Wednesday, September 28, 2011

San Francisco Parent PAC and It's Mayoral Forum Oct 11

Dear SF Parents,

Across the City street intersections and bus stops parents are attempting to get their kids to school and themselves to work on time. I find significant comfort scanning the streets seeing everyone doing what I am doing and doing it as gracefully as possible!

Whether public, independent or parochial, we all balance similar responsibilities and duties in navigating schools and other facets of our lives in the city.

All school years are critical - this year though is significant not just due to school related issues but also because of the upcoming Mayoral election.

Leadership in city government significantly makes our lives easier or harder. The mayor's decisions determine park and library hours, attention on quality of life factors (street cleaning, trees, etc), maintenance of funding for Preschool for All (program that provides reduced tuition for all 4 and 5 year olds in qualified public or private preschools), continuation of support arts and get the drift.

This is why parents throughout the City formed an organization this last election cycle -- SF Parents PAC. SF Parents PAC was created to finally bring our voices to the forefront; ensuring that as decisions are being made, our perspectives are part of the consideration and in many cases should drive them.

In the last election cycle, we successfully endorsed two school board candidates. This year, we are focusing on another strategy. 

We want every candidate for mayor to hear our voices and understand what it will take to make SF the best place to raise kids and have families.

With that in mind, we are hosting the first Mayoral Candidate Forum focused on our issues. 

Please come to hear how each candidate understands your needs and his/her ideas regarding this City and family issues.

Tuesday October 11th from 6:30 to 8:30
Sherith Israel at 2266 California Street
Moderated by Steve Symanovich from the SF Business Times

Sponsored by The SF Parent Political Action Committee, Parents For Public
Schools, SF Family Support Network, Teach for America and Congregation
Sherith Israel.

Refreshments, Childcare, and Interpretation Services will be provided.

Read more on Facebook 
http://www.facebook .com/event. php?eid=21363434 2032302

After the Summit, irrespective of who wins, we will continue to hold the new mayor accountable to the concepts raised in the Summit. More importantly, we will make our voices heard as issues arise.

Become a member of the PAC today:

See you on Oct. 11th!  Please rsvp to


  1. Vote for Bevan Dufty, he cares about the children of San Francisco more than any of the other candidates!
    And he has a child in Public School.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Todd,

    It says on your website that SF Parent PAC wants to ensure quality education in all neighborhoods? Who wouldn't? What does this mean specifically? Does your political action committee have any practical ideas for change?

    What is the position of the SF PAC on Measure H, the neighborhood schools iniative? Your compliance officer was hired by Students First to do the legal work involved. Does the SF PAC support the new assignment system? Does SFPPAC support the BOE's student assignment policies that contribute to the madness that transpires each morning as parents try to get their kids across town to school?

    You said that this year is significant for school related issues. How so? You mentioned the Preschool for All program. You referred to City support for arts and athletics. Are you referring to Prop H and if so what about it? The mayor has a nominal role in SFUSD and education in SF.

    Are there other significant issues for SPPPAC? It seems to me that we have far larger issues at stake than the ones you mentioned. What about the District's budget? Does SFPPAC support the all or nothing budgeting process that has stripped schools of essential services? Does SFPPAC support the BOE's far-left ideological approach to education? I support the effort to empower the parents, but as a political organization do you have a partisan political affiliation?

    The SF Parents PAC website is vague. Can you fill in some of the blanks? For example what is the relation between SFPPAC and edMatch?

    Thank you.

  4. Thank you DonK. I am familiar with SF PAC and look forward to the questions you raised being addressed.

  5. preemptive action in advance of spelling police brutality - initiative

  6. Don,

    Here are the specifics I can tell you about the PAC.

    1. We have not held our endorsement meeting on Prop H or Prop A yet.

    2. Last year, we endorsed Hydra Mendoza, Emily Murase, and Margaret Brodkin for Board of Education.

    3. There is no relationship between edMatch and the Parent PAC. There is some crossover of members. I founded edMatch and I am on the steering committee of the Parent PAC. edMatch is a non political entity that raises money for all SF Public Schools. The Parent PAC is a Political Action Committee that works via the political process to elect officials and pass policies that the PAC deems are family friendly.

    4. The Parent PAC has no political affiliation. Our steering committee is composed of Democrats and Republicans. We all agree that all families want the same thing. . .a good education for their children along with safe and vibrant parks and neighborhoods. As parents we need to work together to help make this a reality in all of SF's neighborhoods.

    If you have strong opinions on how to improve the schools as well as advocate for family friendly policies, please join the Parent PAC. A diversity of opinions is valued.



  7. Dear Parent PAC,
    Thank you for organizing this forum and for starting a group to engage parents in direct dialogue with one another and political candidates.
    It seems that parents need to articulate their needs and goals and that different parent communities will have different needs and goals. I hope the summit will be a place where parent communities are addressed both as a unified political body and distinct communities with their own concerns and solutions. This could help the city have a more nuanced and targeted approach toward its families.
    I look forward to attending the summit.

  8. Thanks for your reply, Todd.

    I don't think it is accurate to say that families want the same thing. I'm sure you are well aware of the great divide between those who believe in neighborhood schools and those who support citywide choice. The three candidates that your political action committee endorsed for BOE last year are all supporters of choice. I am not. Why would I join a PAC that is working at cross purposes with my views?

    You say that the SFPPAC has not decided on its endorsements for Measures A and H. The election is in 6 weeks. Parents for Public Schools, a nonprofit which is co-sponsoring your mayoral forum has come out in favor of Measure A and against Measure H. When are you going to decide? I certainly would not support any organization that doesn't support policies that allow children to walk to school in their own neighborhoods. That is not family friendly, your morning commute being a daily reminder.

    I will wait for your decision on H and then decide whether or not to be a member. Either way, I support parental efforts to get involved in issues that are so crucial to education and the quality of life for young people in this city.

  9. Todd, you don't really want him to join the PAC, unless you want everyone to drop out.

  10. Todd,

    Welcome to SF K Files where the melding of anonymity and defamation is tolerated and even encouraged in the name of liberal groupthink. In reference to the preceding post, I don't pretend to speak for others, but I believe in my heart that people are more and more getting tired of these kinds of personal/political tactics.

  11. Don,

    I believe the endorsement meeting is this evening. I am not able to attend because the Jewish New Year begins tonight.

    I believe saying that you can either be for neighborhood school or choice to be somewhat misleading. Furthermore, it pits communities and families against one another.

    I would prefer to concentrate on how to make all schools quality academic institutions. Once everyone feels like the school down the street from them is quality, they will be more likely to "choose" their neighborhood school.

    Also, differences in start time, afterschool care, and programs could encourage families to choose schools further from their home.

    In short, I am in favor of neighborhood schools, but we have to recognize that families may want schools in other parts of the city for completely legitimate quality of life issues--consider the family that wants their child to go to school near where they work so they can pick up the child at the end of their work day.

    In conclusion, it is a fairly complex issue in which reasonable people can feel differently. I don't think it should be a litmus test as to whether one joins the Parent PAC or not.


  12. I understand that you don't want to precipitate strife between parents. Unfortunately, the neighborhood schools versus choice debate does divide the proponents of each by its very nature. That is because you cannot have one assignment system without diminishing the efficacy of the other. The greater the likelihood of neighborhood assignment the less the likelihood of outside choice and vice versa.

    You said it is misleading to have to choose one over the other. That is an indulgence. The fact is that communities are pitted one against the other as discussions on the forum have illustrated. The BOE tried to split the baby and ended up angering both sides. They are still operating under the antiquated goal of diversity instead of achievement. If everyone in a neighborhood is charged with making their neighborhood school better, the schools will improve. If they are allowed to abandon the schools they won't. It's as simple as that.

    You have implied, Todd, that neighborhood schools advocates have to wait until quality has been equalized. Under the current system that will take a very long time if ever because Carlos Garcia has defined equity in terms of absolute academic achievement as opposed to equality of opportunity. I believe we are more likely to arrive at some semblance of equality under a neighborhood school system, which will limit neighborhood flight from schools.

    The bottom line is that the achievement gap grew worse under choice. Choice advocates blame that on demographics, the flight of middle class non-Asian minorities. Why do they think they left?

    So I ask you, Todd, if you are for neighborhood schools than how long are you prepared to wait? You are a leader of a political action committee. You need to take action if you want change. That is what we did with Students First and Measure H. Sometimes you have to take a stand. I take a stand for the power of the neighborhood on the quality of the school.

    I would like to join SFPPAC and attend your meeting tonight. Can you tell me the time and place?

  13. Don,

    I think your argument for neighborhood schools is thoughtful and well articulated.

    I don't know how the Parent PAC will vote tonight. It may very well endorse Prop H.

    Regarding Prop H, I'm generally not a fan of supporting toothless measures. (I believe Prop H is called a policy statement and is not legally binding if passed.)

    That being said, personally I would advocate for switching the tie breaker order of the assignment system so that the neighborhood tiebreaker comes before the CTIP tiebreaker. This would make one's neighborhood the second most significant tiebreaker after sibling preference and would result in a true neighborhood preference for families.

    I want to be clear that this is my personal preference. The Parent PAC has not taken a stand on the tiebreaker order.

