Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reflections on May 9 BOE Meeting to Discuss the Middle School Plan

Rachel Norton is certainly admired (and thanked!) for going home last night and preparing a synopsis of the BOE reaction to the middle school plan. Readers are referred to Rachel's blog for her preliminary reaction to the meeting, as well as two key documents: a 24-page summary of the recent Community Forums, public engagement, and outreach activities, which was prepared by PAC and PPS, and the District's key reference, "Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades," which was published by EdSource last year.

You can watch a webcast of last night's BOE meeting once it is posted on the SFUSD website in the Board Meeting Webcast Archive.


Readers who attended the BOE meeting or who watched the Live Board Meeting Webcast are encouraged to share their perspective on the meeting.

- Donna

156 comments:

  1. not a fan of EPCMay 10, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    Although the feeder idea is very premature (at best) Darlene Lim and the other folks at EPC need a way to "save face." Hence they will not dump the feeder idea and will choose instead to phase it in and hope for the best. This is very shortsighted IMO.

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  2. I think the comment by "CarolineSF" on Rachel Norton's website says it all: to paraphrase, when has a "push" assignment system ever worked anywhere to improve schools? End of discussion. Now let's get on with trying to improve Everett and Denman so parents will WANT to send their kids there. Two Spanish language teachers, one at each school, for GE students to have language once a day would do it.

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  3. If the Board wants to change the middle school policy why didn't it do so within the timeline that was adopted last year?

    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.

    This is important because people cannot plan properly in advance without due notice as required by Board's own policy quoted above.

    The feeder has already been adopted. Changes in violation of the Board policy are irresponsible and will wreak additional havoc on applicants.

    Regarding the value of push versus pull, pull is what has created the huge achievement gap in SF, the desirable and the undesirable schools and the pressure to get a favored assignment.

    "when has a "push" assignment system ever worked anywhere to improve schools?"

    All across the nation students are assigned by neighborhood (push) and there are legions of examples of fine schools.

    The bottom line is this: With transportation curtailed and growing smaller year by year, only those with means with get the advantage of choice, the people who tend to read sites like this one and tend to speak the loudest. This will further polarize schools and exacerbate the achievement gap.

    It will also ignite many more to vote for the neighborhood schools measure on the ballot in November.

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  4. Neighborhood based assignment system is "push". If all schools are good, "push" or "pull" is not an issue. The real problem is that there are good and bad schools and there are "winners" and "losers".

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  5. I tuned in late to the meeting and missed the first two agenda items. Were there any significant updates about transportation or attendance area boundaries?

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  6. One of the most disturbing items from the meeting were the statistics concerning math proficiency of incoming 6th graders. In most instances, 15%-25% of incoming 6th graders were not proficient. In the worst case, over 50% were not proficient. While the district is contemplating quality middle schools, they should be telling parents how they are going to address issues of basic proficiency. It is unacceptable to have that many student unable to function at a basic level in math. I don't believe you can define any school as "quality" with that many students failing at basic skills.

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  7. We need to keep people together and kids in SF. It really has hurt my kids when people move, often due to this policy.

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  8. So what does this mean? It will be a slight bonus next year and increase in each year, until in 2015 you'll have a guarantee to your feeder school? This plan would have kept more strong students in town. It's a shame to delay it 4 years. People at Alamo deserve to go to a school 5 blocks away with their friends, not be torn apart from their friends and forced to drive miles to a school with kids who don't study as hard as they do and don't even care to become good students if it means hard work and turning off the TV, which it does.

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  9. Oh,lord, 12:44,
    I guess the "good" kids from other schools that would have to schlepp past a few other MS to get to their assigned MS under this plan, deserve that?

    Gimme a break - the kids at Alamo aren't harder working or smarter than other kids.

    Sheesh

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  10. @9:18 AM - Hear! Hear! Agree with your proposal to provide Spanish language instruction at Denman or Everett as a "pull" model for increasing enrollment.

    Better yet, "pull" students into Denman (or Everett) by hiring Mandarin faculty and building a Mandarin Immersion middle school pathway at these under-enrolled schools. This plan has the added benefit of preserving GE faculty positions and GE student seats at Aptos for students from Lakeshore, Miraloma, & Sunnyside.

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  11. I like the feeder plan. I think it gives parents certainty, something they don't get for K. I'd like my kids to go to middle close to home and with their friends. But I'm not at the BOE meetings. People that are unhappy are much more vocal.

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  12. 3:35, would you feel the same way about it if the feeder system sent your elementary school kids to a school halfway across town, and/or to one that is lacking in some of the options, such as band or an honors program, that your child might want or need? Watch out--because that map will likely be revised again, and you could find yourself on the other side of this debate.

    This is worst way to go about improving middle school quality. The PAC/PPS comments and recommendations (which are linked to from Rachel's post) are right on.

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  13. In any school, there will be something you would like but it doesn't. The perfect matching school doesn't exist. Actually, with the feeder, it is more likely that the MS can adjust to the incoming students to provide what you want better.

    And if "driving across the town" is your reason to be against feeder school, then let's do neighborhood-based system.

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  14. The kids at Alamo are harder working than most. 923 is impressive, that takes hard work from students, teachers and parents alike. They work harder than the kids at most schools.

    I agree, neighborhood schools. It will pass in November and it ist he right thing to do. That way no one is forced to drive across town. You can if you want but you don't have to.

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  15. 4:06--3:49 here again.

    No, an entirely neighborhood-based system would exacerbate socio-economic segregation and create even more inequalities.

    From looking at parent & community feedback from the last few years, it seems that many parents put school quality ahead of proximity. That is, people are willing, even eager, to go out of neighborhood if they perceive that their local school is not good or doesn't meet their needs. It is true that people also like proximity--but only if the first condition is met.

    So when I hear people say that they like the feeder proposal because their kids can walk five blocks, I automatically assume that they think their local school is good. Their view of the proposal would change if they were sent somewhere equally close but undesired. Their support for the proposal would shift even more dramatically if they were being sent across town to a school they don't want.

    One of the reasons Aptos has become so much popular in recent years is that it is the closest large middle school to the SE side of town, ie, the closest school that offers a full set of electives and honors. The largest demographic jump for Aptos has been among Latinos. Many of these kids trek to school on the 23, 43, and K lines every day, passing by Vis Valley, Denman, Everett, etc. to get there. Under the current version of the proposal, many of these same kids will be sent to Vis Valley, Everett, ISA, MLK, Denman.

    It's tricky....like I said, Aptos is popular because it is relatively accessible to the east side. Some parents in the Bayview are wondering if AP Giannini isn't too far and will it be welcoming to their kids. Bayview parents would love a high-quality middle school in the Bayview. But how to build that? Not by pushing parents into schools they don't want. It doesn't work that way.

    I urge everyone to read the PAC/PPS report. It provides good perspective and includes voices not generally heard on this blog.

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  16. "The kids at Alamo are harder working than most."

    That is such self-serving baloney.

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  17. I was at the meeting last night.

    Despite what is said repeatedly on this blog, the feeder plan has NOT yet been adopted.

    To me, the biggest surprise of the evening was that PPS recommended that the Board reject the feeder plan, based on the parent feedback they heard at the forums.

    The Board instructed the staff to go back and present a revised feeder plan at the May 31 meeting. Expect the maps to be redrawn.

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  18. Kids are kids and most are just as capable as others, so why do some excel and others don't? Could hard work have something to do with it? Of course not.

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  19. Language and honors would be great pull. But if you put language without honors (or immersion without honors) a lot of parents will leave.

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  20. 5:04 said:
    "I urge everyone to read the PAC/PPS report. It provides good perspective and includes voices not generally heard on this blog."

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say it includes voices not heard on this blog. It seems to underscore the anger that I've been hearing on this blog and also at the the feedback meeting I attended. I actually feel their recommendations were heavily skewed in the direction of no feeder schools.

    I felt that the people that ran the feedback meetings tried to appear impartial but did not quite succeed at it at the meeting in terms of the way they wrote down or emphasized the comments that parents made at the meeting.

    I can understand people not wanting feeder schools. It is controversial. But there is the other side to the argument and I think their document really downplays it to the point that many people think that everyone opposes the feeder system and that is not true.

    In the document everytime they mention there was some support for the system, they always qualify it with a "but" statement. People who support the feeder school system have just been quieter about it.

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  21. And don't forget, they can revise the feeders AND attendence area bounderies every year if they so choose.

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  22. From page 18 of the PPS/PAC Document
    Recommendations:
    Do not implement feeder patterns.
    Retain the choice system, while strengthening the
    quality of all schools.

    You can read all of the PPS/PAC conclusions. Their document is fantastic.

    It was interesting that when staff presented they said that most parents thought that feeder patterns were a good idea. This was almost the opposite of the PPS/PAC findings.

    I think there is hope that the BOE will listen to parents and be open to a "pull" strategy in order not to loose families.

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  23. RE: feedback, I felt that when I attended a meeting by district staff last year that the staff member encouraged parent feedback favoring neighborhood ESs and MSs and played down comments from those of us who suggested that an all-choice system would achieve essentially the same results with more fairness.

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  24. I honestly think many middle class parents being assigned (assuming the feeder plan goes through) to Everett or Denman will simply leave the system. Sadly many of those kids will be the ones with parents who might be able to help add to the funding at said schools. My kid is set to go to Everett. Honestly it just doesn't seem worth the risk to go to a (currently) failing school -- even with the promise of more funding and big changes --and one reason is the schools funneling in. If you want us to take a risk on a failing school, then funnel in some of the elementary trophies to help absorb the blow.

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  25. Somehow this may sound politically impossible - but how about use the failing schools to create immersion only schools? Two for Spanish, one for Chinese, and magically GE parents will only be fed into good or at least acceptable schools.

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  26. "I'm not sure what you mean when you say it includes voices not heard on this blog."

