Saturday, March 19, 2011

The 34% Club

Like Emily one post down, we also opened our SFUSD letter today to discover that we had gone 0 for 10. We were assigned McCoppin, a school we didn't request and don't plan to attend. We'd toured it, and while it's a great school for some children, we don't feel like it's a fit for us. (I was actually surprised to get McCoppin -- I thought we'd follow neighbors in years past and get Cobb.)

With this news, we join The 34% Club, or the percentage of SFUSD K non-sibling applicants who got none of their choices. (This number comes from the helpful comments on Friday's "School Assignments..." post)

On Friday, we got happier news. We were accepted to an excellent private school. But there's just one hitch -- no financial aid. This weekend, we are going over our budget, again, to see what, if any, rabbits we can pull out of which hats. I'll say which school we got into once we know what we're doing with the spot. Amid all this, moving remains very much on the table.

For our household, I'm mostly feeling numb when it comes to SFUSD. I expected to go 0/10. Our list was mostly neighborhood schools with a couple of trophies/city-wides (you can see it">here), but we had no tie-breakers of any kind in our pocket. We'd likely have been hosed under the old system, and as I expected, we don't fare well under the new one either.

Huge congratulations to everyone who got something they wanted, public, parochial, or private! Huge condolences to those who did not. I feel especially bad for families such as Emily's, who live in attendance areas for schools such as Grattan, Miraloma, or Clarendon and didn't get in. They had a prize dangled before them, only to have it pulled away. I'm also crossing fingers for friends who got into none of the private schools they applied to, and are now playing the waitlist game.

For all those still facing uncertainty, hang in there. In my house, some big decisions will be made in the next week.


  1. The number of "I got none of my schools" comments, on all threads, makes this 34% number very real.

    Today was a hard day for a lot of people.

  2. Last fall, a friend moved to CTIP1 to have a better shot at getting the school she wanted. I told her they were crazy, and over-reacting, and that a move wasn't necessary.

    They got their first choice school. And here I am, 0/12, sick to my stomach.

  3. But McCoppin is a well-functioning school with a high API. A lot of people would feel that you did fare well, especially those who were assigned to schools that really are troubled. Are you sure you can't convince yourselves that it's acceptable? Are you really considering moving because you got assigned to a school that many families would eagerly accept?

  4. From comments in other threads, it looks like a lot of people got McCoppin who didn't request it. Am I wrong, or isn't that weird? In the past, McCoppin usually filled up Round I and had a waitpool in August. Anyone know what's going on?

    Not bashing McC, just confused.

  5. I'm a little surprised that you opt to live in SF when both of you work in Silicon Valley. That is a commute of choice. Usually one parent is stuck with it because the other works in the city.

  6. Hi there, 11:20,

    For many kids, McCoppin is a good fit. But for us, it's not, mostly because of school size.

    We'd decided we didn't want a small school for GE (we'd do a small school for a unique, hard-to-find program like language immersion, but not GE). McCoppin has two K classes a year, but one is Cantonese bilingual and one is GE. The result is that even with two classes, it winds up being very similar to a small school because you are limited to your single class (GE, in our case) for six years.

    We enjoyed our tour of McCoppin, and thought the principal, Bennett Yee, was both humorous and very dedicated. We talked with him at length. Something he said has really stuck with me in all of our school tours -- "I never, ever try to force a fit," he said. That makes a lot of sense.

    Our talk of moving is based on much more than schools. We both work in Silicon Valley, and the commute is no fun and sucks away 10-15 hours a week I could be spending with my children. It also means we'll both be far away from our elementary school if we go to school in SF, something which holds less and less appeal.

  7. Hi there, 11:37,

    The dual commute, originally, wound up being less a matter of choice and more a matter of recession. Many, many of the Bay Area's jobs are now south of the city. In the recession, as employment ebbed and flowed, we were both fortunate to find good gigs, although they are in SV.

    When we first both found ourselves employed down there, we didn't have the money to move. Now, it's more realistic to contemplate -- and so, with school stuff running in parallel, we are.

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  9. 0/10 here too but I think the system is working as it was designed to work. We live in Bernal, did not apply to our attendance area school or any school in the area. got assigned a school close by but not really close - I would rather home school !

  10. I know someone who is not connected to the school district n the least and who complains about the schools all the time. And what middle school did they get. Yes, you guessed it, Presidio.

  11. 0/7 here.

    Fortunately my family feels good about our plan "B". We feel confident that we will eventually find a safe, inspired learning environment for my daughter while being able to stay in SF with our families, friends, work, etc., This doesn't change that we feel horrible knowng this is not the case for many other families after receiving the mail yesterday. While I want to offer my sincere congrats to those who have received their choices, it is too bad that in the process of trying to get a good education for our children in SF there have to be WINNERS (and losers) and TROPHIES handed out. This is definately not the case in other world class cites.

