Friday, April 8, 2011

Guest blog: A response to 'A Case for Equity'

I was inspired by Idealistic Mama’s guest post and have a little different angle keeping in mind her main points of creating school equity, neighborhood schools, and the new assignment system.

In Round 1, families would be given a spot at their neighborhood school automatically. If parents choose, they could try to “lottery out” of their neighborhood school and enter the lottery for city-wide schools, language programs, and charter schools. In Round 1, other neighborhood schools would not be choices. This would cultivate the expectation that families could “win the lottery” and get a special program but most likely, they will attend their neighborhood school. In a situation where non-attendance area sibling enrollment prevented the enrollment of an attendance area applicant, the attendance area applicant would receive superior preference in the lottery for city-wide schools and programs.

Neighborhood schools should not be choices in Round 1 as that goes against the basic premise of neighborhood schools. City-wide and charter schools offer special language programs and/or curriculum which makes them extraordinary and therefore worthy of a special application and a lottery system. This would ensure people within the neighborhood school assignment would get their neighborhood school. If spots offered to neighborhood assignment area applicants are not taken in Round 1, then the spots would be released to non-neighborhood applicants in Round 2. In Round 2, preference would be given to non-neighborhood applicants who qualified for free lunch and added diversity to the incoming class.

An example is the 2011/2012 K class of Alvarado. In the first cycle of the new system, 38 CTIP1 applicants applied to Alvarado. There were 30 neighborhood applicants without attending sibling requests and 8 neighborhood applicants with attending sibling requests. The neighborhood requests were equal to the amount of CTIP1 applicants. There were 22 non-attendance area sibling applicants. There were 88 openings at the school. In current system, 10 neighborhood applicants did not receive a spot at their neighborhood school. In my proposal, the neighborhood applicants would be offered spots and in Round 2 any available spots would be given to interested families with preference for families qualifying for free lunch and ethnic diversity based on the registered class. Thus the final class would be 38 neighborhood applicants and 20 preference or CTIP1 applicants.

A system with true neighborhood preference has many benefits.
a. This would create transparency in the school assignment system. At this point, parents have no idea where they are going to end up. Parents must negotiate many factors such as start times, location, and after school care when choosing a school. If they know their neighborhood school, they will have this information in advance and can plan accordingly. If we honor a neighborhood system, then parents know what school they have; they know the principal, the start time, the building, and the community of parents. This familiarity with the school would take a lot of stress out of the process and make the transition into kindergarten a much more predictable and less anxiety producing experience.
b. It would allow neighborhood schools to change as neighborhoods change.
c. It would allow parents to build connections and maintain them from pre-kindergarten days through elementary school. This would support schools in the long term.
d. It is more ecologically sound. Most people would be going to school in their neighborhood thus cutting down on commuting within San Francisco. It would promote walking and biking to school.

2. Preference would be given to children who qualify for free lunch within the city-wide school lottery program. Ethnicity would be used to help city-wide schools enroll a student population that mirrors the diversity of San Francisco. Student address would have no preference. This would ensure that no one was “gaming” the system as seems likely with preference solely based on address.

3. We need to make all schools within CTIP1 areas schools quality schools. We can use the CTIP1 areas to target specific schools within the system. A possible example would be that all CTIP1 area K-8 schools would become year around schools with an emphasis on academic proficiency and social and emotional development. The goals of these schools would be to prepare students for high school in terms of academic, social, and emotional readiness. Class sizes would be small and some subjects like math and science could be single sex. Campuses would be open 7am to 7pm. Existing child development centers and preschools in CTIP1 would be funded to ensure availability and accessibility for all children under 5 years of age.

4. We need to bring more money into the school system to ensure that all neighborhood schools have basic services like art, P.E., and libraries. Basic education should not be reliant on a PTA’s ability to raise money. Quality education should not be dependent on the incomes of enrolled parents and their ability to volunteer. We need a source of funds that would help to stabilize the system during state and federal budget cuts.

An example of funding the system by families using the public schools system would be an educational surcharge that would be tax deductible similar to property taxes. In the following example, I use specific numbers but these are for demonstration purposes only. If families supported this idea, the exact numbers would need research. For instance, there could be a 1% enrollment surcharge for all families who have an annual household income over $60,000 enrolling their children in public schools. If a family had a gross income of $60,000 they would pay $600 per child per year at the time of enrollment. If a family had a gross income of $300,000 they would pay $3,000 per child per year.

This money would fund the CTIP1 area schools and basic services within neighborhood schools. It would help defer the budget cuts and is only applied to people using the system. This enrollment surcharge would be tax deductible in a manner similar to property taxes. PTAs would still raise money to fund their specific schools but this would be a way to bring more money into the overall system to fund school equity.

In addition, if we have a secured source of funds, it will create stability within the schools system and might actually make SFUSD more attractive to families over the long term. When other school districts are forced to make radical cuts, SFUSD might be able to provide some modicum of financial stability if there is a separate source of funds.

Parents whose children are in the system are usually the most passionate about funding the system. It is doubtful that you could pass a tax on all residents to pay for public education. I believe that most parents with children enrolled in public schools want to contribute to the system. If parents could make a decision to formalize a regular contribute to the system, the funds could create more parity between schools and produce more stability within the system.