    I meant: The report includes voices from the Bayview, Excelsior, and other low-income neighborhoods. These are perspectives rarely seen on this blog.

    Lots of different middle and upper-middle class perspectives are seen here, sometimes in agreement, often not; but how life looks from the Bayview? Not so much. Since a majority of SFUSD kids come from low-income families, that is good information to have.

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  27. It seems that many/most immersion parents (at least the middle class ones) consider their kids GATE material. If so, would an all-immersion school necessarily need to have honors? Or, to be un-PC, if Chinese Immersion programs (filled with high-performing Asian and White kids) grouped the immersion students together at i.e. Denman or Everett, would it matter if there's no separate honors track?

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  28. 12:28, aka JeffScalini, banned from the forum, says, "We need to keep people together and kids in SF. It really has hurt my kids when people move, often due to this policy."

    Well, god knows my first priority as a parent is not to hurt JeffScalini's kids.

    The feeder system is a disaster, a solution nobody asked for to a problem that is framed nonsensically. Shoving people into failing schools will result in quality middle schools for all? Please. Anyone with any mobility will flee the city or SFUSD. That happens with neighborhood systems all the time... better-off people just vote with their feet to where the good schools are, or live in neighborhoods with bad schools and go private. The only people for whom being shoved into a bad school will be "OK" will be those who have no way to get out, thus exacerbating the differences between schools. What a mess.

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  29. 8:58 Immersion folks have already asked for a small, all-immersion middle school and have been categorically denied as not serving to desegregate the schools.

    Which is true enough, considering the ethnic make-up of students in immersion. Immersion as a school within a school in an underenrolled ES that is at risk of being closed down has been the model that has passed integration concerns of the district. Extending the magnet school idea to MS is different because there are no separate seats for GE and immersion at the MS level. The idea of saving a local, struggling school with some magnet program can be extended from ES to MS.

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  30. 9:03, I went back to the document to read the section about Mission, Excelsior and Bayview. I can understand why people in Bayview would not want to go all the way across town to Giannini. But if proximity is what they want, there are schools that are closer that they could probably get into even if it is not their feeder school since they are not that popular.

    And the Excelsior has Denman which it seems like people on this blog do not want either.

    Most of the complaints about having to go across town are from people in neighborhoods where they could opt out of their feeder school which is more popular than schools closer to home and get into a school that is closer since they are not that sought after. I think the feeder plan gives them an option to get into a higher performing school if they want to take it otherwise they probably won't have a problem getting into a closer school.

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  31. BOE members Norton and Wynns are up for reelection this year. It will be interesting and informative to see how they handle the MS SAS fiasco.

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  32. As are Yee and Fewer.

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  33. I have these two basic questions (and a couple of minor ones):

    1. If SFUSD wanted to get community feedback on feeder patterns and PPS and the PAC are correct in their contention that the community is largely opposed to them, why then is the administration still proposing to go ahead with feeders? And what does this say about the former outreach which came to a different conclusion? What also does this say about the District's true intentions about the feedback? The feedback was always only about putting on a show of community engagement. PPS and the PAC are getting to be a real pain for the District.

    2. This leads us to the next fundamental question. Why is Garcia so intent upon feeders anyway? That is obvious when you think about it. What is the one thing Garcia has in mind above all? Narrowing the achievement gap. As long as choice allows the middle class to exit low performing neighborhood schools he has little chance of success. He has to get whole communities involved in school turnaround. He cannot hope for turnaround with schools full of underperforming students, or so the experts say. And he can rationalize feeders by saying that middle class SF progressives have to walk the walk if they’re going to talk the talk.

    While Rachel is “mulling over” her vote, she is unlikely to go against Garcia for whom she has a high regard. A relatively small group of vocal white parents from the SE is not a threat to her reelection in 2012.

    Maufas is supporting feeders as a way to avoid the white and Asian flight under choice. Yee and Fewer will go along with their progressive Superintendent and Murase will follow suit. In the end so will Mendoza who wants to appear to be respectful of honest deliberation. Rachel will mull it over, but will arrive inexorably at the foregone conclusion. Wynns is going to go it alone, IMHO. This should suit her ego as the grand dame of the BOE.

    In the meantime, why are these commissioners violating the lawful timeline of their own creation and making a hardship for applicants who want to know what the policy is going to be?

    By the way, the next BOE election is not until next year.

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  34. Every other school district in this country has local assignment and feeders. This whole discussion is one of those "only in San Francisco" things. I think it takes too much time and energy away from the real problems schools have. They should just implement it and move on.

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  35. Or NOT implement it based on parent feedback and move on.

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  36. With the ES assignment giving neighborhood high priority, the feeder system is essentially semi-neighborhood based, with some demographics mixed in.

    Back to the immersion MS idea. GE parents complain about language tracks taking away their elective classes. So would GE parents prefer GE-only middle schools? (That means there have to be some immersion-only schools)

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  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  38. The same parents who are complaining about the feeder system will be complaining about the CHOICE system in a few years because only 60% of them get one of their choices.

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  39. 7:20 a.m., I don't think you are correct that every other school system in the country has feeders. Particularly, urban cities of which NYC and Chicago are probably the most comparable to SF with NYC the closest which has a "choice process" where you rank your choices.

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  40. 7:20 am -- that's very much NOT true. Many large metropolitan school districts are doing choice and/or putting in more charter schools. SFUSD definitely lags in the charter school segment, but choice has offered parents some options. Leaving parents with no options is EXACTLY what drives middle class families out of urban school districts.

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  41. 9:22 am -- REALLY not true! Under choice, the story with respect to middle schools has been an EXPANSION of the number of good middle schools, NOT a contraction. 10 years ago the only good middle schools were Presidio, Hoover and Giannini. Now, there's Aptos, Marina, Francisco, and Lick. With a little more time and just a little bit of "carrots" offered to middle class parents like language instruction for GE students, Everett and Denman will improve too.

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  42. 10:27, I think your solution is too glib. My reading of the comments from the parents in the Bayview suggests that they want a HIGH-performing school with strong electives in their neighborhood. Does MLK or Denman meet those criteria? I would suggest no. Next, they fear that AP Giannini is too far, and maybe too unwelcoming, for their kids.

    Since the district's approach to improving schools seems to be largely focused on assignment policy, and not on actually building quality (& magnet) schools, I think these parents are right to fear that they'll be told--look, you have an assignment to Giannini, so what are you complaining about. But this is not a great solution for them. For many families, lots of whom don't have reliable transport, it is just too far. So they'll be left with under-performing schools with the middle-distance schools such as Aptos, Lick, and Hoover filled up already.

    I'm guessing they would be much happier with a choice system that allows them to make their own decision....a school that is closer but maybe not so great, versus a school such as Lick or Aptos or Hoover that have more amenities (music program, sports, honors, writer's workshop etc) and is so much closer than Giannini or Presidio and also has more Latino and African American kids than Giannini or Presidio. Look at the high number of CTIP1 applicants to Aptos and Lick this year and you'll see how they are becoming the middle schools of choice for SE families.

    It boggles my mind that the district is working so hard to dimantle a school like Aptos that already successfully serves a diverse community, including lots of families from the SE who see it as the best balance in terms of programs and distance. Aptos has the least amount of per-pupil $$ in the district, yet serves a variety of kids well, and now the feeder system will take away that choice for all but a few low-income kids from the SE, namely Carver and the GE kids from Starr King.

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  43. "Now, [in addition to Presidio, Hoover, Giannini] there's Aptos, Marina, Francisco, and Lick. With a little more time and just a little bit of "carrots" offered to middle class parents like language instruction for GE students, Everett and Denman will improve too."

    I'm in agreement with your main point! But in your list of good middle schools, you forgot Roosevelt, one of our district's big climbers in terms of test scores and popularity, and another great option (if we still are allowed to have options!) for anyone with access to the north side of town--and closer for many than Presidio.

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  44. 10:06 said: "My reading of the comments from the parents in the Bayview suggests that they want a HIGH-performing school with strong electives in their neighborhood. Does MLK or Denman meet those criteria? I would suggest no."

    Of course that would be great if there was a high performing middle school in Bayview with all the programs that the families want for their kids, but what is the district supposed to do about that? Do they just wave a magic wand and make one appear?

    The feeder system makes an effort to balance out the academic performance as much as possible at the middle schools such as MLK or Denman or Visitacion Valley. Those schools are better off with the feeder system than without it.

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  45. The PAC has just put out another document to answer Q's put to them by BoE members on Monday night. I think this section is really important. The voices heard by the Board (and here on SF K Files) are not as representative of all parents' voices as those heard by the PAC. It is so easy (and I am guilty of this fallacy too) to think that what all parents think is you talk about with your friends in your own neighborhood or preschool pickup. There are other pespectives, particularly in diverse district such as ours.

    Money quote section:

    The first question was: For years the Board has heard parents say they want predictability in student assignment -­‐ and now they’re saying they want choice. That doesn’t make sense. Why are they saying this?

    This is the third year in a row the PAC has brought to the Board and district staff our findings and recommendations based on community conversations about student assignment. In total we’ve engaged 1,700 parents, educators and community members in these conversations. Participants in conversations in 2009 and 2010 closely reflected our district’s demographics.

    Some parents who contact the Board directly, or who come to Board meetings to voice their concerns, have said predictability is one of their priorities. They were often parents who also prioritized having a neighborhood schools assignment system. The PAC has never found or reported that predictability is a priority for the majority of parents in the district. In fact, for the past three years we have consistently heard and reported to you a few common themes:

     Parents want a school that works for their family, and don’t want to be forced into a school they feel won’t meet their child’s needs.

     Most people would prefer a school that’s close to home or easy to get to -­‐ but they’re willing to go farther for a school that works better for their family.

     People in the Mission, Excelsior, and Bayview feel the schools in their communities don’t have the same programs, resources, or stability of experienced teachers as schools on the west side.


