Monday, January 10, 2011

Hot topic: Middle school feeder pattern

This from a reader:
There was a meeting about Middle School Feeder Patterns sponsored by PPS, SFUSD, and PAC on Friday morning. I wonder if anyone who attended the meeting can share their notes and takeaways? Who attended? What is the process for determining feeder patterns? What’s the timeline? What is the current thinking around establishing the patterns? How does immersion and FLES programs fit into the picture? Etc?

141 comments:

  1. At the enrollment fair a few months back I was told by someone that the middle school would be moving to a similar system that the elementary schools went to this year. That is, your address would become a factor for middle school. On the other hand, at some of the elementary school tours I heard others say that there would still be a feeder pattern from certain elementary schools so I'm still confused and would love a better answer to this as well.

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  2. How does CTIP play into middle school assignment? Both under the feeder plan and in this year's city wide system?

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  3. It's still up in the air. Some like the idea (if you're in the catchment area for an elementary with a good middle school), some hate it (those whose elementary school is being routed to a crappy elementary school). In general, the more east you are, the more you hate the idea.

    My perspective: We want communities to invest in their local elementaries and turn them around. It's a big ask to ask Flynn, Starr King, or Junipero Serra parents to commit to turning their elementary schools around and also have those schools joined at the hip to mediocre-to-poor middle schools.

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  4. Any indication what the direction might be for language program middle schools? Which schools will immersion and FLES programs feed into?

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  5. One complaint about the feeder plan was that the immersion side of the elementary school feed into the same middle school as the GE side of the elementary school, which often meant the end of immersion at the middle school level.

    With city-wide choice, you can choose to travel farther and continue with immersion at the middle school level. With feeder plans, you travel a shorter distance, but that middle school does not have what you want. Tell the school board this is harmful.

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  6. "One complaint about the feeder plan was that the immersion side of the elementary school feed into the same middle school as the GE side of the elementary school, which often meant the end of immersion at the middle school level."

    Does anyone have an explanation for how it was possible that after all the efforts and expenses that went into creating the policy, the leaders could have overlooked something so fundamental that it required them to go back and redo the MS policy again?

    No one holds the district to account for wasting our resources. How many district employees made good livings creating the policy that, no sooner was it adopted, was scrapped out of public outrage for its obvious oversights.

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  7. Don,

    You are screaming into a wilderness of fiscal irresponsibility.

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  8. I believe one of the driving concepts around the middle school feeder plan was to keep elementary schools with multiple programs (eg. immersion with ge) as a single cohort moving together to a middle school. This was a result of early public input.

    I don't think the idea was to end immersion programs with the feeder plan at all. In fact the concern was that articulating language through middle school (which is an important initative of the BOE as part of the Multilingual Resolution that was passed) would lead to initiating new immersion programs at middle schools at a rate that might not be feasible or result in quality programs in year one.

    Because of this concern on the part of several immersion programs, coupled with other concerns (such as the sped assessmen which would very likely impact how sped students are assigned to middle school and expectations around bus transportation changes), i think the district wisely delayed the effort.

    And, I wouldn't characterize the work to date as "wasted" money. I consider the "redo" (wrong terminology) of the feeder plan a refinement effort that builds on all the hard work to date. There are a lot of integration issues that need to be carefully considered, not to mention sober economic realities that we need to fess up to in the near term at least.

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  9. 4:59--
    You are saying that the school district knows the programs are not there now to handle the immersion side of the elementary school, but the school district still wants to assign those immersion students to that middle school in the theory that programs will develop once the students are already there? Have I got that right?

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  10. Ya, I don't get that. Sounds like 4:59's saying the district thought they could generate MS immersion programs if they ticked people off by sending them to schools without programs. That doesn't remind me of a school district that is proactive. That's dumping, and hoping for grassroots rather than planned reform.

    Seems 4:59 is spinning this one. District insider? Who can doubt the Board screws up? Don't tell me they couldn't have done a far better job.

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  11. 4:59 : "And, I wouldn't characterize the work to date as "wasted" money. I consider the "redo" (wrong terminology) of the feeder plan a refinement effort that builds on all the hard work to date."

    I would say that depends upon whether they keep the feeder plan or scrap it.

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  12. If there is growth in immersion programs at the elementary level, which there has been, how can the existing immersion programs at middle school accommodate them? Where will all the elementary immersion students go? Capacity has to be built in middle school, unless it displaces ge students and other programs at those middle schools.

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  13. I have a feeder plan for the Superintedent. The district will withhold his paycheck and he should just continue working until Christmas, 2012. Then he will be paid in one lump sum. OK? The money will magically appear.

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  14. I didn't get that.

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  15. In the feeder plan, you may very well be sent to a school that does not have the programs that you are interested in. No Problem, says the school district. The programs will magically appear after you get there.

    The Superintendent can lead by examle and just trust that his salary will be paid at the end of the year. If that is not good enough for him, then it is also not good enough for parents of immersion students to trust that the programs they want will develop at the middle schools they are being sent to.

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  16. And don't forget - the students will have lost any continuity of instruction. These programs are not created overnight. It takes a minimum of 2 or 3 years to get them working.

    4:59 was talking like a policy person. Had the lingo and perspective, but the thrust of it made no sense. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

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  17. I do not attend an immersion school, but from friends and relatives who attend immersion schools, I always hear that the immersion and GE strands are quite separate, almost like two individual schools at the same address. Even though they share a building, they are practically separate entities. Also, I am told that some schools work harder than others to try to co-mingle the parent and student populations, with limited success. Given that the communities are divided, they do not understand the compeling reason to move the entire school population to the same middle school. They would prefer to go to an immersion middle school and meet students and their families in the same educational track, not anther predominantly GE student population, where language instruction is an afterthought.

    Now, I understand their frustration and resentment for being forced into certain middle schools.

    Given the number of facilities in our district, is it possible to establish a Chinese-language immersion middle school for students in Cantonese and Mandarin K-5 immersion programs, a Spanish-language immersion middle school, and a school with FLES programs to continue Japanese?

