Monday, May 30, 2011

May 31 BOE MEETING ON STUDENT ASSIGNMENT

NOTICE AND AGENDA

MEETING OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION

AD HOC COMMITTEE ON STUDENT ASSIGNMENT

SAN FRANCISCO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

________________________________________

There will be a meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment (Augmented), on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Irving G. Breyer Board Meeting Room, 555 Franklin Street, First Floor, San Francisco, California.


1. Board Discussion with the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) and Parents for Public Schools (PPS)


2. ACTION ITEM: Staff Recommendations for Revisions to Board Policy P5101: Student Assignment

(Superintendent’s Proposal 115-24Sp1 – Revisions to Board Policy P5101: Student Assignment)

a. Elementary-to-Middle School Feeder Patterns

b. Density Tiebreaker

c. NCLB/Open Enrollment

d. Designation Guidelines


3. Public Comment: Members of the public may address the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment on items within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Committee but which do not appear on the Agenda. Speakers shall address their remarks to the Committee as a whole and not to individual Board Members or District staff. There shall be no discussion of public comment with the exception of clarifying questions and/or referral of the issue to staff.


4. Board Discussion

76 comments:

  1. hello, I am not sure if the discussion/meeting is only addressing student assignment for middle school? I hope they intend to discuss the current SAS fiasco that is currently going on.

    I would like to know how they intend to sift through all of the families that are still waiting for round 3 and how they will decide how they will admit students after schools starts if there is no waitlist in process.

    So many questions....no transparency....

    Parents, we need to mobilize and go down there and get our voices heard!!!

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  2. No offense, but do you honestly think speaking to the Board of Ed members is going to do any good? They all knew how they were going to vote on this months ago, and all the "listening to the public" episodes were just for "show".

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  3. I know, it is just so disheartening and frustrating.
    I feel so helpless and totally abandoned by SFUSD.

    "Public" education my ass.

    We are just trying to enter into K, why do they have to make it so confusing and one sided. It is looking like we have no choice but to go to private, after of course we wait out the entire summer stressed out as to what will happen.

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  4. @8:12
    You should contact the BOE members individually and also attend the meeting. I would also contact Parents for Public Schools. The third round has changed from years prior and there needs to be more clarity on the process.

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  5. Parents for Public Schools?! Are you kidding me? They're a joke! Same with PAC. They are supposed to facilitate these discussions and have these "road shows" at the various middle schools to discuss the feeder schools and stay neutral, but yet have recently come out against the middle school plan. How neutral is that?! They don't speak for me! I'm hoping that the board is smart enough to ignore their "recommendations"!

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  6. PPS and PAC speak for the majority, not a single individual. In particular, their outreach into Bayview and Excelsior districts should be commended. They have done more to give a voice to public school parents than the SFUSD staff (who receive high salaries to screw us) and the Board of Education combined.

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  7. Very well-said, 8:14. I'm really appalled at how the EPC and BOE has continued to plow ahead with their MS SAS despite objections from the SFUSD community, reported by the PPS and PAC.

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  8. Parents for Public Schools did an excellent job of reaching out to the parents within the City of San Francisco. Their recommendation was that the board not implement feeder patterns until there was more parity between schools. This seems reasonable given that the district's own middle school matrix showed a huge variations between middle schools. At this point, choice is the only way a parent could find a school that is a good fit for their child. Once middle schools have more equitable offerings, then a feeder pattern would be a more realistic option.
    Also, 8:12 was referring to the third round process for elementary school. There has been a lot of confusion around that and the district needs to clarify the process.

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  9. 8:14, do you know how many PAC members oppose the feeder patterns?

    Their report only gave brief mention to the many families who spoke out in favor of the feeders. More people who oppose things tend to attend the events. I would be careful claiming that the PAC and PPS speak for "the majority" of parents, they speak for the loudest parents, that's all.

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  10. I agree with 9:11. I think PAC and PPS did make some effort to reach out to communities that don't normally go to their meetings, but the response from those community meetings did not necessarily oppose the idea of feeder patterns. I believe there was a lot of confusion about the new system reflected in the feedback at the meetings.

