Thursday, October 6, 2011

PPSSF Enrollment Fair review

I attended the PPSSF Enrollment workshop last night in Bernal Heights. I received a lot of good information about the admission process, school make-up and a bit of down to earth thoughts on how this craziness works. There were five parent representatives in attendance. The main speaker was a parent from Miraloma and the rest were from Alice Fong Yu, Rosa Parks, J Serra and Paul Revere. It was great hearing their perspectives.

Some takeaways:

1. Don’t weigh everything on the base test scores. Visit the schools to get a real feel for what is happening. The parent (Carol Lei) from Miraloma enrolled her child when the API score was 651 and the school was begging for enrollments. It’s now 865 and one of the trophies in the SE. A lot can change over the years. Parents, grant money, it all can make a difference.

2. 81% of last year’s applicants received one of their choices of schools. 75% of those were their 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice.

3. Get your application in on time!

4. List your schools in order of preference on your application. This is very important. Once the computer starts assigning schools, “it” assigns based on your order of preference after it goes through all the tiebreakers.

5. Everything will be ok. One of the parents from Rosa Parks even had a sign that said so! The sign was sort of a humorous take on her process and how much she poured over the data, had spreadsheets and went to the edge of nutty during her “time” in the trenches. Everything will work out.

6. Meet the parents of the schools you are interested in. Attend their Fall fairs, PTA meetings and so forth. These are the people you will be spending a lot of time with over the next 6 years. Make sure the families are a fit, not just the school.

I do feel the session was worth it and recommend attending one if you have time. If not you can still glean a lot of this info from the website and of course on this blog. I suppose hearing from the parents was the best part. I left feeling a lot less stressed about the process.


  1. PPSF has really good insights. We went through the process last year and ended up in a private school because we did not get our choices in the lottery. The biggest factor everyone has to keep in mind is that the rules have changed. This year was the first year with the new rules so everyone from years prior has not lived through the new process.

    - Everything may not work out : you have to be smart about it.
    - Your best and bestest bet is listing your attendance area school
    - Spanish Immersion is hot right now so don't rely completely on that
    - Chinese Immersion is popular but not as popular (right now there are spots in K at Starr King and Avila)
    - List many schools including 5-10 non trophy schools, most people not in the AA will not get into the Clarendon's and Lilienthal's
    - What you list in Round 1 is crucial - your best shot is Round 1, unlike prior years. Later rounds get filled up by AA folks, Sibling priorities etc.(we did not list Sunnyside in Round 1 and now wish we had)
    - Resgister in the school in you are assigned - it does not affect your assignment chances in subsequent rounds

  2. Does anyone know the equivalent numbers from last year for non-siblings receiving one of their choice schools?

  3. Quick note -- lillienthal does not have an attendance area. As a k-8, it's citywide by definition.

  4. Shame on PPSSF for continuing to tout the misleading 80% number.

    If you are applying for the first time, without the sibline preference, and you do not live in a CTIP1 zone or have a child in a feeder preschool, your chances of getting any of your choices is less than 20%.

    If you are on this blog, it is likely that you will be one of the unlikely 80%.

    Plan and vote accordingly.

  5. 12:58- Right. 81% got their choice, 19% did not. Pure Math. Where exactly are we being misled?

  6. 1:22: A deeper understanding of math than required by the tests that SFUSD struggles to pass is needed.

    Those numbers may be accurate but are not helpful. I would hazard a guess that most people looking to this forum for help don't have a kid in a school that will give their other kid a slotting preference. So the 81% number isn't relevant. What would be is the number of kids who get their preference when that group is excluded. The same thing goes (but to a lesser degree) for those in CTIP1.

    SFUSD hasn't been forthcoming with these numbers, probably because they paint them in a much less favorable light.

  7. 2:55 PM


    The SFUSD and Parents for Public Schools SF, who also knows better, continues to promote the very misleading information.