  12. Seattle, I'm so sorry. I enjoyed your posts and hope something works out for your family.

    Anon 11:18, I think CTIP 1 helps a great deal. We're in it, got our #2 choice -- immersion as an English speaker. And no, I don't think it's fair. I think the old system was much more fair, because we are not socioeconomically disadvantaged, and yet we were clearly bumped up in the process. My guess is that we will be releasing our spot because we're trying to figure out if we can do the private w/financial aid that we also got. And if we do, I hope it makes some family very, very happy. But I feel for all non-CTIP 1 people.

  13. Keep in mind that a good bunch of those neighborhood families holding Grattan spots will go private and spaces will open up. Let's just hope they make that decision quickly and release the spots before August.

  14. The percentage of families without older siblings who got one of their choices is actually 74%, not 66%. 81% got one of their choices, but 26% got the choice because of an older sibling, so you subtract 26 each from 81 and 100 to get 55/74 = 74%. In essence, 1 out of 4 non-sibling families got none of their choices, rather than 1 out of 3. Still, obviously heartbreaking for one forth of the city's families who participated.

  15. Seattle,

    You should seriously consider moving.

    I believe we've really lost perspective in this city.

    Unless your family income is greater than about $250,000 per year, you are going to feel the squeeze of paying for private school. The situation doesn't get any cheaper as the years of paying for private school wear on.

    It's also important to keep in mind that many private schools in the city are not better than some public high schools in other areas. See the US News and World report on high school rating.

    With some of the dollars you save paying for a sub par private school, you could send your child to a good public school, pay for additional programming after school, and bank the remainder.

    Another option: form a homeschooling network. That could work for the first three or four years of primary school.

    Most of the private schools in the city have tuitions that are out of wack with true costs. Part of those very high tuitions are being sucked up by the high real-estate costs in San Francisco.

    Moving really is an option. Even if you go private, you'll still have the middle or high school problem and will probably end up moving anyway. By moving now, you'll reestablish a network of friends, rather than struggle on trying to keep it together in this hostile, exorbitantly expensive, political city.

  16. We are part of the devastated group of parents who received none of their choices. We live in the West Portal district. Every single school we listed is closer to our home than what was assigned. Sheridan.

    After over a decade of living in San Francisco, I've learned to accept a certain amount of "getting kicked in the nuts" from this place. It starts with MUNI, then DPT, and so on. I draw the line when the BOE starts kicking my 5 year old boy.

    This week starts the likely process of moving. I think I'll miss SF as much as it will miss me.

  17. What is choice?

    Freedom to move out of San Francisco when 0 for 10.

  18. Seattle, did you end up applying to any of the magnet schools in San Mateo? If so, how did that work out? I like that they have several schools with dedicated GATE programs, and also a math and science magnet. Real estate costs seem to be about the same there as SF, though.

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  20. It would be nice if only people applying to schools THIS YEAR commented in these threads, and other people stayed out of it, especially if being polite to people is something they don't know how to do.

  21. For what it's worth, St. Monica School (at 23rd & Geary and whose tuition is just about $6,000/yr) has spots and is a warm welcoming school. :)

  22. Hugs to you, and thank you for sharing your story. I'm fascinated and horrified, because my daughter will be applying to SFUSD K next year. I thought (naively) that we would be assured to get into New Traditions (our neighborhood school) but have been so sad to see that the new system seems as unsatisfactory as the old. 34% is crazy!

  23. Seattle, you live in the northwest area of town, so McCoppin, in the inner Richmond, is not a bad placement. Under citywide choice, the odds are that you could have be assigned much father away. The new SAS worked. Somebody has to go to the less popular schools. We can try to avoid the very long travel distances with the new SAS.

  24. "Somebody has to go to the less popular schools."

    Uh,, we don't.

    We were assigned to McCoppin K last year. We thought we'd give it a try, while remaining in the Argonne waitpool.

    I cannot tell you how relieved I was when the call came from Argonne. We switched immediately.

    McCoppin is an amazing school -- for the kids in the Cantonese bilingual program. The principal and staff pour their resources into it. GE is an afterthought.

    Communication between the administration and families was very, very lacking. Principal Yee seemed very focused on on the CB families, and ignored the rest of us. The school had a very weak PTA and very limited fundraising ability.

    Take a look at the school district's report from Friday, specifically at the page where they showed each school's attendance area and how many K applicants either asked to be at the school or didn't. The large majority of kids in McCoppin's area asked to elsewhere. There are good reasons for that. The school has a LONG way to go before the GE program will be of interest to the neighborhood.

    Seattle, I'm sorry you didn't get into Argonne. We would love to have you.