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  18. The goal is to turn severly struggling middle schools into less struggling middle schools. The district, I would guess, does not think it can do that if it lets too many students leave low achieving areas for higher achieving areas. The district needs you to go where they want you to go to bring up the average test scores. So,no, immersion students will not get their own middle school. Often, you will not even get any immersion program at your assigned middle school. You will get a snow job that the tooth fairy will provide.

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  19. Let's say SFUSD set up a Spanish immersion middle school. How many students wouldn't go all the way across town to attend it?

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  20. Right now, families drive "all the way across town" so that their children can attend K-5 immersion schools. Of course, "across town" is a relative term, since the City is only 7x7. This is not a hardship. Families across Americ travel much further to get to their children to school. Even folks in the Bay Area suburbs drive farther, depending on their circumstances. Location of immersion schools (Portero Hill, outer Excelsior, Sunset, etc) haven't stopped families from enrolling. If anything, immersion middle schools could be more centrally located, with better access across the district. Also, many kids in grades 6-12 use Muni, which lessens their family's burden.

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  21. "Of course, "across town" is a relative term, since the City is only 7x7. This is not a hardship."



    9:44,

    Many of these commutes can take as much as 2 hours by bus each way. I think you missed 10:57's point entirely. Sure SOME people will be willing to make the effort to go across town, but many will not do it for a number of reasons. People on opposite sides of San Francisco will be put out having to attend schools far away. And BTW it isn't about distance as much as it is about time and getting to work from the school.

    SFUSD didn't rewrite the SAS with a neighborhood component because people are pleased with commuting to school. And you haven't mentioned the hardship created for those without means of transportation when yellow buses disappear.

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  22. So Don, are you proposing that every neighborhood elementary school have an immersion component? Are you suggesting that we abolish citywide immersion schools because of travel time? Otherwise, how does one eliminate the commute to middle school stick with the language pathway?

    If you enroll your child in immersion program in kindergarten, then most likely you'll find yourself commuting across town to get into an immersion K-5. With middle school feeder system, you'll continue commuting across town with your cohort when it feeds into someone else's neighborhood middle school (because chances are that the immersion K-5 wasn't in your neighborhood in the first place).

    To avoid this dilemma, EVERY neighborhood K-5 needs to have immersion for all languages, feeding into a neighboring middle school with immersion for all languages. Is that what you are proposing? Otherwise, how do you eliminate some of the cross-town commutes?

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  23. I am not Don. Immersion at the elementary school level is not part of the assignment area system. The immersion programs are city-wide. Itis at the middle school level, with the changeover from city-wide middle schools to feeder patterns that the mismatch takes place. Part of the cost of feeder patterns is to HARM immersion programs at the middle school level.

    The larger picture is that parental choice over immersion and other issues of what is a good fit for one's child is HARMED with feeder patterns.

    How is a feeder pattern less harmful to public school education that leaving things alone at the middle school level? We have not received an honest answer to this question.

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  24. IMO, the "Feeder" MS idea has several advantages as far as the district is concerned:
    -They will save on busing costs as there will be less justification for busing kids from their lower-performing neighborhood MSs to higher-performing ones across town.
    -If SE parents go along with the program and send their kids to schools like Everett and Mann, the scores in those schools will rise.
    -Westside parents will complain less than they have before.
    I don't see how kids who live outside the Western portion of SF benefit at all, though.

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  25. Dear 6:00 PM, I am 9:04 PM (yesterday). I agree with you whole heartedly. I hope that you are present and vocal at the middle school forums. I'll be singing the same tune. See you there!

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  26. No one ever promised immersion students an immersion education through high school or even middle school. You act indignant that you can't have immersion at your beck and call. You should be glad your child got an elementary immersion education. Many districts don't offer it at all.

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  27. Don't take the troll "bait". Ignore him.

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  28. 11:41,
    At least you are being candid that the feeder system cuts the guts out of immersion. That is more honesty than we get from the school district.

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  29. Not everyone who doesn't agree with you is Don. I am not Don and I don't agree with you. This school district simply cannot afford to make all programs available and accessible to everyone. No district can do that. Please stop your stereotyping and derision. Get a job.

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  30. Don't take the troll bait.

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  31. 2:40,
    At the middle school level, programs are available to everyone now. That is the beauty of city-wide schools. That is the beauty of parental choice. It is not perfect. Transportation is still an issue. But the parent can select what is in her opinion the best school for her child, in terms of immersion, safety, academics, everything. Feeder plans take away that parental choice. That is the harm of feeder plans.

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  32. You don't have choice. You have lottery and luck.

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  33. All I want is an equal chance. I get that with lottery and luck. I do not get that with forced feeder patterns.

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  34. Choose,yes, get, no.

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  35. Impression is not the only issue. Middle schools vary in lots of areas - AP or honors classes, type of music program, sports, etc. City-wide choice (or lottery, if you prefer), allows families to consider all these factors. With feeder patterns, the choice is much more limited. On the surface it sounds like there would be a benefit to keeping a group of elementary students together through middle school, but I'm not sure that's really true. Even if there is some benefit, does it outweigh the benefits of the current choice/lottery system? The more I think about it, the more I'm in favor of keeping the current system for middle school.

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  36. Immersion, is what I meant to say.

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  37. Though this has been said many times before, I think it needs to be repeated (in response to the cleverly worded "choice, yes, get, no"). Most middle school applicatants get the school of their choice (unless in you trying to get into Presidio or one of the small K-8's). I talked with parents from my kid' s elementary school who went thru the process last year. There seems to be only one family from that whole group that did not get their choice, they having put Presidio first and Lillenthal second.

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  38. "Most middle school applicatants get the school of their choice (unless in you trying to get into Presidio or one of the small K-8's)"

    6:09, this subject has been discussed ad nauseam on SF Kfiles and elsewhere. It is well documented that under the old system about 70-80% got one of their seven choices, not their top choice. There's a big difference.