    Once again, I don't think that any one issue should determine whether anyone joins or doesn't join the Parent PAC. Healthy and respectful debates on these issues should result in improving the academic opportunities for all our children.

    I'm signing off until tomorrow night in order to observe Rosh Hashana.

    Happy and a Healthy Jewish New Year to everyone!

  14. And so we are all witnessing the beginning of the end of the SF Parent PAC. What was Todd thinking?

  15. 8:08,

    Can you cut it with the histrionics? You are making a fool of yourself - an anonymous fool, but a fool nonetheless. Had you been paying attention you would have noticed that Todd did not relay the information I asked for regarding the meeting. So the SFPPAC has been saved from the diversity of my opinion - at least for now. He haw

  16. I definitely plan on going. Sometimes I feel like our elected officials have more time with the dog owners' lobby than for parents. However, don't expect many real solutions for our school system as it's mostly out of the mayor's hands.

    As for Bevan Dufty, I'm not sure he is a good choice for parents. He may be a parent, but last week I heard him rail against what he called the "War on nightlife" and said that people are trying to turn the City into "Mayberry". I don't want it be Mayberry, but if the patrons at Lime vomit in front of other businesses at 11:30 after too many bottomless mimosas, then the Lime management have a responsibility to clean it up, or clean its act up. I'm voting for Ting, Herrera and Adachi.

  17. "So I ask you, Todd, if you are for neighborhood schools than how long are you prepared to wait?"

    Don, Todd is not on your schedule. Prop H need not be the only game in town nor the only way to effect change. Yes, this particular election is in 6 weeks, but life does not end there. It may be the end of this particular (huge) effort on your part (and that of Chris, from whom I assume we are not hearing), and I commend you for making an effort, but zoom out a bit. It's only one small part of an ongoing effort by many, many people.

    L'shanah tovah!

  18. I'm still laughing about Todd inviting Don to be a member; now I am entirely unsure about the SFPPAC's decision-making and POV.

  19. I don't have much of an opinion either way, but for crying out loud, will you please use its/it's correctly in the context of an education blog?? POSSESSIVE => ITS!

  20. Sheesh. Punctuation police? get a life. Seriously.

  21. 8:04,

    You are a stereotype of the new liberal hatemonger. I think Todd is capable of deciding for himself whether SFPPAC should be an exclusive group or not. Your constant nastiness and innuendo speaks to your character. It reminds me of the days when people didn't want blacks, hispanics or Asians and Jews in their clubs. You're not going to allow them in. Certainly not. You are the type who goes around talking about how racist everyone is including the tea party, but you are unlikely to have ever been to one or know anything about them other than what you read in the Guardian.

    You are the same person who berated Students First efforts to get a measure on the ballot for neighborhood schools. As if it were worthless to have a nonbinding measure. Transit First had many nonbinding measures that were widely supported by the liberal community.

    You disgust me. It is people like you that give the best parts of liberalism a bad name. Your personal attack brand of progressivism reminds me of the closed-minded conservatives of old.

  22. See what you're in for, Todd? LOL

  23. Todd,

    Let's get back to our conversation.
    You said that you generally don't like to suppport nonbinding measures. If they were holding a special election and it cost the City a lot I could understand that. But that's not the case here. We need to voice our concerns as you have said and that is why you helped to create SFPPAC.

    One problem is that the BOE doesn't take into consideration public comment and in fact they have at times unlawfully skipped public comment. So how does one get a word in edgewise? A ballot measure is a good way for the community to speak out. When SFUSD held community meetings on the SAS often few people attended because the District failed to adequately notify the public. There is a lack of opportunity to express oneself to the Board and SFUSD.

    Measure H is in a no win situation. If it loses by a few % points the Board will say "You see, they want choice", even if 49.9 % of the city wants NS. And if it passes it will be ignored by SFUSD as if it were invalid and pointless. They 'll say that the SF public doesn't speak for the parents of public school children. Of course SFUSD doesn't think that way when they ask for money from the very same people (Measure A).

    Read the UESF recommendation against Measure H. Every point they make is rooted in creating fear and is entirely incorrect. It is as if they don't understand that this is a nonbinding measure. They are spreading this idea that kids would be uprooted from their schools midyear. H has NO effect whatsoever on SFUSD's assignment system unless the BOE decides to take the measure into consideration and change that assignment system.

    The union goes on to say that having neighbrohood schools would turn the clock back to the 1950's and segregation. I guess the vast majority of the nation is in the 1950's and segregated. The union doesn't bother to mention that areas like BVHP which were once black communities are now very evenly split between blacks, Asians and Latinos. UESF claims that neighborhood schools will bring back segregation. Hello? Schools got more segregated under choice and hence the HO decision.

    Truly, the union's response is disreputable in that it spreads falsehoods and misconceptions and ii's fear-mongering plain and simple. The support I once had for that organization is now gone for good.

  24. 9:53

    Will you please lay off Don? I am new to SF, but I have been reading this blog since early 2011 (trying to educate myself on what we should expect from the SF school district). While I don't always agree with Don, I do appreciate his (in my opinion) thorough knowledge of the SF school issues.

    Having said that, I also agree with either neighborhood schools or bumping neighborhood school choice ahead of CTIP. We came from a school district where it was a given that you attended your neighborhood/assigned school. This whole choice thing is abit baffling to me - but I'm new to the "game."

  25. The school board lied and said the majority at the community meetings were for choice. This isn't true, way more were for neighborhood schools at these meetings, and I went to them in the Sunset, Richmond, Mission and Excelsior. If it doesn't pass, we'll never get neighborhood guarantees which will cut traffic, make the schools more integrated by getting the whites in Bernal/Glen/Mission/Excelsior to go to their local school, increase study time and increase community. If you take parents and kids and give them all more study time, 10-15 hours a week more, results will follow. Many of the people who are very good students, volunteer and donate, kids do well, were driven out of SF this fall, people who lived a block from Presidio and were sent to Visitation Valley. The status quo isn't good enough. Yes on H.

  26. Hey, Don, I was on a K train this AM heading to Balboa Park and the signage area behind where the driver sits had a "No on Prop H" yellow sheet on it. Didn't have a close look at it, but the headline was something like "Parents should decide" or "Parents should choose." You seem to finally be generating some drama.

  27. What do you mean "finally". I always seem to generate drama.

    And below that they should write on their "Yes from Measure A" signs, the tax initiative, "parents shouldn't choose."

    They want to tax all the citizens of SF, but when it comes to schools they say only parents should decide. Maybe the anti neighborhood schools advocates should take advice from the Carolina governor who wants to suspend elections next year.

    Maybe it is also a good idea to only allow parents to attend school board meetings. Why do they need all those pesky community advocacy organizations and reporters at their board meetings? They are just causing trouble. Besides, it is a lot easier to dupe parents who are typically to busy working and raising families (and commuting to and from schools)to spend any time coming up to speed on how things really work in SFUSD - to prevent them from knowing how most children are really getting screwed out of their fair share of the education money in this district.

  28. Well technically Measure A is a bond authorization. But it gets paid for with our taxes.

  29. I don't always agree with Don either (frequently I do, though), but I wish more people on this board would engage at the same level of both trying to understand the issues and actually digging into facts versus getting off "smart" digs and assigning extreme motivations to anyone who disagrees. San Francisco discourse continually shows that the Conservatives and Tea Partiers don't have a monopoly on narrow-mindedness and lack of critical thinking. Can't we all try to be better than that?

  30. Yes on H. It will add 5 hours a week on average for family and study time. It's amazing what extra time can do. It will increase scores all around. It will reduce traffic and increase community. No one should ever live a block from a mainstream school like Presidio and be told to commute 30-45 minutes away ever again. We have to tell families we want them, not drive them away.

  31. It's too bad that prop H won't be binding.

  32. I agree, but we should still vote for it. Without it, the board will not even consider neighborhood schools for decades. With it, probably at least a compromise will be reached, maybe guaranteeing kids if they don't get into the school closest to home, they get into the second closest one. Right now there is no preference for high school, kids at 47th and Geary are being sent to Mission High or Visitation Valley Middle School. This will begin to restore middle class families to the City. The City shouldn't only be for childless yuppies.

  33. The proposition has no teeth. It won't change anything. It makes no difference if people vote for it or not, it's like writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper.

  34. Wrong, it's an offical statement of the people of San Francisco. It worked for JROTC. It will work for this.

  35. We'll see, won't we?

  36. Perhaps has no teeth but it does send a message. Hopefully someone will be listening.

  37. manerSo could I ask who is behind the "No on H" sheets? Is it the teachers union? I'm the one who posted about the "No on H" notice up on the Muni K line (Isn't that some type of violation?), but I'm just wondering who is funding the no vote. Me, I've not decided. I'm an old parent choice person (sorry, Don, but I do think parents should choose -- I just think it should be a straight lottery; it fosters competition between schools and competition is healthy), but I'm in the Clarendon area, so property values would certianly go up if one could ACTUALLY get into Clarendon if they lived there (which as we know is not the case now with the current CTIP 1 free pass).

  38. It's the hyperbole about the measure I can't stand, the Prop H proponents are making so many false claims about what the measure will do. The union bashing is way out of line.
    It's what people mean when they laugh about Don being invited to join the PAC, it isn't his point of view or opinions, it's the crazy way he acts and alienates everyone.

