connected the dots between California's abysmal underfunding of education (thanks Prop 13!), a state legislature held hostage by a minority who refuse to approve any new taxes which might alleviate the situation, and the fact that they were not able to find the level of arts, music, foreign language, science, free creative play, tiny class size, etc. which they feel are baseline requirements for their children in the public schools? Throw in a few more dots like corporations and multimiliionaires not paying their fair share of taxes, and the fact that these folks seem to have no trouble contemplating spending upwards of $400,000 apiece K-12 on their kids' schooling (this figure from another article in the Chronicle magazine section today) and the picture that starts to emerge is that while vast sums of money seem to be considered mandatory to produce a school which is acceptable for the children of the wealthy, the rest of us are supposed to make do with what you get when the state that spends less than $7000 per year per child on education. So much for the people who claim that you can't fix education by throwing more money at it. Apaarently you can, just so long as you call it a private school.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Alta Vista ("high view") is an apt name. They get to look down on the great unwashed masses.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Disgusting. Do you really think people send their children to private schools to keep them away from blacks and latinos (as mentioned by a previous poster?)

    Are you blind? US public schools rank #29 internationally according to PISA, an international assessment of high school science and #35 in math. That's pathetic. In the US, schools in California came in *third from the bottom* for children NOT eligible for free/reduced lunch. If you take into account all students, it is only better than Mississippi. Which means that California is worse that #29 and #35.

    THAT is why I send my child to private school.

    ReplyDelete
  26. ^defensive much?

    if you are completely honest you'll acknowledge that one way parents judge school quality is by demographics. we see comments here on this site about "ghetto" kids. we see comments about behavioral problems. lots of proxies for race.

    speaking of test scores, plenty of parents in this city favor lower-scoring schools that are whiter looking than some with reasonable, even high, scores that are browner looking.

    there is research that shows that if you control for lots of factors, including class demographics and test scores, white parents will still tend to avoid schools with a significant portion of latino and african american students.

    and of course that is part of a larger mix of factors too--no denying that, not saying it is the only factor; just an unstated, perhaps even unconscious one.

    if you really want to compare test scores and outcomes between public and private, it's actually hard to do, since private schools don't publish their data (let alone comparable, apples to apples data that controls for social/economic factors). so surely most parents are not making these decisions based on hard, hard numbers--because they don't exist. many private schools offer exceptional educations, no doubt, plus the bells and whistles....but there are some in this town that are definitely less rigorous or even engaging than large numbers of our public schools--yet parents choose them.

    and all those aggregate numbers aside, most of us highly educated public school families will have exactly the same outcomes (if you really do want to go by the numbers) as you highly educated private school families. our kids will be in the same band of sat scores, and will attend the same colleges. we'll just pay $400,000 less before we get there.

    please understand, i'm not calling you all racists on a big old personal level. nor am i saying that we in public schools are saints (definitely not). that personal stuff is a straw man issue. i'm saying that race and ethnicity is a factor in the flight to private school. historical data bears this out (white flight when school desegregation became a reality) and current research does too. you may say it is not a factor for you. maybe not. i think that is a certain amount of denial.

    racism exists in an institutional way, and white flight to private school exacerbates the racial and ethnic educational divide, and there is a vicious cycle of perception, avoidance, and continued flight. it will take a concerted community commitment to avoid this cycle continuing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It's not quite so black and white. I know so many families who have been in both public and private or parochial schools. How do ya process that?

    ReplyDelete
  28. People who have the luxury (and it is luxury) to choose better options, usually will. It doesn't make them racists or immoral - just lucky.

    This is certainly true. However, it suggests that the decisions people make do not have an impact on the rest of us. When it comes to school choice, particularly private schooling, it is intellectually dishonest to ignore that.

    When a heavy percentage of the wealthiest citizens with the most political power are opting out of the public education system, they take their considerable pocketbooks and voice out of that system, too. That means conditions for the students who don't have the "luck" to make a similar choice are worse. In San Francisco, these decisions also have a huge impact on school demographics, making it more difficult to have diverse schools and skewing the percentage of high-needs and low-income children higher.

    Of course families should make the best choice for their children. But they shouldn't pretend that they are an island.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Could everyone participating in this thread agree that our public schools are in dire need of improvement? We are all responsible for the state of our public schools, and we should all advocate for reform, better funding and accountability.
    Everyone - young/old, rich/poor, black/white/latino - benefits if our populace is well educated.

    ReplyDelete
  30. "most families, esp those of us without the option of hiring our own de facto tutors and governesses a la Alta Vista, ultimately found public schools that are fine"

    It's obvious, with this kind of distortion, of why so many 0/7 parents are sooo angry.

    Governess my ass.

    We ended up going private. We plan to leave the city at some point because we know that moving to the Central peninsula or out of state will get us access to an excellent public highschool.

    Several families we've talked who have their kids in public school aren't thrilled. (Their worried about class size increases, poor options for middle school, etc.)

    Let's face it: many of the city's public schools are poor. The city's sanctuary policy, which increases the number of hard to educate non-English speaking kids, and looming teacher pensions have stretched public school resources to the breaking point.

    Quit your nonsense about governesses (Maybe you've watched The Sound of Music one too many times) and face reality.

