Sunday, May 1, 2011

Are Feeders for the Birds?

SFUSD, PPS, and PAC have been gathering feedback on the K-8 feeder proposal at Community Forums. Now we are down to the wire.

Here is the calendar for the upcoming meetings on middle school assignment as provided on the Parents for Public School website. All meetings are at 555 Franklin Street, 1st Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102. Please see the SFUSD website for time and agenda. Public comment is welcome at BOE meetings. Call ahead (241-6427) to reserve a spot and prepare to speak for 1-2 minutes.

Monday, May 9, 2011: PAC and PPS present findings and recommendations from the middle school forums at the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011: District staff present their recommendations to the Board of Education (BOE).

Monday, June 13, 2011: Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment meets to discuss the middle school proposal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011: BOE vote on the middle school assignment policy.

What do you see in your crystal ball?

  • Will SFUSD recommend K-8 feeders as described in the second (Feb. 2011) proposal, revise them a third time, or possibly postpone again?
  • Will BOE approve the K-8 feeder proposal or is more work/input needed?
  • Where is the $$$$ for District-wide middle school reform (Quality Middle Schools for All), new immersion pathways (including a 7th period), and fully inclusive student practices (Special Education Redesign Implementation)?
  • And last, but not least, can all these things happen simultaneously in 2011/2012 school year or does the District need to prioritize this workload in the face of a dismal budget forecast?

- Donna


  1. The Board will appove the Feb. 2011 feeder plan. There will not be another one year delay. The one year delay bought time to make revisions in assignments, and that has been done.

    Developing language pathways at all middle schools is an ongoing procedure. Immersion issues will not delay the start of the feeder plan. The 7th period idea was a "what if" hypothetical that was just a distraction because there is no money for it.

  2. I predict the whole thing gets scrapped. What a frickin waste of everyone's time.

    That the central office that proposed it was so completely clueless to what school sites and parents reactions to it would be just goes to show how clueless they are on everything else.

    Sadly, too many of us were preoccupied with this and were diverted from the serious budget advocacy at the State level that is really the biggest source of our problems.

    Even if/when they scrap the feeder proposal, I wonder if they will EVER truly take a hard look at how badly they are doing middle school in SFUSD. Quality Middle School plan, my a$*! It is a sad state of affairs - and none of it was even part of the discussion in the many discussions that happened (dominated by elementary school families that have no clue what is actually happening in SFUSD middle schools.)

    This fiasco has made me want to wash my hands of SFUSD central administration. Schools plug along DESPITE what those at 555 do to them.

  3. I expect the BOE will approve the feeder plan. However, they may want to see it phased in over three or four years to allow time to address the inequities in programs offered across school sites. I think there is unspoken support for some type of pre-determined middle school assignment process from families with children in the lower grades.

    The feeder plan is crafted to address greater structural issues at the middle school level. The current system is simply unsustainable given the state of public school funding and the increase in elementary students enrolling is SFUSD. I give credit to the district staff and BOE members for their willingness to step up and make these tough decisions now, rather than putting them off until they are left with even less options.

  4. 9:53 am -- Unspoken support? Really. I have not heard one iota of support for this plan, other than immersion parents. Unsustainable? Really. Exactly how is this current system unsustainable? That's the part I don't get. 9:53 am -- what IN SPECIFIC about the results of this year's choice assignment system is unsustainable? And, lastly, on this issue of more kids coming up for middle schools, that's a prediction -- a guess. If parents feel that public middle school options are unattractive, they will (and do) bolt to other options.

  5. Perhaps one intent of the MS feeder plan is to encourage more Eastside non-immersion parents to switch their kids to private MSs, thereby easing the pressure to accommodate more incoming students in SFUSD MSs?

  6. The current system favors the higher API elementary schools, grouping them together so they are likely the source of any "unspoken support" Many of the lower API schools get clumped together created a bigger problem in the long term. Just look at the data. It's like the District was hoping those schools wouldn't notice.

  7. I applaud the district for trying to deal with the upcoming middle school population increase proactively. What is confusing is why they are coming up with plans to cram the projected 14,611 students into 14,070 spots (and that estimate of available spots includes Horace Mann, which is no longer a middle school). The district has been opened several elementary schools in the past few years. What about opening a middle school to accommodate the growth? Sell off some unused real estate to come up with the funds for such a school.

    A well thought out plan for a new middle school would be a vast improvement to more bungled rounds of feeder designs. Lets see, so far we've had: ignoring the needs of the immersion population and then forcing awful commutes onto many families - Lakeshore to Denman; Monroe, Moscone and Serra to Hoover, to name just a few. How can a working family dependent on public transit manage these 1+ hour commutes each way (especially if they have a younger sib still in elementary). And in both iterations the needs of some of the most challenged populations have been ignored.

    The district can, and should, do better than this.

  8. I agree, 2:07. And on top of it, pretending that a student assignment plan in any way addresses or compensates for lack of a "Quality Middle School Plan" just underscores void in SFUSD.

    As a, now, seasoned" parent of two in an SFUSD middle school, little to no discussion has focused on what is actually happening - or not happening - in SFUSD middle schools. What I thought mattered BEFORE I had kids in 6-8 (and what too much of the discussion has been focused on) is completely different that what, as it turned out, is needed.

    Class sizes of 37, the role of funding, supporting and growing effective principal leaders, training for special ed and ELL, and how to help students with basics such as executive function, study and time management -- THESE are just a few of what is needed. But was not part of the discussion at all.

  9. The whole feeder plan struck me as totally bizarre. Basing where kids should go to middle school on where they go to elementary school (which is very often NOT near their house) leads to all sorts of weird transportation issues. (We actually live pretty near to Serra, and our 5th grader is slated to go to Hoover this fall -- a good 40 minutes on MUNI no matter how you do it, so this is an issue we're facing already, w/o the feeder plan.)

    Feeders only make sense IF all services are provided at all schools. This is not being done, nor have I heard any commitment from 555 towards doing this. So, some schools will not have orchestra, and/or will not have an honors track. And, if your child needs/wants/would benefit from one of these and your school "feeds" somewhere else? So sorry....

  10. Bravo, 3:06. I'm also a current middle school parent, and have been struck by how there was little if any consultation with those who really understand the issues at the middle school level--principals, staff, current families.

    Instead of focusing on what the needs are, they did another round of "let's solve our problems by redesigning the assignment system." As this kind of re-design mostly just rearranges the groups of perceived "winners" and "losers" rather than addressing issues such as curriculum and principal leadership, it doesn't get us very far.

    Have to agree too with the person who questioned the current draft of feeders given how skewed the socio-economic stats are....just look at (proposed) Presidio versus (proposed) Vis Valley.

    Finally--how they addressed the immersion issue so awkwardly. First it wasn't an issue they took seriously at all, and then they focused so much on immersion that they forgot about GE. And when GE GE parents and schools complained, they dealt with THAT by proposing a 7th period. Which, by the way, lots of us would love, along with beginning world language instruction along with advanced for the immersion kids, but isn't the 7th period for all concept really somewhere out there with unicorns and trick ponies right now?

    That gambit felt insulting....just say something to make those pesky parents go away.

    Such a disconnect between 555 Franklin and the schools themselves. And I say that as a parent whose kids have done well in MS. And I love our principal. Though I could think of a million ways that lots more $$$ would be put to very effective use, believe me.

  11. I have mixed feelings about the feeder plan. I do not like that it takes away parental choice over what is a good fit for one's child.

    I am willing to allow Central Office to have some say over where you are assigned according to geography. A neighborhood school plan for middle school would be within reason even if there are wide variations in what different MS's offer. It is reasonable to want to cut down on assignments that are very far away, which could happen under the breaks of citywide choice. Very, very long Muni rides should be avoided. Both neighborhood schools and feeders address this distance consideration. Muni is not entirely safe for 6th graders. Remember that a 6th grader was attacked last year.

    Mostly, however, feeders are an experiment to shake up the MS situation.

    This is hardly a ringing endorsement of feeders. Nor a complete condemnation. Let us wait and see if those struggling MS's improve under feeders. And even if MS scores do not improve all that much, I am still worried about Muni safety.

  12. 4:42 -- 3:06 here.

    I violently agree with you. We are clearly living in the same world. I have one MS student doing great, and another who is not doing well, but completely under the radar. Teachers, counselors, principals, all pat me on the head patronizingly and say "Oh, he'll be fine!" yet he's made two consecutive Ds in math this semester and one last semester. If they aren't focusing or worrying about the D students, who exactly ARE they worrying about? I'm practically homeschooling him at home. If a student isn't disruptive and doing badly, it seems the student is just ignored. Also, if a student is not a child of color, teachers seem to think they'll be fine - whether they are succeeding in school or not. I'm over this after so many years of it.