  39. Look at what the opponents are saying. If you want to see lies, just google UESF and Prop H. Don posted about this and rebutted each point very well, on the left-hand side, today.

  40. What do you mean by "the crazy way he acts and alienates everyone"? Isn't it you trying to alienate him. Point me to an example of what you are talking about. You can asert what you want. Where are the facts?

  41. Floyd, you and Don are the same person, sockpuppeting.
    That thing you/he wrote was very badly written.

  42. 5:37
    examples of acting crazy and alienating everyone: his recent tirade about UESF, in the forum.

    He starts out calling UESF : THUGS.
    He says none of the Board of Education members have any integrity.
    Ridiculous language he uses:
    bludgeoning union mob
    politicos are goosestepping
    band of thugs
    status-quo reactionaries

    This is a person who was escorted by security officers out of School District Headquarters. He freaks out district employees with his erratic behavior. He scares the office staff. Even if he ever has a reasonable point to make, it gets lost in the strange behavior and venom and creepiness.

    He got tossed off the sfschools yahoo group for pretending to be several different people (sockpuppeting, inventing people who all agreed with him and told him how wonderful he was).

    So that's what I mean by alienating everyone. People who are in favor of prop H want him to just stay out of it, because he is losing them votes.

  43. 6:25 pm: exactly. I love my neighborhood school and had open ears, but gosh, the polarization and demonization (a la Hofstadter) makes me run the other way.

  44. Before I moved to California, school choice was always a conservative concept. The problem I am having with the concept behind Prop H, is that it could prevent bright, motivated kids from bad neighborhoods from finding schools that challenge them intellectually and put themselves on a path to college. Taking that choice away, in my opinion, pulls the doormat out from under them and might also create a fortress mentality in the better-off neighborhoods.

  45. I agree with everything said on the forum about UESF. If this measure is only advisory which I believe to be the case, why is UESF out there scaring people into believing that children will be uprooted midyear from schools. Who is the real culprit, Don the individual, or UESF the monied union with all the power?

  46. Whatevs, 8:30 aka Don. Watch - next poster will say he's 8:30 and not Don but he agrees with lots of things Don says. The sockpuppetry is so transparent it would be funny if it weren't so annoying and destructive of real discussion.

  47. "Most" parents don't want neighborhood schools and "Most" don't want choice - it's been a pretty 50/50 issue for most of the time I've been involved with it (for a decade now.)

    Problems I have with Prop H:
    - it doesn't define "neighborhood" - is that 1/2 mile? 1 mile? 2 miles? What is it? That alone is a reason to reject as there is no definition that can be used
    - For the sake of argument, let's say "neighborhood" is a walkable 1 mile (still a rather long distance for an elementary school kid.) In the SE sector, where the largest concentration of kids live, there AREN'T ENOUGH NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS to fit all the kids that live there?
    - Do the backers of Prop H think we should build more schools in the SE sector? How do you suggest we address the simple issue of too many kids, not enough seats in these neighborhoods?
    - Since there ARE more schools - but fewer kids - in the NW sector, would the backers of Prop H agree to close some schools there, so that we can build more schools in the SE? Oh, I didn't think so...

    I chose NOT to go to my kids' neighborhood school in elementary school and instead chose another neighborhood school still somewhat close by. As I read Prop H, this would prevent parents from this opportunity.



  48. 8:22 SFUSD DAD,
    School choice as a conservative concept takes place where you have a mixed white and black school district, two high schools, and the choice given to parents to select the high school where all the other (white) families were going. The Supreme Court said that this freedom of choice was not a desegregation of the school system. They would have to bus the kids.

    San Francisco had its busing (plus extra money from Sacramento to pay for those buses) back in the day, but that is all over now. The integration court orders are expired. All of our integration is voluntary.

    Choice in the required integration setting was conservative. (If we define conservative as towards the way it was before--the schools were segregated before BROWN and these conservative freedom of choice arguments try to keep that segregation.)

    Choice in the current voluntary integration could be said to be the liberal position, because choice would work against the defacto segregation of a neighborhood school system. (If you accept that our residential patterns are segregated--true for where public housing is located--but much more mixed than not mixed for housing other than low income public housing.)

    If you are inclined to simplify neighborhood with conservative-right and choice with liberal-left, I urge you to drop the conservative and liberal labels. Those labels are not the reality. The reality is that seats in one's neighborhood school are a limited quantity. Should those seats go to the local residents, or to just anyone no matter where they live?

    In a zero sum game, there is no free lunch. Local residents of the better off neighborhoods want to stay in the neighborhood. They will get bumped out without a very strong local school preference. The current SAS has only a weak local school preference. For example, there is no cap on the CTIP1 tie breaker taking up local seats.

    I like a very strong local school preference at the ES level and a weak local school preference at the MS level. Call me a flip-flop. Choice for MS and neighborhood schools for ES.

  49. 9:52 - this is 9:05 here.

    I agree generally about increasing/keeping choice for MS and HS, and giving neighborhood a strong weighting for ES.

    We STILL don't have enough "neighborhood" schools in the places where we have the most children in SF.

    What does the Prop H campaign propose about that?

  50. Prop H was put on the ballot by people at Alamo and other Richmond District schools who don't want their kids going to school with African American children.

  51. "Since there ARE more schools - but fewer kids - in the NW sector"

    I don't think there is a lot of spare capacity in the NW for out of neighborhood kids.

  52. Some of the critics of Prop H say it is a waste of time, that it has no teeth, no force of law to change anything. It is true that it has no force of law as a strictly advisory measure. Why then is the union whipping up fear that if it passes it will create chaos and result in children being pulled out of schools?

    I called the union. No one could explain to me the union's position on this. Which is to say that this fear-mongering is just a campiagn strategy.

  53. @6:30 AM

    The Richmond is a great neighborhood to raise kids, we have parks, museums, good schools and the neighborhood is pretty safe. Don't hate on Richmond residents because they considered these things when they chose where to live. There are Title I schools in the Richmond so it's not like there is no poverty out here. There is also incredible diversity in the Richmond so stop insinuating that Richmond residents are racists. Also the only convenient school location for Richmond residents is the Richmond.

  54. @DonK

    They also seem to get all worked up about your posts just because they disagree. All too common for "open minded" San Franciscans

  55. "Imagine the chaos in school communities this winter and spring if SFUSD was forced to change the school assignments mid-year."

    This is part of UESF's argument against H. It is a bald-faced lie and typical of the entire argument against the measure. It is this kind of bone-headed attack on intellectual integrity that leads me to use words like thugs when referring to the union. Their members should expect more from their leadership.

    If someone has an issue with my take on the union's position, why not do what reasonable people do and post a rebuttal here or on the forum? That would do far more for your cause than to personally attack me. The measure stands on it own. The fact that I am the author is of little consequence. If it wasn't me it would have been someone else.

  56. @ 9:45

    Everyone I know who lives in the Richmond is voting AGAINST prop H. My statement was about the people who put Prop H on the ballot, NOT all Richmond residents.
    Reading comprehension; tricky ain't it?

  57. @ 10:49 AM
    "Reading comprehension; tricky ain't it?"

    Do you come here just to insult people?

  58. I also want to know how prop H supporters envision solving the immense logistical/infrastructural problems of guaranteeing space in a neighborhood school? Even removing CTIP 1 preference will not do it.

    There is no room for mobile trailers at many schools. There is no land available in some of the areas with oversubscribed schools. There is no money to build new schools. It takes 10 years to plan & build a school. I think I might rather drive than have to send my son to school in a mobile trailer. This is why I won't be voting for it.

    No prop H supporters have answered this question.

  59. SFUSD has the single largest surplus real estate porofolio of any district in California. SFUSD once seated 93,000 students. If you did your homework you would know this and be familiar with the Civil Grand Jury's report on this matter.

    According to SFUSD's own research it isn't currently prepared to seat the coming middle school population without some infrastructure build out. Any new assignment system requires changes. Are you saying that neighborhoods like BVHP should be denied access to local schools in perpetuity? If so, I contend that position to be prejudicial, lacking in social justice and imagination.

  60. How can Prop H state that it will apply to the student assignment system for the 2011-2012 school year, when that is already almost over?
    How stupid.

  61. Last night friends of mine attended a meeting of 45 prop H supporters. They said most of the attendees were seniors and young adults.

  62. "SFUSD has the single largest surplus real estate porofolio of any district in California."

    Is this surplus real estate in the Clarendon and Miraloma neighborhood? Where is this surplus property located? When I drive around in the neighorhoods with the most vocal parents, I don't see any room. I just want some information as to how Prop H might realize their vision of guaranteed access. Otherwise, I find it fruitless to vote for a policy statement that might not be logistically viable. I didn't think that BHVP parents are denied neighborhood schools at this time? I believe they just closed a school there. (Willie Brown) But if we build a school in BVHP, it wouldn't provide a neighborhood school for the West Side parents who are backers of this initiative. Which still leaves me stymied as to how this might work in reality.

  63. 11:56

    You touch on something I thought of when pondering Prop H: it is likely to get alot of support from residents who don't have children in school yet because where these childless residents came from (since most SF residents aren't true natives) neighborhood schools was the norm.