    I think the PAC and PPS report downplays the feedback from people who came in support of the feeder system. And that was not helped by the fact that many people who were in support of the feeder system at those meetings were probably intimidated by the anger of many of the people there.

    I really think the PAC and PPS report speaks for the majority of a certain segment of the city - which is not necessarily a majority of parents in the city as a whole.

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  11. I can tell you that the majority of families at our school, Lafayette, support the feeder plan. It's not easy living near a very popular MS with the current "chance" system. It gives your child a much smaller chance of getting into a quality school right down the street. I hope if you are in support of the feeder plan you will let your voice be heard TODAY by emailing the BOE members:

    Hydra.Mendoza@sfusd.edu, NormanYee@sfusd.edu, SandraFewer@sfusd.edu, Kim-ShreeMaufas@sfusd.edu, EmilyMurase@sfusd.edu, RachelNorton@sfusd.edu, JillWynns@sfusd.edu

    Supporters have been too quiet on this issue. I sympathize with SE parents who are not comfortable with their feeder school, but there is a lot of merit to keeping kids together as they move from ES to MS.

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  12. Well do tell! Lafayette likes the feeder proposal. Well, duh! Lafayette feeds into Presidio, and you want to keep it all to yourself. You want a neighborhood school system because your neighborhood school is perceived to be great, as evidenced by the fact that it is a top requested middle school.

    How would you feel about the feeder proposal if Lafayette students were bused to MLK, ISA, or Denman?

    Instead of only thinking about yourself, how about thinking about the inequities and hardships being bestowed upon the students who are carrying the brunt of the busing while you sashay to your neighborhood school?

    Instead of bashing PPS and PAC, families (like yourself) should be joining forces with them and demanding that the District and BOE make every middle school great, give every family a great neighborhood middle school down the street (Bayview, Excelsior). UNTIL THEN, give everyone a choice and an equal chance in the SAS lottery to get a great school.

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  13. "I sympathize with SE parents who are not comfortable with their feeder school, but there is a lot of merit to keeping kids together as they move from ES to MS."

    In other words "too bad" for SE families. "My family will be set with the feeder proposal so I could care less about anyone else."

    If you FIX the schools and make them all somewhat equal (I understand they can't be all "trophies"), then whatever SAS you choose to implement will work just fine. As is, with some good schools and some beyond crappy ones, ANY SAS system that is implemented (at the elementary or middle school level) will come under fire.

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  14. Advocates for the feeder patterns do have a valid point if they like their designated feeder school, especially if it is in a convenient location. The feeder pattern does disadvantage quite a few schools and that is also a valid consideration.

    Maybe SFUSD should give some weight to the feeder pattern when distributing spots via choice similar to the elementary school lottery. Instead of an "all or nothing" approach as the feeder pattern suggests, maybe there is a way to give people who want their feeder school some preference while the district implements its "Quality Middle School" programs. That way the real discrepancies between the schools are shared rather than assigned.

    This would also make sense in terms of the elementary school SAS as many families go to elementary schools outside their neighborhood. Is it fair that if you live in West Portal and are assigned Glen Park and think it's okay for elementary that then you have to go to Lick instead of Aptos,Denman, or Hoover? The elementary school SAS still has a large chance factor so it does not make sense for the feeder patterns to be so rigid.

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  15. Our "neighborhood" middle school is Aptos (i.e., it is the closest MS and completely contiguous with our ES attendance area, just like Lafayette/Presidio). Aptos is the middle school that most of our 5th grade students identified as their first choice for the lottery this year, and it is the middle school that the majority of the students will attend 2011/2012 school year.

    I can understand why Lafayette likes the proposed feeder pattern, but you must also realize why some families dislike the proposed feeder pattern. Not only are we being denied access to our "neighborhood" school, but we are being fed into Denman, a struggling, underperforming middle school that does not offer GATE/honors cirriculum and all the electives which Aptos and Presidio offer).