    I appreciate why there is opposition to the feeder plan. There will never be total equity. If I were interested in immersion I suppose I could complain about the fact that so many are in the SE and are inaccessible to me.

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  39. Don,
    My impression was that in the past, prospective MS kids had a 90% chance of getting one of their choices, with most getting their 1st choice. For those who didn't put Presidio MS 1st, the chances were even higher. (Almost everyone I knew who didn't put Presidio 1st got his/her 1st choice.) We'll see how things shake out this year with the all-choice MS SES.

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  40. Did you see the article in today's Examiner? SF Student's First is now leading the charge to assign by neighborhood. This will create political pressure to keep the feeder system, which is closer to neighborhood assignment than choice. If SFUSD does away with feeders it will feed the neighborhood forces and strengthen the measure at the polls. As the primary author of the Quality Neighborhood Schools or All measure, I can tell you that providing equity and quality for programming was high on our priorities. If pressure mounts for neighborhood schools, SFUSD will have to work in overdrive to establish such equity.

    This will take time as a policy initiative. No doubt there will be many unhappy people who will be relegated to certain schools until SFUSD can make the structural changes everyone wants even now.

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  41. Students in the immersion side of the elementary school should have city-wide choice of middle schools, space permitting. The immersion side would not be part of the feeder pattern, and would not have any guarantee to the middle school that the GE side is going to. The immersion side could still try to go to the same middle school as the GE side is going to, but only if spade permits.

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  42. Look, let's go through all the reasons why this feeder pattern is unnecessary:

    1) Parents are not clamoring for neighborhood middle schools like they are for elementary schools.

    2) The middle schools in the city are extremely diverse, and thus any feeder pattern would force parents into schools they don't want. And to the argument that parents can try to get into a different school, for the good middle schools, the odds of getting into a good middle school once others have gotten assured places at those schools is zero.

    3) Any feeder pattern is likely to lead to less diversity, not more.

    Enough said.

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  43. My comment didn't post for some reason, so no need to correct the typos. No time to repost it now.

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  44. There was one middle school that we toured (which is geographically the closest school to our residence) that was so horrible in terms of my kid’s needs, that if she was forced to go there I am afraid I would have to send her to a therapist. The school is high scoring, so that is not the issue. I am so happy that we dodged the bullet and am not forced into the feeder system this year and that we are able to try to get the school that is the best fit.

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  45. "3) Any feeder pattern is likely to lead to less diversity, not more."

    Why do you say that? BVHP and vicinity is a highly ethnically diverse area, but many schools at present are largely AA. A feeder system would make schools in the area or nearby more diverse not less.

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  46. Enough debate! This whole school assignment rearraingment is suppose to be for the benefit of the underachieving African American, Hispanic, and Samoan communities. What do they want? Do the parents in those communities prefer feeder patterns or city-wide middle schools. I'll go with whatever they want.

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  47. 1:37 pm -- right now, under the "temporary" middle school assignment system, parents in poorer areas get first pick after the sibling slots are filled. What more could they want? So my guess is that they would rather this temporary system becomes PERMANENT.

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  48. The district says it's revamping the feeder system adopted last March, not replacing it.

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  49. The district has been known to change its mind....

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  50. "As the primary author of the Quality Neighborhood Schools or All measure,"


    OR all???

    All what?

    It won't pass, and besides -- it is just a statement and not binding.

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  51. I think Don meant For All. I signed the petition and I'm pleased to see it's on the ballot. I'm all for neighborhood schools. You missed the point about the power of the electorate. If it passes the Board members will be pressured to move in that direction or risk losing their seats. It's great. Finally we have some attempts at more moderate politics in San Francisco, win or lose. I wouldn't be so sure about it losing.

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  52. If your neighborhood school was John Muir, you wouldn't be "for" neighborhood schools, would you?

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  53. I would still be for neighborhood schools, but I would move. It makes sense for young elemenary school kids to go to a school close by. It does not make sense to require grown up high school kids to feed into the local high school. They can take the bus.

    The question is: How about middle school kids? Is Muni safe for a sixth grader? On the westside of town, probably yes, but on the eastside of town, unfortunately not. Recall the Muni violence on the J Church. The school district should just limit feeder patterns to the eastside of town and leave the westside of town with no feeder pattern.

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  54. To Don @ 9:57 AM.  Please keep your facts straight!  You quoted statistics for the K lottery (where they had 7 choices), not the middle school lottery (where I believe they only had 4 choices).  The other poster quoted the correct figures.  On the SFUSD website for 2009-10, 80% of MS applicants received their first choice, and 90% received one of their choices.  

    The MS feeder proposal does not produce neighborhood middle schools. All your blabbering about neighborhood middle schools presumes everyone wants (or can get into) their neighborhood K-5 school, which just ain't so. Many families, esp Eastenders, may end up across town for K-5.  Then, wherever all these kids land for K, either by choice or by SFUSD twisting-their-arm, should have no bearing on where they are told to go to middle school.  Most likely, they won't be in their neighborhood K-5, so why force them to stay in those environs for middle school?  

    There are only 14 middle schools and a handful of K-8 schools (with limited availability).  This is not a neighborhood network, like at the elementary school level.  Parents are happy with the middle school lottery.  The majority got their first choice and most got one of their choices.  This part of the enrollment lottery is not broken.  It is probably the fairest, most transparent part of the entire lottery.  There is nothing to "fix" at the MS level. Your arguments don't hold water.

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  55. As I am often accused for every anonymous Tom, Dick or Harry comment, I just want to say that I did not write the previous post. I would never suppose it a good idea for one side of town to have a different assignment system than another side of town. I do support the neighborhood schools issue and, as such, that applies to all neighborhoods, not just certain ones.

    9:25, I hope you understand what you are saying: You propose a two tiered system, one for the wealthier side and one for the poorer side. That isn't fair, it isn't right and it isn't moral.