    And all you thought police out there -- stop trying to mind-control families into being happy about assignments they don't want. Callous, condescending, and a little nauseating.

  25. The cold harsh reality is that parents will be assigned to the less popular schools. We can avoid compounding the problem by making that assignment not as far away as possible. Therefore, place of residence counts and citywide choice had to be given up.

    South east parents are the losers here, in the loss of citywide choice. That is the reality.

  26. "Somebody has to go to the less popular schools."

    Uh,, we don't.

    Sure, "we" don't... but if "we" have a back-up plan such as Catholic school, private school, ability and willingness to move, and/or the guts to wait out the rounds and keep fighting (some people have young-ish children and are willing to wait a year, others can homeschool, others are just willing to wait it out no matter what).

    Most of the above requires some level of privilege (especially class privilege). I don't mean this in an accusing way, but as a statement of fact. The point that somebody has to go to the less popular schools is an accurate statement. The folks this ends up being tend to be less privileged--working class to poor, no job flexibility, transportation issues, no means for private or even Catholic, often language barriers, less computer access, and above all, less sense of how to work the system.

    Having gone through this process myself, including multiple rounds, I'm truly sympathetic to how stressful it is, and sorry for everyone who didn't get good news yesterday. That said, I'm not worried about the ultimate outcomes for middle class and upper-middle class families. You (we, because it includes me too) will figure it out--though it is true that the stress is a bummer. It bears remembering that some families, ironically the ones whose kids might most need the best schools, programs, and teachers, will end up at the schools you (we) don't want. That is just a fact, albeit an uncomfortable one.

    Good luck, everyone.

  27. 11:56 here again, just to say also that many of those schools that "we" don't want are in fact good schools with wonderful teachers. El Dorado comes to mind (ever heard of it?), and also Sheridan. There are some schools that are quite dysfunctional, but not those. El Dorado has a kick-ass, young teaching staff that is ridiculously committed to teaching the kids they have, all of whose parents have probably never heard of the SF K Files. And they do a great job.

    So while it is a crying shame that disadvantaged kids end up disproportionately stuck in dysfunctional schools, there is also great teaching going on in some other schools that many people who post here have no idea about. Because you just don't hear about El Dorado on the playground the way you do about Clarendon, at least outside of Visitacion Valley and Sunnydale.

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  29. Lessons Learned:

    1. It pays to rent in CTIP1.

    2. The CTIP1's that you want to have access out of the CTIP1 area need help with transportation. If you provide the CTIP1 golden ticket without transportation, you have only corrupted the system.

  30. SFUSD is a uniquely egalitarian school district. So what if you didn't get what you wanted? Our policies are not about individual benefit, but benefit for the whole. San Franciscans believe in equity for all so everyone must be willing to accept sacrifice. There is no equity without honor, no victory without sacrifice. Accept your lot with humility and be glad that we have a system that rewards and preserves opportunity for the less fortunate.

  31. I am another parent who didn't get any of our schools (0 out of 7). We got Rosa Parks (GE) which we are not going to attend anyway. McCoppin was not on our list although it is 2 blocks from our house (I visited it and really didn't get a good vibe from the GE program and I also know a family who had to pull their kid from it). Somehow I find it very strange that they send us to Rosa Parks which is further away that any of the schools that were on our list.

    Anyway this whole process makes me very sad. I knew that we would need to move out of the city at some point. I guess this whole thing will make it sooner than later.

  32. March 20, 2011 11:46 AM: South east parents are the losers here, in the loss of citywide choice. That is the reality.

    11;46 you are totally correct. Actually you should expand that to all non-density residents who wanted a citywide program, or at least the chance for one. I realized after reviewing the stats that my son WAS NOT EVEN ENTERED into the lottery for Spanish Immersion or Rooftop. They cannot call them citywide programs anymore.

  33. At first, I was wondering who invited all the sanctimonious goodie-goodie types to preach at "The 34% Club"?

    Then I realized I was really wondering who invited ME to join in the first place. But we're in it. 0/8. We are in the West Portal district. Got Cobb. Cobb?!? So much for the new system at least putting schools we didn't choose closer.

    We spent the morning looking at rental listings in Palo Alto. Seattle, see you south of SF if you make the move!

  34. For those who didn't get one of their choices in SFUSD, don't give up yet! Just submit another form for the next round. Spots will open up as (1) parents decide to go to private (2) parents didn't register (3) parents get caught committing address fraud.

  35. Many of the 34% that lose under the new SAS will end up leaving the City and never get the opportunity to vote against those that failed them with their sham community meetings and preordained policies. Those that won vote to maintain the status quo.

  36. Yeah, more silly hyperbole from the drama queen. MASS EXODUS of families from the city!!!!
    Nothing will be left but dust!
    (eye rolling)

  37. 9:23 AM

    Thank you for correcting the math! Clearly some of us should go back to school with our kids.