    Another stricking feature of the K-8 feeder map is that Presidio, Giannini, Roosevelt, Marina, Francisco, Everett, ISA, and Vis Valley are primarily neighborhood schools (i.e., contiguous boundaries). Aptos is unique in that the majority of its neighborhood schools (ie, the schools that surround it) are completely denied access to it and are fed into a noncontiguous middle school, outside their ES attendance area. Our children must now endure long rides on MUNI and have a major obstacle(Highway 280) as an impediment to walking or riding a bike.

    It is the responsibility of the District and BOE to make quality middle schools; IT IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PARENTS OR THE CHILDREN! Please vote against the K-8 feeder proposal until all students have equal access to a quality education at a quality middle school.

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  16. 12:20 PM,

    If you look at the feeder pattern carefully, Denman get better students than Aptos. MS is only 3 years. The student body get completely renewed. I am pretty confident that by 2014, Denman will be a very desirable school

    Lack of honor program is a valid concern. However, that's detail implementation. With parental community effort, it can be changed.

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  17. "Aptos is unique in that the majority of its neighborhood schools (ie, the schools that surround it) are completely denied access to it and are fed into a noncontiguous middle school, outside their ES attendance area. Our children must now endure long rides on MUNI and have a major obstacle(Highway 280) as an impediment to walking or riding a bike."

    Why did the district decide to do this? Is there a better solution you can present tonight? Can you at least state it here?

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  18. Thank you 12:20! Another point that many ignore is how will the force feeding of students to middle schools affect the middle school. Aptos has almost 1/2 their students in the honors track right now, but the feeder plan is assigning a group of kids to it that overall have a pretty low percentage of gate students. This shift plus the language immersion new program suddenly dropped in there at random means that the staff will have to completely rework their academic offerings and schedules. It's not fair to a school that has been doing unbelievably well with a very diverse group of students under the choice system.

    I would think the Lafayette parents would be just a little embarrassed to say - Yeah! We want feeders (Presidio, or really any of their local options because none are scary) under the feeder system and "too bad for you" to all those Excelsior/VisValley and Hunters Point kids who aren't at one of the few selected schools bussed (w/out buses of course) into Hoover and Aptos. Those families will no longer have much of a choice for their kids and are much less likely to have the option to move or go private.

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  19. Hoover has a weird group of ES feeding it too. Monroe, Moscone, and Serra. West Portal is also feeding it, but it's the only one that is nearby. Not sure what the board was doing when they did this. I think the first draft of the feeders was beter, more contiguous ES to MS for most of the middle schools. Will the meeting tonight, just approve feeders or this specific list of feeder schools?

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  20. 99% of the people at our elementary school think this is a done deal. They are already talking about the feeder middle school as a given. I think only if you read this blog or subscribe to PPS do you even know that there is big controversary around this. People that like the feeders don't even know they need to support it to have it passed. They think it already has.

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  21. Ulloa feeds to Hoover too.

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  22. Lafayette parent here, taking some abuse today because I'm easy to shoot at by the PC police.

    I am not embarrassed to want my daughter to go to a good middle school with her friends in our neighborhood. And yet, I do care that kids in the SE part of town are likely to have less stellar options. It's a pickle. But I value some certainty in this process, and believe a feeder pattern will eventually help keep more parents in the system who are likely to advocate for all kids.

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  23. At May 9 meeting, BOE noted the Feb 1 feeder map left much to be desired, and they asked District to come up with another feeder map. Apparently, District ignored BOE request. It will be interesting to see if BOE takes that slap in the face without protest.

    WRT Denman and GATE/honors classes, I predict change in educational philosophy will come slowly and likely not at all. I spoke with Principal, and She said that they do not intend to change to accommodate influx of GATE kids. They have strong, emotional philosophy of "Social justice" in the classroom (apparently the needs of high achievers don't matter; they only want to teach to the lowest common denominator). Denman does not have experience with high percentage of GATE kids (17%), compared to Aptos (39% GATE), Presidio (42% GATE), and Giannini (49% GATE), so philosophy is somewhat skewed to low achievers. Since feeders phase in slowly, families with GATE-identified children will opt-out and will try to avoid the Denman assignment at all costs, leaving very little internal pressure to change. I believe it will be difficult to change Dennan over the next 5 to 6 years because there will not be a critical mass. Families found it very difficult to change things at Lick (another school without GATE/honors), and Lick is loosing some siblings to other middle schools.