  13. I don't know what they are going to do. I think either way some people will be happy and some people won't. There's no getting around that. It does seem like they should have thought things through more thoroughly before putting out these draft proposals. The proposals have swung very widely in different directions which makes people nervous.

    I can see why on the surface many people do not like the idea of feeders with the argument that all middle schools are not equal and that some groups will be forced into long commutes.

    But the alternative is not really better. You may personally have some slim shot of getting into the school of your choice with a choice system. But if you look at the overall picture, there are going to be people who lose out and don't win the lottery. There will be winners and losers in the choice system and overtime more losers than winners as more and more students enter MS and the number of seats in the popular middle schools remain the same.

    The feeder system tries to equalize the playing field for everyone. I don't think the map is perfect, but for the most part that they tried to balance diversity and geography at each school as much as possible which I think will eventually help to equalize the middle schools even if people are initially unhappy about it.

    The argument that not all schools are equal and it is unfair that your child would get fed to a MS with no orchestra or not get into a nearby school really doesn't hold up if you consider that under the choice system you may not get a school you want either if everyone else wants it too. Maybe it is more "fair" that everyone have an equal shot at a certain middle school. But if you don't win the lottery the effect is the same. Just look at all the angst that goes on in the elementary school lottery.

    The other thing to consider is that under the feeder system you can still enter a lottery to get into a different school if you want. It seems like some people don't realize that.

  14. I hope that they at least head back to the drawing board. I can get on board with a feeder system in theory, but in reality, things don't look very promising for the kids from our school. They've also added insult to injury since under the feeder plan. There is capacity for roughly 110 students at Lick for GE classes under the feeder plan (which is still bigger numbers than they have now)...and roughly 220 GE kids feeding into 6th grade.

    I'm not sure what they were drinking, smoking or snorting when they came up with this plan for Lick, but I'd love to have something that would bend reality like that.

  15. You really cannot opt out. The District should stop pushing the Kool-Aid If you feed into Vis Valley or Denman, for example, but you want Giannini (or Aptos or Presidio or Hoover), your chance of getting into Giannini is slim to none once it is filled with feeders and siblings. In City-wide choice you had an equal chance of getting Giannini; with a feeder you have nearly zero chance.

    This reminds me of District and BOE telling parents that they would get into their neighborhood elementary school with the new lottery this year. We said, "Ain't gonna happen at popular schools like Clarendon and Miraloma," but many people, including Rachel Norton whom I love dearly, argued au contraire, neighborhood kids will get into Clarendon. Well, how many neighborhood kids got into these schools? Nearly zippo, and even Rachel on her blog admits that she underestimated effect of CTP1 and siblings.

    Well, it is the same BS with opt out. It might happen if you want to opt out of Giannini for Vis Valley, but not vice versa. The Diatrict should stop telling this fairy tale.

  16. Many will opt out of the top schools because they don't want to travel so far. Also, it can hurt your chance to get into Lowell to go to Presidio, as Presidio has a reputation of not giving As in 7th grade. Many Asians will choose to go to Visitation Valley so they can get into Lowell. Denman maybe as well.

    You need predictability. It does help for kids to know each other and reduce commutes. The feeder plan is better than the current plan. This year was awful. Kids who go to a school a few blocks from a middle school and live across the street got sent far away. The new plan is at least far better. They should give the highest priority for extra spots to those who live near a middle school but have to go to an elementary school far away because they were denied admission to a closer school.

  17. 10:52 pm said "You may personally have some slim shot of getting into a school of you choice with a choice system."

    Not true! You get an "equally good shot" of getting into a school of your choice. Let's look at the March 2011 enrollment statistics. Something like 72% of students got their first choice and 85% got one of their top 3 choices for middle school this year. That is not how I would define "slim." The feeders, as currently proposed, are not satisfying 85% of the families, and 72% are not getting their first choice.

    Based on enrollment statistics and customer satisfaction, I would describe the feeder proposal as a failure. Shareholders would not allow a public corporation with a multimillion dollar operating budget to treat shareholders this way.

  18. Come on Carmac, in a company, those who own the most shares and invested the most get the most dividends and votes. Here, some people paying double the property tax are getting a worse school far from home. No one should be paying a million for a home in the Richmond or Sunset, live across the street from a school, and not get in so that an illegal alien from the Mission whose parents are not even legal residents of the U.S. can go there, especially considering how much property tax they are paying. No corporation would allow them to allow underachievement and cover it up by playing musical chairs. The only way we'll ever close the achievement gap is by convincing AA and L students to spend as much time as W, Asian, DS and ONW students studying, doing homework and getting tutors as needed. We ignore that and expect musical chairs to fix the gap, then are shocked when they don't. We need parents who make a lot and contribute taxes to spend as little time as possible driving their kids to school. Our economy suffers when families leave or high income parents spend unnecessary hours driving their kids to a worse school. They pay more in tax and deserve a school in their neighborhood.

  19. Ugh. Jack's back.

  20. Sunset and Richmond children did not lose seats in neighborhood schools to CTP1 applicants. Appendix E (School Offers) of the March enrollment summary has these figures for CTP1 offers in Sunset and Richmond K-5 schools:
    Alamo, 1%
    Argonne, 6%
    Feinstein, 0%
    Jefferson, 0%
    Key, 0%
    Lafayette, 0%
    McCoppin, 0%
    Peabody, 0%
    Stevenson, 0%
    Sunset, 0%
    Sutro, 0%

    The issue in the Sunset and Richmond schools appears to be capacity, not displacement by CTP1 kindergarteners.

    I do agree with you that parents should not be chauffeurs, driving all over the City on surface roads during rush hour at the whims of a few bureaucrats at 555 Franklin. The proposed feeders are not addressing proximity and access as touted by the District. Grattan to Giannini! Clarendon to Presidio! There are other middle schools at half the distance. For example, Rosa Parks and Clarendon feeding into Everett. Grattan feeding into Hoover, Lick, or Everett.

  21. Roosevelt Middle School would be a good (neighborhood) feeder school for Clarendon, Rosa Parks, and Grattan.

  22. 3:54, as someone who can't afford to own a million dollar home on the Westside (but do own and pay SF property taxes on a modest condo in the Mission) I disagree with your assertion that those who can afford a more pricey home are entitled to better schools.

  23. I had another idea to utilize feeders but also work in choice. Perhaps that could pass feeders, but make it a priority in a choice system. Thus, if your 5th grader is at Monroe, you get a priority to go to your Feeder school (kind of like the neighborhood priority), Aptos, also you can put in a choice to get into your local Middle school, Denman. Similarly, if your Elementary School is in a CTIP1 neighborhood, you should get the CTIP1 priority for middle school, but will not necessarily have to leave your neighborhood school. I've spoken to several Bayview-Hunter's Point families who would much rather have their local, Visitation Valley Middle/Denman Middle, etc. improved than have to drive their kids across town or put them on MUNI to go to an assigned trophy Feeder school.

  24. Eastsider at 8:58,

    I agree with you that owning an expensive home does not entitle one to the better performing schools. It works out that way when I go in favor of neighborhoods schools as a SAS policy. I am against long, unnecessary commutes to school--at the MS level and very much so at the ES level. To a large extent, I contradict myself. I resolve that contradiction with a 2-school ticket. It is a compromise that makes no one happy. The different sides do not even get half a loaf. But they do get something. It is the best that I can do.

    I had covered the 2-school ticket in connection with ES. No CTIP. Does use ES assignment areas. Gives you honorary status as a local at two schools of your choice.

    I have not thought much about the 2-school ticket for MS. We would need assignment areas drawn for MS. Which means we need address verification at the MS level. Perhaps reduce the 2-school ticket to a 1-school ticket for MS. No golden ticket for CTIP still applies. Everyone gets the 2-school ticket or the 1-school ticket for honorary local school status at an assignment area school of your choice.

  25. For those on here think the feeder proposal is so geographically "balanced" and think that parents will still have a chance to get into non-feeder schools in the lottery, would you be OK with doing away with CTIP 1preference for middle schools then? Because that, in my view, is the ONLY way non-feeder parents are going to have any shot at getting into the better middle schools. The figures from this year show that CTIP 1 filled up 24% of Aptos, 22%of Roosevelt, and 47% of Lick. If CTIP 1 stays, then there's no chance of getting into a non-feeder school. Take away CTIP 1 preference, however, and there is a fighting chance.