    As for older folks, well as one previous poster already said: he/she is beyond having school-aged children; however, by living in a neighborhood with a desired school, it might increase her property value to have this, albeit "toothless," policy.

  64. If it became policy, it wouldn't be "toothless", but the measure cannot make anything happen, so it's nothing more than inane chest-thumping.

  65. I'm voting for Prop H. Children should not have to spend hours on buses getting to and from school. If the commissioners cared about kids they wouldn't shoulder them with this burden. It's abuse and I would never force a commute like that upon my children. For me it is simple. Yes on H.

  66. DonK: -- Thank you for bringing this to the voters. SFUSD wanted community input. They got it and now they say they're against it.

    The teacher's union will spend their member dues on defeating it, money teachers pay in from their salaries whether they like it or not. They have no say in the matter. I have no say in the matter.

    You have done a service by raising the profile of the debate. It is debate well worth having. Win or lose, keep up the good fight and good luck to you.

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  69. So I called the union and spoke to this guy there named Ken Trey who runs the political arm.

    Don - Mr. Trey, I have a question about Prop H. I was reading the union's position on your website. I'm sure we can agree that this is only an advisory measure so I would like to ask you...

    Mr. Trey - yes, but... he then goes into a long diatribe raising the specter of every left wing boogeyman of the last 50 years. He calls Student's First a bunch of right wing fanatics when in fact they are predeminantly Democrats and words like racist, chaos and segregation are repeated over and over.

    All this time I keep trying to ask my question but he goes on and on. Finally, I stop him and say that I haven't as yet had the opportunity to ask my question, at which point he tells me he's got to go do something else and that I should call him back if I want to talk more. Talk more? He couldn't even listen to my question between his ranting and raving about the measure. What I took away from his message was that everyone who does not agree with the irrational views of the union is a right wing fanatic. Oh, the audacity of hope.

    I'm pretty sure he probably wrote the union's response,if I had to guess. It had to be some fanatical hothead. I think a case can be made for choice, though I prefer NS. The union didn't make that case. But then their purpose is not to win a debate but to scare the public.

  70. He's bringing his puppets out to play again!

  71. "....diatribe....boogeyman.... fanatics...Talk more? He couldn't even listen to my question between his ranting and raving about the measure....everyone who does not agree with the irrational a ...fanatic....Their purpose is not to win a debate but to scare the public."

  72. What's with all the hostility?

    Can't we all just get along?

    Please stick to the topic and avoid the ad hominem attacks.

  73. Hey, SF Parent PAC, how do you answer your own questions to the mayoral candidates?

    And let me ask you one of Don's questions: Is how the Superintendent allocating discretionary funding (heavily for the Superintendent Zones) OK with you?

  74. Q. Why is United Educators making up a doomsday scenario if H passes?

    A. They choose not to fight it on its merits, but rather choose to use scare tactics to influence public opinion.

    Q. Since H is nonbinding can it result in children being pulled out of school as UESF says?

    A. Of course not. Even if the BOE were to enact the advisory immediately, (it should be remembered that it has no requirement to do so and there is zero chance of that happening), the advice from the public only refers to new student/school assignments.

    Q. Why does the measure refer to the 2011-2012 school year?

    A. It was intended to be on an earlier ballot. The language of the measure cannot be changed once approved. The year doesn't matter as it is only advisory anyway.

    Q. Will H result in greater segregation?

    A. Due to the de facto diversity of most neighborhoods, the likelihood is that neighborhood assignment will increase not decrease school diversity. At present many schools are segregated.

    Q. Will H lead to more parents leaving the district?

    A. It is hard to say what will transpire with such complex social forces in play, but many parents leave the public schools at present. SF has the highest private school attendance in the nation.

    Q. How can students be expected to commute to school on time during rush hour when Muni has a horrible record of service?

    A. With SFUSD cutting back school bus service the district recognizes the burden imposed on its students and moved voluntarily towards greater neighborhood preference. This measure is intended to speed up and strengthen the neighborhood preference. If SFUSD were to switch neighborhood preference only after sibling there would be no necessity for Measure H. However, at present the secondary system, particularly high school, is much further away from neighborhood schools than elementary. Middle school falls somewhere in between with its feeder system.

  75. The 2011-2012 language in the measure will cause all sorts of lawsuits.
    Parents who did not get the schools they wanted will bring lawsuits against SFUSD. This is a republican measure put forth by vexatious litigants.

  76. The "intended to be on an earlier ballot" lie is ridiculous. Because it makes the measure retroactive, it causes all sorts of legal problems.

  77. On what basis will Measure H cause litigation? Explain yourself. Make a case for your assertion, otherwise you are just stirring the pot.

  78. It was our intention to be on the ballot last time around, but we couldn't risk not getting enough signatures in the time frame allotted so it was rolled over to the nect election. Why do you insist you understand something you obviously know nothing about? You need to take a powder.

    The Students First group was composed of primarily democrats.

  79. What's a "primarily democrat"?

  80. Because the stupid measure is non-binding, and supposed to guide policy, when the BOE or City do not scramble to try to interpret the badly written measure, little trolls will start trying to sue the city. It's a legal mess in the making. That's what they wanted, a way to sue and be destructive and vindictive.

  81. Nitpicking grammar and syntax is not a substitute for intelligent reasoning. This is a blog.

    Stop bloviating. Articulate a viewpoint or sit down and shut up.'

    Freddie Farkle

  82. Remember sfkfiles before he ruined it?

  83. I am interested in applying for school next year. My neighborhood school is good and there are other schools I also like further from home. I'm torn between supporting this measure or not.

    I've read the case in favor and I agree with most of it. I'm terrible disappointed with the teacher union's response. Is there anyone out there who can deliver a reasoned argument against Prop H?

    Calling it stupid and nasty is not a case. I know there are many heartfelt and sincere people who oppose this measure. Please help me out and give me an intelligent reason why I should cast a no vote. I need more feedback before I decide.

  84. "No" on Prop H because parents in every neighborhood in San Francisco has shown that families want to have a say in where their kids go to school. There are many differences among our schools, and not all schools serve every child. A neighborhood assignment system will take away critical options for families.

  85. If you live next to a good school, you'll probably vote "yes". But what if you lived next to John Muir?
    Or McClaren? Or Carver? Or Bert Harte?

    This measure would force people to go to schools that they would never send their kids to, so more parents will go private, and SFUSD will have even less money.

  86. I was under the impression that the large majority of schools are good to excellent. Why set in stone a policy for the whole school system that caters to only a few schools? I don't get that.

    I see your point about losing parents,but isn't it also true that some parents would not leave if they were sent to a school close to home?

    I'm no expert, but it appears to me tlike you're simplifying when the reality is far more nuanced.

  87. Yes, it is complicated and the two page badly written ballot measure will not make things better for the majority of people WITH CHILDREN in San Francisco.
    But alas, most of the voters in San Francisco have no children and know nothing about schools. That is what the Republican Real Estate Agents in the North West sector who put this on the ballot are counting on.

  88. Where do you get the idea that "Republican real estate agents from the Northwest sector" put this on the ballot? Is that true? I'd like to see some evidence to support it. Are you just stirring up trouble? You are using the blog to make irresponsible allegations.

    From everything that I've read here and on other blogs it was a group of parents who put this on the ballot. More power to them. That is not easy to do. We should not vilify them for effectively navigating a difficult electoral process.

    One of the people listed on the measure is Omar Khaleef. He's a black man from Bayview who has run for Board. I remember seeing him at some debate. And someone named Tami Aviles.

    Really, you need to stop and think. I know you are against it and I respect that. But you're not doing your side any favors with these undocumented assertions.

    With respect to your idea that will cause law suits, I see no evidence of that. I'm no expert on the law but I see no way that San Francisco school district can be held responsible for failing to implement an advisory measure. I doesn't make sense, your position.

  89. I really only support the neighborhood school policy of Prop H for the ES level and not at the MS and HS levels, but I will vote for Prop H as a protest against what we have now. The Students First people gathered the signatures to put something on the ballot that is against the new SAS. Students First is carrying the water for protesting the new SAS.

    The new SAS does not limit CTIP1 to public housing. The new SAS links test scores to the golden ticket, and hence corrupts the integrity of standardized exams. The new SAS straightjackets a feeder plan for MS, when parental choice is so much more important for finding what is best for one's child.

    Eliminating citywide choice is a harm to parents. We say we are eliminating that choice to close the achievement gap. The overconcentration of African Americans and Latinos, however, is only one factor, and perhaps a minor factor, in the achievement gap. The new SAS is not the least restrictive alternative; it is not a system that does as little harm as possible to parents finding what is best for one's child.

    So I'll vote yes. I would not mind seeing a strong local school policy and neighborhood schools at the ES level. Prop H is not about getting choice back for the MS level. I will still vote yes as a vote to upset the apple cart of the new SAS.

  90. The level of discourse on this blog is abysmal. Please put gripes about individuals side, treat others with respect and stick to the topics at hand.

  91. If Omar is one of the folks that put it on the ballot, ironicly, if indeed he is from the Bayview, he sends his high school kids to the northwest part of town.