    Read it all at:
    http://www.pacsf.org/files/english/reports/BOE-Report-May-10-11.pdf

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  46. I find Don Krause's comments to be laughable and completely self-serving. If you got the feeder school you wanted, then you support the proposal (and argue certainty and planning for parents). If you did not get the feeder school you wanted, then you argue for choice. It is that simple.

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  47. 11:01, exactly how does the feeder system attempt to improve performance at Vis Valley MS? I'd love to hear your specific views on this.

    What I see for Vis Valley's future under the feeder plan is a pattern of persistent segregation and no articulation of how they will improve the school. By feeding only low-performing (and at best, middle-performing) schools into it, and not specifying how they will make improvements on the ground, will they make the school better? I don't think so! And what about Denman? Sure--feed some high-performing schools such as Miraloma and hope those families go en masse. That will obviously improve the API (aka Affluent Parent Index) scores if that happens. But what programmatic improvements are being made to support either the high-performing kids or the low-performing ones?

    The parents are not dummies. There are reasons why so many SE-area parents, both low-income and higher-income, are choosing Aptos, Lick, and Hoover over the schools that are closer in.....or further away. Under choice, Aptos and Lick schools have been improving, albeit gradually, but with parent buy-in. You need choice to make this process work. That's been true in other highly diverse districts, including NYC, as well.

    Put a few magnet programs like Mandarin in Denman, and middle-class parents may buy in. Don't try to push parents in, or take away choices from among the fairly sparse pickings that already exist for SE families.

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  48. The PAC reports are great. Here's another important quote from yesterday's document:

    "However, when PAC members read the reports on research related to best practices to support achievement among middle school students, we found the research points to overall systems for articulating standards and curriculum, establishing clear benchmarks, and doing interim assessments. Articulation and support for transition were key elements of these systems. These reports do not emphasize student assignment as a specific component in building quality."

    http://www.pacsf.org/files/english/reports/BOE-Report-May-10-11.pdf

    Which begs the question--WHY is the district spending so much time and money on student assignment instead of looking at what is working / not working at current schools, and revising the approach according to the research cited above?

    The feeder system was a huge surprise at the END of the community feedback process for student assignment revision one year ago. Ever since, it has generated huge controversy among current and prospective middle school parents. The Board of Ed. needs to scrap this idea and move on to focus on building quality schools. If they do that--then they won't have a problem with student assignment. Most people would go local if they thought their local school offered what their kids needed. Unfortunately--they don't, and THAT is the crux of the issue.

    The debate on feeders is mainly about west-siders trying to guarantee themselves good spots at schools they like, and south/east-siders trying to keep open the possibility of their kids attending a decent school. None of this addresses the real need for better schools all around.

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  49. 11:12, I don't know enough about the at those middle schools in the SE side of town to really say how they need to be improved.

    But I would guess that those schools and others could probably be better if improvements were made on the ground whether it is focusing more on academic improvement, adding magnet programs, etc. regardless of which student assignment system was used.

    I don't even mean that the map is perfect. Maybe it could switched around. I'm just saying that under the feeder system, those schools will probably be better off than under the choice system.

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  50. You will never improve the schools until you improve parenting and the work ethic of the kids there. Some kids go to school wanting to learn and come home and study hours, stay up late and lose sleep to prepare for a tough test, study on weekends. Others say the weekend is off limits, or study maybe an hour Sunday night, space out during class, even intentionally ridicule and disrupt those who do want to study hard, make them out to be uncool and bad. Some want attention without achievement, fight, yell. There is a huge difference. They need to spend more effort convincing kids that the former end up with 100-200k jobs or sometimes better, homes, cars, vacations, families. The latter usually end up childless, poor, or poor with children they can barely feed without help from the government and food stamps, never travel anywhere, often are forced to the Central Valley, and really have little spending money or quality of life.

    You'll never hear them teach kids this. It's too un-PC.

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  51. "I'm just saying that under the feeder system, those schools will probably be better off than under the choice system."

    Why, exactly?

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  52. Because the kids being fed there are higher performing than the kids that have been going there under the choice system.

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  53. I dont' think they have any fresh ideas for improving school quality. Creating immersion programs - check. Redesign the school assignment system - check. Then they hit the wall.

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  54. "Because the kids being fed there are higher performing than the kids that have been going there under the choice system."

    More analysis to back up this assertion, please!

    For example, I think Vis Valley fares far worse in the feeder plan than the choice system, by eliminating the lower-middle-class kids who currently attend from Taylor, Longfellow, and Sheridan, and leaving concentrations of very poor kids from El Dorado and extremely low-performing Cleveland. Can you explain to me, specifically, how Vis Valley will be better off with the feeder demographics than it is now?

    It can be a subtle difference, but "pull" works better than "push," every time.

    Anyway, what is really happening here is a protection for west side schools such as Presidio and Giannini, which get a few token low-income kids and otherwise massive numbers of high-performers; and low-income kids are concentrated in greater numbers on the southeast side of town. Yes, they are concentrated there now--but in smaller numbers, because many families currently opt to send their kids a little farther away, to Aptos and Lick.

    I really can't imagine why greater #s of the same concentrations of low-income kids is going to improve academic performance. Offering kids who are motivated enough to take the bus across town an out is a good thing. So is building magnet programs to draw people in so that schools are not so segregated. Segregated assignments by design are not going to improve anything.

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  55. I dont' think they have any fresh ideas for improving school quality. Creating immersion programs - check. Redesign the school assignment system - check. Then they hit the wall.

    If that is true, then it is ridiculous.

    First of all, they have NOT fully built out immersion programs at the middle school level. They need to figure out what it will take to offer these--and not as an afterthought. The trade-off for many immersion parents has always been that they get language in return for building out their programs in under-enrolled schools. So, put Mandarin in Denman. Fund a 7th period for ALL kids there, at that one school, at lower cost than adding it at all the schools. Add a world language period for all. Immersion kids get their advanced Chinese. GE kids get a chance to take a 7th period and a world language, a chance they may have missed in the kinder lottery. Recruit those hard-to-find BCLAD-certified teachers in Mandarin for this one school. Boom, you have just created a magnet program for middle class families at a school in a working class, largely Latino neighborhood. Instant socio-economic diversity and all the good that tends to bring. And you have left alone the existing programs that work at schools such as Aptos, which has no problem filling seats.

    Second of all, despite citing the report on middle school quality, the district has NOT done a study of what is successful and what is not successful at our current middle schools; they have NOT articulated how they intend to implement the ideas listed in the study they cite; they have NOT increased per-pupil funding for all our middle schools even though everyone agrees it is a key, key time in setting kids up for success for life.

    There is so much they could be doing ..... it is not a foggy path. But they have chosen this student assignment detour. They are not listening to the feedback from the parent and school communities. They act surprised that most parents prefer good schools over predictability and neighborhood if those goals are in conflict (WOW!). They express shock that parents don't see the connection between the feeder idea and MS quality (when they haven't connected those dots).

    Ever hopeful even if cynical, I want the Board to drop the feeder idea and invest in building middle school quality.....too much to hope for?

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  56. Visitacion Valley ES and Guadalupe ES are fairly high performing schools that feed into Visitacion Valley MS.

    If you average out the test scores of the kids feeding into VV MS versus the average test score of the current students at VV, the kids feeding in score significantly higher.

    I understand your wanting choice if you don't like the feeder school. But what you are saying is not true that the feeder system will result in a larger concentration of lower income kids at VV than currently. Under the choice system if kids opt out of VV to go to school in the Sunset then it results in the higher concentration of lower income kids at VV.

    But I do agree with you that that part of town may benefit from some kind of magnet program.

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  57. "Visitacion Valley ES and Guadalupe ES are fairly high performing schools that feed into Visitacion Valley MS.

    If you average out the test scores of the kids feeding into VV MS versus the average test score of the current students at VV, the kids feeding in score significantly higher."

    True that Guadalupe is a good school--a lovely neighborhood gem that should get more attention.

    You have to weight the numbers from each school to understand what will likely happen to the test scores. Cleveland is a large school.

    Nevertheless, the feeder map as proposed is hardly feeding any high-powered middle class families into VV (that is left for Presidio and Giannini). As said before, VV currently has a large concentration of low-income kids, and that fact would not shift in the feeder system. Rather, VV will now have a much *larger group* of concentrated low-income kids in one place, compared to now when many of those same kids choose take the 23 or 29, K etc over to Aptos, Hoover, Giannini--leaving a smaller group of concentrated low-income kids behind. With the prediction of a middle school baby bump (for a years anyway) happening in 3-4 years time, the district is proposing to shove those motivated kids back to VV in order to make room for the relatively more affluent kids who currently attend west side schools.

    Is this new idea a great pathway for those Guadalupe kids? Will their presence lift the education process for their low-performing peers? It's not like their parents have lots of resources. Nor has the district articulated any changes over there. Just more kids, most of whom are not connected/networked enough to complain about what is happening.

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  58. 11:07 said

    "I find Don Krause's comments to be laughable and completely self-serving. If you got the feeder school you wanted, then you support the proposal (and argue certainty and planning for parents). If you did not get the feeder school you wanted, then you argue for choice. It is that simple."

    People who are angry about the feeders should direct their anger at the Superintendent. He's the one pushing the feeders.

    11:07 It is rude to criticize what I say without identifying the specific comment. In fact I don't support the feeder system or choice. If it were self-serving for me to support neighborhood schools, is it not equally self-serving for you to support choice? The thing is you are assuming that I always want my neighborhood school. In fact that is not the case.

    10:27,

    I agree with many of your views but you got Aptos wrong. It does not have the lowest per pupil expenditure.