    Look at the most popular middle schools. They all offer GATE/honors tracks. Parents want their children challenged in class. Why is the District wearing blinders? If they offered GATE/honors tracks at Denman, then there would be higher rate of acceptance. Parents don't want to enter a struggling middle school with clenched fists and a list of demands. I think that parents want to partner with faculty, not fight them.

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  24. The Lafayette parents posting here are unbelievable. Like their dog eat dog attitude. We won. And yes, you lost. Life sucks.

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  25. I just posted some GATE percentages that I got from SFUSD website. Apologies if numbers are out of date. Geesh! Can't the District do anything right?

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  26. 1:10, Lafayette parent, since when have NW parents advocated for all kids? For years we have heard only the drumbeat of neighborhood schools, which is stand-in for "I want guaranteed entrance to this high-test score school."

    I appreciate your acknowledgment that we should care about the kids in the SE with "less than stellar" options, but I'm pretty sure you would pay a little more than lip service to the problem if the BoE suddenly, tonight, came up with a plan that to bus Lafayette kids across town to Everett or even Marina. As so many other kids are being asked to travel, with no prior warning from previous SAS systems that they would be told to do this based on elementary assignment, and since such a plan would offer that "certainty" that you say you desire above all else, how could you possibly oppose the plan in that case? Or would the tune suddenly change from "certainty" to "equity in offerings"?

    It's not that you are wrong to advocate for your position. We all understand why you want what you want, and why you would advocate for it. Just please don't try to dress it up in PC language about neighborhoods and caring about all the kids. You are advocating for YOUR kids. This isn't the PC police attacking you, for heaven's sake! Just other parents advocating for THEIR kids. No one is PC in this debate, truth be told.

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  27. If parents on the PAC and PPS spent the time they spend having meetings, tutoring children instead, the achievement gap would close in no time.

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  28. The problem with having feeder ES as the 2nd priority group (after siblings and even before ctip1) is that there will be few, if any, spots left at the top 4 MSs (Presidio, Hoover, Giannini, and Aptos) for those not attending the feeder ESs. Hence there really isn't much of a "choice" left for parents unhappy with the MSs into which their ESs are scheduled to feed. An all-choice system, similar to the one we currently have as a HS SAS, would actually produce a similar distribution of students at the MS level: mostly kids from nearby ESs choosing to enroll in each MS. However, it would also allow parents to select programs more suited to their particular kids (i.e. honors track vs differentiated instruction, strong art or orchestra program, great sports teams), which is important as the MSs differ so dramatically in the "extras" they offer.

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  29. 1:26, do you know of anyone who is happy with their MS feeder who is not hoping for the feeder system? Do you think they'd rather take a chance on sending their kid across town to a less desirable school? Gosh, down with Lafayette parents!!! We are downright evil.

    But seriously, there should be GATE/HONORS at every school. To offer less is unacceptable. That is a very disturbing post about Denman. And when I read it, I wasn't thinking, "Good for me, bad for them!" I was thinking, "This has to change."

    But are parents on this blog only advocating for GATE/HONORS now that their child may be assigned there? Why weren't they advocating for the kids who are there now? Is it only an issue now that it effects your family? The truth is, that's how life works for most of us. We worry about what is happening in our own lives. It's all many of us can handle. If you want to take on every MS in this district, go for it.

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  30. Not all people who support the feeder plan support it just because they like their feeder school. There are reasons that it is better for the district overall and will improve the overall quality at schools throughout the district faster than the choice system.

    I've written about it before in this blog but it seems most people don't like to look at it in the big scheme of things and can only see it through their own personal point of view.

    I agree that the inequalities amongst the middle schools are a problem but the feeder system is one way to help even it out. I hope it is not the only way. But it will help.

    The subject of honor/GATE programs will probably be addressed soon and with so much anger about it, I wouldn't be surprised if things change.

    Honestly, I think the other feeder elementary schools being fed to a particular middle school will change the personality of some middle schools. The other elementary communities will have a big impact on your kids middle school experience more than the current students at that middle school.