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  56. 10:35,

    Thank you for the correction. Yes, I was thinking elementary not middle school.

    As for the rest, I think you must be refuting a collection of other anonymous posts in one fell swoop, because my comments at 9:57 were too limited to draw such broad based suppositions of my views. And you are being pretty rude for polite and constructive discussion. Why you even bother to respond to what you consider "blabber" I don't know, but I suppose you want to be heard.

    I understand that the middle school SAS will not create a neighborhood middle school, assuming correctly that the elementary policy does not result in neighborhood based elementary schools. Of course, many of the same people who are against MS feeders are also against the new ES policy because they fear it will do just that and, therefore, hold less hope for those outside the neighborhood. So there is a measure of contradiction and hypocrisy there - not necessary on your part since i don't know what your views are on the ES SAS. As an anonymous poster you have no personal investment in the views expressed here in any event.

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  57. Don, reread your own comments at 10:32 AM.

    PS. I am in favor of the changes at the ES level, and I look forward to seeing significantly improved outcomes.

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  58. The efforts over the last 4 decades to disperse students socioeconomically failed. In San Francisco, as elsewhere, middle income families either successfully gamed the choice system, went to private school or moved to avoid low API schools.

    In the meantime, SF demographics changed since the sixties. Neighborhoods that used to be all black or all Latino are now highly diversified. If parents want their children to attend diversified schools they need do no more than attend their local school, assuming that a neighborhood policy is in effect and choice is limited to its bare legal requirements.

    The multitude of nationwide neighborhood SAS policy initiatives are a result of years of failed de facto desegregation efforts, court order expirations and budget constraints.

    SF is a perfect example of the former policies - whole neighborhoods that have shuttered schools or schools that are highly "undiversified".

    As new budget realities translate into new SAS policies, neighborhood schools have seen a resurgence. These public policy changes have less to do with what parents want than they have to do with the new realities of what school districts can afford. That promotes a lot of spin to keep parents happy. So while SFUSD builds preferences into the system to appease the left leaning electorate, they cut the very busing that would allow such preferences to succeed as a diversification and choice tool.

    The failure of SFUSD to promote equity within neighborhoods rather than districtwide is coming home to roost. They had to postpone the MS SAS because of this. They have a lot of work to do to create equity. But this is the right work and it is work that was avoided using transportation instead. Now we can't afford it anymore.

    It's about money.

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  59. Don,
    I completely agree with your statement below. And I'm a member of the "left-leaning electorate."

    Don said: "As new budget realities translate into new SAS policies, neighborhood schools have seen a resurgence. These public policy changes have less to do with what parents want than they have to do with the new realities of what school districts can afford. That promotes a lot of spin to keep parents happy. So while SFUSD builds preferences into the system to appease the left leaning electorate, they cut the very busing that would allow such preferences to succeed as a diversification and choice tool."

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  60. Thanks for the analysis. I never looked at it that way.

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  61. I agree. Despicable troll.

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  62. The early public input was about cohorts of preK kids going into the same kindergarten. There was never any suggestion that elementary schools would feed into middle schools. We were told to wait for the maps.

    When the maps for elementary school assignment areas came out, we were informed that the middle school assignments would work with feeder patterns, not middle school assignment areas. It was presented without warning. Or even much preparation. Which is why it had to be delayed for a year.

    Too often, the middle school you will be ssigned to will be lacking in many of the things you want for your child. If that is unacceptable, protest now to save parental choice of middle schools.

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  63. 6:33 PM. You are correct. Don always gets his facts wrong.

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  64. I read here where Caroline commented to the effect he usually has his facts right. And you hate her too. It was a minor error. You sure got a stick up your ass.

    Give it up. Don has ten times the knowledge you have.

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  65. Much of the congratulatory discussion about San Francisco's demographics is misplaced. San Francisco is the least black large city in America. Housing is so expensive here that the African American population of the city is at a new low.

    The Chinese population of San Francisco is high. That just makes San Francisco unique, because the Chinese population of America is not high.

    Comparing the ethnic mix of San Francisco to that of other areas is comparing apples to oranges. San Francisco and other urban areas are in completely different situations.

    What is a useful inquiry is how the students are doing. Does the feeder pattern avoid long Muni rides, which we must now consider to be dangerous for 6th graders? This is a safety issue.

    Is the cost of eliminating parental choice outweighed by any benefits? What exactly are those benefits?

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  66. no, the feeder pattern doesn't avoid long muni rides, at least not for all kids. It takes all the kids in one elementary (CTIP 1 kids, for example, who have priority and are likely outside of the neighborhood) and sends them all to one of the 18 (or so) middle schools. The feeder middle school may or may not be a long muni ride away from where the students live. Those who prefer shorter muni rides will not have the same option as they do now to choose a middle school close to them. Nor will they be able to choose based upon the varying programs at the middle schools. I agree with the earlier poster -- MS assignment is not broken, so don't fix it. If we have to nix the buses, then let's just do that. Most people I know don't rely upon school buses under the current system even in elementary school. It's not a valid reason for changing the MS assignment system.

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  67. I suspect that those of you who want to keep the current middle schools system (not the feeder) will get your wish granted. Although SFUSD has said it is just delaying the feeder, I suspect that they will drop it completely when they discover that providing the pathways is much harder than previously thought.

    What congratulatory discussion about demographics are you referring to? If you think I'm wrong about demographics you just haven't looked at latest census figures or driven around in your car, which is, BTW, a means of transportation that not everyone has.

    The district should use some of the SIG money to get the pathways up and running in the SE. hey won't though. It will be easier for them to go back to their pretense of providing equity and diversity through choice and buses be damned.

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  68. Sorry, the above is me, Don.