  26. Hi Carnac,

    The statistics you quote may be true now, but the point is that in the next few years the percentages are going to get lower and lower for getting into a "trophy" middle school. That is part of the reason they proposed the feeder system in the first place.

  27. 9:48 I think it is going to be like the elementary school lottery. It will be very hard to get into one of the trophy middle schools if that is not your feeder school, but there would probably be a decent shot at getting into an up and coming middle school through the lottery if you absolutely do not want your feeder school.

  28. Eastsider 8:58am:

    I live in the Sunset in a home close to a million bucks. Just to make you happy, I will gladly give up going to a high performing school in my neighborhood so that your kid can have my space. I feel my kid should go to school that will most likely be under performing (in the Mission). I feel I must give into your sense of self entitlement. What's yours is yours and what's mine is yours

  29. 10:52, I think it's kind of crazy that you write a post like that and then accuse the other poster of self-entitlement.

  30. 10:52
    If one doesn't like the schools in certain neighborhoods. than they shouldn't consider moving there. If they live there they should move to a different area of the city. If it's too expensive move to another city or state. Obviously those who live near poor performing schools will think differently and feel they should be allowed to go to a school of their choice. It's just that if they get their choice my assigned school (in my neighborhood) could end up being a poor performing one on the other side of the city. But hey, who cares about that?

  31. 11:32, since you live in the Sunset, your child would most likely be assigned to a a higher performing school under either system anyways.

    But by your reasoning, if you don't like that the assignment system doesn't guarantee you a spot in the school of your choice just because you live next to it, then maybe you shouldn't pay a million dollars to buy a home there.

  32. 11:56am

    To the point that people moving into the city know about the lottery system then you are right. But many are not aware school assignment will be by lottery, especially if they attended S.F. schools as children (me and my spouse) when it was neighborhood assignment and are moving back into the city as adults. I guess when buying a home don't assume anything. Research everything with a fine tooth comb.

  33. Bottom line we have to look at what is best for the average kid. The biggest problem in all this is white and Asian parents benefitting from Affirmative Action and inadvertently making schools less diverse. I know many white and Asian parents at Alamo, Presidio, Lafayette, Feinstein, West Portal, who live in areas where the local principal is praying someone like them gets in and actually goes there.

    The best solution is that we make schools 1.1 times capacity for neighborhood schools. We set aside 10% of spots for only AA or Latino kids. If you're white or Asian, you can't displace a white or Asian person near a school. If you're AA or L, we will make the space to diversify. Then whites and Asians in Bernal, Glen, Tenderloin, Mission, etc. will go to their own school making it more diverse.

    Also, when looking at what's best for all, the highest priority should be minimizing traffic and environmental damage. If a little actually causes integration, cool, but again most AA and L parents were choosing not to take spots far from home and Affirmative Action was going to parents who are A, W and DS or ONW, which is uaually half white. These parents, while sounding liberal, actually caused more racial segregation by going from Bernal to Presidio, for example, and using the lottery to evade a 5% white school for their white kid in a 40% white neighborhood.

    As to it being better, we all make our communities. I think you have a right to a local school. To the extent that one school is better than another, it is the parents and kids who make it better. Teachers are roughly equal. If your contention is that despite having a cheaper home, you are just as good as anyone else, then so should all the people in your community be as good, and you should be able to make as good of a school. If the members of a community follow the obvious examples of rags to riches Asian success and put school above all else a la Amy Chua, every school will be great. If kids cause disturbance, adults need to step in and hold out the kid in Chinatown who gets into Cal as the example to follow, not the gangster rapper with sagging pants and a contempt for hard work and the English language. A school is only as good as the character of the kids who go there. If you are unable to afford a million dollar home but hope your child will prove they are as good as those in such homes and be able to afford it, encourage them to work hard and look inward at blame, not blame others and insist on chaotic commutes for others for no reason.

    The Asian kids at VV do fine. The white kids there move or avoid it for the most part, but it can be done. You have no idea how dirty this City is because so many white and Asian parents use this current system to make our schools LESS diverse. I'm all for integration, but we should put an end to making one middle class person move so another who won a lottery can drive across town and neglect improving their own school all the while making everyone sick with all the gas fumes and wasting time they could spend working or tutoring their child, thus lowering the average test score and making our City smellier and dirtier.

  34. 12:55 your solution won't work because 1) due to the Ho decision, the SFUSD cannot consider a student's race when making school placement decisions, and 2) busing (which would be necessary for many low-income AA and H students to attend higher-performing schools in the Sunset and Richmond) is being cut.

  35. It is a simple point but cogent. If it doesn't add to diversity, you shouldn't get to displace anyone. If we send all kids to school close to home, gerrymander some, and have a few buses to ensure diversity, the benefits are huge. Kids have more time to study. Our air is cleaner. Adults have more time to teach their kids. Adults will be less obese, walking instead of driving, biking instead of taking a long MUNI ride. The benefits are tremendous. We need to focus on making our schools and students better, not playing musical chairs. Any kid can succeed, but the dirty air and long commutes make it harder. I had to drive to the Mission from the Sunset for a year and a half. I used to feel sick. When I got into a school near me, I lost 10 pounds, my kids' grades went up and I felt healthier. I became a better parent and less sleep deprived. It was hell. You don't want to encourage dedicated parents to move and bend over backwards to keep parents who blame outward, not inward. We want as many parents who are focused on grades as possible and as few as possible who don't encourage their kids to focus on school and study hard.

  36. But what if you are a good person in a school full of jerks? What if you want to study hard but everyone makes fun of you and people set garbage cans on filre while your teacher is talking? They pay kids to not act out, there's chaos! I'm not saying you can't learn, but it is harder. And not every Asian kid gets into a UC. Many are mediocre. On average they do better and their focus is better on average, but many in SF go to SF State and CCSF and anyone could get in there. I doubt the Asian kids at VV do as well as the ones at Giannini.

  37. 1:27pm
    If as described this is a typical VV experience, then the kids who go there will not only have a more difficult time learning in school,but, will also have even more family pressure to get good grades. This would be in the form of long hours of tutoring, familial beratement and negative reinforcement. In the end they may score as well as the kids at Giannini but it will be at a higher cost emotionally and physically.

  38. It is all one unified school district. That is why it is the responsibilitty of the westside to share some of the burden of getting assignments into low or medium performing schools. It is not the job of the SE alone. It is too far for the westside to get assigned into the SE, but the westside should certainly get bumped to some small degree. Ideally, SE should bump some centrally located residents, who would bump in domino fashion some westside students. The smallish number of westside students so bumped should not end up all the way in the SE--that is too far--but the westside students should get moved a little. Everyone suffers a little. No one suffers more than their share. We might disagree over how much is a fair share, but the fair share is something.

  39. We should tax private schools 10% (the sales tax) and pay for tutors for the poor. If kids are decent students entering 4th grade, they won't disrupt. They don't have good parents. We need tutors to make up for that, teach them how crucial grades are to their future, teach them to read and write and do math. We should also cut back on police Overtime and release nonviolent offenders like Lindsay Lohan, drug offenders, and only give homeless funds to those who were in school at some point or held a job in SF, not those who moved here as homeless. We need to spend more money one-on-one. Sitting next to more disciplined kids does nothing if they ignore them. We need one-on-one tutors to convince them to work hard in school and teach them reading, writing and math at a young age.

    Also, the lottery actually has made our schools less diverse. If all the whites in the Mission, Bernal and the Excelsior actually went to the public school, the schools would be far more diverse. We need to limit lottery winners to the top schools to those who actually are black or Hispaic, not others sneaking in.

    The kids who aren't engaged really damage the schools. I would support a quarter cent sales tax and tuition sales tax to pay for tutors. Our poorest children deserve the same chance rich private school kids have. They can get it with tutors. Our determined public school kids do just as well as private school kids, stats show, Lowell beats any private school, but the nonmotivate kids without basic skills bring down the average.

  40. 2:23pm Under NCLB, struggling students in "low performing" schools, are offered free tutoring at any of the tutoring services (Sylvan, Kaplan) and they don't go. Also, teachers, counselors and mentors in these same schools offer tutoring before, during and after school and these same students will not participate. What is a school community supposed to do?

  41. I am in the market to buy a house right now and some of the most affordable neighborhoods are on the Westside. Sunset and Parkside are cheap compared to most of the city. I don't understand this rich-Westsiders versus poor-Eastsiders debate.

  42. I know, I don't get that either. Good luck finding a house in my east side neighborhood, Castro, for "only" a million. I don't know many who would rather live in the Richmond or Sunset than in Noe Valley - they move because it is cheaper. (and MUCH colder). In this context I think it comes down to which minorities live where to be honest - and what impact that might have on school performance. Still, I am very happily staying on this end of town.