    ReplyDelete
  31. "please understand, i'm not calling you all racists on a big old personal level. nor am i saying that we in public schools are saints (definitely not). that personal stuff is a straw man issue. i'm saying that race and ethnicity is a factor in the flight to private school. historical data bears this out (white flight when school desegregation became a reality) and current research does too. you may say it is not a factor for you. maybe not. i think that is a certain amount of denial."

    Senator James Webb's comments in the Washington Post are long overdue:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/23/AR2010072305105.html

    It's white's who are now often the victims of affirmative action.

    And it is often people of color, with a huge chip on their shoulder, who will not socialize with whites.

    ReplyDelete
  32. "When a heavy percentage of the wealthiest citizens with the most political power are opting out of the public education system"

    Maybe you're thinking of people who had children a generation ago.

    Most professional families in San Francisco today are struggling to pay mortgages and many have lost their jobs. People are opting out of the public schools because the schools are being asked to correct every social wrong, often at great expense, at a time of declining state funding.

    Public school administrators may want the so-called "wealthiest" in the school system, but only if they are professional grant writers and string pullers. The silent middle and upper middle class, with their clear demand for schools focused on academic excellence, are not wanted.

    That's why public school applications of the middle class are magically dumped on schools like Junipero Serra, Hillside and El Dorado. Sure, they are "assigned" to a school, but one the EPC knows will not meet the academic expectations of the parents. Then, when the parents cry fowl, they are accused of racism.

    Please do see the comments of Senator Webb, above.

    It is not racist to set high academic standards for your children.

    You do not have to correct ever social wrong in the world on the backs of your children.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "parents cry fowl"
    Sorry, but this such is a funny image...parents running around calling out--"chicken! pheasant! game hen!" ;)

    Actually, Junipero Serra, El Dorado, and Hillside ALL have wonderful, dedicated teaching staffs. I'd send my kid to any of these. I wonder what the commenter thinks are the specific academic deficiencies at these schools? They each have low-income constituency, with predictably less-than-stellar test scores, although I think two if not three of them beat their demographics, which is impressive if so. They certainly have creative, experienced teachers. There are a few schools in the system I would avoid, although I hear of at least one that is undergoing some leadership changes.

    Also, "magically dumped"? Surely by now you know we had a lottery that had to cope with the fact that significant numbers of upper-middle class parents put the same few schools with limited spaces. This fact has been well-documented. How would you have the lottery distribute the 1/20 ratio of applicants to spots that were available at some of these schools? Where should the lotto send the other 95%? The fact that significant numbers of these families were then "magically" offered a different school had *everything* to do with too many families applying.

    Yeah, it drove upper-middle class families crazy that they couldn't do anything to control this system--by moving to a desirable block, for example. But it's not like there isn't oversubscription in neighborhood assignments systems like NYC and Oakland, either. It just happens via real estate pricing and suprise overages at the schools which might be worse (paying extra for a home in a district, and then being assigned out-of-district).

    Even with the imbalance of apps to a certain dirty dozen schools, the "acceptance rate" for first-time applicants getting one of their seven picks was over 70%, with most of the 0/7s (though not all) coming from the group that applied to those schools. That's not a judgment on families for going that way, just pointing out that the results were predictable, and the predictability of the system was well-publicized among upper-middle class families via PPS and others. Knowing what we know, that Miraloma and Clarendon would be over-subbed, we could only make our decisions to apply for those schools with the understanding that we would likely be "dumped" somewhere else that was under-subbed. Eyes open and all that.

    The new system will actually make life easier for the upper-middle class, I'm guessing, since there will be much more priority given to neighborhood--and people will be able to buy into the west side, where even potential overflow schools are high-scoring. With transport being cut back, I doubt there will be competition from CTIP1, either.

    I resent the blanket statement too that we do not have high academic standards for our kids, or that we are correcting societal wrongs on the backs of our kids. My kids' highly diverse school isn't perfect by any means, but they have excellent teachers and they are doing very well in school and they will go to good colleges. You make it sound so dire, and it is not, in reality.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Um, it's Hillcrest, not Hillside...

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hardly anyone comments about the parochial schools in this city, which seem as diverse if not more diverse than the public schools favored by the middle class. Our parochial is far more diverse than our neighborhood public, and very few kids who attend the school belong to the affiliated church or are even Christians of any kind. When you factor parochial schools into the private school equation (and you should, they have a lot more kids than the $25K/year independents), it looks a whole lot less like "white flight" into private schools and a whole lot more like middle-class families from many ethnic backgrounds looking for affordable, academics-focused schools that screen for intellectual and behavioral suitability as alternatives to lottery madness, difficult start times, lack of after-care, and ever-dwindling resources to deal with more challenged student populations.

    You always hear, "most middle-class kids from educated families who support their kids at home do fine in public school." I hear way too many public parents, even at schools widely considered acceptable or desirable by parents on this blog, complain that they have to teach their kids at home themselves after school. I want the school to teach my kids. I don't mind supervising homework that reinforces skills the kids have already learned, but I don't have independent learners, and I don't have the time or skill to teach them myself, or to haul them around to tutors.

    ReplyDelete
  36. It's terrific that parochials present parents more choices. But your point about PS parents complaining about having to do some education of their kids on their own (or through tutors) brings up another issue. They're not the only ones seeking out extra instruction (or providing it themselves) for their kids. There are lots of pricey tutors that parents in private schools use to help their kids as well. And some parents (PS and Private) even like the option (if it's something they have time for, interest in, aptitude for, etc) of teaching their kids something on their own, or addressing some learning they feel hasn't been addressed. It's not always something to complain about. For some it's even a way to feel engaged.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Agreed that parochial school is a different matter, aside from a select few. The Catholic Church gives some priority to offering lower-cost schools to their working class constituency.