    Aptos 991 students, $5,076,843 budget = $5,123 per pupil

    Presidio 1188 students $5,717,575 budget = 4,813 per pupil

    10:05,

    Choice was the byproduct of numerous law suits and consent decrees from the desegregation era of public schools. The current nationwide trend is away from choice due to a confluence of factors such as:

    1. Consent decree expirations
    2. Transportation budget cuts
    3. Termination of NCLB choice under Title 1,PART A.

    There are many other factors as well. SFUSD is not in the vanguard with its maintenance of choice. It is lagging behind. Policies are not made based upon parent wishes. They are driven by money, legislation and court orders. Everything else is just a show. Did you really believe that the community meetings on quality middle schools was going to drive policy?

    This debate is just for fun. The people in charge couldn't care less what is said here on SF K files. How many times have you seen them make any reference to it or join the dialogue?

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  59. Aptos 991 students, $5,076,843 budget = $5,123 per pupil

    Presidio 1188 students $5,717,575 budget = 4,813 per pupil


    I don't know who has their numbers in order, but assuming Don is correct, I would just note that Aptos has a much higher % of at-risk kids than Presidio, i.e., free/reduce lunch, as well as kids who are historically on the wrong side of the achievement gap (African Americans, Latinos, Samoans) in SFUSD.

    This is NOT to say that Presidio kids don't deserve more. Because they do, as do the Aptos kids!

    More to say that Aptos's achievements are in many ways quite impressive....their at-risk kids do better, overall, than the at-risk kids on the SE side of town who are getting much more per-pupil funding. And the API scores at Aptos aren't so far behind those of Presidio, whose "affluent parent index" and "asian parent index" as they are known are higher and therefore has API scores that you would more or less expect.

    So, bravo Aptos and damn, can't we give them and everyone else more money? We should be ashamed of the $5000-range figure for either school.

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  60. I think SFUSD is being disingenuous by suggesting that there's a conflict between what they heard before about what parenst want (schools close by) and what they are hearing now (choice). And frankly that's because they are ignoring the significant differences between elementary, middle and high school levels and parents' and students' expectations at each level. Parents with five year olds want to have a school close to them. That is reflected in the change to the assignment system for elementary school. But middle and high is a whole different bag -- 11 year olds can and do take mass transit; at that age, the KIDS have specific demands and requirements and want a say in where they go; and, frankly, being close is just not such a big deal. And even SFUSD recognizes it -- for high school, the system is entirely choice! So what's all this crap about parents being contradictory? I don't see any contradiction.

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  61. I'm trying to find it, but I have a spreadsheet from the district with Weighted Student Formulat allocations by MS along with the numbers of kids total, by ELL, by low socioeconomic, etc.

    For WSF, which is supposed to provide funding according to the number of students that fall into these categories, Aptos comes up as the lowest per pupil funded middle school in SFUSD (around $3,700 vs. $3,800 for Hoover.)
    This doesn't make sense as Aptos has higher actual NUMBERS (and percentages) of kids that fall into these categories than Hoover, but is getting less money per pupil.

    Everyone I ask about this at SFUSD scratches their head and says that it doesn't make sense, but no one will look into it (or, apparently, answer our principals questions or emails about it either) and it adds up to about $100,000 to our overall budget than if we were getting the same as Hoover.

    This isn't a question of Aptos vs. Hoover, but a question about whether their is an error in calculating the WSF because everyone agrees that Aptos, given the numbers, SHOULD be getting as much or more per pupil than our sister school, Hoover.

    Of course, this doesn't get into the fact that Aptos is getting $3,700 in WSF per pupil funding - and Everett gets over $9,000 in WSF per pupil funding. Aptos has more ELL (in number), more low socioeconomic (in number) but lower as a percentage of the overall enrollment.

    The reality is money does not follow the student - it follows the school. There never has been any evaluation or exploration of how money is used, the cost/benefit of dollars spent, etc. We just assume more = better results.

    Yet the same disadvantaged kids from the same neighborhoods that attend school at Aptos are expected to do as well in class sizes of 35-37 (my daughter has 37 in her 6th grade class.) I fear we've reached the tipping point as Aptos has gotten bigger, and received less and less in per pupil funding.

    Anyway, while we're all working to address the crisis that is befalling us from Sacramento, we still have some leftover problems that are not being addressed within our own district as far as looking under the hood and seeing how funds are allocated and spent.

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  62. 3:08 Who says parents only want an elementary schools close to them? There's no shortage of parents whose children travel to schools across town. It's also untrue to say parents are pleased to have middle school or high schoolers traveling into questionable neighborhoods by bus. Tone down your language and let's have a civil discussion.

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  63. ^^^I didn't see 3:08 as being either uncivil or in need of a language tone-down. (That comment in itself seems a little harsh!).

    Still, you are both right in some ways.

    1) Many elementary-age parents are willing for their children to go across town if it means a better school or better fit.

    2) Many middle and high school parents are willing for their children to go across town, including on MUNI, for the same reasons.

    If you look at the maps from the "March highlights" on SFUSD, you see that most families in the upper grades who live in the SE and SW sections of town put down a school across town. The major exception was Balboa High School, which did get a fair number of neighborhood applicants. In other words, there is a higher % of cross-town applicants at the upper levels--which is understandable.

    Imo, parents value school quality over predictability. However, if they perceive that their local school has the qualities they want, then they sure want predictability.

    The feeder system is solving a problem that doesn't exist instead of a problem that does. Kids and parents want some room to choose--or at least the chance at choosing.

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  64. The only reason people are against the plan is because they are set to feed into a "poor" school. "School close-by", "honor programs" etc are just red herrings.

    Nothing wrong with that. We all have the rights to demand better schools for our kids.

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  65. 5:58

    That is absolutely true.

    All the more reason for the district, which is supposed to serve all students, to work to improve the schools. Not an easy task to be sure, especially in this budget climate, but there are better pathways to do this than to just move the chess pieces around the board through yet another assignment policy change. One assignment policy pleases the west side (neighborhood schools!), another pleases the east side (choice!), but neither addresses quality.

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  66. It isn’t mystery as to why Aptos doesn’t have a big budget. The three main sources of funding after WSF are Title One, QEIA and TIIBG. There is well in excess of $100 million per year between them. And I’m not including $45M SIG award because it is just for 3 years, (although they are talking about refunding it). If you look at Aptos’ budget you will see that they receive none of these three just as Presidio receives none. This is what accounts for the big differences in funding between lower and higher performing schools.

    Weighted Student Formula differences are actually very modest. One of the funding problems is that Title One allows for 2 funding schemes, Schoolwide and Targeted Improvement and SFUSD has chosen schoolwide. That means that even if a school has a lot of disadvantaged kids, unless it reaches the threshold of 40% it gets NO Title One at all, which is not the case with the Targeted model. In fact SFUSD’s budget decisionmaking is designed to concentrate funding at certain schools. So, for example, the Targeted Instructional Improvement Block Grant, TIIBG, which is in excess of $36 million and can be used for any educational purpose, is being used to fund only the worst performing schools which already have tens of millions in Title One and tens of millions in QEIA and in 9 cases the $45 million SIG awards.

    It is unfortunate because the massive funding has shown very little in terms of results. We have the biggest achievement gap, despite the fact that we also have as a district THE largest disparity in school funding in the state. And what do we have to show for it? All the millions that went into the SIG schools this year and they have not done any better than other similar nearby schools. Mission had a decent bump, but Everett lost 31 API points.

    This is all to say that low performing schools should not have lesser programming for lack of money. We have seriously flawed money management in this district.

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  67. The District should stop saying that the feeder proposal offers "predictability." District guidelines state that the Superintendent can change MS feeder patterns at any time for any reason. O Monday night, it was mentioned that the current K class would be the first group to have mandatory feeders if they approve the phased-in approach. But now get this. It was also mentioned that the MS feeders in 2016 could be entirely different than those that are currently proposed (Feb 2011) due to adjustments in the feeder schools (there are no criterion for making changes, and approval is not required). In other words, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO "PREDICTABILITY" IN THE K-8 FEEDERS! Nada! None! Zero! Ziltch!

    Parents selecting a school for K only know where it is feeding at that point in time. It can change each and every year from that point forward, without a comment period. Parents do not have predictability as to where their ES will feed when their child enters MS.

    Parents should boo (or throw tomatos) every time Garcia or SFUSD personnel say "predictability." They are trying to brain wash parents and the BOE.

    Lastly, the Placement Policy page on the SFUSD web site states, "We believe that every family should have choices in selecting schools that are a good fit for their child's interests, needs, and dreams." The proposed feeder patterns, which force children into unacceptable middle schools that don't fulfill their educational objectives, completely contradict the District's philosophy. Oh Carlos, have you read your website lately?

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  68. Give feeder patterns a chance.

    Reason #1. Change from citywide choice, because citywide choice produced a small but significant number of very onerous MS assignments in terms of unreasonable commute distances. We need to constrict parental choice in some fashion. Long Muni rides are unsafe for 6th graders. We should change from citywide choice to something else on safety and time of travel considerations alone.

    Reason #2. That change should NOT be to a geographical neighborhood school system because (a) we want to diversify the student body and reduce address overconcentrations of African American and Hispanic students at any given school and (b) we want to avoid the administrative challenge of verifying addresses for the MS years. Is is easier on an administrative level to assign according to where you went to ES rather than on where you say you live.

    Reason #3. We have some struggling middle schools. Doing nothing is not an option.

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  69. How about giving folks who chose Denman an automatic priority acceptance into the increasingly popular Balboa High School after middle school? Now that might attract a whole lot of folks to Denman, including this mom! Maybe promising folks who populate the unpopular middle schools an automatic in to popular High Schools might work well to change up those schools!!

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  70. 7:55pm. In all due respect, I don't believe you'd be saying this if you child was slated to be feeding into a failing middle school.

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  71. As an alternative to feeder patterns, consider the 2-school ticket.