    PPSF wanted a donation from me recently. I said no. I don't know why they call themselveds Parents for Public Schools. They should instead call themselves Parents Who Gamed the System for Public Schools. How about it:


  8. "If you are applying for the first time, without the sibline preference, and you do not live in a CTIP1 zone or have a child in a feeder preschool, your chances of getting any of your choices is less than 20%."

    Show your math for this, please. Your claim that percent getting a choice is not 80% (though the numbers I downloaded from SFUSD -- they are there as an .xls file -- do bear out that percentage as reported by PPSSF), but I can't credit 20% either. How did you arrive at that figure?

    Here comes the "anecdata:" but we entered the lottery twice, in 2010 and 2011, without any of those factors and got our first choice both times. The most recent time, it was our AA school, our first choice on our form, and a very, very popular school that you've probably heard of (we enrolled). The time before that, we also got our first listed choice. Under the old system, I listed it first even though it was actually my second preference (the old system rewarded some fiddling with rank order in this way). This assignment was a non-AA school that is not quite as enormously popular on this particular blog, but was still quite satisfactory (we did not enroll -- spring birthday, waited). So that's 100% success in first-choice requests for me (2/2).

  9. I'm not either of the previous posters, but the reason the 81% is misleading is that it includes siblings, who get automatic placement. Occasionally the district has run numbers that exclude siblings. Last time I saw them they ran to around 60 or 65% getting one of their choices if I'm not mistaken (not 20% as 12:58 claims.)

    That leaves 35 to 40% who got none of their choices. But these 40% tended to all pick the same few oversubscribed schools. That's why it's super important to tour your AA school and if it's at all acceptable to you (think August 15th and your child has no school assignment) to put it on your list. Lots of people don't, thinking they can get it in the second round, and are sorely disappointed when it's already filled up.

    Of course there are a few AA schools that will not have room for all the children in their zone, but that's a separate problem.

  10. Good advice with the exception of number 6 - "everything will be OK." Many people who went private or left SF would not agree. Some were people who posted their experiences on this blog last year, just as you're doing now.

  11. I have to agree that PPSSF has an agenda. I recently attended an informational meeting with them. Besides asking for money under 15 minutes into the conversation, the president or whatever her title is was horrid. She was dismissive, didn't allow parents to ask questions and kept spewing the same ridiculous line that all schools in SF are great and it will all work out. Unfortunately, I did not drink the koolaid so there is still a healthy fear that I need to have a plan two in the likelihood that we don't get a school on our list. I took their advice to put less popular schools on our list and plan to check out our attendance school. Boy, I wish I'd stayed in the Midwest where the process was simple, you went to school where you lived, simple!

  12. OK, so let's accept that only 60% of families get one of their choices.

    That includes CTIP1 and preschool feeder applicants, who go ahead of other applicants.

    I don't think it is too big a stretch to then realize that the "got a choice" number for the general population (non-CTIP1, non-sibling, non preschool families) is well less than 50%.

    If your not interested in immersion, you're family is at an even great disadvantage.

    So, in other words, the so called "choice" system that PPSSF is touting is not a "choice" system at all. It's a highly targeted system that caters to SFUSD chosen political interests and lobbyists.

    As I said earlier, PPS = PWGSPS = Parents who gamed the system for "public" schools.

  13. PPS gives factual information and uses real data. When you include applicants that have sibling preference, CTIP1 preference, and SFUSD preschool preference, you will have many, many people getting into one of their top 3 choices. The question you want to know if you do not have a sibling already enrolled, CTIP 1 status, or are enrolled in a SFUSD preschool, is what are my realistic chances of getting into schools X, Y, or Z. PPS can actually give you some indication of your chances based on the data from last year. It is not precise but at least you will know the reality of the situation. How many K seats are there total at school X? How many went to siblings? How many went to CTIP1? How many went to SFUSD preschool applicants? How many went to attendance area applicants?
    It is not PPS's fault that some schools and programs are over-subscribed and others are under-subscribed. If you are a parent looking at the SFUSD school system, it might be beneficial to get a realistic picture of the available seats and the previous year's applicant pool so you know what your odds are when applying.