    Although it is true that many non-Catholics and even non-Christians, and even LGBT families, attend parochial in SF, I think it would be naive to think that the Catholics (and other denominations) don't see this as a soft form of proselytizing. You marinate a bunch of kids in the culture, some of them will stick. I have no problem with that myself (as a person of faith)--it's part of their mission to do this. However, this is not okay for all parents, even for a lower cost, application-screened school and the advantages that brings.

    Also, many of the parochials do not serve special needs kids, so that can be an issue if you get a late diagnosis or have a sibling coming up who needs services.

    But yeah, point taken, it is a different category than the high-cost privates, with different demographics to boot. It would be interesting to compare demographically similar parochial and public schools in terms of outcomes. Not easy to do, though.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I wonder if the the parochial schools will see a big drop in enrollment under the new assignment system? Seems like they are a low cost option for many parents who are not happy with their lotto assignement. If more parents are happy with publics then there might be a lot less kids in Catholic schools. Of course the kids who attend the church will most likely still attend but I bet many others won't. It could be a big shift in the city demographic for elementary schools.

    ReplyDelete
  39. "Also, "magically dumped"? Surely by now you know we had a lottery that had to cope with the fact that significant numbers of upper-middle class parents put the same few schools with limited spaces."

    Ah. No. Parents who were dumped onto Junipero Serra this year did *not* all apply to a few select schools. The EPC knows that.

    Quite perpetuating a myth. We know you're trying to smear middle class families with racism and we won't stand for it anymore.

    *DON'T STAND FOR IT*

    Remember the travesty of justice you have been put through in the last several years. Think about your wallet and your time and how much all this BS has cost YOU.

    VOTE ACCORDINGLY!!

    ReplyDelete
  40. For all the talk of Catholic schools, many of them are struggling too (St. Brendan and NDV notwithstanding). The archdiocese has closed 4 K-8 grammar schools in the past 10 years: St. Elizabeth, St. Paul of the Shipwreck, St. Emydius in San Francisco and Mater Dolorosa in Daly City.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Parents who were dumped onto Junipero Serra this year did *not* all apply to a few select schools.

    But they did all apply to over-subscribed schools. When they didn't win the lotto at those schools, they had to be put somewhere. And yes, a lot of them did apply to vastly over-subbed schools--which is a fine choice, but it has predictable results unless you get lucky. It's like shooting the moon in hearts, or going for the inside straight draw in poker. Big celebraton if it works out, but odds are not so great.

    Undertstand, I'm not a defender of the (now defunct) lotto system, because the uncertainty and game-playing around which schools to list really was crazy-making for parents. But I at least understand there has to some kind of fair system for allocating over-wanted spots. The old system was definitely crazy, but in terms of fairness it wasn't so bad. It was a lot better than the old zip code system that lumped Bernal in with the Mission, for example.

    "Travesty of justice"? Rant much? How would you have allocated Clarendon's 65 or whatever non-sib spots to the 1,400+ families that listed it? Where would you have sent the remaining 1,300? It's a scarcity issue, or anyway a perceived-scarcity issue. Whereas you make it sound like a civil rights or human rights violation that you didn't win the lotto. No, it's really just a matter of math. Not everyone can win the lottery unless the applications to schools are more evenly distributed.

    We know you're trying to smear middle class families with racism

    Again, rant much? Read my earlier post (@1:49). I didn't mention race, so where exactly are you getting this? I was just responding to the earlier crazy post about crying "fowl" (sic) and being "magically dumped." There's so much to complain about that's real, so why undermine your credibility by raving and flapping your arms (or is that just the chicken dance--get it, crying fowl--lol) (sorry. still have that image in my head).

    Parents who were dumped onto Junipero Serra

    Why this animus toward a school that has good leadership and test scores that beat its demographics? Plus a nice garden and awesome location? Sure, it could use some networked, monied parents and some more TLC. But JS is *not* a dump. As many parents discovered when they checked it out and began working together. There are some schools in dire shape, but JS isn't one of them. Again, why strain credibility by lumping it in like that?

    I predict that with the new system, plus this year's parents going in, that JS will quickly become a popular GenEd school for the Mission, Glen Park and Bernal set, btw. Chicken dances notwithstanding.

    ReplyDelete
  42. "For all the talk of Catholic schools, many of them are struggling too (St. Brendan and NDV notwithstanding). The archdiocese has closed 4 K-8 grammar schools in the past 10 years"

    True, and they ones they are closing are the poorer ones in the Bayview, Western Addition, etc. Around the country, there is a drain on archdiocesan budgets due to the clergy abuse settlements. It's a huge issue in Boston, where parishes and schools are being closed right and left.

    It's a shame, because these schools did provide a real alternative for poor and working class families--unlike Alta Vista, Marin Prep, Friends etc. which as someone said are well off the radar of the vast majority of families in SF.