77 comments:

  1. Under law, the school district may not use "ethnicity" as an assignment factor.

    Your ridiculous tax proposal would cause more families to go private and more families to leave the city. the vast majority of parents are not going to fork out 8K to attend public school, when for a few thousand more, they could go private.

    Absurd.

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  2. I think the district wanted to assign families initially to their neighborhood school. However, if you take away all of the city-wide schools, there is not enough room in the remaining neighborhood schools for everyone to receive an initial assignment.

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  3. I've always thought that funding by the families who attend a school makes sense. I'm a parent who chose an independent school over the district. A fee ranging from hundreds to single digit thousands is nothing compared to the $22K a year we've chosen to pay and wouldn't have caused me to "go private." But paying that money on my own when I knew other families with means weren't would bother me to no end.

    Finding a legal and equitable way to get more money into the system from those using it seems entirely fair to me.

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  4. I begin by defining what I mean by equity in the schools. I do not mean that per pupil funding is the same or that programs at different schools are equivalent. I do mean that there is an achievment gap for African American, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander students in SFUSD.

    How does any SAS fix the achievment gap? I'm not saying fix it all by itself--I'm just saying move us in the right direction. The target group is low scoring students in the AA/H/PI community. Prop 209 says that we cannot use race or ethnicity. We use substitues for race. We use to use the diversity factors. Now we use CTIP. CTIP is a bad fit.

    I cannot come up with a substitute that is a good fit.

    The 2-school ticket. I resign myself to just giving an equal amount of help to everyone, and trusting that it will be very valuable to those most in need and only of moderate value to those who did not need the help but are getting it anyway.

    It is like income redistribution. If everyone gets a thousand dollar economic stimulus check, that is small potatoes to a high income person, but a lot of money to the rest of us.

    The 2-school ticket still has a local school preference, but gives everyone honorary residence at two assignment area schools of your choice. If transportation for CTIP! area can be provided, the 2-school ticket will meaningful to the population that needs the help. We will ge moving in the right direction.

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  5. If we taxed the wealthy at reasonable rates -- perhaps not the 91% of the 1950s, but something more reasonable than the 35% today -- we would not have to charge parents for using the public schools. Children are a public good, and the burden of educating them should not fall exclusively on parents.

    Shall we charge a fee for calling 911, with income testing at the front door before services are rendered? What if you ask a police officer for directions -- surely asking people to pay $5 for that is reasonable. Is your house on fire? Better be sure you've written your firefighter a check recently. How about those sidewalks? We could have toll gates installed on people's front steps so you paid to use them. Libraries -- why not charge people with middle incomes and above a $500/year fee, or perhaps a $2/book checkout charge? Oh, those parks? Dog-walkers should pay $3/use, children who want to get into the playground need to fork out more.

    I'm sorry, I think this is an absolutely ridiculous proposal. Public school is a public service, given to the next generation by taxes levied on the entirety of the previous one, so that the next generation may be well-educated enough to participate in the public sphere in such a way that the previous one will not suffer in their old age. Eighteenth century classical liberal theorists understood this. Even nineteenth-century robber barons with no children of their own got it and funded educational projects, though this private funding was much less equitable than public funding.

    We have privatized almost everything, which is why things are so vastly, mind-bogglingly unequal. Higher taxes for the wealthiest citizens would solve many of our social ills and renew a set of commonly-held assets open to all. The idea of levying a private fee on public education is just nauseating to me.

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  6. Oh, and PS: if I'd known I would be placed in my attendance area school in Round 1, I would not even have considered public.

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  7. There is a flaw in the proposal: there aren't enough seats in neighborhood schools to accommodate neighborhood children.

    According to March 2011 Student Assignment Report, "...only 84% of kindergarten seats are in attendance area schools; the remaining 16% of seats are in city-wide schools."

    Therefore, this proposal starts at a disadvantage, without neighborhood seats for 16% of the students in the City. If you factor in non-attendance area siblings, probably another 5% or more won't get seats in their neighborhood school. That means ~79% of students get a seat at their neighborhood school in Round 1, but 21% or greater do not get neighborhood placement.

    Since there are less attendance area seats than students, it will be very hard and VERY political to draw up the attendance area boundaries correctly, esp. around high demand schools in the central areas of the City like Clarendon, Grattan, Miraloma, and West Portal. SFUSD would need cartography skills better than a surgeon to draw these lines accurately (and correctly). HA! Look at the fiasco this year, where attendance areas runneth over. Quelle surprise!

    It is hard to understand how this proposal will help families who live in the attendance areas of less popular schools any better than the current lottery.

    At the end of the day, there will be a percentage of families who get exactly what they want (esp. those who live around a popular elementary school), a percentage who are not happy but get an assignment that they can live with, and a percentage who end up hating the SFUSD and opting out completely (these families are the biggest loss, because they are typically financially stable, well educated, and most able to help improve the public school system through donations of time and money).

    Until 100% of attendance area seats are located in elementary schools that are perceived to be safe, high quality educational institutions, a percentage of families will always be "winners" and another percentage will always be "losers," no matter what students assignment system is used.

    Also, as someone already mentioned, race/ethnicity cannot be used for assignments.

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  8. We're asking our schools to do something they've never done...educate more kids with fewer teachers per student than ever before. And we're asking them to do that with fewer dollars per student. I don't think that schools should be entirely paid for by fees. But I think that fees levied on the users of a service can be reasonable. We charge for parks, for camping, for public universities. Why is charging *something* for the use of public schools ridiculous? It could lead to the payers paying more attention to how the money is spent and could bring some sunlight to a pretty byzantine centralized system.

