Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hot topic: Parents who hold out for private schools (while holding onto highly coveted spaces at public schools)

This from a reader:
I thought I'd suggest a hot topic, or at least one that makes me really hot and not in a good way.

It is the topic of parents using highly coveted public school slots as a holding space for their child until they get into the private school of their dreams. Perhaps you have already covered this, but I'm so steamed as an involved 1st grade parent of an up and coming school with a language immersion program.

We have several such parents coming in and it amazes me that they can sit right next to their fellow preschool/neighbor parents who are wait listed or got a general ed slot instead of their hoped for immersion program. I've heard "...well, what do you really think of so-and-so teacher, and their after school program, (yadayada)? Hmmm, If we could just get the word from Live Oak since they keep asssuring us that we are first on the list...THAT is really our 1st choice."

Worse, are the ones ready to go into an immersion program for ONE OR TWO YEARS, until they can get the better chance of their preferred private school!! This totally eliminates an immersion slot for the entire K-5! Our schools need committed parents...

35 comments:

  1. It's not just parents waiting to hear from private schools if that hold on to public school spots. There are parents whose child already have a spot in their dream private school that hold on to public spots till the very end.

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  2. It's not just private school parents. I'm sure there are lots of parents elsewhere, in "less desireable" schools (and I know that this is subjective), who are holding out hope that they will get a slot at yours. The way schools work in this entire city (private, parochial, public) makes it so that movement in one school causes a chain reaction in many, many others. A spot at Alvarado SI opens up, so suddently someone is enrolled at Live Oak but has been waiting for that spot withdraws from Live Oak and goes to Alvarado. Someone who is enrolled at Grattan gets a call from Live Oak and they leave Grattan for Live Oak. Someone who is enrolled at NDV leaves NDV for Grattan. Someone who was enrolled at Peabody leaves and goes to NDV. Get it? You can't be mad at the parents, it isn't their fault. Unfortunately the system makes it so that really, you can't find your balance and know where you stand until the 10 day count (or whatever it is now.)

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  3. As long as you have a stupid assignment system like this, these things will happen.

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  4. tell me how the assignment system of your choice would make this not happen? What a dumb, unnecessary comment.

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  5. Not sure what the problem is here. If the family gets into the private school they want, a spot at the public school they're holding will open up for another family. I think they have every right to do what they're doing.

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  6. Things change, people move, jobs change, kids change schools, etc. You can't expect K parents to commit to your school for 6 years just b/c they got an immersion spot. That's silly.

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  7. 9:58
    state your point of view without insulting other people, please.

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  8. There are parents who hold out for private schools, while having (in their view) a less-than-ideal public assignment. And there are parents who hold out for public schools, while having (in their budget) a less-than-ideal private choice.

    I'm not sure why this is an issue, unless it's a means to keep this blog "provocative" during the slow summer months.

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  9. Ohh..11:09 am I think you have it. Besides movement at the Private Schools is minimal, this effects perhaps one or two spots from now until school starts and in 2nd grade, perhaps another 3 spots. It is not something to get worked up over.

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  10. I agree that people who have no intent of using their place at a public or private school should give it up if the school is in demand. There's no wait pool for our grade at the public we enrolled in, so I'm still sitting on it, and my conscience is not bothering me. But what would you suggest these parents do instead of holding their spot in public--give it up BEFORE their dream private calls and risk ending up with no school at all? As long as there is more demand than available space at any school, these things are going to happen. People who don't get their ideal situation right away still need somewhere to put their kids. They pay taxes, same as you, and they have just as much right as anyone to that public school slot.

    Still, you raise an interesting point about the elementary immersion programs. Rather than letting seats vacated by families who have transferred out sit empty in grades 2-5 and losing the per-pupil funding, it would be to these programs' advantage to let outside kids in to grades 2-5 on an evaluation basis. I know, how will the public schools possibly come up with the resources to evaluate interested kids? But you'd think something fairly simple, like a meeting with and recommendation from the principal to the district, would do it at that age level and worth it to get the funding.

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  11. Yes, I agree with 10:08. If I was in this position and wouldn't know if my child got into the private school of my choice, I wouldn't give up my public school slot. Why? Would you give up your job before you had a new one and you needed the money?

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  12. I agree with 2:27. Just want to add that SFUSD can and does evaluate higher grade (post K) children for transfer into immersion programs. My son took an oral/written exam in the language of the immersion school we were considering for 2nd grade. The test is given in the SFUSD main office and it was administered by one of the staff member. He passed, but ultimately we decided not to go to this school.

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  13. Thanks 9:19, that's useful to know about the evaluations.

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  14. Unknowingly, we have been holding on to a public school spot even though we have known that our child was going to private school for months! I only found this out after getting a welcome letter from the public school. I called their office and told them we purposely had NEVER registered - why in the world did they have us on their list? No good answer from the administrative assistant even when I pressed.