    ReplyDelete
  43. 2:44, I agree that some parents like and are skilled at teaching their kids. Good for them, they can save a bundle in public schools. For those of us who got the wrong kids (we're lousy teachers with full time jobs doing other things, and they don't learn effectively without a lot of teacher support), schools that have the resources to give that support to average kids are valuable. My experience of the private school difference with an average kid was that in public school, she slipped through the cracks. In private school, the teachers had the time to spend with her. We were lucky; the staff teachers could give her the help she needed. We know that for some of the other kids, a teacher would call the parents and say, "I'm sorry, I've been spending extra time with Jack/Janie but my bag of tricks doesn't seem to be working. I have a feeling a different approach might help him/her through this rough patch and here are some tutors you might want to try." Even at the private we used to go to, which was notorious for spotty parent-teacher communication, teachers would call or send notes home when our kid needed extra practice with something. Some public school teachers manage to go that extra mile, I know, but they are stretched so thin, you can't assume they will.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Most professional families in San Francisco today are struggling to pay mortgages and many have lost their jobs. People are opting out of the public schools because the schools are being asked to correct every social wrong, often at great expense, at a time of declining state funding.

    Yes, we are in hard financial times, but you should check your privilege here. If you can afford a $25,000 annual tuition, you are well above the median income in San Francisco (which is itself far above the median income in the United States). Given the current demographics in SFUSD (about 50% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch), the ability to pay private school tuition is both a blessing and a sign of real wealth.

    There has been significant, detailed and important pushback on Senator Webb's ahistorical, racist essay. I cannot find the best essay on this topic, which included great detail about how federal policies intentionally excluded African Americans, the Pigford case, and other issues Webb either doesn't know about, doesn't care about or would rather not tell you about. However, these essays are quite good and well-sourced. The first is a Tim Wise piece.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/7/30/888998/-Webb-of-Deceit:-Racism,-Affirmative-Action-and-History-as-Misunderstood-by-a-U.S.-Senator

    http://www.racialicious.com/2010/07/27/senator-jim-webb-aruges-against-affirmative-action-says-it-does-not-benefit-blacks/

    ReplyDelete
  45. Oh, of course, now that you've set the record straight, calling your opponent and Senator Webb "racist", you're for sure, on moral, hallowed ground.

    We're sick of it.

    Our pocket books are sick of it.

    Read Rachel Norton's blog.

    Many parents aren't well off, but they could be more involved with their children and their schools. They're too frequently not, and the result is bottom of the barrel test scores at many San Francisco schools.

    You can't cram the schools full with the children of families that are both linguistically and socioeconomically disadvantaged and expect a good result.

    Go ahead, blame it on the teacher's union. It's their fault that all these kids aren't zipping through middle school math and science. You're running out of people to blame.

    With regard to Junipero Serra:

    The school facility needs work,
    The tests scores aren't going to cut it for most academically inclined families,
    There is no aftercare option.

    So, no, it's not an option for most professional Noe/Bernal families. More exodus from the public school system, not that the EPC cares.

    You should know that all this racist name calling and our crappy school admission experience has pushed us from middle left to middle right, at least with regard to San Francisco politics. I'm sure we're not the only ones. So keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  46. 10:16pm

    I'm sorry your experience with the public school lottery process and the experience of reading this blog has been demoralizing. I only hope you know that the talk on this blog is more dramatic and enflamed than it might be elsewhere precisely because it is a blog - anonymous, and with a subject that's like tinder to a fire.

    It's not necessarily all that bad once you get in the system. I may be wrong, but I'm thinking maybe you've just gone through this process. A whole lot of people who go 0/7 or 0/14 comment on this blog, and not so many who've had other experiences. Yes, there are cheerleaders, but there are also lots of people who don't feel so compelled to weigh in -- people whose children are honestly having fine experiences in public schools.

    Once you're (or your child is) in the school, it's a whole lot easier trying to figure out how the system works at your child(rens) school in particular. Principals are different, PTAs are different, SEC groups are different; it's not this uniform thing where every experience is the same. You figure out how to navigate where you are, or where you end up.

    And of course lots of families and kids are having average, good, and great experiences in parochials and privates too.

    I hope the best for you and your family

    ReplyDelete
  47. 1:49,

    So why don't you transfer your child to one of the lesser performing schools and give your slot up to someone that wants it. It is easy hyperbole to say such things when you never intend on doing anything. There is a huge struggle with the schools here.

    Parents that care about education want their children in high performing schools. Wow!! What a thought. We want the best for our children!

    S.F. wants to look good as a highly diversified school district. Well, the two parties clash. Why? That is what we should be looking at. Why! Many of the children enrolled in schools, that many would consider, untenable are that way because of the social economic issues. Do we really need to debate that?

    We, the parents of the middle class and above, don't want to send our children to schools which would be struggling with these issues. Racist, no! I don't care what color you are from. It has to do with family life and what a child has to deal with. I don't want my child attending a school where gangs are prevalent. I don't want to send my child to a school where many of the other children have no idea where their next meal is coming from. I don't want to send my kid to a school where most of the parents are not present or are not acting in the best interest of their children. I don't care what color they are their children are.

    I want to send my child to a school were there is stability and the children that attend the school also have a modicum of stability in their lives. Does that make me racist? Maybe to you it does.

    I realize that all schools have their disadvantage children but I want my child to attend a school that these social disadvantages are the exception and not the rule.

    I also need a school with after care that is available to me and not just the the underprivileged. We middle class need after care too!! We also need schools where we and our families are comfortable sending our children too. Not sending our children to under performing schools that we don't feel good about.

    ReplyDelete
  48. So why don't you transfer your child to one of the lesser performing schools and give your slot up to someone that wants it.