  43. Noe valley and castro aren't really east side.

    The SE is more like Excelsior, oceanside, visitacion valley, crocker amazon, bayview, potrero, mission, Bernal. Some parts of those neighborhoods are expensive but most are not.

  44. Well, I have smart resourceful friends living in the East Bay because they are priced out of Bernal and Potrero also. Not so cheap.

  45. Many Asians will choose to go to Visitation Valley so they can get into Lowell. Denman maybe as well.

    Under a choice system, the numbers do no bear that out. A Denman teacher lamented that so many of the Asian immigrant kids in the neighborhood opt out of Denman to go to Aptos. When I suggested that this may be because they want honors programs for their kids, the teacher said that the Denman staff "don't believe in honors." I said, well then, you probably won't have those kids coming to your school.

  46. Honors is a mixed bag. I took my daughter out of honors because two of her teachers basically tried to convince me Lowell was no better than Gateway, Lincoln or Galileo (incredibly false, investigated by Newsweek and US News and the Chronicle annually), treated me as weird for wanting advice on what my daughter needed to do to get an A in their class and told me she should study less and accept a B and not even try to work harder to get an A because grades don't matter. Now these were Honors teachers. In her other classes, she's learning as much and she'll get into Lowell. The weird, far left, anti-honors attitude you found at Denman is very common among teachers. Let's face it, being a teacher is a solid profession, but doesn't represent UC/Honors/Lowell. It represents choosing to work less and make less money so you can have summers off and a job no one can fire you from. Many teachers are great at their job, but they're not go-getters. Therefore they don't do a good job of convincing poor African American and Latino kids that to have what wealthier white kids will get by just staying the course and being average in their milieu, they will have to work twice as hard and be outstanding. Asians get this, they know their kids have to work harder than a white kid in Pacific Heights to have the same result, and they put in the time.

    There is an anti-competitive streak among teachers that hurts kids a lot. They're in denial. Many women with a trust fund or well off husband, or happy to not have much money. But teaching represents an average job, not bad, not a janitor or busboy or store clerk, not homeless or in prison or ever unemployed, but also not making 100k and more and buying a house. Lowell, Honors, the UC System, they all represent being in the top 10-12% of society, the people who can go to Europe or Asia every year, who can have a great house. We need motivational speakers from other fienlds to convince kids that to do well, they need to work hard, that Lowell is better than Lincoln, Cal is better than Chico State or CCSF, and that there is no limit to what they can achieve if they work hard.

    The anti-comptitive far left attitude of many teachers, such as those you describe, as well as some at top middle schools, is really destroying many children. Asian parents call bullshit on it so the kids overachieve, but you can't rely on an average person to make up for a bad parent. You need a Tony Robbins type, a real convincer.

  47. I don't have kids (yet) in the middle schools, but am a bit surprised at the comments above about how teachers are not pushing kids. My experience at two different elementaries -- admittedly both good performing ones -- is that ALL the teachers my kids have had have tried to push them to do as much as they can do. But I know middle school is a different kettle of fish. I imagine the increased workload (being responsible for a larger number of kids) may mean that some teachers start to pull back from the advocacy. And I have heard from someone who works at Paul Revere, for example, that there is a strain of thought in the teachers there that has basically given up on pushing the (mostly) low-income kids of color there. Flipside is I can easily see a teacher being annoyed with a parent who is trying to find out "how" their kid can get an "A" in the class. Sounds like a pushy parent to me. You get better grades by working harder, duh! That's the students' job to work. Why does a parent need to intervene to figure that out?

  48. Dare I say it? Lowell is not so great. There it's out. If your student is a completely unshakable self motivated and self directed high achiever who will do well wherever they go then they'll be fine at Lowell. Otherwise Gateway and Lincoln ARE as good. SOTA and Balboa too. Many would argue better. Can't speak to the other public high schools as I've no experience of them.
    Sadly any high schools is going to be a nightmare for a student whose middle school has left them ill prepared to successfully navigate high school. Those three brief years are incredibly important and this parent is one not willing to sacrifice any of their children's future on a assignment that sends my kids to a middle school known for it's behavior issues, low test scores and lack of any type of honors or enrichment.

  49. You really don't know what you're talking about if you even compare any other high school to Lowell. Lowell has 99% high school graduation, sends 15% of their kids to Cal and another 50% to UCs or better. Even most of the kids who go to State or JC end up transferring into a UC.

    You raise your level of play by being with the best. If you go to Balboa and are smart, you'll easily get nearly all As without having to push. At Lowell, you'll challenge yourself to be a better student and learn how to compete with the best, how to really write well, do math and science, etc. Trust me, I had a D in one class, went to Riordan for Summer School, and the teacher there told me I knew way more than any of the students he gave an A to.

    Lowell isn't only for the self-motivated. That's what's great about it, you have to work hard just to pass, harder to get Bs, and really hard to get As.

    The average SAT Score at Lowell beats any public high school in the U.S. They stopped publishing this stat, but it even beat Dallas Talented and Gifted, Boston Latin, Virginia Technical and Bronx Science. In the AP calculation, they're 50th, but in average SAT, if they published it, Lowell would be listed at #1 some years and in the top 5 every year.

    People denigrate it because some people just aren't comfortable with competition. However, I'd be shocked if you could hook yourself up to a lie detector test, utter "Balboa is as good as Lowell", or any of the other schools, and not come out as a liar. Quality of students is a huge factor. Peer influence is great at Lowell. They have had one pregnancy in 40 years.

    These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

  50. How can you possibly know there has only been one pregnancy in 40 years? Makes me doubt the rest of your comments.

  51. The principal told me. I went there from 1985-1989, go there once a year. They had 0 in my 4 years, so I believe them. Contrary to public perception, they haven't had any suicides and have had an amazing number of top graduates. In society, people are sorted out, and Lowell is by it's very nature for the best kids. You can't just say Lincoln, whose kids didn't qualify for Lowell, is somehow magically as good a school despite far lower average test scores, college graduation, SAT average, and any other meaningful stat, than Lowell. It's nonsense. Everyone at Lowell was good enough to go to Lincoln and could have gone by luck. Almost no one at Lincoln was good enough to go to Lowell, though a small number might opt for an easier high school, most are lying. I mean, on what basis could it possibly be better? It defies common sense. Is SF State better than Harvard because the kids are less stressed? When you compare schools, you do so by positive achievement. You do it by the stats. Even if the teachers are the same, which is doubtful because the principal at Lowell gets a lot of choices, but even if, the kids are far better. Lincoln has kids with a 2.0 and behavior problems. Lowell has none of that. Very little fighting, violence, very few that don't go on to graduate from college and have a good life. If you get into Lowell, your chance of poverty is extremely low.

  52. Lowell was rated 28th by US News & World Report. It is hard to believe it ranks #1 in SAT scores. Where do you get your information?

  53. Oh no! The crazy Lowell-boosting Tiger-mom-loving supposed Cal graduate who can't spell is now over here! AHHHHHHH! At least Don is now over there.

  54. 8:54 and 7:37,
    With all due respect, your experience at Lowell was a while ago. Things have changed at many of the SFUSD high schools and improved greatly.

    I would agree that the kids that attend are among the most high performing and achievement oriented in the district. But the reason the school does so well is because of THEM, not because the teaching is magically better. If those same teachers were switched out at O'Connell, Thurgood, Mission, etc. - you would not magically see similar Lowell results.

    Regarding the pregnancy issue - are you serious? How would you or a principal possibly know anything about what is happening under the radar. How would you know whether girls have been knocked up and had abortions or not? Fact is, no one would (and it's no one's business.)

    I run a youth program and know a girl from Lowell that had anonymous sex in the bathroom on a trip. It wasn't the first time this troubled girl, apparently, engaged in such behavior. It happens, and it DOES happen among Lowell students.

    I think you are more than a little naive and myopic in your view.