  14. "So, in other words, the so called "choice" system that PPSSF is touting is not a "choice" system at all. It's a highly targeted system that caters to SFUSD chosen political interests and lobbyists."

    You're hitting on a subject about which I have post repeatedly over the years. I would be interested if you could elaborate a bit on the above comment. If you are going to make the claim that SFUSD has an ulterior motive in its assignment system, it is only fitting that you tells us what it is. I have my own ideas, but I'd like to hear yours since you brought it up.

  15. @4:14 PM

    You said, "though the numbers I downloaded from SFUSD -- they are there as an .xls file"

    Could you post a link to that file? I have been looking for that data.


  16. As a parent that went through it last year.

    I doubt the % once you take out the CPT1 and the siblings. I personally know alot of people that didn't get choice 1, 2 or 3.

    The attitude everything will be ok is truthfully for those people who possess a type B personality and are comfortable just going "with the flow".

    Those people with a type A personality feel angered with the process that fails many and leave the city. You don't see these people at the PPSF events.

    I think you need to look at yourself and understand what you think is acceptable. This varies from person to person. Be honest with yourself and manage the outcome.

    Everything does not just work out. You make it work out by accepting what you are given and make the best of it.

  17. So who has the facts? If the PPS is BS and the SFUSD is BS, then what's left? There's a lot of talk on this blog not a lot of help.

    @8:54, where is your child? You say you went through it last year but don't expand on what happened and why you're so angry or what the parents could do this year.

    DonK, where is your child? You're obviously still in SF and ok?

  18. I have a child at Alamo and one at Presidio. Both are walking distance though I rarely walk because of the time issues between one and the other due to zero period.

    PPSSF is a pretty left wing organization that tends to toe the party line and support SFUSD, from whom it gets some funding for various outreach services. The current Board of Education has close ties to PPSSF.

    I tried to get them to help me with developing the nonexistent ELAC at Alamo, but they have the same attitude as SFUSD about higher performing schools. Alamo is not a school on their radar for help simply because of the neighborhood and the API.

    That doesn't mean PPSSF can't provide good information in the school search. But I will say I've personally had experience with them giving out bogus information. And most people are going to take what they hear at face value.

    The idea that everything will be OK is obviously wishful thinking. But your dreams can come true if you win the San Francisco lottery.

  19. 8:54 Here

    We are at a private school.

    We asked for attendance area but it is a popular one - Grattan. We put less popular schools down.

    We received John Muir twice.

    I can run down our personal experience of what we listed, what we toured but seriously it is just too frustrating.

    We do not live in CPT1, we are not a sib and we didnt go to the preschool.

    It is just a serious crap shoot. Before the change, people could strategize .. etc. Now, who know.

    We are going to try again for 1st grade lottery.

    It is very time consuming to tour, discuss the tour with your spouse, compare the schools, research schools that you decide not to tour. You get emotionally involved. You look at life decisions: financial, way of life, the future. All of this and in the end, some computer makes your "decision". Then you need to decide about the computer's decision.

    It was painful to contribute so much to the process and not have any control.

    No one seriously understands until you have been thru it to the end.

    If you are a type A person and not a go with the flow, it sucks you dry.

  20. Don,
    You are misinformed about PPS. PPS has never received funds from SFUSD - they have to raise all their own funds to support the staff that work there.

    This year, they were written into a grant the district got for the SIG schools to help develop parent leadership training -this is the first time in their 12+ year history they got anything from SFUSD.

    As far as "left wing" - really. Most of the parents that are leading PTAs and SSC in SFUSD - especially in schools that are only more recently on the radar of the middle class -- came to the public schools through the efforts of PPS.

    Many on this blog are PPS parent ambassadors - myself included -who have spent many volunteer hours on top of our own day jobs to help other parents understand their options.