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  9. With the 2-school ticket, we ohly use CTIP1 to identify the areas for increased transportation services--we do not give out a golden ticket.

    Everybody gets the 2-school ticket, so we are fair to everyone. And it is worth doing because it will be of great benefit to the CTIP1 area, as long as meaningful transportation is provided. Without transportation, the 2-school ticket does not work. (Without transportation, the golden ticket does not work well either.)

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  10. Hi, I am the guest blogger. Thanks for your comments.
    I just want to point out that in my proposal, everyone would be able to lottery out of their neighborhood school to a city-wide, charter, and immersion programs in Round 1 and that in Round 2, all available seats would be available to all applicants. I believe there would be enough seats for all children with this method. Also thanks for the clarification around race/ethnicity as a factor. I didn't realize that when I wrote this. I wanted to post these ideas to generate solutions, especially in raising funds for the system. If we are unable to tax the wealthiest, what other solutions could bring money into the system which would benefit all schools?

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  11. It's all groovy bouncing out ideas, but you all do realize that the BOE has already made ups its mind and that proposing things like "The 2-school ticket" as if what you are writing is actually a viable proposal that is on the table, or that the BOE will consider, is folly.

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  12. 10:05

    there are numerous things you propose that could not happen, or are not legal, I think you need to learn a lot more about how the system works before setting out to design proposals.

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  13. When the Emperor has no clothes, he should be told.

    That is what I am doing by proposing the 2-School Ticket to replace CTIP. It will stop to be folly if candidates for the Board of Education are asked to take a stand: stay with CTIP or switch to something else like a 2-School Ticket?

    I want constructive criticism of CTIP--what would I replace it with--what changes would I make to CTIP if SFUSD is willing to make modifications--do we see any problems with how it is working out?

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  14. Suggest away, but it's a done deal so suggesting that any of these proposals are seriously going to be considered is delusional.

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  15. I believe that the Board and the Superintendent want the best for SF students.

    As long as I am respectful, I think they will listen. If I am not respectful, it is delusional to think that anyone will or should listen to me.

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  16. I also think all these ideas of changing the SAS are kind of waste. I think they may tweak things a bit, but they aren't going to totally change the system again.

    But this proposal is nothing new. It's basically a proposal for neighborhood schools. If you like your neighborhood school you benefit. If not, you are left with what you can get.

    There are still going to be people who are happy and people who are not happy with their school assignment. It's just a matter of who is made happy by the SAS.

    I still think the previous system was more fair for more people and helped the people who really needed it more than the current system.
    The current system benefits people living in CTIP1 and people living on the west side of town.

    Your proposal would really only benefit the people who are living next to a good school.

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  17. The proposal is not about a two way ticket. It is about neighborhood preference. The lottery available in both rounds 1 & 2. It asks questions about funding the school system.

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  18. Is fixing the SAS really the biggest problem out there? The problem that should be addressed first? The one that if addressed would have the biggest, longest lasting impact on public schools in SF?

    Line up all the issues with public education in SF and CA. Rank them high to low on how difficult it may be to "fix" each. Also rank them on the impact they would have if solved. Are there any "low hanging fruit" out there? Problems that are easiest to address that would have large impacts? If there are and we can all agree to "pull in the same direction" maybe we can get a little momentum behind the process of improving public education in SF.

    Maybe fixing the SAS is where to start. Maybe not. Thoughts?

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  19. Newsflash: state park and public universities used to be either free or so cheap that they were accessible to the working classes. This was done by design, because the policy makers in power at the time understood that the world would be a better place if nature and higher education were accessible to all regardless of income. The fact that we have no cultural memory of this, that we think is is OK to make camping fees too high for poor families, or the UC system inaccessible to the ordinary middle class, is the scandal. Public schools should not be following suit.

    This blog has horrified me more and more, because people seem to genuinely believe that parents can and should to be the solution to all educational ills -- we are racist if we go private, we should be willing to pay for public, strong PTAs will save the system. Children are a PUBLIC good. The PUBLIC should invest in the education of all children. If it did, where you or I sent our children would not matter: we could choose private if we thought the pegagogy was groovier, or parochial if it reflected our home religious values, without being told we are somehow individually responsible for damaging public education. We are not, and I refuse to take that bait. This state, and this country, have gutted what was once a first-class public educational system, by refusing to make the wealthy help pay their fair share of the common good. We have stood for it, indeed enabled it, by electing those who would make everything private.

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  20. You have to give candidates for office a litmus test issue, or else all you get is hot air.

    Fixing the SAS by switching from CTIP to a 2-school ticket is one litmus test.

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  21. This blog has not horrified me because the blog is not a representative vote. The same person can post over and over again. If you think it is a vote, please also think of it as stuffing the ballot box. There is not much we can do. So shrug it off. And enjoy a cup of coffee.

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  22. "This blog has horrified me more and more, because people seem to genuinely believe that parents can and should to be the solution to all educational ills -- we are racist if we go private, we should be willing to pay for public, strong PTAs will save the system."

    Bravo!

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  23. Dear guest blogger,

    I think you want "true neighborhood preference." The mechanics might be easier to follow is you use the existing system as a template and propose modifications.