    So--it is really "The 24% Club"

    24% of non-sibling applicants did not get one of their picks (or is it their top 3 picks? That is how it was described).

    Of course that is so difficult for the 1/4. But not as bad as 34%. It is helpful to stick to the facts, whatever they are. Thanks.

  38. 0/8 here in the Richmond. Maybe our strategy was all wrong in the listing of the schools, but it is just shocking to get an acceptance to a school we never even heard of (Cobb). But we must persevere. The amended choice form is due April 15--read the lovely instruction form (misspellings and all).

    In our preschool class, a large swath of families who got into independent schools, but applied to public, will bail on public (similar stories to our strikeout rate abound in our class). So there are going to be a lot more slots out there. The real problem, from what I can see, is the length that public hold open slots. They are forcing us to enroll into a school my kid will never attend, and maintain that enrollment until things change. Makes no sense to me. SFUSD should really tighten up these deadlines.

    Seattle--thank you for posting this and making us all contemplate what's gone down. I will submit an amended form and hope for something. Thank God our bases are covered though--we applied to our local Catholic school and several independents--and got into one of each. In the end, I have a strong feeling public will not deliver what we need, and the $2,000 in deposits we forked over, will be well worth it.


  39. "The real problem, from what I can see, is the length that public hold open slots. They are forcing us to enroll into a school my kid will never attend, and maintain that enrollment until things change."

    No, that's not true. Unless things have changed from last year, enrolling in a school has nothing to do with whether you get a school in a later round. In other words, if you don't intend to send your child to your assigned school, you are under NO obligation to enroll him or her there in order to participate in subsequent rounds. And whether or not you enrolled has nothing to do with whether you will get an assignment in later rounds. Hope that helps.

  40. Exaggeration perhaps, but Don is basically correct. This city has one of the lowest incidences of family among the 50 states. Why do you think that is? The view?

  41. 4:52, it is because it is expensive, more and more families cannot AFFORD to live here.

  42. If it was a matter of what is affordable people wouldn't live here in the first place though some lose there jobs and have to leave. As to the question why do SF residents leave in general, there are many reasons for migration into and out of cities. And one of them has to do with schools. People on this blog are writing in saying they are leaving SF for this reason. I didn't pay them to write that.

  43. "No, that's not true. Unless things have changed from last year, enrolling in a school has nothing to do with whether you get a school in a later round."

    Everything has changed since last year, so please, no more advice from people who have "been through this before". The process has changed and the numbers have changed--K apps are up 5% over last year and 22% since 2006--who's to say that it will all work out fine for everyone in the end? You don't hear from the people it doesn't work out for because they move away or otherwise give up.

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  45. Everything has changed this year, but if it is any consolation, I was in the 0/everything club last year until Tuesday afternoon of the first week of school when I got the call from the EPC. We finally got in and the wait was worth it. I also know about 10 other people who eventually got their 1st choice. It required waiting and taking the risk, doesn't always work, but often it does. (some of those 10 had already chosen alternatives; private, parochial, moving to Maine(!), or another year of preschool)

  46. Try to go to a public school. The biggest thing hurting integration in SF is that so many parents, mostly white parents, won't look at public school unless it's a trophy school. So the government tries to integrate people as was ordered in 1953, but they get resistance from the most priveleged. Many schools in SF are good that aren't in your top 10. Appeal, try to get in. Don't become part of the biggest harm to minorities in SF, the fact that half of whites and many rich shun the public schools.

  47. Yes, I'm in the 34 percent club. Does anyone know if the Round 2 form has to be submitted in person, or can it simply be mailed in? The directions are unclear. Thanks!

  48. 7:49, don't take any chances. Turn the Round 2 form into the district at the EPC, in person.

  49. I'm one of the bigger boosters of SF publics out there, especially in encouraging people to look beyond trophy schools since we are happily in a non-trophy public. However, if we lived in the Richmond and we had to commute to the Peninsula for work for both of us, there is no way in hell that I would stick around the City. Life is too short to spend 500 plus hours a year in a car (that's twelve weeks of vacation time!).

  50. "Try to go to a public school. The biggest thing hurting integration in SF is that so many parents, mostly white parents, won't look at public school unless it's a trophy school."

    Floyd, that's not really true. Many parents (white?) have been burned trying to apply to integrated and good schools like Alvarado and E R Taylor. That's true for our family. We would have been happy participants at these schools, but we were rejected with a capital R.

    I don't think the aim of the SFUSD is to integrate the schools. Their aim is to systematically eliminate the white middle class and unintentionally the black middle class as well, who both tend to be middle of the road, politically speaking. Other groups are more labor friendly and it is these groups that the city aims to cultivate.