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  31. A lot of the feeders on the South side of San Francisco are odd and not neighborhood based. Lick for instance has Harte - extremely far away - and Muir also not nearby. Why? Why doesn't Muir go to Everett? Why doesn't Serra go to Lick? Why doesn't Miraloma go to Lick instead of Denman? Why does Fairmount go to Everett instead of Lick?

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  32. here's another options for K-8 feeder proposal.

    Keep Spanish immersion at current Buena Vista site through 5th grade. At 6th grade, transfer BV students to Harace Mann site with other Spanish bi-lingual/immersion schools, inclusing those Spanish language schools now feeding into Hoover. Note: other K-8 alternative schools, such as Rooftop and CL, have different sites for lower and upper grades. Expansion for middle school grades will utilize two existing school sites in heavily Latino neighborhoods, with minimal commute burden on students.

    Keep GE and Chinese bi-lingual/immersion (both Manadarin and Cantonese) at Hoover. This location is well suited to serve schools such as West Portal, Jose Ortega, and Starr King.

    Keep Aptos and Giannini entirely GE (i.e., do not displace students and faculty for unnecessary introduction of language pathways) and accomodate neighboring GE elemnetary schools.

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  33. Enroll in a private school. No more conversations about "Lafayette Parent", feeder proposals or lack of Honors course, etc.

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  34. I keep hearing people say they are having to be bused across town to low performing schools and that is not accurate. The schools being fed to Denman are not that far from Denman.

    Most of the long commutes are from low performing elementary schools in the SE across town to higher performing schools towards the west side of town.

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  35. Denman isn't the only school with a "no GATE" approach -- Lick is similarly dedicated to the "social justice" of not tracking kids by ability at all.

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  36. How can the district implement a feeder plan when the district's MSs currently have such disparities in their offerings? Wouldn't it make more sense to first focus the SFUSD's efforts and resources on improving the offerings of MSs like Denman, Everett and Visitation Valley so that they, too, would be considered desirable places to educate our children?

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  37. "Lick is similarly dedicated to the "social justice" of not tracking kids by ability at all."

    Huh? If kids are all of equal ability, how about getting rid of non-honors instead?

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  38. Lick has small classes right now, it will be interesting if differentiation in the classroom works as well with 36-38 kids per room (currently they have 24, but only for 2 more years - then the QEIA $$ goes away).

    Not all parents of GATE kids choose a school with honors tracks. But again it's all about choice - what works for that kid and that family - many families have one kid at Lick and another at Hoover or Aptos - those families clearly value choice more than community or predictability since they gave up sibling preference for a school that matched what their 2nd child needed.

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  39. This conversation is exactly why so many of us did not go to the PPS/PAC meetings - or at least after the first few when it became clear that (a) no one from PPS/PAC was interested in our opinion and (b) you'd be the target of other families anger. I happen to be at a school that feeds into a more popular middle school, so anything I say will be immediately disregarded as self-interested. However, many of us believe the feeder plan has the potential to improve all middle schools. Based on many conversations I've had with parents at my school, many of us would have stuck together and gone had we been assigned to an underperforming school. We believe in our children just as much as anyone else, we just think that together they are academically and socially safer and stronger. While we are looking forward to adding new kids and families to the mix, these families are my village and I'm confident my child will thrive if we stay intact.

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  40. One unfortunate thing is that the District is counting on the families of relatively well performing schools feeding into the least desirable middle schools (Denman, Everett, MLK, etc) to actually go to the schools and to help improve them. Some will, but a lot will leave the system, and that includes families who've thrown themselves into helping their children's ES. That leads to an even more inequitable mix among the MS. Choice at least gave more people a willingness to stay in the system. But at a certain point, most of us basically want a middle school for our kids that we believe in, that challenges and supports them, and is safe. That means we leave schools that can't provide that.

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  41. How about a full-choice lottery wherein SFUSD sets aside a certain number of seats for bi-lingual/immersion students and a certain number of seats for GE students (number of seats of each type is predetermined for each middle school, varying from 0% to 100%)?

    In this version of the full-choice lottery, bi-lingual/immersion students compete for the language seats (they rank their choices 1-2-3 etc), and GE students compete for the GE seats.