    How about these ideas as modifications:

    1. Local preference always trumps CTIP. SE CTIP2 residents should be able to stay in the area, if they wish. SE CTIP1's will count as a local resident for their exact assignment area school. Not a bad priority.

    2. Siblings and preK go first. The remaining seats, BUT up to only 50% of the remaining seats, go to CTIP1. Even CTIP1 will have to lottery among themselves so that some seats are saved for locals. Somebody in Clarendon and Miraloma should be going to Clarendon and Miraloma.

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  24. "This blog has horrified me more and more, because people seem to genuinely believe that parents can and should be the solution to all educational ills -- we are racist if we go private, we should be willing to pay for public, strong PTAs will save the system."

    Hallelujah! I TOTALLY agree. We shouldn't be having to bail out the public school system. I pay a ridiculous amount of taxes as a middle-class person - the idea of paying ADDITIONAL money to send my kid to a sh*tty public school makes me want to vomit.

    I don't know of any other city's public schools where parents are expected to contribute literally, thousands of dollars, and spend hundreds of hours in PTA time "fixing" broken public schools.

    The best part is the self-righteous parents who get on this blog and tell people to stop "whining" that their kid got into a school with a horrible API and then tell that parent they should just figure out a way to turn that school around. Riiight.

    Because I'm sure every middle-class parent's dream is to work a 40 hour week, then have to spend time and money trying to force change on a failing school, and subject their kid to a crappy education while the school improves.

    Also, to the outrageous person who naively thinks that parents are going to pay thousands of dollars a year to send their kids to public schools - never. gonna. happen.

    They can send their kids to nice parochial schools for a few thousand more and these schools have better resources, less kids per class, and higher academic standards.

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  25. This sounds a lot like the "Optional Enrollment System" of the 90's. You were guaranteed assignment to your assigned school and you could opt out to enroll in alternative schools (Buena Vista, Claire Lilienthal, Clarendon, Lakeshore, and Rooftop.) Because of the consent decree then in effect some addresses had assignment school not close to their house (like some addresses in the Mission had were assigned to Spring Valley in Chinatown) but many were true neighborhood schools. People in certain low income zip codes got preference to alternative schools. I believe race could be used as a factor at that time (now illegal.)

    But guess what? This was not popular at all with the middle classes. Everyone fought like dogs to get into the 5 alternative schools, or went private.

    It was only after the Ho decision that city-wide choice became the norm.

    I don't think any assignment system will fix the achievement gap. At best it can tinker around the edges by not overwhelming any one school with economically disadvantaged kids.

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  26. "In Round 1, families would be given a spot at their neighborhood school automatically"

    Great if you're next to West Portal, not so great if you're next to Cesar Chavez.

    Try again.

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  27. "Everyone fought like dogs to get into the 5 alternative schools, or went private."

    Yeah, back then there were only 5 trophy schools, now there's 15, plus many more schools and programs that are popular.

    The current SAS was designed after 2 years of consultation, input from the Market Design group at Stanford. And it got...almost the same results as the old citywide system. The BoE may justifiably decide they've got better things to work on.

    Basically, you guys want the 20% that get the 20% of SFUSD's capacity that are weak schools to be predetermined by geography. Which in 2 years means income, as what middle class families there are in the Mission and BV/HP would empty out.

    You got 70% of what you wanted in the new system. I hope the BoE resists the calls to remove the limited amount of choice that's left in the system.

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  28. We did have citywide choice before the HO case. More significantly, we had racial and ethnic caps, which worked to spread out Chinese Americans throughout the schools--in effect drafting them to do the racial integration so that no one ethnic group made up more than 40% of any given school, which was how we were calling a school integrated or not.

    Even Lowell could not exceed the 40% or 45% cap. Chinese Americans thought the maximum quotas were unfair and sued in the HO case. SFUSD agreed not to use race as a factor. We also got Prop 209. And here we are, with very few tools to address the achievment gap for African Americans and Hispanics.

    CTIP. It is not the Diversity Index. But CTIP has its own set of problems. Too many problems, in my opinion.

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  29. When we formed Students First we didn't sit down at the drawing board to write an assignment system. We knew that was the work of the administration and the Board. We drafted a poll to pressure via the electorate those that do write the assignment system.

    It is all well and good to hypothesize about an assignment system. You have raised many good points and elucidated the benefits of neighborhood assignment. Sure, there were a few oversights and omissions, but I do not fault you for that. You threw out some great ideas.
    It isn't delusional to take an interest and if it promotes interest that is worthwhile.

    What is off base is the idea of charging people to go to school. This is absolutely against the state law. It defeats the whole principle of public education.

    The district has to build out a neighborhood based infrastructure if it moves from choice. So far, we are a long way from a neighborhood based system. What would be more efficacious than homemade assignment redesigns is political action to make commissioners aware of your views. Nothing changes until they change their views or until other with different views take their place. Let's hope that happens sooner than later. We can make it happen it we work at it.

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  30. I was wrong. You had it right the first time. We got citywide choice after the HO case. Before HO, there were attendance area high schools like Lincoln and Washington, but Chinese Americans in the Sunset and Richmond could not get into their area high school because that would have exceeded the maximum quota for any one ethnic group at a given school. After the lawsuit, then we got all citywide schools with the diversity index. You had it right the first time. Only Lowell and SOTA were citywide schools since forever. I suffer from the Lowell fixation too.