    First, eliminate CTIP. Then draw up MS attendence areas. Then give local residents a local school preference. Then give EVERYONE a 2-school ticket (not a golden ticket as with CTIP1) of honorary local resident status at one (or two) other middle schools. The idea is that the more popular schools are all located westside. Eastside students should have an opportunity to bump some centrally located students, who could bump some westside students, in domino fashion. It is more fair is everyone gets bumped a little. A 2-school ticket tries to do just that.

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  72. That a feeder plan is STILL the starting point for SFUSD on a quality middle school plan is infuriating.

    Does the alleged administrative simplicity provided by feeders, on balance, really outweigh the very real on the ground issues parents and students face when forced to go to a school that does meet their student needs or family situation?

    Hard to believe that all this alleged SFUSD elementary/middle school collaboration the profess with magically happen once they wave the magic feeder wand, or that communication can, or will happen given the abysmal history of SFUSD to do anything of the sort to date.

    Seriously, try getting teachers to consistency collaborate with each OTHER within the school!

    I'm completely fed up with SFUSD administration and their utter disregard for what feedback they overwhelmingly get, time and time again, from parents and the community.

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  73. Just now listening to the MOnday meeting. Great point that the district made a recommendation on feeder plan without waiting at all to include the feedback from the community engagement effort and parent feedback.

    If SFUSD was truly listening, wouldn't they have at least waited to include a recommendation (sheesh - just try to LOOK like to listened, at least!)

    But instead, on the heels of the community feedback that was overwhelmingly against them, SFUSD administration just plows forward with its recommendation.

    Shows the disregard for parents and the community that the district administration has.

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  74. 9:20 PM, believe or not, I (and the parent community of my kid's school) did accept the feeder pattern, even though we had a horrible feeder school in the first draft. We see it is an opportunity to help the school to design the programs we wanted.

    And, I already said, parents have rights to fight for the best school for the kids, so I wasn't even saying that's a bad thing.

    My whole point was, let's keep it real. You don't like your feeder school, just say it. Don't use other reasons, especially "choice" and "nearby schools" in the same sentence because those two are completely opposite.

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  75. My kid's feeder school is Everett. Simply said. Neither close by (which I'm not advocating for or have any investment in) or desired. I think choice matters not simply because I don't want my kid's feeder school, but because a whole lot of other parents don't want theirs either. And the data from the most recent applying group (to SFUSD) indicated most wanted choice too -- applying far and away in terms of percentages to schools not close to then as top choices. Our school got Everett in the first and second draft of the proposed feeder plan.

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  76. 9:04

    Would you accept the feeder plan if your school is fed to Presidio?

    Would you accept the feeder plan if only the good schools (let's use some example, Grattan, Clarendon, Jefferson, West Portal) feed into Everett with your kid's school?

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  77. If feeders are such a great idea for MS, why is the district advocating a choice system for HS?

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  78. Hi 9:42. No, what I'd like to see is a mix going into Everett. It would be great to see one or two of the schools you mention going in, along with some more in the middle and below. A mix is what would be great, rather than the best schools (or rather highest performing schools) being clustered in certain schools, and lower performing schools being clustered at others.

    And would I like to be fed into Presidio? Sure, for different reasons - more that it offers a lot more currently in a lot of ways, and it's closer to where we live.

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  79. One of the major sticking points of the feeders is that several schools do not have honors programs, which are highly valued by a significant proportion of the community. Is it reasonable to ask the district to place the same value on educating our high achievers as on educating our most challenged population? If so, it may be appropriate to create an additional tie breaker in the lottery - GATE identification, which would rank equivalently or just beneath CTIP1. Though this may be moot, since one of Rachel Norton's statements at Monday's Board of Ed meeting hints that the district may be considering eliminating honors tracks altogether.

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  80. 9:42am said:
    Would you accept the feeder plan if your school is fed to Presidio? Would you accept the feeder plan if only the good schools (let's use some example, Grattan, Clarendon, Jefferson, West Portal) feed into Everett with your kid's school?


    I don't like the feeder plan because even the good schools are different, and I want to have a fair chance to get into the school that would work best for my kid.

    But I know I would be more complacent because I have other battles to fight.

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  81. 11:09

    That's honest. Thank you.

    Meanwhile, in reality, if your kid is in the lower grade in ES right now, the chance to get into our preferred MS is slim under the current choice system. It is just simple math.

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  82. 10:54,

    In any school, it needs a critical mass for any kind of program. Honor program makes no sense if 80% of the kids cannot read. Yet, parents of performing kids won't send the kids to the school with the honor program. It is a chicken and egg thing.

    So in this sense, having the feeder will ensure a steady source of the students, and give honor classes a chance to succeed.

    It is not just about honor classes. Sports, music, art, drama..... all needs numbers.

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  83. 11:17

    GATE identified students comprise less than 18% of the population (2009 data. And their distribution is not equal across the city. Many GATE identified students are feeding into middle schools with GATE programs already. But a significant fraction, (back of the envelope calculation is about 5%) are feeding into schools with no honors programs. And, at least for the school my child is feeding into, complete resistance to establishing an honors track despite a significant change in demographics. Given this small percentage, I can't see how putting in this tie breaker will affect the large scale redistribution of students that the feeder system is designed to achieve.

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  84. "If feeders are such a great idea for MS, why is the district advocating a choice system for HS?"

    Exactly, it's hypocritical for sure!!!

    Again, make the lower performing schools magnets that will automatically feed into high performing High Schools
    Denman automatically feeding into Lowell or Balboa,Everett into Lowell or Balboa and have the more popular middle schools feed into lower performing high schools, except SOTA which would be based on auditions and skill in the arts.

    This will work well and help fix both middle and high schools! If the district is going to go with this philosophy, make it go through grade 12 and mix it up for EVERYBODY!!!

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  85. Long term the feeders will benefit all kids in the district. My kid is in K, so who knows what the middle schools will be like then, but I really like the idea of his whole elementary school moving on to middle together. Keeping the community together. The change to feeders will be rough for the first few years and I understand why those parents are upset.

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  86. It is ridiculous to think that your neighborhood schools will improve if you do not play a part in their improvement. This is why Diane Ravitch said we abandon neighborhood schools at our peril. It is now very difficult for SFUSD to return to them.

    The public schools are not like other governmental services like police and fire. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that the community has a crucial role in school improvement. If you live in a community and don’t help to make schools better they will never improve. People have to take responsibility for their neighborhoods. It is an excuse to say SF is just one big community.

    It is the right thing for SFUSD to make school programming more equitable so to ensure that every member of the community is properly served in each feeder zone. You shouldn't have to go across town to get the proper program for your child. That is a tremendous hardship for many and very inequitable. But SFUSD cannot institute programs like honors at schools when it doesn’t first have the critical mass of students to fill the classes, as another commenter already said. So the egg must come before the chicken.

    Rachel said a decision would not be made by tallying up those for and against feeders. A decision has to be made in the long term interests of the District and those interests are in avoiding costly and potentially crippling litigation if they blow the assignment process implementation, fail to serve students properly and are forced back to the table again. They need to move forward with reform that will not be cut short by litigation. There will always be parent dissatisfaction no matter what they do as long as there are school disparities. The idea is to undo the great variations in services that were encouraged under choice.

    SFUSD knows there are lawsuits on the horizon if it continues to rely on sending students far from home to access necessary FAPE and ELD programs, without equal access (transportation). They have to bring the programs to the communities rather than the other way around. The phase-in is intended to do just that. Whether it succeeds is partly a function of community buy-in and this is how SFUSD blew it. They should have been working to explain how they are going to satisfy the needs of each community rather than pretending to open up the entire process again, and for what? They already spent years at it. They adopted feeders on March 9th of last year. They were determined to move forward with feeders anyway.

    I have said all along that the SFUSD community meetings were about putting up appearances. It has backfired on them because they look very disingenuous at this moment having "listened" to the community voices when they were intent upon feeders regardless.

    The main problem for the District is legal in nature and this was why they postponed the feeder plan for one year in the first place. They never intended to change from feeder to something else, but simply to iron out the programming to make them successful.

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  87. not impressed with honorsMay 12, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    My GATE-identified child is in all honors classes in a SFUSD MS highly regarded for its honors track, and I am not particularly impressed with either the rigor or creativeness of the curriculum. I shudder at the thought of the even more watered-down GenEd curriculum, which is what I assume all kids would have if honors were eliminated.

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  88. "My kid is in K, so who knows what the middle schools will be like then, but I really like the idea of his whole elementary school moving on to middle together."

    I have two kids in MS and love/loved my elementary school community -- but that simply wasn't an issue when selecting a middle school.

    I say this as a very active MS parent having served as Chair of the SSC and now PTA president for last year and the coming year.

    While the district keeps acting like this is such a big plus, I have yet to have any middle school parents who have have lived it (as opposed to projected it) regarding the big benefits of this.

    And with all due respect, elementary school families (especially early grades)have a limited experience choosing a middle school.

    What mattered to me three years ago as a parent of a 5th and 3rd grader turned out to be not at all what I found to ACTUALLY be important for my kids learning needs in middle school.

    My only big criticism of the PPS/PAC report is that they didn't do any focus on current middle school parents. There is a great deal of projection from elementary school parents (and the district administration for that matter) but the voices and perspectives of parents and kids LIVING it was subsumed.

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  89. mibb wrote: "I don't like the feeder plan because even the good schools are different, and I want to have a fair chance to get into the school that would work best for my kid."

    If city-wide selection of what is best for your kid is what you want...there are plenty of private schools to choose from.

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  90. 11:46 writes: "...Denman automatically feeding into Lowell or Balboa,Everett into Lowell or Balboa and have the more popular middle schools feed into lower performing high schools, except SOTA which would be based on auditions and skill in the arts."

    Why exempt SOTA and not Lowell? If you are going to advocate guaranteed pathways to an academic merit school like Lowell regardless of the student's academic performance...you should also guarantee similar pathways to SOTA regardless of the student's capabilities in the arts.