    The notion that whites don't want to integrate may be somewhat true, but certainly no more than other racial groups. I know plenty of "white" parents that would have been more than happy with a school like E R Taylor or Alvarado.

    SFUSD didn't want them. Most now live in the East Bay, the Peninsula and out of state.

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  53. I think it's actually been downgraded (or upgraded?) to the 24% Club based on someone correcting the math.

    Twenty-four percent of non-sib families didn't get one of their top three choices.

    Just keeping the facts straight!

  54. 12:10 AM:

    "Just keeping the facts straight"

    Since you haven't done the calculation yourself, you might as well keep silent.

    In may neighborhoods, such as Noe, Miraloma, Clarendon, Bernal and parts of the Excelsior, it's more like the 60% to 90% club for non-CTIP1 aplicants.

    But we're used to your spin.

    Don't expect a tax increase.

    Wisconsin, sooner or later, is going to catch up to you. You can contort the facts all you want, but budgets and families without a school anywhere near their homes speak more loudly than your lies.

  55. “I don't think the aim of the SFUSD is to integrate the schools. Their aim is to systematically eliminate the white middle class and unintentionally the black middle class as well, who both tend to be middle of the road, politically speaking. Other groups are more labor friendly and it is these groups that the city aims to cultivate.”

    9:46, even I am not that cynical of SFUSD. But you have a point. Rather than conclude SFUSD is out to do harm I’m more inclined to conclude along the lines of the saying – the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Or is it something in between like:
    Suburban and private school flight are considered the acceptable collateral damage of student assignment systems that emphasize diversity above all, thereby forcing a percentage of middle class families to go 0 for 10 and to seek alternatives to SFUSD. The irony is that every year we lose many of the very families required for diversification and fail to diversify to boot. A lose/lose situation unless you are a lotto winner.

    While diversification used to be legally required and is always preferred, the purpose of public schools is to educate and to do so in an equitable manner. It is not the mandate of a school district to constitute every school and classroom along ethnic lines of the larger city or region. When resources are employed to that end, the mission of the schools changes and student academic outcomes become secondary, as we see here in SF. That's why it has become ever more unusual to hear the BOE discussing academic achievement. They are too caught up in the politics of race and diversification.

  56. Thanks, 8:35. I was going to try sending it registered mail, but alas, you're right...more chances for it to go astray. Yet more time off work, sigh.

  57. Thanks 7:49. Bravo!

    I find it amusing that SFUSD's plug for this SAS at the elementary school level was that it would be more neighborhood-friendly. So why are they emphasizing in their press release the idea that neighborhood school apps are low? Did they misread the tea leaves in all the multi-million dollar research or are they just spinning the failure of their new SAS to counter the neighborhood schools measure? They are barred from campaigning against it, but they are free to issue press releases that distort the facts.

  58. Don,

    I responded to your earlier post about regarding diversity.

    However, my post was deleted.

    I won't bother reposting, but you should be aware that posts are being deleted by the blog owner.

  59. I'm not aware of posts being deleted. Sometimes, actually quite often, there are glitches and posts don't go through.

    I hope you are wrong and that posts are not censored inappropriately. I'm not willing to accept at this point that the moderators delete posts. That doesn't mean yours wasn't deleted or that you are not right.

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  61. The SAS system is not a failure. Parents near good schools want those schools and parents near bad schools don't want those schools. The data clearly shows this. Why is this surprising? It makes no sense to normalize the data and say that people don't want neighborhood schools. Parents just want good schools and not bad schools for their children. Look through the data carefully rather than the misinformation being provided by the school board that people don't want their neighborhood schools. Good schools had a very high request by parents who lived within that neighborhood. And not surprisingly, they also had a high request by people outside that neighborhood. We all want the best schools for our kids. Who is surprised by this request? Rather than asking people to just ask for their neighborhood school, we should seriously close those poorly performing schools and set up allocations at the succeeding schools such that neighborhood schools have slots left for neighborhood students. See Clarendon, which had very few slots left for TRUE neighborhood students after sibling and CT1P slots were filled. This is why middle class is seriously moving away from the city and the rich are choosing private. The very parents the public schools can't afford to loose. These are the people who are a critical piece for the solution to improving all the schools and we can't afford to ignore their needs and only solution CT1P. We are all equal citizens of this city or not?

  62. 7:49, thank you!

    I'm sick of the district hiding these numbers, and then trying to spin the numbers they do release in their favor.

    They love to repeat things like 81% got something they wanted, knowing full well that they rigging that stat by including siblings who get what they want automatically, and not being honest about numbers that show how the pain in concentrated in CTIP2 areas under this new system.

    They fired the outside consultant who would have provided oversight on the new system. That single act spoke louder than anything.