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  31. "We're asking our schools to do something they've never done...educate more kids with fewer teachers per student than ever before."

    Actually, there are less students per classroom than there used to be.

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  32. Apart from the CIPT1 issue (I own an almost million dollar home in a CIPT1 address & I don't think folk like me were the indented beneficiaries), I think the new system isOK.

    The issue is that there are not enough schools that the middle class want to attend. If there were more good schools to choose from then the choice aspect of the procedure would be more attractive. The problem is that vast numbers of people want to go to 14 schools. If neighborhood was the main priority then many of these people just wouldn't bother applying if they didn't live near a to a school they liked.
    I have no ideas how to get more good schools but am in favor of the "tax the rich" idea. Even I it means I pay more tax. (can you guess that I'm a European!)

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  33. Dear Mr. $1M home in CTIP1,

    Would you support limiting the CTIP1 golden ticket to just public housing residents in CTIP1?

    That will cut out the low income CTIP1 residens who do not live in public housing. They need a leg up too. I would give everyone the 2-school ticket. Deal?

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  34. Another $1M house in CTIP 1 here. No deal. Go back to the original SES system, with several verifiable factors: in public housing, eligible for free lunch, collecting food stamps, etc.

    Actually, go back to the original system, as this semi-neighborhood system shafted CTIP 2 people in the southeast the hardest. And I say that as a CTIP 1 person (we gave back our golden ticket, which we used for a neighborhood immersion program anyway, and are going private).

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  35. 8:02 AM: You're correct. I mistyped. We have fewer teachers per kid than in the past, costing more per kid. We have more kids. And we're spending less overall per kid (adjusted) per kid. Add to that a huge amount of that money is going to provide pension and health care benefits for teachers and administrators who are no longer working, because it's easier to negotiate things that only cost down the road. And in SF we have less than 2/3 of the kids we used to have, resulting in excess capacity and higher costs per kid while getting less total dollars from the state and fed. So that results in our kowtowing to the federally mandated tests even though only a tiny percentage of our funds (about 6% I believe) comes from it, resulting in less true learning about things other than how to take tests.

    Those are the reasons I chose to put my kid elsewhere. I have a lack of trust for the people making these decisions in a centralized way and wanted to have her someplace where I could be part of that process, and use my choice to find an educational environment that suited her. We couldn't be happier with that choice.

    This will of course bring a storm of people claiming that I'm part of the problem because I've taken those resources elsewhere. And they're right. And I don't care because I'm taking care of my kid not theirs.

    But the thing that started this was the claim that if people had to pay something, based on their income, for the school they're in, that they would chose to go elsewhere. They're already choosing that and a few $K wouldn't make any more of them choose that way.

    But a system where schools were fully funded by a community of people paying according to their means, and less centrally administered might convince many of us to stay in the system rather than leaving.

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  36. 3:27,
    I will count your position as going back to citywide choice with the Diversity Index for ES, MS, and HS. You like real socio-economic factors. It was the terms of the Consent Decree that was approved by the federal court judge. We did continue with it after the Consent Decree expired.

    In your view, what we have done in the last few years is go downhill, designing a worst SAS now than we had before. I agree with a lot of that sentiment.

    My main differnce with you is that I want to experiment with the 2-School ticket rather than going back to citywide choice with the diversity index. Will you be voting for neighborhood schools as a protest against the new SAS?

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  37. 4:20, I absolutely will not be voting for neighborhood schools as a protest against this new SAS or for any other reason. Neighborhood schools would be even more segregated by income and race than what we have now, and the middle class in the Southeast will leave the public schools or SF altogether if we are shut out of citywide schools -- not to mention that the poorer residents will be effectively locked in. The two-school ticket is too narrow a choice system for me, as well: it's all or nothing. I would only vote for a return to priority by household SES and a true choice system or pure lottery.

    No, we've left the SF public system altogether. I liked what I saw at the K level, but not what was coming down the pike in terms of larger classes, continued cuts, and the continuation of NCLB policies by other names. We'll continue to support our local public with donations of time and money, but to my eye the system is completely broken and the SAS is only one of many deep problems. Tweaking the SAS is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

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  38. 3:58

    "8:02 AM: You're correct. I mistyped. We have fewer teachers per kid than in the past, costing more per kid. We have more kids. And we're spending less overall per kid (adjusted) per kid. "

    We actually have many more teachers per kid, and more administrators, than ever before in history, and more money than ever being spent on consultants and and "professional development" for the high level administrators, but very little training for the teachers who are in classrooms. School systems are less and less about serving the students, and more and more about all the adults in the system. That is what is killing America's public schools.

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  39. I do not like a strict neighborhood school system either. Optional enrollment: if space was available somewhere else, you had a chance at going there. I think the idea of a neighborhood policy always includes an optional enrollment aspect.

    The real question is, can you bump someone who really lives there? With a 2-school ticket, you could. No guarantee, but it could happen since you and the real resident would have equal status for that particular assignment area ES.

    If the 2-school ticket becomes a 7-school ticket or something, you have a lot of citywide choice and really no neighborhood school policy. So I stopped at two schools for honorary residence. Everyone loses a little and wins a little. No one loses a lot and wins a lot.

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  40. Why do people think neighborhood schools would be a step backwards? Neighborhood schools are likely to increase integration. San Francisco is a diverse city. Most neighborhoods have been transformed and represent the cultural diversity that is so beloved in this city. Why not harness that multiculturalism and keep the communities together?