    Since this is aimed at me (1:49 from yesterday):

    I don't know what you mean by lesser-performing, but as I mentioned in my post, my kids' school is highly diverse. We have kids from all income groups and several significant ethnic sub-groups. We have involved parents and uninvolved parents from all of the above groups as well and an active PTA and SSC. Last year the school met the standards for AYP for all sub-groups. The teachers are by and large dynamic, committed, experienced. The principal is good.

    However, it is not one of the highly sought-after schools--though there has been more interest lately. Nor are the test scores uniformly high--though they are rising for all groups. Free lunch % is over 50% and ELL % is also significant. From your description of what you don't want in a school, I'm afraid we might scare you off.

    My experience has been that there are challenges and frustrations and many, many rewards in being part of a community that is trying to raise the bar for such a diverse set of students. It's not that hard, actually. You do your part, not expecting miracles but hoping to make a contribution. You come to really appreciate the different families and especially the kids. Parental expectations are both realistic and hopeful.

    Regarding academic expectations, there are enough advanced kids and experienced teachers to give my kids plenty to chew on. It's a question of critical mass, but 4-5 in a class make a difference. My kids are reading, writing, engaged, and CST scores bear out that they are learning the curriculum.

    Why again do you think I should transfer my kids? There is room for you if you want to join us :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. 1:49,

    I mentioned you transferring your child since you seem to wonder at why a parent wouldn't be interested in a school like El Dorado and the like. If this and other schools of the like are acceptable, then you should transfer and take up a space in that school so that another parent that finds it unacceptable can go to a better school. But as I expected it was just hyperbole on your part and you have no intention of sending your child to a school like that.

    As for schools, thank you but my child is already enrolled in a, also fairly diverse, yet not trophy school but seems to be up and coming.

    It was my intent to point out that although you rate schools like El Dorado as acceptable, you have no intention of sending YOUR child there! Yet, you feel fine in denigrating parents that find a school like that unacceptable.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thanks, 2:19pm.

    I'll add some more comments to the parent that said they were concerned about sending their kids to a school where many of the kids might not have the most engaged parents.

    Before I started talking to other San Francisco parents, I have to admit that I had a very idealized notion of the kinds of problems that kids in this city face.

    I started out with the notion that families might be struggling because of a divorce or single working parent where the child might be alone after school. OK, I thought.

    Or perhaps, there were a certain number of kids, maybe 30% of the class, who were english language learners.

    Gradually, it dawned on me that there were a lot of schools in the city where more than half the kids were English language learners in families with no history of any kind of education.

    I discovered the statistic that more than half the kids in the city are on the free or reduced lunch program. More than half. Wow!

    I started to talk to some of my friends who had older children in the public school system. They spoke of experiences where their children's class mates had experienced a murder in the family. They spoke of the frequent abuse of some of the mothers. Or fathers that made visits to the hookers on the street next to the school before picking up their kids. (There was a recent article in the San Francisco Guardian about that.)

    We still went through the application process, but when we were assigned, two years in a row, to schools that were likely to be experiencing these kinds of problems, that was it.

    People talk in such nebulous and idealistic terms about our public schools. I think they have no idea of what the bottom third of our schools are really like.

    ReplyDelete
  51. But as I expected it was just hyperbole on your part and you have no intention of sending your child to a school like [El Dorado].

    Such a funny conversation! You don't know where my kids go and what the history of the school is or when we started there, so how do you know that we didn't do that, back in the day? Also, what exactly do you mean by "like that"--test scores? physical plant? demographics? what?

    FWIW, when my oldest kid started, the test scores looked an awful lot like El Dorado's do now, and the school was pretty much shunned by middle class parents. You are right that I have no intention of switching my older children out of their school now, but I'm not talking from a perch over at Clarendon or anything. And I won't apologize for the gains made at the school while we've been there. We are especially happy that all sub-groups have been making progess, at least based on standardized tests, so it is not only demographic change driving the gains.

    Seriously, it's great that your kid is at a diverse and up-and-coming school. Any idea how it came to be in up-and-coming mode? Demographic changes? Program changes? Leadership and teaching? That's a more interesting conversation, plus the only way to improve the admissions process is to improve more schools, and see improvement for all sub-groups. Otherwise, we are just moving chess pieces around the board, and some families will always be on the losing end of the lotto or whatever the assignment system is.

    ReplyDelete
  52. 4:16 PM:

    You're right. We don't know where your kids go to school. However, you likely do not, and did not have your kids in a school in the bottom 1/3rd of the performance ladder in the city.

    The improvement in schools over the last few years is due to affluent young people moving into less desireable areas ten years ago and then having kids five years ago.

    That's petering out. The economy in the city and Bay Area is not going to support a middle class baby boom in future.

    So the opportunity to improve public schools with middle class investment will likely be diminished.

    Just because you happened to start your kids in school in a time of properity and investment in public schools doesn't mean those coming up behind you will have the same chances.

    What's left of San Francisco schools are the toughest nuts to crack. Due to the poor economy, which is likely to persist for many years to come, there is no additional funding for any of our public schools, and certainly not the schools that failed to improve during a time of prosperity.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I'm not sure that's true 5:07pm. You may be right -- that the changing economics may make it harder and harder for middle class families to live here and to have children. The people that will remain tend to be those at the top of the economic scale and those at the bottom, and trends show that higher income families are increasingly staying in cities rather than moving out to the suburbs. Not all of those higher income people can fit in the private school slots; there just aren't enough spots. So hypothetically, a greater proportion of them could end up in public schools (if they took the leap, and many do, especially lately and especially during hard economic times) and you could end up with in some ways a financial boon for struggling public schools. You might end up with a higher proportion of high earners in public schools putting their dollars and energies there. This is still a massive bummer for the middle class -- but it's a scenario that could happen.