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  69. In the draft version of the middle school SAS that was released last year, Alamo Elementary (where Don's children attended/attend) feeds into the highly regarded, highly coveted Presidio MS. The majority of Alamo families are very happy with the draft proposal and support the implementation next year. Unlike families who are going to be assigned to less-than-stellar middle schools. The problem with a feeder system is that these families do not get an equal shot at Presidio, which could be filled primarily by Alamo, Argonne, Cobb, Lafayette, McCoppin, Peabody, and Sutro. The lottery system this year (and in years past) offers everyone an equal shot at the MS of their choice. Judging by the statistics (80% first choice/90% choice), it worked extremely well, without setting up a predetermined dichotomy of "haves" and "have nots."

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  70. Since a significant part of the middle school problem is with too many people wanting Presidio as #1, a compromise would be to deliberately underenroll Presidio with only one or two feeder elementary schools. Open up a large number of seats at Presidio to everyone else. Presidio is kind of like the Lowell of the middle school system. It should be citywide, as much as possible.

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  71. It comes down to whether or not you believe in neighborhood placement. What is more unfair? To be placed in a school far from home or to be placed in a less than stellar school close to home? The lower performing schools will never improve if the most motivated students in the neighborhood go to another school.

    The progressives in San Francisco want SFUSD to invest in the poor performing schools. They just don't want to send their own kids to those schools.

    As for the omnipresent Don, we know one child is already at Presidio and the other is in special ed. The middle school assignment system is not going to make a difference for him personally.

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  72. Your ideas about Presidio are just stereotypes. Presidio scores no better than Roosevelt or Giannini. It is dramatically underrepresented at Lowell and the teachers are notorious hard graders in general. It isn't a school for everyone and I don't know if it will be the best choice for my younger son with ADHD although we live close by.

    BTW, I don't mind having my own children in the discussion as long as the discussion is respectful. After all, the whole education conversation is about kids, so why leave them out of it? There's nothing hypothetical about it.

    Having said that, at this juncture I'm not sure if Presidio is the best fit for my younger one. We'll see as things progress.

    Those you you who think my efforts are motivated by placement for my own children just don't know me. I have spent years promoting financial transparency, schools site councils and English language Learner rights. My interests in advocating for education is not for any personal gain.

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  73. Watch Gov. Brown's heartfelt comments to the CDE and the SBE here:

    http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/pn/nr/yr11sberel01.asp

    What a contrast between him and Arnold.

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  74. Don:--This blog is overrun with bullies and scum. My suggestion is don't waste your time with the people. You are in the crosshairs no matter what you say or do.

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  75. why hasn't this come up?January 20, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Another likely outcome of the MS feeder pattern is that CTIP1 families would be reluctant to apply for highly-rated ESs far from home as that would mean that their kids would later be assigned to distant MSs (into which these ESs would feed), which would be logistically difficult if the district no longer provide busings for MS students.

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  76. If you want to send your elementary school child to a distant ES, why would you be concerned about sending him or her to a distant MS when older?

    It probably didn't come up because I don't think it is a problem.

    10:54: your comment only makes it worse.

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  77. Don,
    We sent our child to an excellent alternative ES ~30 min away from our (CTIP1) neighborhood) rather than to our struggling neighborhood school in part because the district provided a bus from our neighborhood to this ES. The MS to which this ES was proposed to feed in the new SAS is a low-performing one even further from our home than our child's ES and to which no busing is currently provided. We would not have chosen this ES for our child had we known at the time that it would limit our choices to MSs that we would have preferred in terms of both programs offered and location.
    11:03

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  78. Dear Superintendent Garcia,

    Please draw up assignment area maps for middle school. This feeder pattern business is not working. Since Muni is not safe for 6th graders, please take action to avoid long Muni rides with middle school assignment areas that make geographic sense.

    Second, allow parents to opt out of their neighborhood middle school. Maybe men and women are created equal, but not SF middle schools.

    Back to the drawing board: assignment area maps for middle school.

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  79. Ctip1 parent,

    I understand what you are saying. and appreciate that you are on the losing end of the district's busing policy. But understand, the public school system cannot make long term guarantees for busing your child. If it buses your child this year that doesn't mean it is obligated to do so in 6 years from now. I appreciate your dilemma, but SFUSD is committed to lowering transportation costs and there will be collateral damage. You are in that category unfortunately, unfair as it is.

    At the Board meeting last night the idea of longer hours for middle school was discussed as a way to make the immersion pathways possible. The current non special ed busing is about $3M and that is the same number for the cost per grade to increase MS hours. It is going to cost the district upwards of 9M to open those immersion pathways just for the longer school day. How can they afford to do this? Where are the dollars coming from? Will a majority of students have to endure larger class sizes just so that a minority of immersion students can continue their language education?

    Any increase in class size will drive more families out of the system. The classrooms at high APi schools are at the bursting point in many popular schools. District strategy? Make going to popular schools less popular.

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  80. I am starting to believe what others have said here -- Don, you are putting up all these posts! You are single-handedly ruining this blog!

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  81. There's a simple solution for that. Require everyone to sign in.

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  82. So as long as you are "starting to believe" you have reason enough to accuse me of ruining the blog?

    Thanks for the insight into your character. Like I care.

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  83. It's remarkable how he responds so quickly to comments - it's as if he has "anticipated" them...

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  84. "Neighborhoods that used to be all black or all Latino are now highly diversified. If parents want their children to attend diversified schools they need do no more than attend their local school, assuming that a neighborhood policy is in effect and choice is limited to its bare legal requirements."

    Don,

    That's not even close to true. See the demographic maps produced by EPC. Latinos are concentrated in the East. Asians in the West and Chinatown. African-americans in BV/HP and Western Addition. About the only areas where you don't see public schools which are not dominated by >45% of one ethnic group are in the south of the city in the Excelsior, Portola, OMI, and Crocker-Amazon neighborhoods. Segregation is markedly less in most, but not all, of the former alternative schools (like SF Community, Lillienthal, and Rooftop). So I suspect that we'll see more ethnic segregation under the new system than the old diversity index system.

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  85. 2:59, it's sockpuppeting, at its worst.