    Given full choice and a guarenteed spot, parents and students will do a better job then the District of determining which school is best for them.

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  42. "Lafayette parent here .... I value some certainty in this process, and believe a feeder pattern will eventually help keep more parents in the system who are likely to advocate for all kids."

    How will it keep MORE parents in the system? As many if not more families will decide to leave the system in my opinion under the new feeder proposal. This may not be a step backwards in this regards but lets not pretend this is a step forward. Unless, of course you value some "certainty" in the process especially when you are "certain" your kids will attend a good MS.

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  43. My objection to the feeder system is that when you do not get your neighborhood school, you then, get shafted in middle school, to another far away school. Its not like, you were assigned Clarendon so you will then feed into Presidio. Also, I agree the assignments make little sense geographically..Rosa Parks feeds into Presidio, yet Muir feeds into Lick?

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  44. I just posted above and I wanted to add, how is the feeder system going to change existing schools so that the balance of the schools is offering an equal education - Presidio seems like it is only going to get higher test scores though Marina seems like it may improve with Sherman, Spring Valley, Redding, Lau and the non-Cobb Montessori.

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  45. I have seen several posts on here saying that the feeder system will improve middle schools. Interstingly, no one can put any more meat on those bones than to make that bald assertion. Flying in the face of that claim is that middle schools in SF have improved over the past 10 years, a period during which the operative system was a parental choice one. Why in hell are we ditching a system that has actually caused improvements for one that we know will alienate at least some of the parents?

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  46. 4:42, do you really think that if the kids that are being fed to Denman, go to Denman that the test scores at Denman will not go up faster than if we stuck to the choice system? And that the PTA will not start raising more money sooner than if we stick to the choice system? I know this is not everything, but it is a start.

    Test scores at Visitacion Valley middle school will go up too under the feeder system even if it is not as much as at more centrally located schools.

    I would like to see more desirable schools in the SE and I think the feeder system is a faster way to accomplish it rather than the slow process under the choice system.

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  47. The reality is that schools with low enrollment have less financial resources with which to fund extras. Since most funding is based on a per capita basis, big schools are able to fund special things like band. The small schools rely heavily on discretionary funding, which is drying up. The District needs to take drastic measures to increase and stabilize enrollment across all their school sites. Theoretically, if a school population increases they will be able to expand the program options, and with a general knowledge of the future student population they can make intelligent decisions on program that should be developed or dropped. Just because a school does not offer GATE today, does not mean they could not offer it tomorrow. If the demand and funding is there, the District will have the tools to take affirmative action. Without that, we are bound to see the inequity between the schools widen.

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  48. Lottery vs. feeder: Basically they're two versions of lucky. Some prefer the old version where you won the lottery. Others like the new one, where you're assigned based on your ES. If all the schools were good, we wouldn't have to even have this unfortunate debate.

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  49. To 5:05 pm. Bait and switch!  The District is stealing the entire student population (and energized parent community) from Aptos and shoving them in Denman.  So when API at Denman goes up 100 points, does District get bragging rights that "they fixed another middle school"???

    Why are (unhappy) parents expected to raise money to jump start Denman if their preferred NEIGHBORHOOD middle school (Aptos) is functional and thriving? If Denman was a young Aptos, with good bones (by that I mean share same philosophy and vision as parents), then parents would embrace it. The principal and faculty are diametrically opposed to GATE/honors pathways and have stated so publically. They are not creating a welcoming environment or showing respect for parents like other schools that are on the rise.

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  50. Exactly right, 5:31, which is why the NW parents want the feeder system (good schools nearby) and SE parents want choice (a chance at a better option). It has nothing to do, really, with "consistency" or "communities" or "equity." It would be good if we could be honest about that!

    As someone with no vested interest (my kids having already passed through middle school): At least in the choice system there was some amount of sorting by what kind of programs people wanted--honors versus small class sizes etc. Now it will be according to where you went to ES, which seems like an awfully blunt way to sort. And let's be clear--after siblings and feeder and CTIP, there will be NO room for anyone else at the now-top 5 requested middle schools, so SE and NE and middle-of-SF CTIP2 ES families will be shut out of those. To my mind, it is more efficient and fair to sort out the lucky from the unlucky at least a little bit according to what they actually want and then according to lottery. Not where you happened to go to ES.