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  41. I agree with the two $1M home CTIP1 folks - the new system is working the way it was intended to work - I say this even though we got assgined a school we will not go to (Chavez).

    Striking that balance between segregation and neighbourhood schools is tough. Chavez is not likely to be middle of the road school - just look at the location and demographics. The current CTIP 1 preference should be changed and be based on 1. Income level (tax returns etc.) 2. Child's citizenship and a certain % of this category should be assigned to the Clarendons, Rooftops, Grattans, Lilienthals of the district - dont cut bus funding for this. I was in the line at 555 Franklin and there was a mom (CTIP1) screamning away because her kids were assigned Lilienthal but there were no buses and so she was going to give up those spots !

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  42. CTIP1 got CL with no bus service. The school district provides what bus service it can, but ono one, except special ed, is entitled to a yellow school bus. So, it is still the job of each parent to figure out transportation, after-school care, etc. It is part of parenting.

    Does anybody really expect a person with a $1M home in CTIP1 to in favor of losing his golden ticket and decreasing the property value of his home?

    You touched on additional requirements for CTIP!.

    Citizenship--don't go there. See the debate over Prop 187.

    Income tax--the school district thought it could only handle address information.

    Assignment to trophy sdhools--We still let you pick per what you want. More bus service is needed for a realistic choice to outlying schools. We agree on that.

    Others have said that the CTIP1 golden ticket should be limited to residents of public housing. The residents of the $1M home in CTIP1 can be removed.

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  43. @sfbernal
    I think your experience illustrates at 555 Franklin is a case in point why SFUSD should use the CTIP1 areas to focus on specific schools rather than assuming the parents of the children they are trying to help want to drive across town to school. On this blog, many people have commented that each school is unique. Others have commented that some schools with low test scores receive much higher per capita funding per student. How is SFUSD using this money to help children where their home life compromises their academic life? Maybe SFUSD could think about curriculum and programs which are specific to children who come from homes where their is high poverty, possible parental illiteracy, parents who are incarcerated or on parole, possible drug or alcohol addiction, etc. Maybe schools in CTIP1 areas should be more like children's centers where children can access them easily and they provide more social services. If a child goes to school across town, they can't get there by themselves and the school can't be as much as a resource for the child to use on their own.
    I'm sure there will be many parents dreaming of those spots at Claire Lilienthal.

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  44. To 1:09 AM. Are you saying that this family got assigned to Lilienthal without putting it on their enrollment application? How does that happen?

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  45. When you say that one or the other SAS will increase of decrease intetgration, we should ask, increase or decrease compared to what?

    If we say compared to today's level, only time will tell.

    If we say compared to 10 years ago, that is not a valid comparison, because 10 years ago we had an integration plan that used mazimum quotas on ethnic groups at any given school. We got sued over those caps and the use of race or ethnicity was dropped. To the extent that SF schieved intergration in those years, that integration was accomplished by illegal means.

    The diversity index, which did not use race, was less successful at achieving integration than the old racial caps. Substitutes often are less successful.

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  46. "Others have said that the CTIP1 golden ticket should be limited to residents of public housing. The residents of the $1M home in CTIP1 can be removed."

    Sure, if neighborhood preference is also limited to those in public housing.

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  47. "My main differnce with you is that I want to experiment with the 2-School ticket rather than going back to citywide choice with the diversity index."

    Amongst the problems with the 2-school ticket is that it isn't strategically simple. This system has the advantage of being a lot more transparent and simple than the old pick-7/diversity index system. Attendance areas need tweaked, maybe place CTIP1 in the same priority group as neighborhood applicants, but this 2-school ticket stuff: I've multiple graduate degrees, and I don't understand it.

    Let's keep this stuff simple.

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  48. I think sfbernal's point was that the ctip1 preference won't help the truly needy ctip1 families if busing is cut. I seem to recall that CL never provided much busing anyway, one reason it is far less diverse than Rooftop. I agree that priority registration should be limited to particularly needy/educationally challenged students. "Ctip1" is a proxy for low-income African American or Hispanic. (After the Ho case, race couldn't be directly used in student assignment to achieve racial integration.) IMO ctip1, rather than residence in public/section 8 housing, is being used 1) to deny preferential access to poor but typically high-performing kids living in the Chinatown and North Beach Place projects, and 2) to provide preferential access to poor and typically low-performing Hispanic kids whose parents are undocumented immigrants and, hence, inelgible for public housing.

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  49. The current system is very simple as far as strategy goes. Just pick the schools you want in the order that you want.

    The 2-school ticket follows the same strategy. It only adds that you can pick two extra assignmemt area schools out of your area and have as much priority there as a real resident of that area.

    Now you have to tour an armful of schools, because you have a chance of getting into a school out of your area. You also suffer some uncertaintly over getting your local school because "outsiders" get honorary residence in your area, just by picking two schools for the two-school ticket.

    On the other hand, no more CTIP1 golden ticket.

    Making sausage is not pretty. The 2-school ticket is not pretty. But try it. We might like it. If we don't, we can try something else. The SAS thing is just one big experiment to find out what works. I dislike trying the CTIP1 experiment because the damaging the integrity of standardized scores is not easily fixed. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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  50. "The school district provides what bus service it can, but ono one, except special ed, is entitled to a yellow school bus."