  92. I do not know Omar, but I will defend him. The drive for neighborhood schools, for me, is focused on ES. This Prop H is a nonbinding policy to move us in that direction. I know that Prop H does not distinguish MS and HS from ES, but Prop H is not the implementaion of the policy. There is room to be flexible. The important issue is to change the new SAS to strengthen a local school preference.

    As a neighborhood school policy, the new SAS is half a loaf, or less. The election will determine if that is good enough for the majority of the electorate. Let the people decide. And I will live with it.

  93. Real reason to vote NO on H:

    This district has already spent an absurd amount of effort (time and money) trying to accomplish an impossible task: giving every family a school assignment they are delighted with. The current system is the result of many, many hours of study and consultation.

    It is not possible to squeeze every family into Clarendon (or whatever buzz school), and so every year there are calls for a new assignment system. You can shuffle the cards however you like; whatever you do, families will end up at the schools some of you think are undesirable.

    Why should we (in one of the wealthiest communities in the world) allow those schools to stay undesirable, anyway? The teachers at those schools have the same credentials as the ones at the schools people are fighting to get into, and the state-adopted curriculum is the same, with some differences in implementation. They need more resources: good after school programs and stimulating summer school, for one thing.

    What if we made every school in SF a great school? Wouldn't that be a better use of everyone's time and money than trying yet another school assignment redesign?

    Stop wasting time on petty disputes. There are children in our city who need help now.

  94. The 3 proponents of the measure, Carol, Tami and Omar are parents who are sick and tired of having their kids sent across town, so they decided to get some other parents together to try and put a measure on the ballot. They were not trying to do this for the benefit of their own children.

    Carol had her kid sent to school in the Mission from her home in the outer Richmond. Omar's daughter was sent from Bayview to Giannini because that was the assigned school as part of a satellite zone at the the time. I've forgotten about Tami's situation but it was similar.

    A few meetings were held and the group grew to about a dozen people, myself included. The two ladies acted in administrative roles. There were 3 of us who had in-depth knowledge of the assignment system and there was a lot of discussion around how to approach a measure. many ideas were discussed. The measure was written primarily by me with message input from the whole group.

    We had nothing to do with real estate investors or any other vested interest group as has been irresponsibly suggested. We were a grassroots group of parents from different neighborhoods and different political backgrounds who all favored neighborhood schools for the benefit of children and their families.

    I will say I was disenchanted with the campaign people that were brought in after the measure was OK'd to begin the petition phase. But that's another story.

    To respond to the person who says we are wasting valuable time I say this: It is our time. You don't have to spend any time other than the time it takes to fill in the bubble and even that is optional. On the other hand, it is the BOE and SFUSD that has spent an exorbitant amount of time and money in the redesign. I don't see you faulting them when they could have simply instituted NS, which is what most districts do. Instead of using up the District resources as they did, they could have refocused their interests on the real objective, student achievement. Anyway, what does anyone care what we do with our time? It is no skin off your back. We are engaging in the political process. Perhaps you are against that.

    Let's elevate the conversation and stop engaging in spreading falsehoods about Measure H. The measure was carefully reviewed by the City Attorney. Some may like the idea, some may not. We can discuss the matter on its merits like intelligent people.

    Lastly , if as 8:43 said it was an impossible task, why did SFUSD spend so much time and money on it? There were much more transparent and simple solutions to creating diversity than the wildly complex and disparate system they patched together in an effort to please everyone and no one. This SAS is the result of not one single commissioner having the guts to take a stand.

    All we are asking is that neighborhood preference come after sibling. IMHO, whatever they want to do after that is fine. All the alternative schools can have their own system as they please. At least that's the way I'd like it.

  95. omar's high school kids go to gateway - not somewhere that was 'assigned '' and certainly not a neighborhood school for him

  96. 8:43, you say that the path to fixing the undesirable schools is to provide those schools with more resouces and summer school. Fine, but neither of these actions requires us to change the SAS from what we had before to what we have now. We could have left the old system intact and gone ahead with all that you are asking for.

    We have not left the old SAS alone. It is fair game to question the new SAS since it is not relevant or essential to the things you are asking for--the resources and summer school at low performing schools.

    I will only add that tons of resources are being provided to low performing schools--with very little accuntability--and to the detriment of adequate funding for the rest of the school district--such as transportation, special ed, and resouces at the better performing schools. I am all in favor of summer school, but it is not being taken advantaged of when offered. Those that need it the most are not choosing to go. The achievment gap is a big messy problem.

    The new SAS is a messy solution. So messy, it is not even essential or relevant to the key subjects you are looking at for fixing the low achieving schools--resources and summer school. So, why do we need the new SAS? We don't.

  97. Omar sent/sends his kids to boarding school and to private schools on the peninsula. He used to send his kids to Drew, Carver and KIPP. He was never denied a neighborhood school - I can't really understand why he supports this measure. There are not enough neighborhood schools in the Bayview to send all kids TO a neighborhood school. "Neighborhood" in that case would be 2-3 miles away for many of the kids.

  98. Omar would have done us all a service to point out that because there aren't enough schools -including middle schools - his kid got sent to Giannini.

    the Prop H folks really missed an opportunity not to tie their ballot measure to making sure we build enough schools so that all kids have access to a school in reasonable walking distance.

    "Neighborhood" school only works for the NW side where there are plenty of schools - not in the SE where there are way too few for the number of kids that live there (and where the largest number and concentration of kids in SF live.)

    These are FACTS.


  99. Bayview kids going to school outside of the Bayview by two or three miles is my kind of diversity. I want some geographic mixing of the student body, some diversity of the student body. The westside will not see much of it because the distance is so great, but the more centrally located areas will get that mixing. Good, I say.

  100. The district has capacity for 93,000 students. Any new system requires some build out. After years of closing schools and sending kids out BVHP and the rest of the SE, of course it will take some time to reverse course just as it took time to create this mess. But if you don't think children in BVHP should have access to neighborhood schools, I think you need to reconsider your liberal credentials.

    I know Omar sent his kids to Carver, Giannini and KIPP and some private peninsula schools. I don't know what other schools his girls may have attended. I toured KIPP with him a couple years ago. He has attended both neighborhood and non-neighborhood schools. I think he was first turned off when his daughter was sent across town to Giannini. Now he wants children from his community to have access to quality schools close to home. I guess that must be a bad thing according to some people.

    What I gleened from Omar is this: The racial diversity narrative is a white thing. Blacks want good schools close to home, period. Some people continue to want to deny them this opportunity.

    The leadership at SFUSD has systematically closed schools in the southeast to assist developers in their effort to gentrify the area. Failing schools were not part of that picture of an up and coming community so they were closed down one by one. Choice advocates try to claim Students First is directed by real estate interests. It is choice that has been pressed by the district for the benefit of real estate interests. Rather than working to fix schools, closing them down was an expedient and cost effective way to meet lowered demand and gentrification.

    Omar participated in our conversations but he didn't put together the measure. He missed a lot of our meetings. As for missing an opportunity for linking H to construction of new schools, sorry but you don't know what you are talking about though you claim to purport the facts. Creating new seating is just a technical response to an assignment policy change, not the subject for a measure. Creating the seating is not the policy. The seating infrastructure follows the policy. The CJG has already advised SFUSD to sell some surplus and use proceeds to upgrade other existing properties. SFUSD ignored the Grand Jury.

  101. The old SAS was broken in that too many 0/7's were sent too far away to schools with the lowest of the low achievement scores. The old SAS of the citywide lottery free for all resulted in too onerous an assignment for too many parents. Some amount of local preference had to be brought back. Prop H is about how much. The half a loaf of the new SAS? Or more? Vote yes if you want more.

    Neighborhood schools for ES. Citywide lottery crapshoot for MS. That is how I balance things.

    I understand how the district could have come up with a feeder plan for MS. Drawing real assignment areas for MS would have been ugly, especially if non-contiguous. The district could have decided that address verification at the MS was impossible now and would always be impossible. I would understand those arguments. But the district never made those arguements. They never said that they were unable to draw real geographic assignment areas for MS. They never said that they were going to give up on address verification at the MS level. They made no such findings of fact.

    Until then, I will assume that map drawing and address verification is within tha administrative ability of SFUSD. I wanted several options, not the feeder plan on a railroad. They could have stayed with choice if address verification was impossible.
    They could have given us real assignment areas for MS if map drawing for MS was possible. They could have given us several options to choose from. Not the one feeder plan on a silver platter. Was that too much to ask after all the time, money, and effort spent?