    Perhaps the advice of not registering as a mechanism to ensure that you are not enrolled in your school assignment in the lottery is not wise? Can someone shed some light? I feel terrible.

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  15. 3:21 pm.

    It's not your fault. Surprise, Surprise...EPC makes mistakes. Last year my friend was assigned to Peabody. They opted for private school and never registered. They received a couple of letters from Sherman during the summer, but didn't think anything of it since they had originally been assigned to Peabody. Then the first day of school, Sherman called and wanted to know why their child wasn't in school because she was registered there.

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  16. So surely this family accepted the Sherman opening rather than foolishly paying $15,000-$20,000 for private, right?

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  17. To give someone hope... we dropped our Grattan spot last week. Headed for another year of PreK.

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  18. 3:21, what school were you unknowingly holding a spot at? Fingers crossed it was our waitpool school and that EPC made more mistakes like this.

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  19. Kate, it's not just your school.

    I know of one family at my daughter's Spanish immersion school who HAS been accepted to their preferred private school, for several months now. They did not attend Kinder Orientation. They did not attend any of the summer activities for new families. Yet, today, I just stuffed an envelope for them with their child's classroom assignment. I am telling waitlisted families to sit tight, and wait for the new 10 day list. I think a lot of movement will be happening.

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  20. This is just making me so happy. To hear of actual spots opening up. I really hope we get the call. I'm sort of expecting to get it. I feel like we've waited all summer and kept our chins up through the whole process, that surely we'll get that call. I should probably be prepared for the worst and be pleasantly surprised, but oh I want that call!

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  21. Good luck, 1:43!! I hope everything works out for you and for all the other people out there waiting!!

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  22. I think there may be reason to anticipate a lot of movement at the 3 day count. Attendance at the incoming K playdates for Grattan at least has felt lighter than what I would have anticipated and lighter than years past.

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  23. 8:47 am-
    I'm the one who dropped our Grattan spot last week and my son had been registered since March. I never heard about an incoming K playdate for Grattan so perhaps the reason they are lighter is that the information isn't' getting to all the incoming parents. (Or maybe they are just for returning families?) Just a thought.

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  24. Interesting. That could be it, but I don't think we've done anything different to get the word out this year. Something to consider going forward though. Did you join the incoming K email listserve? When you registered you should have been given a welcome packet with info for joining it. There is also a link on the home page of the website.

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  25. Anyone call EPC about the new waitlist supposedly posting today Aug 6th? Why can't they post on time?

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  26. What? The latest waitpool info is important? Ah, you're just in the vocal minority of parents who didn't get a preferred assignment.

    (Tongue in cheek, by the way. The wait's gotta be brutal. Good luck.)

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  27. EPC finally posted the waitpools. Looks like numbers have generally gone down. Hopefully the reassignment to the waitpool helped clear out those who didn't want to be there.

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  28. Wow, that's amazing - Grattan went from 2 siblings and 14 Round 2'ers to 0/7! Some happy people out there when the letters land. Lots of other high-demand schools look like their numbers shifted as well. Best of luck to everyone.

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  29. We found ourselves in the same boat as 3:21. We gave a spot up at Peabody in May. It was a hard decision and once made, we wanted to make sure that the spot immediately became available for another family. We've called EPC and left MANY messages, but no one called back to confirm that they received our message. We've also faxed a letter to them. And yet we keep getting letters from Peabody. Now maybe the problem is at Peabody, but as we know another family who gave up Lafayette at the same time and is also getting letters from the school, this leads me to believe the problem is at the EPC. So, as frustrating as this is, this may give a few people hope that there are still spots out there (they just might not show up until after the 3-day count).

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  30. EPC is full of incompetent morons.

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  31. I suspect that you are getting letters from the school because they are still working from the original list of people who had enrolled there. Schools have no control over enrollment, so I think they are reluctant to drop a family who enrolled at any point, just in case they will still be attending. Better to send out a few unnecessary letters than to have someone miss out on important information.

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  32. I personally went down to EPC and dis-enrolled when we decided to go private months ago. We still get letters indicating we are registered at the school we de-registered from..sigh. Does anyone know if the actual schools have people there over the summer? I want to make sure to personally let them know since it appears no one else is.

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  33. Schools should have people in the office next week.

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  34. I think the support staff went back to work last week. Teachers are back this week. If you are getting letters from the school, I wouldn't assume that you are enrolled there according to the district. The schools are probably working from older rosters and may be including you on mailings because they don't want to leave anyone off inadvertently.

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  35. Poster from Aug. 8 at 8:36 p.m. here, I called the school and they have no record that I de-registered from the school and were not informed by EPC. There are many people on the waitlist of the school. Seems to me that part of the system is broken where you register at the school and then deregister at EPC (who never tells the school). Hopefully this will be good news for someone.

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