    That said, your point stands, which is that there are unlucky and unhappy people in either system and that is the basis of the conversation for anyone whose kids are heading into that system.

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  51. one of the many things i hate about the feeder system is that it's pitting one hardworking set of public school parents against another - at least with the full lottery the losers were sprinkled around. it's really depressing and is yet another example of the disconnect between 555 franklin and the parents and staff at the individual schools. the school communities assigned to the unpopular middle schools will dissolve - some to private, some to the burbs, some lucky folks to slots at a more desirable school. some will go to the designated school as well, but only the ones who a) have no choice or b) agree with the philosophy/offerings of the school (gate/nogate/orchestra, ..etc).

    here's my cynical prediction. the board and whoever is so incredibly wedded to this ms feeder plan inside sfusd will come up with a great idea to level the playing field between middle schools: ban all honors tracking and pull the plug on band and orchestra - all in the name of social justice. there. problem solved. feeders are all the same now. go where we tell you to go.

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  52. Unfortunately, 6:25 PM, I think that your prediction is correct. The lowest common denominator will prevail. Exactly the lesson that we want to teach our kids!

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  53. 6:25 here - I do really hope I'm being overly cynical, but it is really discouraging, especially with all the really great things going on at the actual schools (both at schools with honors programs and those w/out) but different kids/families have different needs and those differences are only respected (or at least given a chance) in a choice system.

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  54. BOE meeting, what a zoo:

    http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=83

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  55. Maufas: years ago my daughter had a bad school so don't whine if you get one too ... people are clamoring to get into SFUSD (only because Oakland and Daly City are even worse) ...

    Really?

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  56. She's bananas. Truly.

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  57. When did not tracking a child's academic performance become a measure of social justice? Actually tracking a student's academic needs and then providing them with the support and challenges they need to be successful academically is the socially responsible way to educate. When did difference, academic or otherwise, become unethical to recognize? We live in a world with many different types of people. Why would we not acknowledge it and embrace it within our school system? Being recognized as a student who has advanced abilities in math or English and taught according seems like social justice to me.

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  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  59. If you make the best and brightest students less bright, then that closes the achievement gap, doesn't it? I guess that is their plan.

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  60. I thought that Maufas's daughter went to Lincoln even though the family resided in the Mission: a beneficiary of the choice system. Why is Maufas so against choice now?

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  61. 6:25 Sadly I also agree with you. I guess that's how the BOE imagines that SFUSD middle schools can achieve their vision of "social justice."

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  62. @8:41 could not agree more. Shades of Diana Moon Glampers Handicapper General!!!
    ("Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut. Which was required reading in my public high school.)

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  63. 8:43 PM - You hit the nail on the head there.

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  64. "The small schools rely heavily on discretionary funding, which is drying up."

    I was scanning this thread and came along this comment.

    Actually the reverse is true. While funding in general has become leaner, of the total state funding the discretionary portion has grown as a result of legislation in 2009. This mean SFUSD and all LEAs have more power to control the flow of funding whereas more of it used to be restricted, meaning it had to be used in a very specific way. Another way of saying this is that the unrestricted funding has increased in relation to the restricted funding.

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  65. The people who complain about Aptos feeder are the same people who got their neighborhood school like miraloma and lakeshore. Not only did they won the lottery with ES, they also want the trophy middle school also. How about giving a chance to the other Aptos "neighborhood" school like sheridan and ortega to a quality education. Look at how close they are to Aptos on google map.

    I like the idea of virtual K-8 where if you get a bad lottery in ES, you get a chance for a better MS. The feeder could create a equalizing effect for people who weren't lucky enough this time around. What about those 0/7 who get assign to lesser elementary school, should they get a better shot at the MS level? Do people really want a winner takes all approach where you get nine year of good fortune after winning the first lottery. If some of those that complain the loudest send their kids to up and coming ES, they could secure a spot at Aptos w/ honor classes too.