  102. I feel as if one crucial point is being left out of this whole neighborhood schools issue - one perhaps people don't want to confront.
    When most folks on this blog say they want a "good" school, they mean one that has good scores and not too many kids from poor backgrounds or who don't speak English well.
    The issue is that SFUSD has lots of those kids, and they need schools as well.
    So how does one make all schools 'good' when the pool of potential students is not the make up that most parents writing here seem to want?
    How can you make the math work?
    No one can wave a wand and make a child who doesn't speak English, or who hasn't had three years of preschool and involved parents exactly the same academically as one who who does speak English and has had those opportunities.
    So how, exactly, is the District supposed to make this work out?
    And how will neighborhood schools make it any better, unless you live in a neighborhood where most of the kids are among those children who's had those advantages?
    People 'demand' a good school, but how, actually, would you make it happen?
    I just don't get how it's all supposed to work out, in either system. There are too many poor and non-English speaking kids in our District to make every school 'good' in the way many parents here seem to be demanding, especially those who didn't get into a school they found acceptable.
    I'm not saying they should have gone to those schools. I just don't get how to fix it and I don't hear how ANYTHING, neighborhood schools or total choice, can make it work out so every parent can have the school of their dreams.
    Please explain to me how you get the numbers to work out.
    I find it to be an impossible to solve problem, I truly don't know what to do beyond trying to seed enough of the high achieving kids into every school so that other high achieving families (I'm using that as a proxy for 'good school') will feel comfortable there.
    But again, how do you do that?

  103. Beth, how to you presume to know what most parents on this blog mean when they say they want a good school for their kids?

  104. For me, the unpardonable sin of any new SAS would be the worst case scenario: assigned very far away to the lowest of the low schools in achievement levels. Two things there: Very long commute and very low scores. I did not set the standard as everyone getting what they want. I set the standard as no one gets an assignment they would not wish on their worst enemy.

    By and large, the new SAS passes this test. I will give the new SAS credit for that. It is the other issues I find fault with. The new SAS took away parental choice unnecessarily. It did not do the least harm possible.

  105. Because I've been reading this blog since it started and that's what people keep saying.

  106. But perhaps that's a good question:

    What do you want in a school?
    How would you structure the District's enrollment plan so that everyone who wanted that could get it?
    I'm not being an apologist for the District here, I'm really trying to imagine how it could work and I can't. Hopefully others can.

  107. Beth wrote: "Because I've been reading this blog since it started and that's what people keep saying"

    So have I...and no they haven't.

  108. There are three main players in the education process, the family including the student, the teacher, and the rest of the ed establishment (government). The school district knows it cannot do much about the family, its hands are tied to do much about the union, and so it focuses on policy areas where it can make change - specifically student assignment. We heard much about the SFUSD quality middle schools campaign. Do we know anything about the results of this campaign. I don't think so because there are no results. SFUSD spends its time and money working on student assignment instead of academic achievement when they aren't doing PR.

    The problem is that student assignment as an avenue of school reform has a long history of ineffectualness. Consent decree desegregation efforts were failures, not because they didn't introduce a modicum of integration (sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't), but because integration had very limited effect on student achievement. SFUSD has a decades long history of integration efforts and has the biggest achievement gap to prove my point.

    You cannot diversify a district along SES lines when almost three quarters of the district is low SES. You can't a square peg in a round hole. All efforts should be focused on the importance of bringing the family into the process and helping to retain and promote the best teachers.

    Removing a burdensome assignment system with a simplified neighborhood system would put the spotlight squarely on where it belongs - the school and its community.

  109. Beth - Thank you for the commentary. I found it very insightful and brought up points that I thought have not really been discussed in such a way on this forum.

  110. But Don you suggest the answer is "Removing a burdensome assignment system with a simplified neighborhood system would put the spotlight squarely on where it belongs - the school and its community."
    That's going to result in some schools with a relatively high proportion of ready-to-learn students and some schools with a relatively high proportion of not-ready-to-learn kids.
    Anyone who lives in a neighborhood where there are lots of not-ready-to-learn kids (for whatever reason they're not) is going to scream bloody murder that they don't want to go to that school.
    I live in Glen Park, right near Glen Park Elementary. Lots of parents here have said loud and clear they won't go there until it's got better scores. Basically until it's got more middle class kids or at least academically strong kids. (Though that transformation is underway as we speak.)
    So people who live in neighborhoods with lots of those kinds of kids are going to be fine with neighborhood schools. People where it's a mix are going to be upset. And people who live where there are lots of non-academically prepared kids are going to scream loudly.
    Which is what already happens.
    Now, if one were to somehow pull the 30% of San Francisco kids who are in private schools into the public school system (on the presumption that a high percentage of them are the kind of kids people want in their schools) then you might have enough of those kinds of kids (I'm running out of ways to describe them) to balance out the kids who have a harder time of it.
    But that seems rather difficult to accomplish and not really fair in a free society.
    So. How do you make it happen?
    I don't see how neighborhood schools make it any better. Parents on this blog keep saying they were assigned to an "unacceptable" school.
    What does unacceptable mean? And how do you make every school acceptable?
    I submit that what incoming K parents are reacting to is NOT so much the teachers but who they imagine their kid will be sitting next to and the affect that child's ability to learn will have upon how everyone else can learn in that classroom.
    So again, how do you do it? I don't see how neighborhood schools make that happen across the board. Unless all those parents just move and clump together.

  111. You are buying into the SFUSD social justice narrative that choice makes the schools better and that choice creates diverity and neighborhood schools does not. It is abundantly clear that SE neighborhoods are far more diverse than the schools within them. That is the result of choice, middle SES intradistrict flight to better neighborhoods.

    Assignment systems don't improved academic outcomes. That has been demonstrated time and again and it is the reason why the NAACP and other minority advocates didn't fight to extend Consent Decree. They have no case. Decades of court led reform failure proves it. If we could just play musical chairs to reach proficiency wouldn't that be a wonderful world? No work required.

    Maybe we cannot improve schools until some very serious structural reforms (how money is allocated and teacher quality) are put in place AND until more families are lifted out of poverty (catch 22). Having a sanctuary city that attracts more non-English speaking low SES families creates even more problems. But in the mean time the question remains - which is more unfair, that a child be forced to travel across town to attend an undesirable school or that the child that lives next door to it do so?

    It is a lousy choice, but I think the answer is pretty clear. We can't solve the problems of the world and we shoulnn't burden children and families based upon the continuation of proven failed assignment policies. Even the district knows if must put neighborhood schools in place and that is why SFUSD's initial plan had ES placement of neighborhood residents 2nd after siblings (CDC is in zone). It was politics that led the Board to change the order. The fear that they would lose the progressive vote if they went all neighborhood. Did you hear a great hue and cry when SFUSD proposed this, which is the same as our measure? No. But if a group of concerned citizens does so they call them racists fanatics funded by real estate moguls. This is the sorry state of far left politics in SF.

    The UESF flyer says that Firefighter's Local 798 is against H. I wondered why firefighters would be against neighborhood schools so I called the union. They said that if UESF put that in their flyer it was wrong. They hadn't as yet made an endorsement. UESF is whipped up all kind of false assertions about H. Large numbers of rank and file teachers support neighborhood schools.

  112. I'm not buying into anything. I want a system where more families don't feel they have to throw themselves off a bridge (or move to the suburbs) when they open their school assignment letters.
    I just don't see how it's possible under ANY of the proposals I've seen.
    Frankly, I don't see how it's possible for everyone to get what they consider a "good" school given the current make up of the District. Too many poor, non-English speaking kids and not enough middle class, education-hungry families. There's just no way to insure that all schools have enough education-minded students so they all 'tip' in the public's perception into the pile of 'good' schools.
    I'm not dissing anyone for background or for what they want for the kids. I'm just pointing out that given the numbers, i don't understand how it can work.
    And I don't see you explaining how neighborhood schools would make it any different.
    Choice makes for craziness, neighborhood schools will make for a different kind of craziness.
    I spoke to a mom yesterday who's got kids at Flynn who's looking to move because she just can't cope with the increasing problems showing up in kids from disadvantaged homes, which she feels are getting in the way of her kids' learning.
    But it's her neighborhood school. So how would that make it better?
    But choice probably wouldn't have gotten her into anything different.
    I'm not for or against anything, I'm asking how you think neighborhood schools will fix it.

  113. Beth - You said "That's going to result in some schools with a relatively high proportion of ready-to-learn students and some schools with a relatively high proportion of not-ready-to-learn kids."

    That's what I mean by buying into the narrative. We already have such a situation. It is likely to improve with a change based upon proximity. A simple understanding of SF demographics bears this out.

    Choice advocates can't make the statement that the lottery creates better outcomes. Why hold neighborhood school advocates to a higher standard? Academic performance can't change by some fancy student assignment system technical compromises of political constituencies.

    The intraschool school achievement gap is virtually the same as the district achievement gap. If choice was the answer we wouldn't have an achievement gap that is almost as bad as its always been. In other words, they have made families bend over backward, but there is little positive result to show for it.

    To address your question, I never said neighborhood schools will fix the problem of underachievement. I do believe neighborhood schools will increase diversity, not necessarily everywhere but on balance. That seems very obvious when you look at the diversity of neighborhoods compared with schools. The district has to focus on school renewal, not school assignment which failed miserably. When everybody has an assured assignment (remember that alternative school choice will still be there) that is when people will really buckled down and say - OK we have to make this school better. That is what community is all about- improving living conditions for the neighborhood. Schools are (or at least they used to be) the center of a community (schools and churches). Choice destroyed neighborhoods and communities. Kids and families on the same block don't know each other as they did in the old days.

    I go visit my nieces in SoCal and their neighbors are their friends and classmates. Not here. The fabric of society has been ripped asunder as a result of diversity agandas. Now we have neither diversity nor narrowing of the gap. And the irony is that if we simply allowed the natural deomographics to take hold, that would create diversity. How anyone can say that it wouldn't is just not reasonable. BVHP is one of the most diverse communities in the city with some of the least diverse schools. Do a fact check.