    That is not true or at least it wasn't until just last year. School choice under Federal law Title One Part A required districts to provide transportation to students who opted out of Program Improvement. Now the reauthorization of NCLB, or ESEA, has dropped school choice after many years. Strange indeed that Obama policy would limit student choice and the busing that went with it. Any one want to wager a guess why Obama would do that? It's a trick question.

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  51. CTIP1 is a bad proxy for our target of Hispanic and African Americans in the achievment gap, because people outside of the target group can move in, get all of the benefits of the golden ticket, and move out.

    CTIP1 is bad for addressing the achievment gap, because CTIP1's golden ticket damages the integrity of standardized exams.


    CTIP1 overburdens SE CTIP2 areas. There is not equitable burden sharing throughout the city.

    The golden ticket of CTIP1 is limited by transportation issues, whose budget will only get smaller each year.

    For all of these reasons, CTIP1 should be withdrawn or modified. Modifications include limiting the golden ticket to public housing, not using any future test scores, and saving seats for local CTIP2's so that even CTIP1 might have to lottery among themselves.

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  52. Well, why should someone with a $1.5M house in the Upper Sunset have guaranteed access to good schools all the way through middle school while a CTIP-2 renter in the SE has no viable choices?

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  53. And, frankly, why should a child of poor, non-English-speaking parents in the Chinatown housing projects NOT get a leg up on enrolling in a decent elementary school?

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  54. The SE CTIP2 renter does need viable choices and is not getting it with this new SAS. The SE CTIP2 and a few centrally located CTIP2's (Clarendon and Miraloma) carry too much of the burden of integrating our schools, while the westside, being far away, is not carrying a fair share of the load.

    Chinatown is not getting a leg up with the CTIP1 golden ticket because we are addressing the achievment gap of African American and Hispanics in the new SAS. (Is there an achievment gap for low income Chinatown public housing students and is this best addressed with programs in Chinatown schools, ELL instruction, etc?)

    (If we had the 2-school ticket, Chinatown public housing students would get a leg up at getting out of the area--since eveyone gets the 2 school ticket--kind of like a same dollar amount bonus for everyone, whether they need it or not, but, if they do, it really comes in handy.)

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  55. "The 2-school ticket follows the same strategy. It only adds that you can pick two extra assignmemt area schools out of your area and have as much priority there as a real resident of that area. "

    No, it's not simple. You'll get gaming on which magic two picks you take. You'll have gaming of people in popular schools on where they should pick . There'll be even more stress and vexation than there was under the old pick-7-rank-as-tiebreaker system.

    And you'll have a series of complaints from people in West Portal, Clarendon, etc. that they've been squeezed out of their neighborhood schools by affluent parents in Bernal, Glen Park, Potero or wherever gaming the system.

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  56. "The SE CTIP2 renter does need viable choices and is not getting it with this new SAS."

    Well, the new system should change the demographics of SE CTIP2 schools like Serra, Flynn, Revere, Glen Park to reflect the demographics of their neighborhoods better. At least that's the theory.

    "The SE CTIP2 and a few centrally located CTIP2's (Clarendon and Miraloma) carry too much of the burden of integrating our schools, while the westside, being far away, is not carrying a fair share of the load."

    It can't carry the load 'cos it's far away. And while it's quick to go north-south in SF, it's a pain-in-the-ass to go East-West. But the socioeconomic gradients go East-West far more than North-South. The infrastructure and geography limits what you can do in terms of integration unless you're going to do forced busing with 1.5+ drives with non-contiguous attendance areas, e.g. part of BV/HP ends up in West Portal's attendance area or suchlike. CTIP1 is a simpler option.

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  57. There will be winners and losers no matter what assignment system is used as long as there are not enough good schools in San Francisco. Whatever SAS discourages nonparticipation in public schools is the one we should have because that will result in greater numbers of higher achievers in the schools. This will raise all boats in every neighborhood.

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  58. You are right that the 2-school ticket turns student assignment back into a game. It is a game that gives back some choice to parents (where that choice belongs). It is a game of dominos, with everyone getting bumped a little, westside included.

    My main point is that CTIP1 is not our only option. We should be open to other options, because CTIP is far from problem free.

    Another commentator thought the demographics of some of the SE ES's could be modified. That's the spirit. There is nothing rigid about a SAS. Change what needs to be changed. I would change a lot more than others. It is all one big experiment.

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  59. I think that a tax on parents is unfair. People who are lazy and don't do their part raising our next generation really shouldn't save even more money. Thanks to Clinton, the tax breaks help parents raise big families. I gave birth to 4 children. I shouldn't be forced to pay 4% and a woman who never gave birth or raisd kids pay 0. We'll be like Germany and Japan and Russia and Italy, no youth culture. We need to encourage educated, responsible, successful citizens to have kids. When a Doctor has no kids, what a tremendous waste! All that success dies with you. It's meaningless. If anything, if you raise no kids you should get a cut in your social security after retirement and have a surtax to pay for raising the next generation, pay for tutors, extra classes, etc. Spending on kids' development is not the same as buying a car. One is for the common good and future, the other for personal enjoyment.

    Tax should be by income. If you charge a per child tax, no successful person with more than 2 kids will stay in SF. Pay 5% of 200k or 0 in San Mateo.