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  86. 2:37 pm again -- Don, why don't YOU stop posting anonymous comments that are strawmen designed to cue up another cutting remark by you? Better yet, just stop responding to your own posts. You are using the fact of anonymity on this site to create "fake" conversations designed to showcase your arguments. Stop it.

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  87. It's easy anticipating the response of knee jerk liberals. Sorry to inform you, Bayview area has been predominately Asian for some time.

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  88. Don, the pompous assJanuary 20, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    For those of you who consider yourself concerned, informed, righteous, and honest I ask you this: Why won’t you assign your own good name to your beliefs? The answer is, deep down in your heart of hearts, you are cowards, willing to criticize others for their beliefs, but unwilling to take ownership of your own.

    When I think of the proud American heritage to which we owe our inalienable rights, the heroic sacrifice of life in the defense of human liberty, it sickens me to think that we have come to a point in our history where a free soul would fear to speak in name on a kindergarten blog.

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  89. Oh brother, he's running on his rims (again).

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  90. 8:32-- If you had an iota of self-respect you would shut your pie hole.

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  91. 8:41, go play with your sock drawer.

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  92. He must have his boy scout uniform on, and is prancing around with a flag.

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  93. 3:01's right.
    Check the census for latest demographic data.

    http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/explorer

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  94. 8:44-- Nothing Don could have said could have painted a clearer picture of just how mean-spirited you are by these comments. I am embarrassed to exist in the same universe with you.

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  95. 2:37 again -- no, don, you are abusing this blog, not us. No one on this blog responds to their own comments. Only u do. You are destroying the back-and-forth of every strand on this blog by responding to your own comments. People are giving up on participating here. You are like the blog version of a ballot-stuffer. Stop it.

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  96. I know it is hard, but just ignore him. He will still post multiple times, under various names or anonymously, responding to his own posts (a.k.a. sockpuppeting) but any other response (including this one, unfortunately) is just feeding the troll.
    When blogs are taken over like this, there is really nothing to do to remedy it, except to block IP addresses. The moderator is unwilling to block IP addresses, so we either ignore it, or consider this blog taken over and drop it.
    Requiring registration might help a bit, but someone with such a drive to disrupt and to control the discussion will simply register under several different names, as he did on sfschools before being blocked.

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  97. I am not Don. I sometimes respond to Don's ideas, but I mostly do not get into personalities and accusations.

    I propose this bit of SF K Files etiquette: When you start a strand, the original poster should decide if the strand should be 100%anonymous.

    Commentators, if you feel compelled to use your name, post a separate strand. Leave some strands name free, when the original poster so requests.

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  98. What good would that do? A person may make up any name at all, using an endless amounts of yahoo email addresses, so what difference does it make if the comments are anonymous, or if you make up a name "MommyDearest"?

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  99. EVEN FAKE NAMES ARE NOT TO BE USED.
    NO TAGGING LIKE A GRAFFITTI ARTIST.

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  100. No need to shout, 9:00.

    There is no way to stop people from using fake names, or a dozen names.

    The best way to stop troll is IP address blocking. They can still go use other people's computers to post, but blocking their home IPs stops 75% of the trolling.

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  101. Kate will not block. She will leave us to our own sandbox. I think it is worth a try if no one uses a name or even fake name. I want to try to take the graffitti tagging out of the blog.

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  102. And how many anti-Don comments are written by the same person over and over. If he is guilty of posting anonymously, so are you! At least Don uses his name most of the time. That is more than I can say for you. Try taking your own advice and ignoring him. Bet you can't do it. The truth is you really enjoy it or you would have given up long ago.

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  103. Newsflash: Second graders in Oakland have oral sex in class, during class.

    Parents, do you want lose all choice in school assignment? Save your voice over school assignment by dumping the feeder patterns.

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  104. Don, I'd like to give you a piece of advice if I may. I don't know if you post anonymously and I don't really care one way or another. Resist the temptation to respond. Don't go down into the pit. You will dirty yourself. Look at how they belittle scouting, children and the flag. It doesn't take a nun to see they are low lifes. You have a voice. I trust you will use it well.

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  105. confused ctip1 parentJanuary 21, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    I don't get it. Although I disagree with Don's idea of a more neighborhood-based SAS, I agree with him that it's mostly a wish to cut busing costs that's behind the district's push for MS feeders, and that it's families like mine that will lose out. But I don't see why simply stating his opinion in a respectful way would be construed as "sockpuppeting" or "trolling."

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  106. Definition of a troll or a troll-statement:

    "One who posts a deliberately provocative message, often devoid of fact, not totally on topic and full of excessive and inflammatory statements with the intention of inciting reaction and causing maximum disruption and argument amongst the people on a forum, newsgroup, social media or blog community."

    Posting "IGNORE THE TROLL" reminders is not trolling, and while the repetition of those reminders may be annoying, they are unfortunately necessary when an unmoderated site gets taken over by a manic troll.

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  107. Definition of a "sockpuppet":

    "One who masquerades as someone else on the Internet. Sock puppets can make controversial comments or vote for or against a cause without revealing their identity. They may respond to their own Usenet or blog posts praising the articles they wrote themselves or disagree with comments criticizing them on other sites.

    The term comes from a pretend person made by placing a sock over one's hand."

    He is labeled a sockpuppet for posting not only under his name, but under other names and anonymously, to agree with himself, to ask himself questions he can then write lengthy answers in response to, and to compliment himself. Sometimes he also probably insults himself to garner sympathy. I know it is sad and weird, but he's been outted as doing it before. It isn't so much what he says, but when 75% of the responses on a thread are from him, having conversations with himself, it destroys the blog.

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  108. This much is clear. You have a personal vendetta against him. Why not try backing off with the attacks?

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  109. Here's an example of a deliberately inflammatory remark-

    "Newsflash: Second graders in Oakland have oral sex in class, during class.

    Parents, do you want lose all choice in school assignment? Save your voice over school assignment by dumping the feeder patterns."

    We've had mass shootings at public schools, too. Does that mean we should all go to private school?