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  91. "If city-wide selection of what is best for your kid is what you want...there are plenty of private schools to choose from."

    Obnoxious and utterly beside the point, as the vast majority of families in SF cannot afford private school. A version of "let them eat cake."

    At issue is what is in the best interests of the children and their education, and how a public agency, which is accountable to public, can do to ensure this. Of course, there are competing interests in our complex and diverse urban system, which is the heart of so many of the debates, for sure. But it is reasonable to ask if the feeder system will serve to improve our children's middle schools, or not, and which children (a majority? those most in need? or not?) will be most served by such a system.

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  92. "My only big criticism of the PPS/PAC report is that they didn't do any focus on current middle school parents. There is a great deal of projection from elementary school parents (and the district administration for that matter) but the voices and perspectives of parents and kids LIVING it was subsumed."

    Bravo! As a current middle and high school parent, I'm in complete agreement. Some of the ideas and priorities put forth by both elementary school parents and district staff (different ones though) are completely different than what I see as priorities now for improving middle schools.

    I once shared the thought of, wouldn't it be great to continue this community through middle school--we loved our elementary school. But my older child chose a middle school that not so many elementary buddies went to, whereas I leaned to the one that most of her friends would be attending. The change was actually great, and her choice, made for various curricular and elective reasons, turned out to be the right one.

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  93. "But it is reasonable to ask if the feeder system will serve to improve our children's middle schools, or not, and which children (a majority? those most in need? or not?) will be most served by such a system."

    It is not society's obligation to help those you deem most in need over those just in need.

    For too long so many SF public school parents have been denied neighborhood schools or predictability in favor of you choice folks. if you don't like the schools by where you live...then move.

    Don't expect my kid to have to give up a spot in a school in our neighborhood because you want choice.

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  94. My position on cross town travel is that it is OK at the high school level, but should be minimized at the MS level. Long MUNI rides are unfortunately unsafe for 6th graders, particularly in the eastern part of town, as we are reminded when a 6th grader (and other MUNI riders) were physically attacked on the J Church last year. Complete MS citywide choice at the MS level should be reduced to avoid very long travel distances. The feeder pattern is a step in that direction.

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  95. Except that the feeder pattern ISN'T a step in the direction towards reducing cross-town commutes for middle schoolers because MANY of ES feed into schools totally across the city.

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  96. This is a far fetched idea that I have posted twice and twice it had been deleted. Why, I wonder? Offer those who accept placement at those less popular schools an automatic "feed" into a highly desirable high school. An example would be Denman students could be given a free automatic pass into Balboa High School without having to go through another registration or lottery process. Also give those students a Priority into special programs (if they have the grades or talents) over all others with the same skills (like at Lowell or SOTA.) This would be a pull enticement and I know that it could work. Especially for Denman, given the close proximity of the two schools! I'm not sure if it would work for my family, but I'm sure that it would for others! THIS WOULD WORK and would offer the carrot that folks need to pull into those schools!
    In my humble opinion it would be most fair to all (if we must go with Feeders) I think it could be a way to get students into those under performing, under enrolled schools (the pull).
    Plus this could be built into an exciting honors "magnet" program for Balboa that might include a close fluid academic relationship between Denman and Balboa focusing on certain subjects (math/science maybe or arts) where students move between the two schools more fluidly and go to both schools for 6 years instead of 3. It is innovative and could be very exciting!

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  97. Actually, there is already an advantage in poor performing MS - Lowell allocate 30% of the spots for principal recommendations. It is much easier to get into Lowell if you are from a poor performing school, based on recommendations.

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  98. 11:52

    That's as it should be...Perhaps it could be expanded with some sort of assurance for more (who accept placement at those less popular schools) who are qualified!

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  99. 11:20, if the current feeder plan has too much travelling for your taste, draw up your own matching of ES to MS that has less running around. Please keep in mind that diversity of the student body is also a factor as you assign this ES to that MS.

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  100. There is some cross town travel in the map, but most of it isn't. It seems they made a handful schools travel more for a variety of reasons. But for the most part, schools feed to a nearby middle school. I think this point keeps being exaggerated.

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  101. Travel north or west is typically considered acceptable; it's travel south or west that's often considered too much travel as well as bad for the environment.

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  102. I meant to say:
    Travel north or west is typically considered acceptable; it's travel south or EAST that's often considered too much travel as well as bad for the environment.

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  103. LOL, so true, 3:42.

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  104. This is 3:08 pm again -- I wasn't defending SFUSD's decision to implement neighborhood preferences at elementary, just acknowledging that I can at least UNDERSTAND the motivation for having five years old close by. Middle and high school kids are entirely different. So I think SFUSD is being disingenuous when it says it doesn't understand why parent groups who were talking about neighborhood schools are now talking about choice. And I wasn't being rude, either. I am just a little tired of the Board acting like it is surprised that there is hostility to this feeder school program. And, to those who think that only parents whose kids would feed into poorer performing schools are complaining here, I will say that my kid goes to Commodore Sloat which is slated to go to Aptos under the feeder program (and given its proximity, is likely to go there regardless of how the feeder program is aligned). I'm opposed to this program because I think it is unfair to all the parents at schools like Miraloma, Lakeshore and elsewhere who are being forced to go willy-nilly around the district to middle schools that they don't want to go to. Choice works, it is improving middle schools, let's not ditch it!

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  105. Be ye for choice or feeders or what have you, speak for yourself! It isn't true that everybody wants choice.

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  106. ^4:06: Of course.

    However, the PAC/PPS documents put out this week made the point fairly forcefully that a large # of parents they talked with, a large cross-section of parents, "want a school that works for their family, and don't want to be forced into a school that won't meet their needs," and also that "predictability" is not a priority for a majority of parents [compared to the priority for a school that works for the family, etc.].

    There may be some subtleties in this, but it suggests to me that more parents favor choice over predictability. No doubt there are wide variations according to neighborhood, and obviously there is a strong "neighborhood" or "predictability" faction, especially in the northward and westward sides of town. But it may be a minority faction overall, at least according to two years of community feedback sessions and surveys.

    Read the notes at:
    http://www.pacsf.org/meeting-notes-english.php

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  107. The same report also points out that parents prefer a school that is close--but are willing to travel for an option that works for their family.

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  108. I want predictability and choice. I like the idea of a feeder school, but with the option of have my child attend another school that is a better fit, if I feel that is the case. The whole notion of choice is baloney - under the current process. It isn't choice at all. It is the "luck" process, actually. Predictability trumps choice for me.

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  109. 4:48, Get specific. How do you have your cake and eat it too?

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  110. 4:48, the problem is that it is not possible to provide a full and satisfying measure of both predictability and choice. These priorities are in contradiction with each other. The contradiction is especially stark in a wildly diverse district (socio-economically speaking) with wildly varying schools.

    I mean, wouldn't we all like predictability and choice?

    What is predictability for some means "locking us into a terrible school" for others.

    And choice in this case--where perceived quality schools does not meet demand--is not absolute choice, as in, I get to pick what I want, but a statement of preference and a *chance* at what I want.

    That's what it is all about. You could have complete predictability--with neighborhood, feeders, or a fully integrated system via busing (we've tried them all!). We can have a choice (or a "chance") system, with a lottery, or a modified lottery that weights certain factors (we've tried these too). In any case, unless all the schools are seen to be good, someone is going to feel like they lost.

    The real debate is what is the fairest way to go about it. And what contributes to the best outcomes overall. Full segregation (which a true neighborhood system would lead to) is not seen as optimal because it concentrates and institutionalizes the achievement gaps. Full lottery has its complainers because of all the uncertainty. But you can see how the pendulum swings back and forth.....

    There is NO diverse, urban system in this country that is not dealing with these issues.

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  111. I think the PAC PPS report speaks for the very vocal and active parents that showed up at their meetings and I think a lot of these parents are connected with Miraloma, lakeshore, sunnyside, denman, and aptos.

    It does not speak for everyone or even necessarily the majority of parents in the district.

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  112. 5:24--not true, on a couple of counts.

    1) For the recent feedback sessions, PAC and PPS made an intentional effort to reach out to communities that were not being heard from. While the first few meetings definitely attracted vocal parents from some of the schools you mention, as well as others, and some of these same parents attended multiple meetings, PAC and PPS also intentionally scheduled meetings at elementary and middle schools that did not attract that same set of folks. They make a point in both their initial report (the 24p one) and the follow up on Tuesday to distinguish between comments heard across the board and those heard only in some of the less vocal communities. They are aware that parent sessions are not always representative (are usually skewed more affluent and white and Asian) and have sought to address that bias.

    2) The comments referred to in the earlier post--that predictability is not the top priority for most parents, whereas access to a school that works for their child is--were said to come from feedback sessions and surveys over three years' time, involving at least 1700 parents.

    Of course no one speaks for everyone! No one has ever suggested that. Obviously, there are disagreements.

    But the PAC/PPS reports this week, which are drawn from several years of listening to a wide variety of parents, and where efforts have been taken so as to make them as representative as possible, well, they do indicate that a majority of parents may prefer choice over predictability, when those are at odds--as they likely are in a diverse district with variations in quality and offerings at schools.

    I urge everyone to read these reports. Link is posted above.

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  113. I watched part of the video of the BOE meeting and I was confused why BOE member Wynns said she thought the feeder pattern did not support diversity and that's the reason why she changed her mind about it.

    Is she saying that under the choice system the schools are actually more diverse than they would be under feeder system? I don't get it.

    And I noticed she got some applause from the parents who spoke in favor of having choice. So the reason they support choice is because they want the middle schools to be more diverse? That does not seem to have been the outcome of the choice system.

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  114. 5:55:

    Slowly, some schools have become more diverse under the current system. Diverse in SES terms (socio economic status) that is.

    Especially, Aptos, also Lick. Marina and Roosevelt as well, with Francisco not so far behind.