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  66. 9:09 PM writes: 'I thought that Maufas's daughter went to Lincoln even though the family resided in the Mission: a beneficiary of the choice system. Why is Maufas so against choice now?"

    Where did you hear that? At a BOE campaign forum a few elections ago, Maufus told me her daughter went to Burton or Marshall (can't remember which).

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  67. 11:41
    The year we joined Miraloma it had an API score below 700. It was up and coming and seemed like it would be fine, but it was not a trophy at the time. While some of us listed it as our first choice, my older son's class is filled with parents who put Miraloma way down on their list. And some didn't list Miraloma at all.

    It is a completely different story for my kinder kid, who started last year.

    But both my kids are equally affected feeder system, even in its phased in guise, so your argument doesn't carry much weight.

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  68. I don't understand why people are so afraid of the Aptos/Denman arrangement. Lakeshore is the only school who is really being inconvenienced for the sake of sharing the good students among middle schools. Miraloma and Sunnyside are between Aptos and Denman, so if you're willing to be honest, it isn't inconvenient.

    With full choice, all the good students attempt to flock to the same schools. With feeders, they're trying to spread them around and even things out. We go to a mixed elementary school and my kids do fine with differentiated instruction. They don't have to be in a room with all high achievers to be challenged.

    In the full choice system, when we get none of our choices, we will be separated from all our elementary friends and assigned to an underfilled middle school where we're not sure if we will find other families who want to make a difference. I'd rather be fed into any *nearby* middle school as long as there is at least one other school feeding into it that is moderately successful.

    If we work together, we can challenge the administration to make things right for us. Even if the principal at Denman said she doesn't want honors classes, why does that have to be the end of the conversation? For me, it's worth saving 3 years of private school tuition to try a little harder to make it work.

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  69. 11:30, I LOVED YOUR POST. You are empowered, not victimized. We need more people like you on this blog!!

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  70. @6:48
    mirolma hasn't been sub 700 since 2006... things were different back then, so I don't think your argument hold weights now. So you older one probably got Aptos and you want your younger one to go there too.. Well, how about giving other the same chance.. The feeder could be change with 6 month notice.. If the other school gain parity with miraloma then the feeder should be reconfigure again. What is the problem of spreading the resource to make things more equitable.. besides mirolma get assign to denman, not isa or evertt which probably will get better in the future.

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  71. I am getting tired of this Apto/Denman debate.

    Those two schools are very close to each other. The parents didn't complain after the initial draft. The latest draft has better feeder students for Denman than for Aptos.

    If honors is the only sticky problem, that's an implementation issue. You will get a big group of parents you know and count on. Go in as a group, I am sure you can get it changed.

    It seems that some parents simply don't like Denman...

    How about we simply swap the feeders ES's for Aptos and Denman? Would that get everyone happy?

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  72. 12:58 is an SFUSD administrator, trying to tell us parents that schools are crummy because we don't do enough. It's your job, SFUSD, not ours.

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  73. Hey 6:10 (don's sockpuppet)
    Actually, it is your job as a parent to support your children in school! Don't think you can just drop them off and "let SFUSD to their job!" Student success is a partnership. I am so tired of listening to these deadbeat parents go off on someone and ignore their own responsibilities!

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  74. 12:58 here

    I am not an SFUSD administrator. I am a parent. I don't work for the district or any level of government.

    It is pretty nice and easy to use personal attack without rebuttal to any of my arguments, right?

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  75. I agree, 90% of the reason bad schools are bad is bad parents. It's really quite simple. If you stay married, encourage your kids to study and give them good nutrition and a peaceful, quiet place to do homework and help them, they're going to do well in life.

    Show me a 5-year old, I can talk to their parents and 9 times out of 10 tell if the kid will go to a UC, State, high school dropout, prison, homeless, hooker, drug addict, lawyer, doctor, Ivy League. 9 times out of 10. It's easy. Parents are so predictable and so are their children. Bad parents never change or if they do, they do for the worse. Bad schools are a result of bad kids which are a result of bad parents. Good schools are a result of good kids which are a result of good parents.

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  76. It's official, don and his trolls have taken over this blog and killed it.

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