    ReplyDelete
  54. @3:56pm:

    I'm curious. Given that there are schools with significant numbers of ELLs, students experiencing trauma, students living in dire poverty, etc., how do you propose that these schools thrive?

    High-needs schools are underfunded because the level of service they need to provide is expensive. Yet they have the population least able to advocate for better funding, the most transient teacher population, etc.

    I suppose that it's possible just to ignore such schools, but the system we have now has enormous long-term costs for everyone, whether or not they attend a trophy school or a southeast side school.

    ReplyDelete
  55. 5:19,

    I think that is unlikely. Where there is money, people will follow. Hence there are more private schools opening, just look at this board. There is already one that has posted here looking for students to enroll. Public schools will only get worst as the middle class flees. The only way to stem the tide is to make better schools available. I have no ideas how to do that.

    1:49,

    As for the question of how the school my child attends is getting better, I believe it is leadership. We have a great Principal and have started programs not in other schools. Not to mention, the aftercare program is for ALL not just the underprivileged. I don't mind having aftercare be prorated to what people can afford; but to completely ignore the middle class and assume that they can find their own after care because the underprivileged some how need it more is ridiculous and asinine. But that is one of the many struggles that middle class families have to deal with.

    As for the "like that" I have no idea what you are referring to. I mentioned the reasons why I find schools like El Dorado untenable.

    You are right I have no idea what your child's school is like. But neither do you know what other people are struggling with. So don't lob stones unless you want some lobbed back! I was showing you how asinine your argument was regarding why people don't want to attend certain schools and why, yes, some schools are more popular. Why shouldn't they be? Why is a parent bad or stupid to try an enroll their child into that school? I think it is great that there are actually schools here in S.F. that are popular. However, I highly double we will be able to make all schools so popular.

    Why you ask? Well, for one, family life and social economics are the answer. Unless, you can teach people how to be better parents and actually care for a kid, their is no magic in any school that can help. Yes, maybe one or two students can slug their way out of poverty, but many can't and won't be able to. So what do we do? I don't know but I am not bashing parents for wanting a good choice of school for their kid. Yes, every one deserves a great education but then again every kid deserves a great home! Well, sorry but I can't give that to every kid as much as I would love to.
    So, selfish as it maybe, I ensure my kid gets what they need and then try to help other kids in the school my child is enrolled in. How do I do that? Well, since I work. I tend to donate items. Last year, I donated over $500 worth of material for the teachers to use in the class room. I joined the PTA and voted. I didn't attend many meetings but I did join. I also get together with other parents to help where I can and try to help the teacher by ensuring that my child is ready everyday for school (i.e. good nutrition, good night sleep, help with homework, backpack prepared for school, etc.). So I do try to do my part and maybe it isn't enough but I do try and I don't bash parents that want the best for their kid!!!

    ReplyDelete
  56. 5:19,

    I think that is unlikely. Where there is money, people will follow. Hence there are more private schools opening, just look at this board. There is already one that has posted here looking for students to enroll. Public schools will only get worst as the middle class flees. The only way to stem the tide is to make better schools available. I have no ideas how to do that.

    1:49,

    As for the question of how the school my child attends is getting better, I believe it is leadership. We have a great Principal and have started programs not in other schools. Not to mention, the aftercare program is for ALL not just the underprivileged. I don't mind having aftercare be prorated to what people can afford; but to completely ignore the middle class and assume that they can find their own after care because the underprivileged some how need it more is ridiculous and asinine. But that is one of the many struggles that middle class families have to deal with.

    As for the "like that" I have no idea what you are referring to. I mentioned the reasons why I find schools like El Dorado untenable.

    You are right I have no idea what your child's school is like. But neither do you know what other people are struggling with. So don't lob stones unless you want some lobbed back! I was showing you how asinine your argument was regarding why people don't want to attend certain schools and why, yes, some schools are more popular. Why shouldn't they be? Why is a parent bad or stupid to try an enroll their child into that school? I think it is great that there are actually schools here in S.F. that are popular. However, I highly double we will be able to make all schools so popular.

    Why you ask? Well, for one, family life and social economics are the answer. Unless, you can teach people how to be better parents and actually care for a kid, their is no magic in any school that can help. Yes, maybe one or two students can slug their way out of poverty, but many can't and won't be able to. So what do we do? I don't know but I am not bashing parents for wanting a good choice of school for their kid. Yes, every one deserves a great education but then again every kid deserves a great home! Well, sorry but I can't give that to every kid as much as I would love to.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Cont..

    So, selfish as it maybe, I ensure my kid gets what they need and then try to help other kids in the school my child is enrolled in. How do I do that? Well, since I work. I tend to donate items. Last year, I donated over $500 worth of material for the teachers to use in the class room. I joined the PTA and voted. I didn't attend many meetings but I did join. I also get together with other parents to help where I can and try to help the teacher by ensuring that my child is ready everyday for school (i.e. good nutrition, good night sleep, help with homework, backpack prepared for school, etc.). So I do try to do my part and maybe it isn't enough but I do try and I don't bash parents that want the best for their kid!!!