  55. Half of girls have sex before 17, and 2/3s by 18. If she used protection, big deal, it isn't the '50s, you don't have to be a virgin until 18 or marriage to succeed. If you have intelligent, safe sex 3-4 years after people did 100 years ago, 16 or 17, big deal. We congratulate boys on it. In fact, boys feel bad if they haven't at a certain age, have you seen 'American Pie'? I read Jessica Valenti and believe in feminism and the idea that we have to stop having a double standard on sex. I have daughter and won't give them a different message than I give my sons. Sexual desire is natural, nothing is wrong with it, and most Americans have sex before turning 18. If you choose to do it, use condoms, use birth control, or have alternate forms of sex such as oral which are far less risky. Anything else is paternalistic, unrealistic, old-fashioned and just plain sexist. You are using a double standard to say the girl is somehow bad because she had casual sex. Look at every show, movie, pop star. Now men and women alike have casual sex at times. I don't want my daughter in a distracting serious relationship in high school and college, but that doesn't mean I want her to be a virgin till her career starts. Your comments are sexist. You'd have never said the same thing about a boy, but because I am a woman if I have a one night stand I'm some slut, but the man gets a high five from you. Spare me your sexism. This started with the Summer of Love 43 years ago and now women aren't being judged unfairly and are rejecting the double standard, and I will teach my daughter, a la Jessica Valenti and Camille Paglia, to reject your sexist ways.

    As for the schools, you're right, if you sent the same kids to O'Connell, it'd be great. The teachers are probably close to equal. However, the students you go to school with and the reputation of that school are huge positive factors. The peer culture is better. More classes are offered, more languages, more AP classes, and a lifetime of connections will ensue. Trust me, you're way better off at Lowell than at Marshall, despite the rough equality of the teachers.

    By the way, you call this girl troubled? So she had sex. I'd bet you $1,000 she'll be earning more money in 20 years and have a better education than the average girl who turns 18 a virgin from any other school. Virginity is a choice. It has nothing to do with success. I'd rather my daughter enjoy guild-free sex as long as she's safe than be uptight and sexist and judgemental like you. She's at Lowell. She'll have a good life.

    Now if you deny you're sexist, let me ask you this, would you view a boy who had done the same thing as "troubled"? Teen sex is always in bathrooms, bushes, parks, and you know why? Because parents disapprove and even if they don't, kids are embarassed about it. They don't have money for hotels. They have natural urges and should feel no shame in exploring their sexuality.

  56. I agree 100%! The double standard should be left in the dustbin of history. It is unfair to girls and sexist and causes more pregnancy and disease because people are ashamed of sex and then ashamed to teach their kids it's OK and how to do it right. You sound like a Republican from Utah.

  57. "Not true! You get an "equally good shot" of getting into a school of your choice. Let's look at the March 2011 enrollment statistics. Something like 72% of students got their first choice and 85% got one of their top 3 choices for middle school this year. That is not how I would define "slim." The feeders, as currently proposed, are not satisfying 85% of the families, and 72% are not getting their first choice."

    I don't like the feeder idea, but you have to remember that currently there's a lot of slack capacity at the MS level, which is why more families get one of their choices at the 6th grade level than the K level.

    But, because of the increase in enrollment in the past 5 years, that's not going to be the case 3-5 years from now: there'll be too little capacity. The less slack capacity there is, the less well a choice system works.

  58. I was really hoping for my son to go to a "community school", even if it is not our closest school for K. If these feeder patterns are approved, I will not be choosing our assigned school next year (Daniel Webster), there is no way I'm feeding my children into ISA for Middle and Highs School. A school which has less that 50% reading/math proficiency and a full time police officer on site (according to their SFUSD info). I think most other parents would agree with me.

    The Feeder map doesn't make sense to me
    The SouthWest is all chopped up, except for DW and Bryant feeding into ISA, which I had thought was a HighSchool not Middle.

    Confused by the whole thing, and not even enrolling in K until next year!

  59. I of course meant SouthEast! not SouthWest.

  60. ISA is a 6th-12th grade school, one of my LEAST favorite grade groupings. As the mom of a tall (5'2") "developing" soon to be 11 year old, I do NOT want her in a school with 16 and 17 year olds. It's just a bad match hormonally and developmentally.

  61. Wow. Looking at that map really clarifies for me how strangely this has been laid out. For example, the kids who go to Starr King will pass 2 or 3 other schools en route to Aptos. (King, Lick, and Denman) and the kids from Drew will pass even more - King, Denman, Aptos, Hoover, Everett and Lick.

    This is gerrymandering plain and simple.

  62. If you do not like the feeder assignments, propose your own. And please make it complete.

  63. Here is the issue facing SFUSD regarding 6th Grade Demand:

    First Choice Requests:
    50% of all applicants listed Giannini, Presidio, or Aptos as a first choice (there are 10 other middle school options)

    74% listed six out of 13 middle school options as a first choice: Giannini, Presidio, Aptos, Hoover, Roosevelt, and Lick.

    What do parents do when their child does not get into one of those six schools (there are about 4 applications for every opening in the three top schools)?

    How can we make the other schools more appealing to parents? The theory goes that if parents and their children knew that all their peers from their current ES were going to one of the "non-trophy", they might feel more "comfortable" going to that school.

    I send my daughter to a non-trophy middle school with 20 of her peers from ES and she is thriving. It is also a neighborhood school so she able to walk to friends' homes after school. The school has great, free after school care and clubs (fencing anyone?) Are some students disruptive? Yes. Would it be better if we had more parents sending their children there every year? I would love to have the feeder system send more of her ES alumni here each year. It would be an even better school in no time.

  64. They want to make San Francisco a City where if you enter Kindergarten, you stay through high school. The biggest issue is that 29% of kindergarteners in SF are white, vs. 13% of middle and high schoolers. These proportions are similar for the middle class of other races. Therefore, they hope to raise this percentage to close to 29 by making sure any good elementary school feeds into at least a decent middle school. They achieved this for the most part, except Lakeshore should not feed into Denman, and there are a couple other mistakes. The goal is that a group of friends in Kindergarten can stay together until High School. High School will still be random, but by then kids will be older, be able to take public transit and be able to handle it. Most who stay middle will stay for high school, they figure, though they may change that ultimately. Too many middle class SF families were leaving before 6th grade, which was causing enhamced racial segregation in the Bay Area and loss of friendships, loss of continuity. In Middle School kids are friends for the first year mostly with people they knew in ES. I think some sort of feeder system was necessary so that people stop moving as their kids get older. That really hurts our City when that happens.

  65. Wow, I remember people saying we needed to ditch the sexist double standard way back in the '80s. Boys are studs or players. Girls are sluts or prudes. As if. That comment yesterday implying that because a girl was sexually active, she was at risk, that was an incredibly sexist comment. I'd rather have a sexually active daughter with a 3.5-4.0 GPA than any of my cousins who made it to 18 with a hymen intact then dropped out of Junior College and got married. Sheesh. I seriously call you out on your sexism. That statement was just wrong!

  66. To say a girl who isn't a virgin turning 18 is a failure is like saying Bin Laden represents Geronimo and Native Americans. Very offensive! I've learned something this week. Even among the left, a black President and "liberal" San Francisco parents, Racism and Sexism are not dead in America, that's for sure!

  67. To 1:07 and 1:08 -- thank you for at least attempting to give the SFUSD line on why we need feeders. To 1:07 -- who cares if lots of parents only put down four middles as their first choice? In the new elementary school system -- with its now-neighborhood-based system -- look what happened, parents, once again, picked the usual limited number of favorites. Yet, I don't see SFUSD wringing their hands over what a problem the new elementary assignment system is. 1:07 -- yes, I hear you that you want to get rid of the troublesome kids in your middle school, but the way to do that is NOT to force middle class parents to go to the school. And, to be honest (albeit politically incorrect), the new feeder system retains the CTIP 1 preference, so those troublesome kids are probably going to continue to go to your middle school anyway. To 1:08 -- oh my god, I KNOW you don't have kids near middle school age, because you would know that kids are SO HAPPY to get rid of the kids they don't like by going to a different middle school. My fifth grader has spent the past six months assessing which middle schools the kids she didn't like were going to just so she could go to a different school! She likes her friends and wants to go to a middle school with them, but she DEFINITELY is looking forward to NOT seeing a good chunk of her fifth grade class.

  68. While more students are definitely entering K at SFUSD (nearly 5000 new K students last year as opposed to about 4000 just 5 years ago). This increase looks to be the result of both a spike in birth rates and an increased proportion of kids going public. Because the birth rate is projected to return to pre-spike levels quickly, the need for more middle school slots may be short lived. Which is probably one of the reasons the district isn't opening another middle school ($ is also an issue, but could be raised by selling off unused real estate).

    A case can be made that this is a short sighted policy. There is a drop off in student enrollment in middle school, a good proportion of that among middle class families. And that is a loss to the entire system, as this traditionally has been an engaged and effective population in terms of raising funds and test scores.

    If a middle school plan can be put in place that curtails this drop off, that would be beneficial to all.

    Adding a desirable new school could go a long way to curtailing the drop off and maintaining higher middle school enrollment even after the students in the bubble have moved on. My feeling is that desirable probably means an immersion school that can provide honors classes and orchestra/band (the lack of which is what drives many families out of immersion programs at middle school - looking at 5 year demand data makes it apparent that less than 50% of K-5 immersion families are listing an immersion program in middle school as their first choice).