    Also, you can't compare parochial and public schools. The idea of segregation by income and usually race in childhood and religious indoctrination is a far right wing idea. Only Conservative Republicans even think of sending their kids to private school. Any progressive wouldn't even consider it, no matter their income. Anyone who went to Cal or UCLA and was progressive in college wouldn't join the far right and encourage segregation of children by class and race as well as religious indoctrination. San Francisco just has a bigger far right population than most people realize.

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  60. I guess the point is that if the district wants to at least give the impression of preferential SAS access to low-income African American and Hispanic students, without taking race into account (thanks to the Ho settlement), its legal options are limited, hence CTIP1. Of course, with busing being eliminated, the preferential access of these same students to high-performing Westside schools is more an illusion than an actuality.

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  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  62. If you have to keep CTIP for appearences, just make the local school tie-breaker outrank the CTIP tie-breaker. That will save some seats for the SE CTIP2.

    You are still playing by the rules if you move into CTIP1, cash in on the golden ticket, and then move out.

    You are still playing by the rules if you are in CTIP1 area and flunk the exams by answer "a" to all the questions on the standardized tests that will be used for CTIP1 status. You in fact are helping your census tract keep its CTIP1 golden ticket.


    Let us keep the test scores honest and not use any future scores to redraw CTIP1.

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  63. Oldtimer,

    They can simply go by transitional year test scores. And for incoming Kinders they use a series of SES factors that may not be perfect, but would narrow it down a lot better than just anyone in a certain census tract.

    As for busing, some people don't understand that the busing decrease is driven by SFUSD, not by the State.It is true that with the cutbacks all the programs suffer with some excepted. But Tier III Home-to-School busing was made flexible and SFUSD simply decided to put the money to use elsewhere. Of course, they are playing it up to look like they lost the money. That is not the case. But even when there was more busing families from the Western Edition did not want go to the west side schools much. So I don't think in that example the busing decrease is a big deal. That is not as true in the center of the city.

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  64. More than because of what our SAS looks like, Johnny can't read because Johnny isn't reading. If we can get the kids to read more, we will have done more about the achievment gap than any fine tuning of the SAS.

    The level of reading that takes place outside of the classroom is the great inequity.

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  65. where's it going?April 12, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Don, what is the district now funding rather than busing with the Tier III Home-to-School busing funds? Please don't tell me that it's extra funds for the low-performing schools that needy kids will no longer be able to opt out of due to the loss of school busing.

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  66. ctip1 is a red herringApril 12, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    8:03 The point is, the new SAS is a big win for Westside residents. IMO CTIP1 (largely meaningless for the students it's purporting to help due to busing cuts) comes ahead of neighborhood preference (the big winners with the new SAS) for appearances, only.

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  67. I should have said the standalone home to school transportation program WILL be made flexible probably sometime this year. $56M is the total amount of flexible funding but SFUSD only flexed about 14. That is WAY below the average of what other districts are doing. Those districts are using the money to support basic classroom services. Not SFUSD. Since the Board failed to hold the public hearing required by law, there is no record of how it is repurposed. It all gets dumped into the general fund with no resource code tagged to it in order to "follow the money". So what is growing in SFUSD as opposed to being cut? The Superintendent Zones.

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  68. "Only Conservative Republicans even think of sending their kids to private school. Any progressive wouldn't even consider it, no matter their income."

    I presume you're offering a tautological definition that sending kids private makes you a Conservative Republican even if you are a Democrat or Green. Because there are lots of Democrats in the privates, many of whom are repelled by NCLB and want no part of it.

    It's a deeply conservative opinion to think that an individual/private solution such as sending your own child to public school will fix the school system. The conservatives have made a mint on the idea that all social ills boil down to lack of poor and middle-class people's "personal responsibility" instead of the wholesale rape of the economy by a privileged few.

    Don't buy that lie. And stop promulgating it. You're part of the problem.

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  69. I love public schools. I love privates schools. I just love schools.

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  70. "It's a deeply conservative opinion to think that an individual/private solution such as sending your own child to public school will fix the school system. The conservatives have made a mint on the idea that all social ills boil down to lack of poor and middle-class people's "personal responsibility" instead of the wholesale rape of the economy by a privileged few."

    Come again? I'm not sure how sending your kid to public school is a "deeply conservative" action. But if it is we should all be so conservative.

    I suppose in your Socialist world view personal responsibility has no place in the great society you envision. Did they teach that to you in public school?

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  71. Don, please keep the discussion focused on the topic at hand, not the person.

    Your constant comments and insults on the intent, thoughts, persona or perceived attitudes of other list members is unpleasant and unnecessary.

    Stick to the subject and omit the endless nasty jabs.

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  72. "Don't buy that lie. And stop promulgating it. You're part of the problem."

    And what do you call that, a compliment? I'm just responding to this insulting comment which was not only very condescending but doesn't even make sense while implying the writer is more intelligent and informed. I'm just calling him on it. If you want to play blog moderator, go ahead. But don't do so selectively.

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  73. To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955

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  74. (eye rolling)

    Yourself and about a dozen other people, eh?

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  75. You have been politely asked by the moderator to stop the accusations. You were wrong, you have always been wrong and now you choose to continue to be wrong. Have some respect for other bloggers who do not want to participate in your personal problem.

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  76. Yup, "That isd the adsudity of the arguments"

    as you wrote in the forum.

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