  63. New plan: rent a place in a CTIP2 area from Nov through April. Best use of money to get into a good school. Don't even need to live there. Just have the utility bills in your name. For 5 months of rent, you get into a good school.

  64. "They fired the outside consultant who would have provided oversight on the new system. That single act spoke louder than anything."

    Beware. My post stating exactly this was deleted three times from this thread.

    I agree. They fired the consultants who forsaw what was coming.

    Note, Rachel is now calling legitimate discussion on this blog "trolling." Easy to do when you're sitting on your number one assignment.

    I'd call it complete insiderism. Gooning.

    Wow! That's all I can say.

  65. 11:54 AM:

    You mean CTIP1, right?

    Good idea. Evidently, some families have already gone this route.

  66. "See Clarendon, which had very few slots left for TRUE neighborhood students after sibling and CT1P slots were filled. This is why middle class is seriously moving away from the city and the rich are choosing private. The very parents the public schools can't afford to loose. "

    You nailed it with that comment, so how do you conclude the SAS is not a failure?

    The emphasis of school resources on the SAS redesign is inversely proportional to the emphasis on quality schools. Is it any surprise that, after years of redesign efforts, thousands of hours and millions of dollars later, only now the Central Office is getting around to the issue of quality?

  67. 11:59,

    I hope you are not right about the post being deleted, but I don't think that happened by accident either. I was only trying to give the SF k files team the benefit of the doubt. If it is true, then one must conclude that SF Kfiles is a schill for the district or some individuals. I really hope that is not the case.

  68. Hey Don, we can try an experiment.

    I'll post again and we can see how long it takes for my post to be deleted. (I saved it.)

    I'll admit that my post does contain the statement that the Board is effectively waging war against the business class in the city, but it's not particularly offensive.

    So here goes . . .

    So here goes . . .

  69. My point was that the current assignment system is not about addressing diversity.

    Even if you do believe that, it explicitly gives privilege to CTIP1 districts and ignores all else. As someone on Rachel's blog commented, the Clarendon assignment district seems quite large, even without considering the impact of CTIP1.

    How could the district pay millions of dollars to Stanford consultants and not account for the effect of CTIP1? Come on!

    Just why did those Stanford consultants mysteriously quit before the assignment design was complete?

    It's intentional. Absolutely.

    The Aaron Peskin crowd know who vote for business rather than labor interests. So sock it to Noe, Twin Peaks and Miraloma. Hit them with an exorbitant price tag and push them out.

    Yeah! A victory for labor!

    Don, it's a war. Make no mistake about it.

    Unfortunately, the SFK Files is on the other side, protecting public school interests, but not the interests of the SF parent community at large.

  70. 29% of the kindergarteners this year will be white, way higher than previous years. They're trying to get middle class people to stay by putting them to the top for Rooftop and other alternative schools if they live in an area and don't get their local school.

    Remember, the most succsessful benefit the district the most by staying. SFUSD doesn't take that into account. In test scores, donations, and volunteering. Also, their time is more valuable. If a real successful person has to waste 10 hours a week driving, our city's GDP goes down. If a grandma who is retired does, it is sad, but it doesn't reduce the tax base and slow the economy.

    SFUSD is failing. They need to offer more to those with choices.

    Another problem is sometimes a spot at a top school is taken by someone who later moves. In my view, you shouldn't take a spot ifyou plan to move in 3-5 years and drive someone out who wants to stay in San Francisco permanently. That's just a waste. I wish people didn't move here if they don't believe in raising their child here till adulthood. These flakes hurt people who want to be here.

  71. Floyd,

    "29% of kindergarten applicants are white"

    Huh? That's less than the percentage of white people in the city.

    Are you saying you don't want white people to send their kids to public school?

    Floyd, you're not racist, are you?

  72. 12;36,

    I'm feeling a strong sense of brotherhood with you. But you're being somewhat cryptic and I can imagine some readers thinking that you are indulging in conspiracy theories. I wish you would make a more concrete statement of your views. The last one, which is still posted, required a lot of reading between the lines.

  73. Don,

    There's really nothing cryptic to what I'm saying that a close follower of the DCCC wouldn't understand.

    I don't have any insider information on what transpired with this assignment redesign. However, it's fraught with many problems that even a fifth grader would have spotted.

    The firing of the consultants happened during the discussion regarding how to treat CTIP1 and CTIP2. I'm just guessing, but the consultants probably tried to push for a fairer treatment of CTIP2 districts.

    That's the reason for the press release saying that families didn't want neighborhood assignments. Yeah, families in districts with failing schools didn't want neighborhood assignments. You can see the spin. It's plain as day.

  74. New plan: rent a place in a CTIP1 area from Nov through April. Best use of money to get into a good school. Don't even need to live there. Just have the utility bills in your name. For 5 months of rent, you get into a good school.