  114. The measure will not change the fact that families will leave the district to get better schools, only when they do so. If you know what your neighborhood school is, you will move before the assignment process--either to an attendance area school that you want, or out of the city. In the case of moving to another attendance area, Prop H doesn't really address how the District would meet demand at those schools. I understand supporters say that would come after the policy, but what happens in the meantime? Overflow into undesired schools, which is what is happening now. What happens to neighborhoods without a desired school and without a middle class willing to accept their forced assignment to the local school in order to improve it? Further decline. BVHP may have diversified in recent years, but this could be due to school choice. Already marginal areas areas (Ingleside, BVHP, Silver terrace, excelsior, crocker, western addition) will stay that way. A neighborhood school system may help schools like Glen Park, Sunnyside and Serra, perhaps King & Webster, but the schools in areas with a high % of non-native speakers and lower SES will likely get worse.

  115. This comment has been removed by the author.

  116. Beth is right:
    And I don't see you explaining how neighborhood schools would make it any different.
    Choice makes for craziness, neighborhood schools will make for a different kind of craziness.

    We spend way to much time on student assignmetn - and way too little time holding the district accountable for better results. Student assignment is the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We're real busy doing that but not at seeing where we are headed.

    I think the BOE has a "good enough" student assignment system for elementary school (I think they did a quick and dirty - and very half-assed job - on the middle school feeder system), and they have correctly left high school to an all choice system.

    Let's let this stuff play out and focus on other things - like a real quality middle school plan, as just one example.

  117. Lest no one forget, it was a choice system that got us from families picking only 5-7 schools, to a wider group of 20-30 high demand schools in the past decade.

    Now that there are more "in demand" schools throughout more neighborhoods - especially in the central, west and norther part of the City, we have families demanding to get into those schools.

    I don't see how Prop H will do anything to help anyone - just switching out one set of problems for another and it's a toothless amendment.

  118. I shall divide two issues: 1. long commutes and 2. quality of the school once you get there.

    Neighborhoods schools, in my opinion, is mostly about eliminating long commutes. This is a vital concern at the ES level and less so at the MS level.

    Neighborhood schools do not, in the short term, address quality of school. In the long term, there is an argument that local residents need to be assigned to local schools to give them a stake in their particular school. For econ type people, kind of a private property vs. commonly held property idea.

    Choice, that is, the citywide lottery crapshoot, is the opposite of neighborhood schools. It really works better for MS than ES because middle schools differ so much in what they offer and in the ability of older kids to take the bus.

    In the short term, choice also does nothing about school quality. There is a long term argument that choice increased our list of acceptable schools, just pointed out by 4:39.

    The people who are paid to figure out how to improve quality say to throw money at the low performing schools (Superintendent Zones) and to have feeder plans (draft SE CTIP2 parents to stay in the SE and hope they turnaround the struggling middle schools).

    Do you have any better ideas?

    My free advice is:

    1. Identify teachers who cannot teach to the test by monitoring the standardized test scores.

    2. Test at the beginning and at the end of the school year for value added analyses.

    3. Go beyond standardized tests with Vermont type essay testing to improve teaching skills.

    4. Give us back choice for MS.

    5. Narrow CTIP1 to public housing.

    6. Freeze CTIP1 so that future tests do not matter.

    7. Rebalance discretionary spending so that special ed gets more, so that minimum levels of service at all schools are met (for example, an ES the size of Alamo should have at least one counselor), and other Bill of Rights type funding.

    I hear what you do not like. Tell us what you do like.

  119. Every election one or two propositions are of the advisory kind. They are placed on the ballot to pressure elected officials when the elected officials are not up for reelection. It is standard procedure. Whether one agrees with the proposition's point is different matter. But the constant banter about it being toothless comes from people who clearly don't have much experience with the election process here and elsewhere.

  120. 7:53, (a.k.a. DON) keep posting as several different people if that makes you feel better.

  121. 7:53: There are many Californians who have come to feel that these 'advisory' type initiatives are a perversion of the electoral process: they clog up the ballot, and make voters waste their precious time researching issues that often don't even interest them. Our elected representatives are supposed to be responsive to our needs without us sending them an explicit ballot box message about every single petty issue; if they aren't, we chuck them out of office at the next election. After too many years of confusing, multi-page ballots, voters are figuring it out: when in doubt, vote "NO"! Measure H should be defeated handily.

  122. Yes, it's right up there with the attempted law against circumcision :)

    should never have gotten onto the ballot.

  123. Go ahead and rewrite the California Constitution. I'm sure you know better. Never mind that banning of the sort you are "advising" is a violation of the American Constitution as well. I know you liberals think that document is passe. How about a temporary ban unless it is a measure YOU want to see pass,like Transit First, then it should be supported. Strange though how no one was complaining about how Transit First was unnecessarliy taking up their time when it came to an issue which was initiated by progressive/green interests. If you're so concerned about wasting your time and the measure's toothlessness, why spend even any second on it? You could read the Constitution instead. Get an education.

  124. 4:32
    "Let this stuff play out"

    Does this mean SFUSD will track whether the scores of African Americans and Hispanics in particular are going up or not?

    I am not talking about the scores of the schools as a whole. If you change the scores at the school by drafting better students, you have made the achievement level of the school go up, but you have not necessarily closed the achievement gap of the African American and Hispanic students. Improving test scores at low performing schools by shipping out low scorers (golden ticket) and drafting in higher scorers (SE CTIP2) is just playing games to make ourselves look better.

    The feeder plan is just such a shot in the dark that doing something, anything, might produce results. Are we getting the results of a closing of the gap? If yes, great. If not, we need to do something else, and give choice back to the parents.

  125. "Never mind that banning of the sort you are "advising" is a violation of the American Constitution as well. I know you liberals think that document is passe....You could read the Constitution instead. Get an education." Please stop. You're at risk of losing further support.

    In fact, on might argue that propositions waste money and are anathema to fiscal conservatives.

  126. You don't have to be a fiscal conservative to be against waste, though you do need to be undemocratic to be against freedom of expression.

    Like I'm really going to take your advice, Anonymous. Come out of your hovel and take off your hood.

  127. My goodness. This is like watching two kids argue in the school yard. Let's just let the voters decide in November.

    I am voting for it. I don't care if it's "toothless." Kinda like a straw poll of how SF residents really feel about this issue.

  128. Parents Involved in Community Schools (PICS)

    We are a group of parents and community members who believe in promoting neighborhood public schools in the Seattle Public School District. Every child should have the right to attend their neighborhood school if that is their choice. We believe that neighborhood schools foster a strong sense of community and help create a safe place to raise children. The benefits of attending a neighborhood school are multiple, including access to after-school activities like tutoring, club and athletic participation. Parents can more easily attend parent/teacher conferences and monitor their child's progress in school as well as attend other meetings and fundraisers. We believe that neighborhood schools help create successful students who make good citizens.

    PICS is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation that was formed in June of 2000 to challenge the Seattle School District (SSD) in its use of a racial tie-breaker when assigning students to high school. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 28, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of PICS. For more information on the case, go to the U.S. Supreme Court website at Click on "Docket". The docket case number is 05-908.

    The SSD has not used the racial tie-breaker since 2002, while litigation was pending, and the schools are still diverse. The impact of this case is that Seattle today (2008) is returning to neighborhood schools, which was one of the goals of PICS.

    PICS is currently proposing that another high school be built in the Queen Anne/Magnolia neighborhoods to create more access for neighborhood students. Current Ballard High School is over-crowded. Too many neighborhoods are relying on access to one high school.

    If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me at


    Kathleen Brose
    Parents Involved in Community Schools

  129. I spoke too broadly. Achievement goes up and down for many reasons. There are a lot of factors going on at the same time. If scores for Hispanics and African Americans go up now, under feeders at MS, it may be due to a lot of different things, and we cannot be sure which one made the difference. It all just trial and error. And a messy one at that since multiple variables are going on at the same time. We cannot give too much credit or blame to one factor.

    Therefore, changing the SAS is not enough for closing the gap. Ask Hispanic and African American families in partticular what they think they need to do better in school. Have we published those inquires? Have we made those inquires?

  130. On p. 8 of the Examiner Mellissa Griffin has a short article about Prop H.

    It says, "in the Voter pamphlet for this election, opponents of Prop H argue that 'it will create chaos in our schools by mandating that the local board create reassignment of students in our district even after they started the school year!' But I doubt that is true."

    "...far from creating 'chaos', Prop H (which is just a policy statement) will likely be ignored by the Board because its members do not believe there is a problem."

    Griffith did get some of her facts wrong in the piece. For example, she said CTIP1 kids get "first dibs", which of course is not the case.

    There is often a great deal of confusion over the new SAS because, while it may be many things, it is not simple for the average parent to understand. In fact, though billed as simple and transparent, it likely is the most complex student assignment system in the US. I have read about many of them and none have as many twists and turns as does this new SAS.

  131. " We believe that neighborhood schools foster a strong sense of community and help create a safe place to raise children.