    ReplyDelete
  58. "I'm curious. Given that there are schools with significant numbers of ELLs, students experiencing trauma, students living in dire poverty, etc., how do you propose that these schools thrive?"

    How do YOU propose that these schools thrive?

    I don't think it is a problem for the over taxed, over worked and underserved middle class to solve.

    As far as I'm concerned, with respect to San Francisco school and sanctuary city policies, "we have made our bed and we will have to lie in it."

    ReplyDelete
  59. 1:49 here again (from a few days ago).

    I just think this argument is being framed in a polarizing way that is ultimately unproductive. In a certain zeal to brand me as a hypocrite for suggesting that people are not "magically" being "dumped" on Junipero Serra, and for suggesting that not all non-trophy schools are a crazy bet for middle class parents, I am told that I clearly am not walking my talk since it is obvious that I would never put my child in a school in the lower one-third of the district (however that is determined).

    Well. Seriously, our school's test scores were a lot like El Dorado's are now, back in the day, and objectively we were a school at risk in terms of socio-economic markers. I don't suppose that will persuade you of my non-hypocrite status :) but that's fine. More to the point, I'd like to focus on Rachel Norton's question on her blog last week: what does it take to lift a school?

    As I said back at 1:49, I don't think all schools are good bets. I am NOT suggesting that people be lone pioneers in schools with chaotic leadership and lots of dysfunction. That is a big straw man in this discussion.

    I do think that there are schools that are now overlooked or even avoided by upper/middle class parents that are pretty good bets. The two factors in my mind are

    1) leadership, as in, a principal and teaching staff that is dedicated, and also interested in working to create a diverse, successful school--not a complete demographic shift, because that would abandon the present population, but also welcoming of middle class energy in a positive way; and

    2) a critical mass of families willing to give it a try. It is hard to be the lone one (this is true going the other way too, being the token person of color or scholarship kid at a fancy private school). For the kids, a critical mass of 4-5 kids who are academically advanced means that the teacher is likely to offer extensions, a reading group, etc. and the kids have a peer group. For the parents, it means a peer group as well. Although the best thing is to try to reach across barriers between cultural / class groups, e.g., what is preventing people from joining the PTA--the time? childcare? food? an invitation? language? etc.

    Junipero Serra is well-suited for this. There is a wonderful, open principal there and good teachers. The school is beautifully located to serve a very diverse population of poor, working class, and middle/upper class kids of several different races and ethnicities. I would put out Sheridan as another example of a school--with already high test scores, an engaged principal, and a functional PTA--with strong potential.

    Yes, it is work, but the rewards are high. And it's not as much work as you might think, if you work together and break it down. Set your priorities punch list and work through them. Example, afterschool care. Surely a stop-gap measure can be found that is less expensive than private schooling (share-care, for example). And then make developing on-site or bus-able care for all income groups a top priority. Working together, this can be done. That is how GLO was built at Alvarado and Fairmount, and how Monroe developed the Buena Vista option.

    In the end, building a successful, and truly diverse--I don't mean 80% poor--school, is beneficial to everyone there. And a lot of fun. Presumably the diversity is something many of us want anyway, since we choose to live in the city.

    Does everyone have acccess and means to these options? Maybe not (although spots at JS and Sheridan were certainly available this year). But it is not as black and white as all these comments suggest, that middle class parents are treated horrendously. There are other ways to approach this.

    ReplyDelete
  60. "Junipero Serra is well-suited for this. There is a wonderful, open principal there and good teachers. The school is beautifully located to serve a very diverse population of poor, working class, and middle/upper class kids of several different races and ethnicities."

    There were at least 30 middle and upper middle class parents assigned to the Junipero Serra K this year.

    I don't know how many have actually taken up there spot there, but it is not many. 4 or 5 engaged families are not enough to lift a school in a time of declining funding and declining numbers of middle class families.

    I agree that Junipero Serra has a good principal and many good teachers.

    A few years ago, I would have said that Junipero Serra might have been up and coming. However, too many factors have now come together to make that unlikely.

    Last week on NPR's Forum, they did a special on the Child Free by Choice movement. Judging by all the San Franciscans that called in who basically said, "we don't care about your needs for school, aftercare, preschool, etc, etc", I think it is pretty clear that the average San Franciscan doesn't give a damn about the needs of middle class families.

    It's true that the city has become one for the very rich and very poor. I'd add: the childless, narsissitic, middle class.

    I'd like to see some of them, with their ample free time and expendible income, out volunteering and donating to challenged schools in this city.

    Meanwhile, I'll cheer every time I see a new academically focused private school open. I hope families find the means to pay for it. In the long run, they'll trade off the time they would have put into their child's school into their careers. Their children will thrive. They will have a sense of community with others who value education.

    I'm sorry for the families that get left behind. Many families will leave the city. There are plenty of better places to raise a family than here.

    You can't fill a boat up the gunnels and expect people to keep rowing.

    ReplyDelete
  61. 1:49,

    Well, I finally agree with you. However, getting together a consortium of parents to turn a school around is not easy and require a load of work that not all middle class families can do.

    Leadership is important but so is the need to find common ground with other parents. That is not always easy or possible. There are language barriers, social barriers (no not who is richer but understanding each other in a cultural sense) and the like, not to mention the locale issue. It takes a village to raise a child it is said how much more does it take to raise a good school?