  69. 3:01 Sorry I wasn't clearer in my discussion of troublesome kids; I don't want them to leave! Since our school has excess capacity, I would just like to fill in with more neighborhood kids.

  70. 3:50 Sorry t your daughter is as cynical as you are.

  71. The getting away from bad kids is overstated. In middle school, it's easy to avoid a group you don't like. It's much bigger than elementary school. The best 3 Middle Schools, Giannini, Presidio and Hoover, have about 1200 kids each. Even the small ones have 600. If your daughter had enemies at one school, she'll likely have enemies at another. For most kids, it's disruptive when friends move. My kids have been very sad when they have a best friend who leaves, and it isn't to far away but a nearby suburb. It hurts all of us when this happens. It also hurts when they stay and are sent to a different school and have to drive, pollute the environment and lose friendships. Now if you lose a friendship, you can't get it back. If you go to school with a few kids you dislike, you can avoid them. I think the feeder program is a better solution. It will preserve friendships and won't force people to hang out near people they dislike.

    I find the 3:50 comment misanthropic, cynical and cruel. These are young children and children change and improve. Saying my kid should be forced to drive half an hour away, I should lose 5 hours sleep or work time a week, and she should lose friendships so your daughter can avoid some kid she dislikes is just cruel. I shouldn't have to pay for your daughter's inability to make friends.

    It's also a grass is greener approach. In any school, you don't like some people and like others. Neighborhood Schools is the way to go. At least you won't fall asleep or get bad grades because you're spending all that time on a bus, and parents won't move because they get in trouble at work for spending so much time commuting unnecessarily.

  72. The feeder pattern is not a neighborhood school system. For neighborhood schools you have to start with geographic assignment areas. We do not have that at the MS level.

    These feeder patterns are kind of neighborhood schoolish--there is a loose association of living in an area and going to school in the area--but the connection is quite loose. One of the goals for the feeder pattern, to increase the diverstiy of the student body, in fact, works against neighborhoods schools, works against short commute times, and works against geographic considerations. Feeders are a mixed bag of goods, with several policies at cross purposes. Diversity considerations promote more travel requirements. Eliminating total parental citywide choice promotes avoiding the very long distance MS assignments. Both are valid goals.

    Are feeders for the birds? Yes, if you got what you wanted. No, if you did not get what you wanted. The bottom line was, did you get what you wanted?

  73. Right. The feeder plan has little if anything to do with neighborhood schools, as it groups kids who went to a particular ES together for MS, and since we don't really have neighborhood schools for ES...

    And for the ES "neighborhood preference," remember that it's the 4th tie breaker. First is sibling, second is CTIP1, third is attended a CDC at that school, and 4th is "enrollment area." Add to that the fact that many schools' enrollment areas contain more entering K kids than the school has room for, and the whole system breaks down.

    The solution? I'm not sure... but I've also never really been clear on the goals of the feeder system. Unless there is agreement on what we're trying to accomplish, there's no way there will be agreement on the right solution.

  74. 11:11 pm -- this is 3:50 again. My comments were not cruel and cynical. What's cynical is SFUSD trying to mask what it is doing by saying things like they want kids to stay together and that they are providing neighborhood-based feeder patterns. Gee, I didn't realize Denman and Miraloma were in the same "neighborhood?" Lakeshore and Denman? Clarendon and Presidio? Give me a break! Take a close look at the feeder pattern and tell me if you really, really think it has ANYTHING to do with making sure families have short commutes. No, it is ALL about coercing middle class families to go to poorer performing schools to try to turn them around. And my response to that is that THERE IS NOT ONE INSTANCE ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY WHERE COERCING FAMILIES TO GO TO A PARTICULAR SCHOOL WORKED TO IMPROVE THE SCHOOL. Only under choice did Lick, Aptos, and Marina improve. SFUSD could easily turn around Everett and Denman too with benefits -- like foreign language instruction for GE students -- that would attract middle class families (and help low SES families too).

  75. Further on the topic of "getting away from" es classmates in middle school... I don't think 3:50 was being cynical.

    There is a fantasy that the ESs are all this "wonderful community" and that all the kids will want to hang out together next year. That has not been my experience. My daughter is really more interested in which of the kids she knows from various other places (the neighborhood, my little guy's friends older siblings...) will be at her MS, mostly so she'll have a few familiar faces. Her classmates? She has one or 2 kids she hangs out with. Otherwise, they're just kids from school, who she can take or leave. Oh, and she'll be thrilled to leave behind the bully...

  76. This comment has been removed by the author.

  77. The feeders are 80 to 90% neighborhood based. In order to provide language pathways and to comply with Lau and Sped reforms, there have to be some non-geographical feeder schools. If they didn't do this, they would have to redesign the entire district from the ground up. You are right to say they shouldn't say it is neighborhood-based because many students at elementary schools are not from the neighborhood as a result of the years of choice assignment.

  78. They need to get middle class families into schools, but they don't combine it with the discipline and moral leadership needed. When students who are nearly certainly doomed to fail if they don't get the favor from the District of going to school with kids who are a great eaxample for them, whom they could follow from the bottom quintile of society into the top or 2d quintile with hard work, they need to see it as an opportunity. Principals and teachers need to point out how the kid with a 4.00 will probably be very successful and well off and that any of the poor kids could work harder and be afar more successful. They don't. They focus on the exception, the luck, the minimum. They tell kids it doesn't really matter, you're as likely to be successful from Galileo as from Lowell, they know someone who was average in school and is very successful, kind of a blah approach to motivation. The Tiger way works because it tells kids they can do better but have to work very hard and be focused on grades. Statistically, it clearly works. The administrators, counsellors, teachers and others in the schools need to hold out the example of rags to riches 4.00 students and in general be more intense and success-focused, more like stereotypical Asian parents. Instead they are often pretty much like DMV workers. Not all, but the quality of teachers in middle school is so much lower than the quality in elementary school. I've been amazed how many mediocre middle school teachers there are. There's only one teacher like that at my kid's ES.

  79. The best 3 Middle Schools, Giannini, Presidio and Hoover,

    I like Hoover, but....

    if you go by either API scores or popularity as a #1 choice for 5th grade families, it has been superseded by Aptos as a "Top 3" school.

    Things do change! It is more accurate to say that Presidio, A.P., Aptos, Hoover, Roosevelt, and to a lesser extent James Lick are the top choices. Marina and Francisco are also making strides (I would absolutely send my kid to Francisco if we were looking now and we lived on that side of town).

    I have seen the "Top 3" become a somewhat wider set of schools in just the last 4-5 years. In my opinion, this has happened because of the push-pull of the choice system. The more coercive feeder pattern will have a different effect, I fear.

  80. Garcia says he wants teachers to hold kids to a higher standard but he's not really pushing teachers to do this. He's pushing the status quo. He hasn't closed the achievement gap, but he hasn't offended anybody either.

  81. I'm frsutrated because I have a very clear feeling that the entire immersion issue is driving the bus on this feeder proposal. I don't know WHY it is driving the bus (why can't immersion programs run alongside GE programs with choice?), but it seems to be. Anyone care to enlighten me?

  82. Look pal, you just don't want the feeder system. You're full of crap! They delayed the change a full year because of this concern and a lot of families are suffering right now and live close to a nice elementary and middle school and can't get into the middle school. Last year people like you were whining and saying gee, they didn't take into account immersion, we should delay it a year. Now that a year has passed, you think we're stupid and you're saying hey, immersion is too strong a factor in this, let's delay it and study that. Just admit it, you don't want a feeder system, you want the same failed system which is causing people to leave before Middle School. You're reaching, grasping, trying to find any excuse you can to sabotage feeders. You're the exact same people who delayed it a year becuase they DIDN'T think about feeders and now you're mad they're thinking too much about it. Hello?!?! I'm not buying your manipulative, dishonest subterfuge. Here's one parent your balderdash didn't fool.

  83. the feeder systems seem o.k. this time except they should send miraloma and lakeshore to aptos and hoover. The mighty clarendon should be sent to ISA or Denman. Re-open Cabrillo and feed that into Presidio MS. I'm sure those clarendon parents will be able to turn those middle schools around in maybe just a few years. If only they would send their kids there, which they wouldn't. But of couse, neither would anyone else unless there is absolutly no way out.