    In the feeder proposal, some schools would be more diverse, assuming everyone goes where they are sent (push is less effective than pull). Notably, Denman, Everett. But some would be noticeably wealthier than others: Presidio, for example. Whereas Lick would be drawing from more than its share of low-SES and troubled schools.

    It may be subtle, but I think the idea is that placing magnet programs and building up quality to attract higher-SES families seems less problematic than creating "winner" and "loser" communities that seem so arbitrary. If they really were more or less equal in SES terms, which they are not!, then a forced-feeder system would seem more palatable, or at least understandable. We all go somewhere more or less the same in terms of SES mix.

    I mean, really, does Clarendon really have to be funneled to Presidio? Why not Everett, or Lick (same distance or less)? It seems so unfair that some folks win double and others are stuck. At least with a lottery you get another chance.

    And with the choice/chance process, schools change in widening circles. Maybe too slowly, but we have seen it happen.

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  115. 5:40, how big is the majority that you talk about and where does this majority live?

    Did PAC and PPS support the move for more neighborhood preference in the elementary lottery? Because that did seem to take a lot of choice away from a lot of people in the elementary school lottery and benefit those living near many popular elementary schools. Many who benefit from the new elementary system are now vehemently opposed to the feeder system.

    It annoys me that an organization that is supposed to be representative of all parents in the district would be so strongly opposed to the feeder system. It seems to be supporting the the best interests of a certain group rather than looking at what will create the most balance at middle schools throughout the city.

    I know they held some feedback sessions at targeted communities. I don't know that the feedback they got there meant that they rejected the feeder system in those targeted sessions. I think there was generally a lot of confusion about the whole thing.

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  116. 6:12, instead of winner-loser communities there will just be winner-loser individuals with the choice system.

    It should not be about any one school or community "winning double" or losing. It should be about the district as a whole - including middle schools in the SE that people on this blog rarely ever talk or care about.

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  117. I "chose" when our family moved into this neighborhood as did you when you moved into your neighborhood. Now you want to go to my school and you think my 8 year old child should go to yours. And if you moved to the United States without a visa then you get the golden ticket to the school of your choice.

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  118. Any feedback sessions, by definition, attracts people with negative feedbacks.

    Interesting that we didn't hear much from them during the feedback session after the first draft.

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  119. We are one unified school district, so all neighborhoods within the school district are equal. School assignment and distances are valid considerations, but are not exclusive. Both citywide choice and neigborhood school systems are valid SAS, if that is what we want.

    If you dislike one end of SF having rights to attend school in another end of SF, you might propose dividing SF into zones. Until then, we have one unified school district.

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  120. I wish people would stop referring to it as a choice system and start calling it what it really is: a chance system. I wonder: How many kids and families does the system lose each year due to chance?

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  121. "We are one unified school district, so all neighborhoods within the school district are equal."

    "If you dislike one end of SF having rights to attend school in another end of SF, you might propose dividing SF into zones."

    8:20 If we are so equal, why do some schools get three times as much money as others?

    As for your proposal for "dividing SF into zones", the Superintendent already did that. He made five Areas and two Superintendent Zones. I thought everybody knew that. The bulk of all the discretionary dollars are being funneled into your hypothetical zones as we speak. And what does the SFUSD community have to show for it? 7 of 9 SIG schools did no better than other similar schools in the District, with Mission doing a little better and Everett actually losing 31 API points, despite the 15 millions that was spent just this year on SIG alone.

    Yes, we are one big district. But when principals hold their district meetings, the Superintendent Zone principals don't attend. Instead they have their own meetings. So your egalitarian notions about a unified SFUSD is not exactly the way you envision it.

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  122. All the neighborhoods have equally the same Board of Eduction and the same school administration. If you feel oppressed and underfunded, please feel free to divide off your area into its own school district, subject to a vote of the people.

    The division of the school district into zones was about school assignment. Neighborhood schools is a kind of division of the schools into single school zones. San Jose has several school districts, covering a large amount of territory. Piedmont and Oakland are exaples of a small school district that is separate and apart from a nearby large district. Is anyone pushing for partition of SFUSD into two or more school districts? If not, we are one unified district. Well unified in that we are stuck with each other.

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  123. Re the comment about 8-year old children, I thought we were talking about middle school feeder programs on this thread, not elementary school.

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  124. There is no such thing as "equal" in any school district, unless there is only one school.

    All districts use neighborhood as one factor to assign your school. So there, not everyone in the district has the same chance for every school.

    Feeder pattern is simply a glorified neighborhood system (with ES going more neighborhood) with some demographics shuffling mixed in.

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  125. One of the posts that got lost yesterday when Blogger went down was a note from a current middle school parent (I am one also) pointing out that the whole feeder discussion is being carried out mainly by those who are not actually present in middle schools--namely, elementary parents, often of quite young children, who presume what their needs will be in a few years (such as staying together with your elementary community). And the whole idea is being pushed by central district staff who are fairly distant from the schools themselves. We are not seeing commentary from middle school principals, staff, and parents in favor of this approach.

    I know I am hearing (a feeling) a lot more about the need for curriculum strengthening--yeah, we'd LOVE that mythical 7th period and world language; the kind of assessments that the CSTs don't really do, that guide teaching throughout the year; best practices for teaching different levels of students without necessarily locking them in to tracks; principal and teacher development, etc. What's working, what's not working.

    Instead of this conversation, it always devolves to student assignment debates, even though we know those by heart!

    And by the way, it IS different at the middle school level. Proximity is much less important than curricular and elective offerings, principal and teachers, support systems, and how your kid feels about the place.

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  126. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  127. What an arrogant asshole!

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  128. The division of the District into managerial parts of 7, 5 so-called Areas and 2 Superintendent Zones, has absolutely nothing to do with assignment zones.

    My point was that people can disagree on their opinions, but when you have your facts wrong it is hard to have a good discussion. On the other hand maybe this was just a misunderstanding.


    The point about dividing the District into two school separate school districts is a good one.
    When the District treats some parts of the City as lessors, it is only natural that some might want to be in a separate district. I think that if the neighborhood schools measure wins and the District ignores it, it is very possible that there will be a movement to separate, radical as that might seem. I would only support such a movement if the District was adamant about maintaining it's one-sided funding policies.

    Rachel said that this (SAS)decision would not be decided on the basis of how many are for or against feeders. That the long term interests of the District have to drive decisionmaking. Much of those interests are never discussed here. The need to avoid litigation being foremost. If the Board were to vote to cancel the feeder (which WAS already adopted)and go back to choice, without greater transportation, there would surely be law suits given the current inequities from school to school. It is just better policy to work towards building up equity rather than sending everyone hither and fro. It would be a disaster if the District had to go back to the drawing board again as a result of litigation.

    The District is sorely lacking in any explanation to its community on the ins and outs of its policy intentions. It would make a lot of sense for the central office to release to the press a clear explanation of what it plans to do and why. Hearts and minds.

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  129. Hmmm, 7:57, that is not how I saw that comment. Maybe it was said a little sharply, but it is true that the middle school feeder conversation has had little to do with what is actually happening at actual middle schools. What do those communities think about the plans? How ARE the issues there different from elementary school? I'm interested to know that. It's not so arrogant to point out their voices have been drowned out by elementary parents who are focused on the question of where their child will be sent.... understandably ....we all would love it if our kid was slated to go to one with high test scores and great electives, right? But the student assignment debates have been done to death for sure. We've all heard them and for the most part we can predict where you stand based on where you live. The whole thing is unproductive and, frankly, boring at this point.

    The point is, maybe it would be a good thing to focus the conversation on what it would take to improve all the middle schools. Which I think would benefit from hearing from the folks who are already there. If they are on this blog, which I am not sure they are.

    If more middle schools were better, and had fuller offerings, the SAS would not be such a huge issue.

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  130. The unnecessary, poisonous, offensive tone is always there, isn't it?

    Here's a way to say it without insulting people:

    The Superintendent Zones, Bayview Zones, and other 3 zones have nothing to do with the assignment system, they were set by central administration as a way of breaking up the areas for purposes of determining which administrative staff are responsible for what areas.

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  131. By definition, feeder system (or any kind of assignment system) has nothing to do with existing students.

    If the district changes the HS system, you bet those MS parents would be all over it too.

    That doesn't mean assignment system should not be discussed, especially the data is clear that the slack for the choice system at MS level will be all gone in three to four years.

    Two separate topics. No need to mix them together.

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  132. And calling someone an arrogant asshole is OK?

    I don't know why he deleted the comment. I guess it was because of your violent reaction. All he said was some people don't speak with much knowledge of how the school system works. And it's true.

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  133. He probably deleted his post because, after rereading what he wrote and posted in the middle of the night, he saw how rude it was, in the sober light of day.

    Yes, many people speak with little actual knowledge of how SFUSD works, but he is no expert, either, and he often gets things entirely wrong too.

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  134. People seem to think that you are locked into your feeder middle school. That is not my understanding. I thought that you would simply have a higher tiebreaker for that school (or maybe an auto assignment?) but that you can always choose another middle school that is not your feeder school. And that some capacity at each middle school was figured into the development of feeder patterns. Am I mistaken?

    Also, I read that the feeder pattern, according to district staff report, is in alignment with the State Dept's 12 recommendations for middle grade success study "Taking Center Stage - Act II" which, along with the Edsource and Stanford study findings, form the basis of SFUSD's vision for improving middle schools.

    Also, I recall that "keeping elementary cohorts intact through middle school" was one of the findings from the district's earlier outreach effort from the elementary SAS redesign (though as PPS/PAC has pointed out, this is not what their outreach efforts found). I seem to recall keeping elementary communities intact was part and parcel of the pro neighborhood schools voice.

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  135. I'm no expert and so it's hard to know who's speaking factually and who's talking through their hat. Whether or not he has his facts straight I don't know, but Don does support himself it seems. To say he's wrong sometimes is meaningless because that's just an insult without citation. The people with more knowledge of the school district use their names like Caroline does.