    However, I still take issue with the way you were unyielding in slamming other parents for want the best schools for their kid. Maybe an OK school is good for you but it may not be for others. Maybe you have the time to help when others do not. You cannot judge other people's needs or conditions until you are aware of them and that is what you did.

    ReplyDelete
  62. 1:49 here again....

    1:59: I know that 4-5 families is enough of a critical mass. I've been a part of it. It assumes that you begin to attract more families in the years to come, but it's the right start.

    JS can do this because of the new assignment system that can draw from both Bernal and the Mission corridor; there is the geographic basis to create a really diverse, neighborhood school. Harder to do that in an isolated area like Hunter's Point.

    I too feel your resentment at what can seem to be clueless hipster/yuppie childless folk, and I too am worried about the decline of the (truly) middle class in SF and in America. But I'm not totally down on SF. Example, we have won the recent school funding (tax) requests at the ballot box, even getting a 2/3 vote, despite the electorate skewing more childless than the population overall.

    I'm not pollyannish, but a can-do or si se puede attitude can go a long way. You can't lift a whole school in one year. It takes time. But you can get a spirit going that is great for everyone involved.

    2:19: I absolutely agree with you about finding common ground across cultures/classes. I'm committed to doing that. Open ears and hearts, and respect, go a long way. My view is that most parents want the best for their kids. Anyway, I have heard that the incoming JS parents from Bernal have met at least once with the existing JS parents, and that is a good start. Build community and find common ground.

    So anyway, I just re-read my post from a couple of days ago, and I really wasn't actually "slamming" parents for their choices.

    My actual issue, if you read it over, was this notion that the (now old) assignment system was set out specifically to screw over middle class families by "magically dumping" them into unacceptable schools.

    In response, I made two major points: 1) it's not personal, it's just an overflow system; and 2) some of the "dump" schools are really okay and have potential.

    The lotto put families into unchosen schools for the simple cold, mathematical reason that too many middle class families chose the same small subset of schools. Really, no moral judgment for doing this, but the practical problem is obvious. I just don't get the personalized anger at a system that is just trying to deal with the overflow that everyone knew would be a problem before they made their choices. But that may be my cold-hearted, mathematical, statistics-loving brain.

    I do get the frustration of parents who really tried to find non-popular alternatives and still struck out. This is what is known in poker as a bad beat. I'm very sorry for it!

    My second major point was to take issue with the idea that certain schools are dumping grounds. I just couldn't let this slide, when real human beings are working so hard. Also, it is objectively not the case that all non-trophy schools are off-the-cliff bad. I SAID that I would avoid some schools--I get it!....but Junipero Serra? Yes, I'd send my kid there. There is hope there, your kid will be alright, and no it doesn't have to take all your time and energy to help the school improve, if you have other families to work with. I myself am a single working mom with no extended family around, so I get this issue too. Work with others and make a contribution.

    It's just not as dire and heavy as it is made out to be in some of these postings. It is possible to be a public school parent in a non-trophy school, have a job and a sane family life, and have your kids turn out very well. I only ask that people consider the possibility that it is not Clarendon or bust (and head to private). Lots of us are doing fine. Not perfect, but fine. And having a good time, too. NO regrets about our great community.

    That's it! No slamming, but sticking up for a more complex view--we can be part of a solution, it doesn't have to be middle class versus poor folks, and a can-do attitude can go a long way.

    ReplyDelete
  63. @10:47am:

    Money. Ultimately I do not think there is any value in assigning families to a school they do not wish to attend. However, the problems that high-needs schools face are expensive ones, as I said. These schools are drastically underfunded, and the meagre funding streams that support poor schools typically prescribe what must be purchased.

    ReplyDelete
  64. ^^I agree with you, E.Rat. You do need more money to do a reasonable job with a high-need population. I have no doubt you are a very good and dedicated teacher, but you need resources.

    We can hate on and blame immigrants (cf 10:47's comments re sanctuary policy and how high-need immigrant kids are not our--meaning middle class San Franciscans--problem). But get past the rhetoric and that is putting our head in the sand. Realistically, it will not build us a successful city or country that will support us all in our old age. Those immigrant kids are mostly here to stay, current political drama aside (I could go into why that is so, but that's a longer post). Therefore, we are much better off educating them for the future than keeping them uneducated and unskilled.

    That's leaving aside all of the context of why migration has happened, and how we more wealthy Americans have benefited from it, and how it has been entirely encouraged by our elected officials of both parties, and American corporations. Leaving all that aside, just think pragmatically about investing in the children who are here now so that they can work the jobs of the future. If you don't want your own kids to go to school with high-need immigrant kids, okay, but please support policies to give the teachers and schools what they need. And support the Dream Act so immigrant kids can go to college, too.

    By the way, it is great that the Senate finally passed the bill to support states education and Medicaid budgets (really it is), but does everyone know it came at the cost of food stamps? Food stamps, dollar for dollar, the most stimulative federal aid that there is, that benefits the most needy women and children? They wouldn't touch out-dated corporate farm subsidies, or military spending, but they reduced payments for food stamps. It's a game of "screw the poor."

    ReplyDelete
  65. 1:49 (who most recently posted at 3:56):

    Thank you for all your thoughtful posts. It's so common on this blog (and on the Internet in general) for things to devolve into flame wars, but you did a great job at keeping a civil tone while you made what I consider to be very valid points, which were expressed in an eloquent way.

    ReplyDelete