  84. I agree for the most part, definitely re-open Cabrillo so we can keep more families in the Richmond. Definitely Lakeshore should go to Hoover. I wouldn't do that to Clarendon though, it's a good school and we want to keep the kids who are doing best on the test scores in SF as long as possible. If you want to improve the average test score, Garcia says he can predict which kids are likely to succeed. This is largely an exercise in getting the kids most likely to succeed to stay in SFUSD through High School so the stats look better and they can set positive examples for the other kids.

    That being said, some middle schools that were bad can become good, and if you feed 2 good ESs into Denman, it can become a good school. It's in a nice neighborhood and gained it's bad reputation when it took a lot of kids from projects which no longer exist. If they slowly transitioned all projects into private housing, the people in the projects could get rich and we could really improve SF Schools. Project kids are 7% of SFUSD but cause 75% of the violent crime. It would be win win. Let them sell their project spot to the highest bidder. Then teachers could teach, not babysit, and the problem would move to the Central Valley.

  85. About a point Don made: In a few years with the new elementary assignment system in effect, the middle school feeder system will be more neighborhood based as well since the elementaries will be more neighborhood-based at that point. And geography is big factor in how it is mapped even though there are some exceptions.

    Another thing people don't mention much is that they placed several high performing schools at Denman, so Denman should be higher performing if those kids go there. It will be a different demographic group than it currently is.

  86. "I wouldn't do that to Clarendon though, it's a good school and we want to keep the kids who are doing best on the test scores in SF as long as possible."

    But its OK for my kid to go there, if we choose our assigned school DW (GE) which has been seeing steady improvement in test scores.
    Now we should send all those improving children to a Middle/High School with terrible test scores and a terrible reputation?
    Why is that OK for us in the East (DW assignment area is all of SOMA btw) but not anyone else? Is it just too bad because of the lack of schools in our area?

    Feeling a little appalled by all of this. I like the ideas of having some choice for MS. I think that having the current feeder pattern will not help in getting more SouthEast folks to sign up for their assignment school (unless the feeder is not ISA). Or maybe this is only an issue for us in the East/SouthEast. If I see my childs educational pathway leading to ISA I will do everything in my power (which isn't financial) to change that course.

  87. Who's running for the BOE, and what are their positions on the MS SAS?

  88. @328
    Interesting statistic -- Sunnyside, which is slated to be fed to Denman this year, already feeds most of its kids there. Of the 33 5th graders, 20-24 (not sure of the exact number, but know the rest were 2 Hoover, 2 Vis Valley, 1 MLK and a handful of Aptos) were assigned Denman next year, *without* the feeder system.

    So, I'm not sure how much the new feeder will change the "demographic" of Denman. Denman's staff is anti-honors classes or any homogenous grouping. For us, it was reason enough to not list it for the lottery (and we don't live close enough to have defaulted there, which is how much of the 5th grade ended up there...)

  89. 4:49
    Given that March update said that about 70% of families got their first choice and about 85% of families got 1 or their top 3 choices for middle school it is really hard to imagine how 20+ of 33 kids ended up at Denman if they didn't even list it. That kind of statistical fluke argues that maybe there is something wrong with the middle school lottery, at least as applies to Sunnyside kids.

  90. I think 4:49 was saying that traditionally Sunnyside parents HAVE been choosing Denman for MS, so it seems that the current MS SAS did work for them (as it did for 85% or so of the applicants). The main effect of CTIP1 at the MS level seems to have been that Lick and Aptos are now harder, and Presidio (located far from CTIP1 areas and lacking busing) is much easier, for middle class families to access than in the previous neighborhood preference + "diversity index" based MS SAS..

  91. Actually, I'm not sure Sunnyside families have been choosing Denman. However, if you don't get any of your choices, you're given the "school closest to you that has space." Sunnyside has typically drawn sort of from the surrounding area (it's by no means a trophy school) which is geographically close to Denman. (Some may be closer to Aptos, but Aptos doesn't have extra room.) I know the 2 Vis. Valley families and the 1 MLK family got the "school closest to you that had room."

    I know Sunnyside families were THRILLED when the first draft of the feeder proposal fed them to Aptos, and are less than thrilled with Denman.

    I don't think the new feeder pattern will change the demographics of Denman much.

  92. Why wouldn't the demographics of Denman change much? They are feeding Miraloma and Lakeshore to Denman which has a pretty different population than Denman's current population.

    Assuming the map doesn't change and assuming those kids go there, the demographics will change. Hasn't the demographics of Sunnyside changed as well in recent years in the lower grades?

  93. Perhaps because many Lakeshore and Miraloma families will not send their GATE-identified kids to Denman, which lacks an honors program?

  94. I'm a parent of two children in immersion. The feeder plan fits our needs and we support it, regardless of what MS our program ultimately feeds into. If GE families really don't want feeders, then let them have choice. My guess is that the District does not want to do this because inevitably, as GE families become less and less likely to get one of their top choices in the MS lottery, they will cry foul that the immersion kids taking seats at high-demand schools are being given preferential treatment.

    The feeder plan is not a “neighborhood” system. It is more of a “community” system, where the community of families brought together during the elementary years is carried forward into the middle school years. Most of us who attended public schools growing up had this type of experience.

  95. @10:05 Not sure about the changing demographics at Sunnyside, as we're new to the district. I had noticed that for all the (negative) excitement about the Denman assignment for the feeder plan, it's actually not much of a change for Sunnyside as far as where kids end up for MS anyway. I don't know what the stats are for Miraloma and Lakeshore, and where those kids go today.

  96. A description of the feeder plan as a community system, as opposed to a neighborhood system, is not entirely helpful. For most of us, our ES experience was in a geographic assignment area neighborhood school system. The neighborhood was the community.

    With forced integration, and with citywide choice, the mix of students resulted in a different school community. Community, in this sense, only means who you went to school with. Nothing more. Nothing about physically living close to school so that commute times are short and safe. Nothing about sense of place in an area of town that a traditiona neignborhood school system ties into.

    If you use the term, community for feeders, it will not really mean much. Only that your cohorts from ES join you in MS--and that that might make going to that particular MS less scary. Attaching the word "community" to feeders is dressing up the unpleasantness that the power of choice of parents has been taken away.

    The more honest characterization is that SE parents have been drafted to go to schools they do not want to raise the test scores there. Feeders are a community of draftees.

  97. 8:56 am -- so the whole reason for the feeder proposal is that, otherwise, GE parents will start getting angry for immersion parents filling up slots at "better" middle schools? Thanks for taking a stab at it, but I find that hard to take. Right now, we've got neighborhood elementaries where half of those schools are set aside for immersion. I find it hard to believe that GE parents will start a bonfire because 15-20% of seats at a (very) large school like Giannini, Aptos or Presidio are going to immersion. And I get it that, yes, most of us who went to public school went to neighborhood-based systems. But who really cares about that? This whole idea of kids wanting to be with the same kids for 13 years is really a canard. My question (( posted above about this) remains: There's got to be something else going on here for why redesigning immersion programs is pushing SFUSD to restrict choice for GE families.

  98. 9:48, people have stated those reasons a few times here in this discussion.

    I know you probably don't agree with the reasons, but the reasons have been stated by district officials and people on this blog have stated them too and it is not all because of immersion schools.

  99. If you just look at the map it is too easy to draw some mistaken conclusions. It is impossible to create contiguous proximity-based geographical elementary feeder zones and get the SPED and Lau legal issues solved as well as simultaneously to make coherent language pathways.

    SFUSD has no choice but to comply with SPED and Lau. It is already spending too much money on litigation without rolling out a new assignment system that increases those drains on its resources with more law suits which surely will come if they screw up. You can say they are trying to do what is best for those populations and maybe they are, but they have to meet their bottom line or go into receivership. And they cannot redo all the programs from the ground up to make the feeders work. They are taking a choice based infrastructure and trying to make it into a feeder infrastructure. It is too much to think that they can draw some boundaries and all student needs and mandates will be served. At the same time established programs can't be excised and placed elsewhere like transplanting a garden. It is too costly and disruptive.

    So some fiddling is necessary Clarendon didn't pull some strings to go to Presidio, despite being outside the proximity zone considered reasonable, Clarendon and Rosa Parks have Japanese programs that will augment Presidio's. And Rossevelt's original map was poorly conceived and needed to change leading to the new map.

    The reason they are going to feeders is for cost purposes. The financial era of paid for busing is ending. The stand alone Home to School Transportation program is going to be flexed this year which means they'll have more funding to use in the general fund.District must consolidate under the new realities of long term financial weakness. There are not going to be any new taxes and the all cuts scenario is not a scenario anymore.