  75. I understand that the Board is politically motivated. But I'm not sure what you are getting at, and i don't count myself as naive.

    You seem to be saying that SFUSD leadership is using the political cover of diversity and race politics to force out white collar people who are less inclined to cast a progressive vote than would be the labor class.

    If that is your premise, that is a pretty far jump, even for me. Can you make a better case for it?

  76. Back to sockpuppet hell again, I see.

  77. As someone who went through this process last year (and got John Muir the first time around - before the current principal was in place) I just want to say don't give up and have faith that many seats in the school you're trying to get into and other schools will open up the first and second weeks of school. To a lesser extent at the most sought-after schools, but a lot of seats will open up in the second-tier schools as people make decisions about which spots they'll take and as those decisions trickle through the system. It takes a while, but most people I know who have stuck with the system eventually got a school they were happy with. We ended up staying at our backup school, and turned down the spot we had been waiting for all year at another school, which our K child was offered thursday afternoon of the second week of school. We're still happy with our choice. It is truly a journey.

  78. March 22, 2011 11:59 AM wrote:
    They fired the consultants who forsaw what was coming.

    Technically speaking, they didn't fire anyone. The Stanford people were doing the work pro bono. They had offered to continue to do it if SFUSD made their data available to them so that Stanford could use it for their longitudinal study. SFUSD said no. (BTW, the same group is working with New York City and other groups and they didn't have the issues SFUSD did.)

    I thought this was a short sighted move especially since the best, most professional and most thorough analysis of the whole assignment system came from consultant providing this work for free. If SFUSD truly was a "learning organization" that wanted to use data to evaluate and improve, I would have hoped they would have used this valuable offer of consulting resources.

    Yet another example that SFUSD has the wrong people on the middle-management bus.

  79. I agree 4:03. My impression of the process was that the consultants told them they could rank applicants by any criteria they wanted and still get the algorithm to work, so they collected a list of special interests and consent degree requirements, threw in a bunch of tweaks, excised the word "lottery" from all the random selection steps, and then got the Chronicle to declare victory. Then they went back to the same opaque policy with data so that no one really knows the net effect of anything.

    Now we're seeing the phenomena we predicted -- single digit acceptance rates for out-of-neighborhood CTIP2, Clarendon full of nearby, probably not disadvantaged CTIP1 residents, acceptance odds which vary wildly based on geography, and on and on.

  80. The CTIP1 golden ticket is too much of a temptation for fraud and too crude a redistribution of preferences. Replace CTIP1 with giving everyone two assignment areas to treat as your home address. Parents could get the local preference for where they live and where they work. Or just get the local preferences for the two schools that you want the most.

    The is no address fraud because you are completely free to pick regardless of where you live. Residents of low scoring areas can improve their chances of getting out by picking an area of higher scores, or even two areas of higher scores. Chances are their own area will not be popular and they will have no trouble getting into their real local school if need be.

    Call this, not a neighborhood school plan, but a TWO neighborhood school plan. Call this, not a citywide choice of schools, but a citywide choice of TWO neighborhoods. No more address fraud or playing games with renting to get the golden ticket.

  81. "Yet another example that SFUSD has the wrong people on the middle-management bus."

    Right idea, wrong bus. Those decisions came from on high. No way were they going to let reputable people blow their whole theory.

  82. My CTIP1 friends all got their first choice school (not their neighborhood school). We put our neighborhood school (GE and immersion) top on our list. Rounded out with the other schools closest to us. Got none of our list. Ours was not a pie-in-the-sky plan. I'm soured on SFUSD not simply because it didn't work for our family but because we have many friends in the same position as we are who are in high-density neighborhoods with no other tie-breaker factors with reasonable lists who got nothing. I'm over lotteries, faux-choice, and fake diversity. No, we aren't going private. We simply don't have an acceptable school.

  83. 9:23,

    You are the acceptable collateral damage that is part and parcel of SFUSD's CTIP policy. It would be one thing if truly disadvantaged students got a preference, there would be a logic to that, but CTIP1 provides preferences to many without such disadvantages.

    I doubt we'll be able to get the statistics on how many of these privileged CTIP1 applicants there are, but we can assume that where there is opportunity there will be opportunists.

    This short-sightedness of the Board of Education goes along with ideological stubbornness. Where they thought they were blazing a trail of innovation, it turns out they failed to reinvent the wheel.

  84. I'm in CTIP1 (for many years) and wish we could have kept the old diversity index system that so many hated because it was so complex--but it was fair in that it privileged the most under-privileged.

    That said, and for what it is worth, I believe the state % of white CTIP1 families this year was around 9%. That's a lot, I suppose (what is 9% of 18% of 5,000?--about 81 kinder applicants, by my calculation, probably 25-30% of them getting sibling preference anyway, so, maybe 56?) but hardly the majority.