    Having sat in on a few board of education meetings this year, I have to tell ya that the commissioners don't seem all that informed.

    I went to one community meeting this spring. The people leading the break out sessions from Parents for Schools and the PAC group didn't seem all that knowledgeable either.

    There's much to criticize in the way in which the school system went about changing school assignment. Like Don I would like to hear from those in charge about what they are planning. I don't get it. Why did they hold these meetings anyway? I'm thinking it was a big stunt.

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  136. The community outreach meetings were held to gain input on feeder patterns, not feeder vs. non feeder.

    The board delayed the green light on the middle school feeder becaause a) there were some important study findings, for sped i believe, that was nearing conclusion and needed to be taken into consideration and b) language program families, particularly immersion, felt that not enough careful thought and planning had been put into the patterns vis a vis resources, having the burden of immersion's history of turning around underperforming schools, and not having access to arts elective. So the Board wisely put the brakes on it.

    Sometime earlier this year, the board did go ahead and approved the concept of middle school feeder patterns. So in my mind, the outreach was more about delineating the specifics of the patterns, not whether the concept of the feeder schools was a go or not. They already voted on that, no?

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  137. I am a landlord. Tenants with school age children are asking me for name changes, possibly for address fraud. I am not going to be an address police for the school district.

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  138. 2:38, the Board voted on the feeder patterns, yes, but the whole idea of the feeders was raised AFTER the massive feedback sessions last year on the revision of student assignment policy.

    I'm a parent of older kids, so I kept asking board members and staff what the plans were for middle and high school assignment, and kept hearing that proposals were for a much more choice (or chance) based system than for elementary, which would have the neighborhood element. And that is what happened for high school. But then the feeder idea for middle came up, seemingly out of left field. The board did not make a big effort to solicit feedback from the parent community before voting.

    I was one who protested a year ago, last fall after the first draft of feeders, and again when they finally went looking for feedback. My issue is not with the actual feeders (though they could be better thought out and spread diversity around better), but with the system per se. But I'm plugged in .... many parents do not even know these feeders are happening (or didn't, until this spring when the sessions were organized).

    Given the fact that they sprang this on the community without feedback, I think parents were well within bounds to use the most recent sessions to question the whole idea, as well as the particular draft of feeder patterns.

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  139. So many angry (Lakeshore? Miraloma?) parents wanting to throw Mandarin Immersion to Denman. So many parents who were assigned to Aptos initially who were fine with the feeder program suddenly changing their tunes when they are redirected to Denman.

    You are fine asking parents who have already spent 6 years fixing a struggling elementary school to move on an fix a struggling middle school. How about if you do your part too?

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  140. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  141. A lot of people seem to think that the District was deficient in not informing the public about its intentions to adopt a feeder system for MS at its initial round of community meetings just as they are deficient now for not listening to feeder opponents this time around. That seems like a reasonable complaint given that it was not one of the six options last time, although the proposed zone system was a little like feeders). But there is NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT for SFUSD to do anything other than to properly notify the public in advance of Board meetings and to hear public comment.

    While the District doesn’t have to hold community meetings it is good practice and responsive government to do so. Given the Board was required by law to decide on any significant changes by yesterday, May 13th, it seems pretty clear to me that they never intended to make any changes to their adopted assignment policy, though the Superintendent is still free to make changes within his discretion and without Board approval, such as drawing new boundaries or closing schools.

    So why did SFUSD go out and do a second round when it is very clear that they never intended to change the feeder system in the first place? Surely they didn’t do it just for input on boundaries. That is political quicksand with any configuration yielding winners and losers. SFUSD already knows best what programs it needs at schools to avoid legal liability. Perhaps they thought the feedback would be more feeder friendly as they had a strong neighborhood consensus the first time around – that it would provide political cover. But this time the opposition to neighborhood policies (feeder) was more dominant. If it is true that the Commissioners sought political cover for their feeder decision, it backfired. And if Commissioners had second thoughts on feeders, they are too late to change it for the coming year application season. And it looks entirely ridiculous to postpone it a year then fail to change it one way or another. If they needed a year for equity build up, why also conduct meetings which created so much misunderstanding? Surely SFUSD knows what it takes to make a quality school. If they need out opinion they should be replaced.
    The issues of student achievement are far more pressing and holding a dog and pony show is cynical.

    I have never minced words when it comes to my feelings about how SFUSD’s Central Office is very dismissive of community engagement. I think the recent round of community feedback and the administration’s immediate dismissal of it is par for the course. At the first round of meetings I asked Orla O'Keeffe about assignment ideas other than the six they proposed. She said they were only there to discuss the six, nothing else. That seems very disingenuous given they didn't adopt of those six.


    As long as many vocal 0/7s in the “chance” (thanks to whomever gave us that description) lottery left the public school system, vocal opposition was relatively limited. Now that the winners and losers have been announced in advance with feeders, the losers are far more vocal and can organize. For an administration that intended to undo the insular practices of the previous Ackerman administration I think they have failed. From a PR standpoint the meetings seem like a real political blunder and all the ill-feeling is likely to be expressed at the polls when Commissioners come up for reelection.

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  142. Speaking of which, Yee and Fewer support feeders; Norton tends towards supporting feeders, and Wynns supports choice. All are up for reelection this Fall.

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  143. So the feeder system for MS is ON for 2012-13, or not? I'm confused. Please enlighten me.

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  144. 7:42, to whom are you directing your comments? I'm 3:02, whose post directly precedes yours. I have no present or past connection with Miraloma or Lakeshore. So who is the "you" in your message who is "fine asking parents who have spent 6 years building up fixing up a struggling elementary school to move on and fix a struggling middle school?"

    I think you are having an argument with someone, but I'm pretty sure it is not me (even though I do oppose both feeders and the current iteration of the map as the system too restrictive and pushy and if they going to insist on being pushy, why don't they mix up the schools enough by SES....). But this isn't because I want my kid to go to Aptos instead of Denman, I swear.

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  145. 7:04 is undoubtedly a pissed off MI parent. Feel free to ignore him/her.

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  146. 10:02: They won't be up for re-election for two years.

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  147. The DIstrict has been conducting a middle school survey on their website. It reads, "Your feedback will be taken into consideration as staff continues to develop middle school improvements and before the Board of Education votes on middle school feeder patterns. If you have not been to a community meeting, please review the community presentation and other information on this page before taking the survey."

    http://www.sfusd.edu/en/enroll-in-sfusd-schools/enrollment-resources/feeder-patterns.html

    WHERE ARE THE RESULTS FROM THIS SURVEY? Why didn't the District present this information at the BOE meeting?

    PAC and PPS held community conversations with over 1,700 parents about assignment, school quality, and equitable access to education opportunities. This year, they compiled feedback from 19 Community Forums. They heard from over 850 people in conversations about District proposals to build quality middle schools and to create K-8 pathways. These volunteer organizations toiled endlessly and came to the BOE meeting with a 24-page report and a PowerPoint presentation with high-level summaries.

    What has the District been doing for the past 3 months? Their Quality School Plan and K-8 feeders are virtually unchanged from Feb. 1. The District did not engage middle school parents, faculty, and staff to discuss school quality and proposals for integrating language pathways, did not prepare a summary of their website survey, did not listen to feedback at the 19 Community Forums, did not partner with PAC/PPS or read their 24-page report, did not provide a road map or a BUDGET to address disparities in electives, GATE/honors, and school quality [other than to add countless student assessments and dozens of new meetings for faculty and staff, which prompted the BOE to remark "Where will teachers find all this time?"), and, most importantly, the District did not modify the K-8 feeder patterns. Parents are understandably unhappy and concerned.

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  148. 6:25, I thought BOE commissioners had 2-year terms. How long are their terms, and who is up for reelection this fall?

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  149. 12:01. Look it up online. You have, at your fingertips, more computing power than NASA used to get a man on the moon; learn how to use it.

    Short answer to your question: we just had a Board of Education Election, last November, and the next BOE election will be in November 2012, with 4 seats available.

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  150. Here's how the votes will go:

    Yes to feeders:

    Maufas
    Yee
    Murase
    Fewer

    No to Feeders (at least this year)

    Wynns
    Norton
    Mendoza

    Feeder plan will pass.

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  151. Donna,

    You should not be criticized for taking the administration at its word. But I have to tell you that SFUSD community engagement is a bit of an oxymoron. The community meetings were just a show and they always have been. They never intended to fundamentally change the feeders. To the extent that anyone thought they would, they were bamboozled, but they were also naive. Why should we think they school system is trying to trick us?

    Why would SFUSD want to get input from the community when the Superintendent, by Board policy, can change the game without Board approval and at the drop of a hat? The input was just PR and an example that went terribly wrong. It has done nothing to elevate the District in the public's eye. THE PAC and the PPS had hardly finished speaking when the administration recommended essentially nothing.

    The Board is now working for Carlos Garcia, not the other way around.

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  152. 12:16, Well Maufas, Murase and Mendoza were just elected, so that means the 4 seats up for grabs must be those of Yee, Fewer, Norton and Wynns like 10:02 said.

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  153. Yes, but not THIS YEAR, as the person suggested.

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  154. I hope the BOE seriously considers the PPS recommendation that SFUSD establish a middle school in Bayview/Hunter's Point. It seems that a connection has been made and that SFUSD in conjunction with PPS and PAC could start work with the BV/HP parent community to establish a school that would encourage and support parental involvement. As has been said many times before, school is a partnership between parents, teachers, and administrators. If the parents in BV/HP want a high quality middle school in their neighborhood, SFUSD and the broader community should be trying to figure out what that would look like, what programs should be in place to support parents and students, and how to capture the energy and interest from this current discussion.

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  155. and now that we've watched the Board Meeting, we know who Donna is :)

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