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  110. 9:11, I agree, that is a prime example of trolling.
    What does the horrible thing that happened in Oakland have to do with middle school feeder patterns?

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  111. 9:26, you ask what does what happened in Oakland have to do with middle school feeder plans in SF? The answer is that feeder plans take away the parent's power to choose. Right now, parents have some power to choose and can look at all their concerns: safety, academics, immersion, etc., and make up their own list of where they would like to go after elementary school. Parents will lose that power, what little they have left, if feeder plans go through.

    9:11, you ask if we should all go private because there has been mass shootings at public schools? The answer is that parents should have the power to vote with their feet and go to a public school that has not had mass killings.

    We will have local school preferences at elementary school, but, for middle and high school, parents should still have a choice. Parents should be able to vote with their feet to go to a school of their choice, as much as possible, with lottery and luck.

    This is sensible. You may disagree. I invite you to explain your disagreement.

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  112. The middle school feeder system does not take away the power to choose. You may still apply to other schools.

    People call what we have now a "choice" system, but it is a lottery. With middle schools, most get their choices, but many do not.

    It's still a stretch to use the Oakland incident for your argument, there is a much higher rate of molestation in private schools.

    As for your comment about "mass killings", I can't think of one San Francisco Public School where there have been "mass killings", it's another over-the-top, inflammatory, hysterical thing to write.

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  113. "it's another over-the-top, inflammatory, hysterical thing to write"

    Ignore the psycho trolls.

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  114. It was 9:11 who brought up the subject of mass shootings at a public school. I was answering the question, not inflaming the argument with hysterics. We have not had a Columbine in San Francisco.

    The question remains, if you disagree with citywide schools at the middle school level, what are your reasons?

    I will ignore the name calling.

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  115. 6:35 You're correct that parents who don't like their feeder MS can still apply to other MSs. The problem is that there will be few spots left at the higher-performing MSs with well-established honors classes (Presidio, Giannini, Hoover, and Aptos) after the preassigned students claim their seats. I can understand that if your child would be automatically assigned to Presidio along with his/her classmates, you would be thrilled with the proposed feeder system, where a choice assignment would be much less chancy than in the current system. OTOH, parents unhappy with their feeder MS assignments will end up with far less choice than with the current citiwide assignment system.

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  116. There's been a lot of discussion on the pros and cons of feeders. I would like to get a response to this:

    If it is unfair to have little choice other than to go to one's low performing neighborhood school, isn't it also unfair for the student in the desirable assignment zone to have little choice other than to be assigned to the low performing school you rejected? Which is more unfair?
    If you take the spot in the coveted school in a "better" neighborhood, you relegate someone else to the undesirable spot in your neighborhood.

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  117. I will support neighborhood schools at the elementary level, but not at the middle school level. It is too much to have K-5 sent all over town. They are too young. Even 6th graders are on the young side. Muni on the eastside of town is unsafe for them.

    I would support yellow school buses as a safety issue. Leave middle schools citywide. Retain yellow school buses on the eastside of town as a safety issue. Probably cheaper than trying to provide equal services at all locations.


    At much as possible, leave school choice in the hands of the parent.

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  118. 9:33

    Now, even with feeders, if you live in a CTIP1 zone, you have priority in the system, and if you apply to Presidio MS, you are almost certain to get into it. It is balancing out the playing field and making the system fairer.

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  119. 7:39, when you say that priority for CTIP1 is making the system more fair and balances out the playing field, I understand that to mean that you want to ensure that residents of CTIP1 areas have the choice or going to areas with higher test scores (transportation is a separate issue that has a real impact on choice).

    We can have both citywide schools and preferences for CTIP1 areas. We do not need the feeder pattern to help low achieving areas. We do not need to frustrate parents throughout the city, many of whom do not live in a CTIP1 area.

    So dump the feeder plan and leave in the CTIP1 under a citywide choice system for middle school.

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  120. In theory, I like the idea of feeder schools, because it keeps cohorts of kids together and will most likely lessen bullying incidences in middle schools. It also has a level of certainty, of at least knowing beforehand where your child will go to middle school. Would I think this way if I hated the school my kids' elementary school may likely feed into? Nope. But I also realize that schools like Everett will change, when kids from the assigned elementary schools start feeding into it. It will be a rough transition period, but overall, I think it is a good idea.

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  121. 11:47, you are saying that if you hated the middle school you would get, you would not be praising the idea of elementary school cohorts going to the same middle school.

    We all evaluate that way. If we feel good about our personal results, we then feel good about what produced those results. For example, the Giants won the World Series. We feel better about baseball. But, really, it was the same baseball when the Giants did not win. It was the same 9 innings and the same game.

    Let's try to evaluate the feeder plan on its own merits, not whether we will end up winners or losers. On its own merits, the feeder plan takes away parental choice and does not give back much in return.

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  122. It doesn't take away choice, we've never really had "choice", we have a lottery. The coveted schools will be no harder to get into now than they currently are. Those who dislike the feeder school may opt out and try to get into other schools.

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  123. The coveted schools will be harder to get into for those students outside of the feeder pattern. That is the intended action of the feeder system.

    The citywide system is not a guaranteed choice, only a lottery. Whether you call a citywide system choice or lottery, the question remains, what makes a feeder plan so much better that parental choice or lottery should be taken away?

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  124. No, the intended action of the feeder system is to keep school communities together, as if the schools were k-8's, just not at the same location.

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  125. Part and parcel of keeping cohorts together is keeping non-cohorts out. There is still only a limited number of seats in the classroom, a limited amount of space at the middle school, a limited number of temporary structures that can be built.

    The feeder plan will do this: Identify parents who will have a stake in the success or failure of a particular struggling middle school. The feeder plan says: This is your future middle school. It is up to you, the parents, to save it.

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  126. Don@10:57: That's the $64K question. I can't answer it other than to say it is unfair for both. The solution lies in school turnaround.

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  127. "The feeder plan says: This is your future middle school. It is up to you, the parents, to save it."