    I'm still at a loss as to how to envision this happening in neighborhoods that are already marginal. Can you explain how isolating the neighborhood will help improve it or the schools? It could do the above in nice neighborhood. It will become an incubator for low achievement and crime in a not-so-nice one. I agree that rather than destroying neighborhoods, choice, along with immersions & K-8s are the reason we even have as many acceptable schools as we do, and why some stabilization of neighborhoods such as the Excelsior, Ingleside and Crocker Amazon has occurred.

    Maybe the next proposition should propose to build a wall--say along Ocean avenue to the south, up Mission to the north? That way you can enjoy your nice neighborhoods, with nice schools without interacting with Southeast Side riff raff. I know this proposition was founded, at least in part, from a Bay View resident. I must say, I don't understand his motivations. There are many parents who would give a arm to go to Giannini. I would venture his kids were placed there to give them an opportunity to be with high achievers as opposed to lack of space. Visitacion Valley MS is closer to Bay View, and always has space. If proximity was the main concern, why didn't he go there? If he wants good schools in BayView, why write a neighborhood placement policy that affects all the rest of SF parents? Why not focus on what that neighborhood needs, which is a lot more than schools?

  132. What can the Mayor do for education? Not that much. Education is the domain of the Board of Education.

  133. 11:55

    Poorly written, illogical,inflammatory and uniformed.

  134. In 2006 this excerpt was part of a story called "With more choice comes resegregation":

    Recent warning

    In a 2004 report, Biegel warned the district that racial groups were becoming isolated.

    U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup agreed and in November of last year halted the 22-year-old consent decree that mandated integration. He called it a failure.

    -The system "has not achieved diversity in any meaningful sense," Alsup wrote. "It has allowed, if not fostered, resegregation. The court has pleaded with the parties to fix the diversity index. They have not."-

    Will the new SAS increase diversity? According to choice advocates neighborhood schools will decrease diversity. So how then will the new ES (and MS systems in turn), with greater neighborhood preference than under the Diversity Index, assure more diversity given that choice people claim it is choice not neighborhhood that inceases diversity? And how do you answer the charge that the judge concluded that choice was a failure in constrast to your contention to the contrary?

  135. To 12:23

    I agree that Prop H is "Poorly written, illogical,inflammatory and uniformed."

  136. Hey, SF Parent PAC,

    Is it a fair statement that SF Parent PAC is mostly the same group of parents who are active in the 501(c)3 nonprofit, Parents for Public Schools-San Francisco? As a nonprofit, PPS-SF cannot be politically active. A separate Political Action Committee, SF Parent PAC, is entirely about being politically active, and can make endorsements, fundraise, and all the other things that PPS cannot do. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, that is the correct way to protect the nonprofit.

  137. That's incorrect, Charlie. A 501c3 can endorse issues, but not candidates. SFPPS isn't breaking a law by advocating against H. On the other hand, it does raise ethical questions given that they receive money from the District and are supporting their political positions.

  138. What money does PPS get from SFUSD? State actual amounts and dates.

  139. And no, the parents in the SF Parent PAC are NOT the same ones who are in PPS. A few SFPAC members are disgruntled ex-pps members.

  140. I did not say 100% the same. I said mostly the same. Is mostly the same a fair statement?

    Thank you for clarifying that a 501c3 nonprofit can endorse issues but not candidates.

    It is still useful to have a PAC that can do both candidates and issues, can fundraise for candidates, and be completely politically active all in one package. Why should rich guys have all the fun? Go get them, SF Parent PAC.

  141. Don, can you post the web address of the article?

  142. Don, the residential patterns in SF are segregated in terms of public housing, at the very least. A neighborhood policy would reinforce that segregation.

    I'm not saying choice will do such a great job either. I am saying that any comparison of the integration we would get now with the level of intergration we use to have under the 40% cap, or even with the Diversity Index (the race free substitute for the racial caps) are neither here nor there. The Ho case was all about the illegitamacy of those ethnic caps. All the integration numbers from that time period are invalid.

    The numbers that count now are the achievement gap numbers for African Americans and Hispanics. Are the kids learning?

  143. Don and Charlie always spell the same words incorrectly, is Charlie another one of Don's fake characters?

  144. Nice try, but isn't your game getting a bit old?

    SES is justs a proxy for race to fulfill the terms of Ho. The evidence against choice=segregation is overwhelming.

  145. If you read this blog at all you'd be aware that Charlie and DonK are not the same. So why are trying to stir up trouble? Try putting your issues aside. This isn't the place to work out your problems.

  146. I hear a lot of cries to limit CTIP1 status to only those children who reside in public housing. But there is a waiting list a mile long of families eligible families for public housing, but whose numbers have not come up, and may never come up. The census tract approach, while not perfect, is the most verifiable and fair proposal I have heard. Address is fairly easy to verify, and other sources of income are much harder. So what if a handful of middle class kids like Bevan Dufty's inadvertently get preference to a trophy school if it means access to goof schools for thousands of other kids? And it a bunch of middle class families suddenly flood CTIP1 zones, it will achieve housing desegregation that no other program in the country has managed! Of course, then people will complain about gentrification.

  147. 10:30 pm -- I am not going to vote for H, but I do think the problem in CTIP 1is a fairly serious one, and it is going to undermine trust in this assignment system. You talk about a "few" middle class families taking advantage of CTIP 1. That may have been true this past year, but it is not going to be the case in the future, once word gets out. It's like the European-born middle class parents who took advantage of the preference for non-English speakers under the old system and turned what was supposed to help low SES families and turned it into a boon for wealthy Europeans! The same thing will happen here -- indeed, it is going to be much worse. There are significant blocks in the Western Addition, in the Mission, and in the Tenderloin where middle class families can easily rent and get the CTIP 1 ticket. In the past, I have suggested that an easy "fix" here is to exclude from CTIP 1 any building built after 1979 (with the exception of rebuilt public housing). This knocks out the lofts in the Mission and some new buildings in Western Addition and the Tenderloin. This easy fix would probably take out 50%of middle class parents abusing CTIP 1. What you are left with are renovated buildings in the Western Addition where middle class folks live. This is how Dufty got in. One idea on this is to knock out any condos and TICs from CTIP 1. This doesn't take a lot of time -- the City keeps meticulous records on these points. Anyway you do this, I think it is important for proponents of the current assignment system (and I'm not one of them) to understand that abuse by middle class families of preferences designed for low-income SES folks will, over time, undermine public support for the system.

  148. 12:35 In the late 90's entire ZIP codes got preference to the school of their choice, which affected hundreds of families. The CTIP1 boundaries are drawn much more narrowly, and the BOE made it clear they would re-evaluate them periodically. I remember in the 90's a lot of people TALKED about renting an apartment in a different ZIP code, but few people actually went through with it. In other words, I really think there are bigger things to worry about than a few middle class people getting a leg up in the lottery by renting a place in a CTIP1 zone.

  149. You go ahead and keep repeating to yourself that abuse of the CTIP1 golden ticket is a minor issue. Meanwhile, others will drive a truck thrrough the loophole, and it is all legal--just playing by the rules.

    This is more an issue for candidates for the Board of Ed than for Mayor.

    The most direct City issue that deals with education that I have has to do with Muni safety, especially on the J Church. MS kids, more and more, will be taking the bus. I worry for their safety.

  150. 12:51 pm -- I think the difference is that the zip code areas back then had no gentrification. That's simply not true today except for bayview/hunters point. The other areas are filled with gentrified housing that folks can take advantage of. I don't want to name names, but I have a coworker who is renting in a luxury high rise. CTIP 1. In the past month, she has seen three familiars with four year olds move in. Stunned, she pulled one of the moms aside who told her they had moved in there to take advantage of CTIP 1.

  151. All of Bernal Heights and parts of Noe Valley were in 94110 back when there was ZIP code preference. Rooftop, Clarendon, Lakeshore, and Claire Lilienthal were packed with those kids. The scale of magnitude is entirely different with CTIP1, which is much more targeted, and can be adjusted. Most people with the means to move to take advantage of CTIP1 also have the means to go to private schools, and are more likely to do so.

  152. And Noe Valley then was called Nowhere's Valley. Honey, you aren't the only that's been around the block. Any system that's not airtight can be gamed. You said middle class folks using CTIP 1 would be rare -- we've already got an example of Bevan Dufty getting his kid into Rooftop. The examples will now multiply. I say, ditch the preferences and go to a straight lottery. Let the schools compete again. That's why SFUSD changed the system -- the schools were competing for middle class families. Now, with this new stupid system, there's no competition. CTIP 1 get into whatever they want -- and they've shown all they want is the three schools middle class families thought were good 10 years ago (lillienthal, rooftop, and clarendon) -- and people in the neighborhoods get maybe a slightly better chance of getting in than the rest of the world.

  153. 2:57 Bevan Dufty did not "game" the system by purchasing or renting in a CTIP1 zone in order to get a leg up in the lottery. He had lived there for several years before the school district zoned it that way last year. If I remember right it was about the only place he could afford to buy and still live in District 8.

  154. Bevan Dufty is not doing anything wrong. He is just playing by the rules. You can too. Get into CTIP1 and cash in the golden ticket. Maybe even move out if the school district does not care where you live after the initial assignment to the school of your choice. Beats years and years of private tuition.