    In the mean time, the SAS resolution of March 2010 requires that the Board make any changes 6 months before they begin to take applications on November 13. That would mean they would have to vote by May 13, but the vote isn't scheduled until June. It is very difficult for people to plan private or public school alternatives when they don't know what is SFUSD assignment policy. It works to SFUSD's favor when fewer can go private. I'm not saying they are delaying on purpose. But the SFUSD BOE has a responsibility to the community to adhere to its own timeline.

  100. They've had forever to deal with this and delayed enough. They need to get it in on time. A lot of kids suffered due to this. Kids who live right near a good school and go to elementary school nearby were forced to go far away.

    As for immersion, the people whining about this forget that the reason they delayed was because everyone whined they hadn't considered immersion. Now they do and people are mad. They lost a whole year to consider this because the same people who complained they didn't wanted that, and now these same people are complaining they did. Some people will be mad no matter what.

    As for Honors, I think it hurts. I had honors teachers who wouldn't help advise me about how my daughter could do better. I had honors teachers whose own kids went to Galileo and Lincoln, couldn't get into Lowell, and the teachers were arguing I shouldn't even try to get my child into Lowell. One was supposed to have a conference call, didn't call, then when I scheduled a meeting, left early and wouldn't answer any questions or help, just had a canned speach. Trust me, it was awful. I have friends who will now make sure not to get these teachers. I've been very disappointed with the honors program.

    This whole they didn't consider immersion at the last minute, now OMG they did, they shouldn't have, these re the same people. They're trying to create confusion to delay it as long as possible. Trust me, if the board now does include what they are saying, they'll be back next May with a new complaint about something they didn't consider to delay it again. I have a 2d grader at Alamo and want this done by then, don't want my daughter sent 4 miles from my house. So stop with he dirty tricks and delays. Make this happen, a year is long enough.

  101. Don, I don't buy the excuse that the feeder system is coming in because busing is going out. In fact, I think the feeder system -- because it is NOT neighborhood based -- is going to lead to MORE pressure on the school district for busing, not less. The head of the PTA at Juniperro Serra was quoted as saying that the parents there were fine going to Hoover (as mandated under the new plan) as long as there would be a bus to take them there. Well, there ain't a bus going from Bernal to Aptos now. Many of the kids at Serra are in public housing. How is SFUSD going to get those kids to Aptos other than busing?

  102. Sorry -- hit the enter button too soon. The reference to Aptos is meant to be Hoover. Sorry.

  103. The run from the area surrounding Serra to Hoover is a hike, but the bus does go there... either one of the mission buses to 24th and then the 48, or hike over to cortland and then take the 24 to 24th and then the 48.

    Aptos isn't bad either... the 23 (runs across crescent, crosses Mission) straight across.

    Of course, this means sending kids on MUNI. I'm OK with that, but at least the principal at Hoover discourages it.

  104. Bottom line is Garcia and the powers that be have noticed that no matter how much they spend on the disadvantaged kids, they don't get better. I mean if we're spending double on these bad elementary schools, shouldn't these kids improve for that money to the point where other parents aren't dreading their kids going to school with them for middle school? What is all the money for if parents are still horrified of sending their kids to Mann or Denman or V V? These kids got double spent on them, is this helping them become better students, or the same?

    I think Garcia says he can tell which kids will become successful college students and adults by age 10-12. He's making an effort to take the kids who are destined to do great things and guarantee them a decent middle and high school so they don't leave San Francisco. If we can get into the habit of people staying in San Francisco again for multiple generations, we can build a community, at least that's his thinking.

    I think he's throwing the poor kids under the bus because he's too afraid to tell them they need to work harder, dress normally and speak standard English.

    Look how much we're wasting? These kids start middle school and can't keep up. I think any kid in the bottom 40% in 5th grade on the STAR test should take an extra year at an academics academy so they can start middle school a year later but ready to compete. There are no jobs anyways, particularly for kids who drop out of high school or college, so why not give them an extra year for remedial work so they are able to start middle school as a decent student, and why not tax the CEOs who have doubled their average salary over a period in which the rest of our incomes have actually dropped, to pay for it?

  105. Don said:
    "In the mean time, the SAS resolution of March 2010 requires that the Board make any changes 6 months before they begin to take applications on November 13. That would mean they would have to vote by May 13, but the vote isn't scheduled until June."

    Where are you getting Nov. 13? This year applications for the first round were due Jan 18. So assuming the timeline is the same this year, the Board could vote by July 18 and still be in compliance with the SAS passed in 2010.

  106. This comment has been removed by the author.

  107. Immersion is not responsible for the feeders or any of the new SAS. Immersion is not responsible for the lack of seats at desired MS for GE students because there is no separate strand for immersion at the MS level (unlike at the ES level, where there are immersion seats and GE seats).

    At the middle school level, immersion is only responsible to help put the brakes on impplementation of feeders for one year to allow for progress towards a goal of multiple language programs at all middle schools, a long term goal and an ongoing one. The one year delay also allowed for continued publio input, which resulted in a second version of the feeder pattern.

    I do not know enough about immersion programs to say if language programs that did not exist before are now being made available at more MS locations. I wonder if that is a sustainable strategy. It is district policy, however, and I would be pleased to be surprised.

  108. 10:33,

    This is from page 13 of the Board Policy of March 9, 2010.

    "Any revisions to this student assignment policy requiring Board approval will be approved at
    least six months before SFUSD begins accepting applications for any given year. For example, if SFUSD begins accepting applications in November, any revisions to this student assignment policy would have to be approved by April."

    If you go to the key dates in the enrollment section of the SFUSD website you will see that Nov. 13 is the day that they BEGIN ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS.

    It is pretty typical for the Board to ignore it's own policy even though the ink is barely dry. Why is this important? Because people cannot plan properly in advance without due notice as is required by Board policy. Maybe parents need to do some outreach to the commissioners so we can get the Board to get their paperwork in on time. That's sarcasm.

  109. I'm pretty sure they're not going to delay it another whole year. A lot of good people really suffered unfairly due to this delay. They're judged on test scores, period, and they don't want to change teacher tenure and seniority or ask more of parents, so the only thing that will improve average test scores is smoke and mirrors. If they can get a higher percentage of kids from the top elementary schools to stay in SF by kissing up to them, than did in the previous generation when they might get assigned to a bad middle school across town, then the statistics will improve and they can claim they improved the schools. Then the average will drop in the suburbs that are currently benefitting from getting our top students in middle school and high school. It's obvious, any school with great students feeds into a desireable middle school, with the possible exception of Denman but based on the map Denman is going to join Lick and Aptos as a turnaround school. I bet Denman will be better than Marina or Francisco in 10 years, just call it a hunch.

  110. Feeders are going through. They don't want a repeat of this year where hundreds of families were there complaining. Next year it will be more cut and dry. Plus they want to start seeing kids at Alice Fong Yu and other trophy schools there till the kids are 18, not 11. This is the small change that will make the difference in getting our test scores higher than suburban areas, not all but many. It can probably get us over the average in suburban counties.

    Bottom line is, keep the kids at the 920 schools in SF through 12th grade, improve test scores. Keep the kids at the 600 schools here, lower test scores.

    I think that you should get more points to get into the school of your choice based on your individual star test in 4th and 5th grade. This would keep strong families here, separate the talkers from the doers, and encourage parents and kids to study more. You can no longer say I'm a great parent and my kid is great but they got a piece of crap score. Testing is the key and it should be rewarded as such. That would go a long way towards improving our scores, having them actually mean something. If you want to go to Presidio from far away, there are 11 spots, let in the 11 with the highest STAR test figures, those who study hard and listen, don't goof off and watch TV and not care how much that hurts their ES's reputation.

  111. That would be a great idea for middle school and even high school but wouldn't work for elementary school. That way people couldn't complain too much, the cut off wouldn't be that high. I'm sure if you got into advanced you could get into any middle school you wanted. Then when they complain, you could say if you really wanted to go to this Middle School, you and your child should have taken school more seriously, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Your test scores reflect your lack of work ethic. If you change and get a great test score next year and focus all Summer, maybe you can transfer in for 7th grade. Sorry.
    Now completely innocent, good students don't get into a school a block away. At least this way this could only happen to kids with poor ethics and morals and a lazy attitude about school.

  112. Minorities test poorly. This would cause more segregation.

  113. Sounds like it. It will be a factor next year, but you still could live across the street from a school, go to a nearby elementary school, and not get in. It will be 3 more years or 4 before it is a pure feeder system, I believe not until the 2015-2016 school year. Before then, the neighorhood schools measure will pass so that will change things. They may not be able to do a feeder. That feeder plan was the last chance they had to defeat the neighborhood schools measure.