    But what role does the school district play in saving it? If they are only an accounting agency that cuts checks, we can eliminate half or more or the central staff.

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  128. The role model for the feeder plan is the turnaround of several struggling elementary schools by parents who took active participation in that school.

    You, parents X,Y, and Z, have a personal stake in whether this school gets shut down. We need some bottom up reform, not top down reform. The top down reform has not worked. The dissatisfied parents have simply left for other schools less challenged. But if the parents are stuck there, backed into a corner, they might come out fighting. Then we might get somewhere. That is the theory. Is it reasonable or nuts? You decide.

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  129. To 10:57 pm who asked, "Which is more unfair?"

    After sibling and CPT1, all middle school students should be treated equally and have equal opportunity to get a middle school assignment via an unbiased lottery. To assign schools by "feeder plan" creates an educational caste system. It will not improve schools because the stake holders will be disenfranchised.

    To answer the question, it is not unfair if a child from a less than stellar school neighborhood gets into a more highly coveted school, or vice versa. It's a lottery. No one is "displaced." No one is "entitled." We are all San Franciscans. We are one community, one neighborhood if you will. I strongly advocate to preserve the middle school lottery in the same format as it will be conducted this year.

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  130. "We are one community, one neighborhood if you will."

    Are we?

    Why then not advocate to keep elementary school assignment lottery as well?

    Do we become united as San Franciscans only when we reach the age of 11?

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  131. Hi, 10:32 PM here. The Middle School feeder proposal forces you into a particular MS. The elementary SAS let's you list as many schools as you want, and neighborhood is just one of the factors that is used as a tie breaker.

    While people keep referring to the new elementary SAS as a neighborhood system, it is a misnomer (or excellent marketing by SFUSD). What many people fail to realize is that the previous elementary SAS actually had a neighborhood preference too. Most middle and upper middle class families ignored this fact while they clamoured for the seven or so highly touted schools. But those in the know quietly registered for their Lafayette, Taylor, Ulloa, JOES, Sunset, etc (schools that were pretty much unheard of before SFK Files).

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  132. My guess is that they will implement the feeder system, despite the lack of parent support for it, and just take the flak.

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  133. Without assigned middle schools, either by feeder plan or assignment area, there are fewer stakeholders for the struggling middle schools. It is too easy to just escape to a middle school that is less chaallenged.

    It like the difference between private property and communist/socialist/community property. When it is your own farm or grassland, you take care of it and it is productive. When it is not you personal farm or grassland, we get freeloaders, less productivity, and a tragedy of the commons.

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  134. "It doesn't take away choice, we've never really had "choice", we have a lottery. The coveted schools will be no harder to get into now than they currently are. Those who dislike the feeder school may opt out and try to get into other schools."

    I do not agree with this assessment though I am pro feeder.
    The preferences remove choice. The more assured seats given via preferences, the fewer that are left for choice/lottery. It's a simple as that. Some schools will find the preferences to be a major player and others won't.

    I am pro feeder because I believe it forces SFUSD to the table on equity. It brings the fight for progress to the door of those that most need it. It prevents SFUSD from punting the ball and forcing the schools to be traveling roadshows, while communities continue to unravel academically. The history of the diversity agenda politics is a history of academic failure, of a wide achievement gap. The social agenda of diversity it the wall when the money ran out. Even the greens accept that it has done more societal damage than good.

    We've come full circle and now people need to come to terms with the fact that academic achievement is attained through personal effort, not through any perfected magically diversity formula. SFUSD has been trying to find that holy grail without success. Getting ahead in school is about hard work, discipline and perseverance, coupled with well staffed schools, smaller class sizes and nonpolitical leadership. You cannot socially engineer it.

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  135. Oh my, I am sitting on Muni laughing my you-know-what off after reading the extraordinarily intuitive analogy by 8:48 AM,  comparing SFUSD to the communist party.  The little movie man is standing on the edge of his seat clapping!

    "You vill go to this awful middle school.  You vill toil day and night for FREE to make it perfect, and you vill shut up about it or you vill only get bread and vater for your supper!  You must do this for the good of all people to show your loyalty to the SFUSD or you vill die!  Guten tag!"

    SFUSD is really onto something.  Seems like a doable plan to me. Families in San Francisco do not need to earn wages for food, shelter, and clothing. These will be provided for FREE by the other SFUSD communes while we toil for FREE fixing the struggling middle schools. And, by golly, ve vill be honored to fo it!

    I guess that everything is FREE about it except FREE choice.

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  136. I meant 8:38 AM. Typo on Muni. Sorry.

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  137. 7:23, You may be correct, but I certainly hope not. Parents in Noe, Bernal and Potrero do vote. If their voices aren't heard now, they will certainly be heard loud and clear at the next election when BOE incumbents are up for re-election.

    7:23 said: "My guess is that they will implement the feeder system, despite the lack of parent support for it, and just take the flak."

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  138. They are definitely going to implement the feeder plan. They are not going back although at first I thought they might be signaling that they would.

    SFUSD board members know better than anyone how to get elected to that body. The parents of school age children are a nominal factor in elections. They also do not want to give the SF Students First ballot measure any help by backing off feeders.

    Part of the idea behind the Quality Schools measure was to influence the Board decisionmaking with the measure hanging over them. Nevertheless, it is still likely to lose when SFUSD squeezes UESF and the service unions to run against it after dangling the contracts in front of them. Quid pro quo. You help us defeat this measure and we give you the contracts.

    If the Board gave a rat's ass for diversity they would fund the transportation using the financially equivalent dollars used to fund another new level of bureaucracy called the Superintendent zones and areas.

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  139. Check out Rachel Norton's Jan 19 BOE meeting notes (rachelnorton.com), which provide update on current status of middle school feeder proposal.

    - Donna

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  140. Kids should be able to stay together from elementary to middle school. Students First will get their measure passed, it's obvious, and after that this will be a non issue. Middle School Feeders is a great plan. We need to keep families in SF.

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