    I realize race does not necessarily equal class. But the vast majority of CTIP1 families, according to the SFUSD stats just published, are Latino and African American. I bet the vast majority are indeed poor.

    It would be wrong, imo, not to give these folks a shot. I was fine with the old system. As a simpler shorthand, CTIP1 is more blunt and some do benefit who probably shouldn't (including me, this year, but not in the future, so no vested interest going forward). But unless we go back, I wouldn't change it. There has to be some system to do this. It can be most fair or most simple--pick.

  85. We went 0 for 20. We don't even understand how it's statistically possible.

  86. 11:27
    That some system to replace CTIP1 is the public school voucher (not to be confused with the private school voucher, in which the state helps pay for private school tuition). In a public school voucher, a student who wants to go to a school out of district, in a district which has expensive housing, for example, is allowed to do so without being required to get the permission of that high performing, high achieving, expensive housing, exclusive school district.

    In San Francisco, we have one unified school district with some neighborhoods more expensive to others. We can give preferences to local areas and we are doing that now. We can also give a public school voucher to students who live outside of a particular school assignment area.

    Let's just give everyone the power to pick any two ES attendance areas for receiving a "local" school preference, regardless of where the student actually lives. No more CTIP and no more checking addresses (other than you live in SF). Simple and Fair?

  87. The SFUSD doesn't have the capacity to accomodate San Francisco families at functioning school.

    I so GO VOUCHERS so that families who are arbitraged out of the SFUSD can afford an education alternative.

  88. Everything has changed, but nothing has changed.

    There are so many students. The number of "acceptable" schools has not (from last year). So the % (24%?) of parents who got 0/N hasn't changed.

    You cannot expect that % magically drop. It is a zero-sum game.

    However, the real question is whether this new system will transform the district for the better in long term.

    For example, Cobbs (mentioned multiple times in this thread) is not a good school. What does it take to change it? It is located in a solid middle class neighborhood. It is fed into Roosevelt MS. Those are the extra little push which can make a difference. Under the old system, it has no chance.

    Yes, it is hard to be in the 24% club. Let's just hope it will be 10% club 5 years from now.

  89. It is NOT the 24% club. It's higher. Here's why.

    The current calculations folks have done on this blog only included the former "golden ticket" group -- siblings.

    But we now have at least two, and potentially three, golden ticket groups:

    * Siblings
    * CTIP1
    * Pre-K attendees

    The calculations here so far only include siblings. Including even just CTIP1 will push the percentage higher.

    The numbers need to be recalculated using CTIP1 and, if applicable, pre-K attendees. Unfortunately, the district hasn't yet released numbers on how pre-K attendees fared, so the full calculation isn't possible.

    It's not worth assuming the high-density tiebreaker was a golden ticket. Too many people I know in high-density tiebreaker attendance areas went 0/X.

    Once we know the status of pre-K applicants, we can get the real number.

    And I tip my hat to the poster who reminded us that in some CTIP2 neighborhoods, the percentages are likely to be 60% or higher.

    District boosters, while I know you want to support public schools, please know that cheerleading stats that insult our intelligence and making comments that try to diminish the bind many families are in only breeds backlash.

  90. I hear what you are saying, 12:09, and I recognize that the odds are very different--and worse--for non-CTIP1, non-attendance area, non-sibling families.

    For the record, we're in CTIP1, but we got Lowell which is not affected by CTIP at all. And I opposed the change from diversity index to neighborhood with CTIP.

    That said, it is valid to say that overall, 24% of non-sibs didn't get one of their choices. This is a comparison with previous years' non-sib numbers that were actually a little worse or very similar. It's good to have the year-to-year apples-to-apples comparison.

    Your point is a good one, though. In previous years, there was a fairly even playing field amongst all non-poor applicants for any school. Now the burden has shifted almost entirely to CTIP2 dwellers who are in undesirable assignment areas. This is really not fair, but it is the effect of giving assignment areas more weight. (And yes, point taken that a few areas such as Clarendon's didn't even benefit much from assignment area--but in most places, if you liked your assigned school, that was an advantage).

    So--in addition to the overall number (81% elementary got a choice) and the non-sib # (76% of non-sibs got a choice), we also need a breakdown by CTIP1 and assigned school area. I bet a huge % of west side kids got a choice, for example.

    I would only add that this level of slicing the stats makes it hard to talk about the "X%" club....hard to know where to draw the line as far as defining what is THE club. Too many factors.

  91. The whole idea that people are initially happy and relieved to get their 3rd though 10th and beyond choice is being viewed in this discussion as if were a fact. I believe that most people have their hearts set on one or two schools.

  92. Seattle, what did you decide?