    PPS has deliberately chosen NOT to go the screamy-yelling route in putting forth parent perspectives to the district. It was formed when Coleman Advocates had that slot (I volunteered for both organizations.) Might it be time to change tactics? Possibly - given SFUSD doesn't take parents seriously or see them as educational partners.

    But your demonizing of PPS is absolutely wrong. The hundreds of PPS parent volunteers and small staff changed the face of public schools in the past decade.

    Yes, many of us disagree on some things - great for you that your kids got into what have historically been the most popular elementary and middle school for the past two decades.

    PPS helped others of us venture into schools you never considered - and thanks to that, we have schools that were once unpopular be sought after options for families. Schools like Miraloma, Grattan, Sherman, Flynn, Fairmount, Alvarado, Peabody, Starr King, Monroe, Lafayette, RL Stevenson, etc. etc. etc. And for middle schools - Aptos, Roosevelt and Lick were "scary" schools until PPS parent ambassadors started helping introduce them to parents. Through a small group of people like Dana Woldow, Balboa HS became a sought after high school - so much so that this year there were twice as many 1st choice requests for that school than there were spots.

    Some of us have been around longer than you- and doing the SSCs, PTAs, and district level advocacy long before you were on the scene. You are

  21. Again, if you are a parent with a child entering kindergarten next year, one without a sibling already in the SFUSD, what you need to focus on is this:

    You will have a much better chance of getting a chosen public school spot if:

    you already have your child in public preschool,

    you live or can move to a CTIP1 zone by the time of application next fall and winter,

    your child is a native speaker of and SFUSD sponsored language.

    If not, be prepared to *not* get one of your chosen schools, as there are better than 50% odds that you will not get a spot.

    Have a look at your local school. Check it out to see what your chances are against last years statistics. That's probably your best chance.

    Don't waste your time with Parents for Public School or any of their flaky "ambassadors". Complete waste of time.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. 11:11,

    If you look at my comment again I think you will notice I wasn't "demonizing" PPSSF at all. You seem very defensive about any criticism or feedback. The information about receiving funds from the district is factually correct and is the same as yours in regard to SIG. I received this information from PPSSF directly by phone just last week and it is information that's also available to view in the K-resolutions on SFUSD's BOE page. Why are you criticizing me for saying that PPSSF gets money from the district when you agree that they do?

    Regarding political views, I have spoken with several of your staff members over time and it is absolutely correct that the organization has a left-wing bias. Are you trying to tell me that isn't true? Regardless of politics, I would join again if PPSSF kept a more neutral public political image or at least was willing to do outreach to schools that have issues, but don't meet the profile of an underserved school. Now two years after repeatedly requesting that PPSSF help Alamo develop an ELAC they still don't have one in violation of law and to the detriment of those ELL families who don't know that their targeted funds are being unlawfully diverted away from their lawful use. Once again, PPSSF could help but chooses not to in order to serve the other schools.

    In regard to your assertion that you have spent more time than I at advocacy, I don't know what it is that length of time has anything to do with advocating for public schools. I have spent over eight years advocating for what I believe. PPSSF's soft and gentle form of advocacy is not the only form of advocacy and, frankly, it is often lacking in effectiveness. And though PPSSF gives seminars in how to run a site council, it wasn't PPSSF that alerted the State to the fact that the District's Board and 103 schools failed to pass a Single plan/BSC in the 2009-10 school year - a gross violation of law and the first time in California history that the SSC Ed Code was simply abandoned.

    Sometimes, as in the case above, it is necessary to use the uniform complaint process to get things done. It wasn't PPSSF that managed to get SFUSD to dump it's unlawful Balanced Scorecard 1.0 via state intervention, though I will say 2.0isn't much of an improvement. What is the point of PPSSF's instructional seminars on the subject if it won't even keep an eye on SFUSD to make sure they do what they are legally required to do? PPSSF fell down on the job and now you have the nerve to accuse me of needing to change tactics or of raising my voice? Who got the job done and made sure the district was doing its due diligence in regard to the Single Plan for Student Achievement/BSC? But none of this surprises me because the last time I attended a PPSSF seminar at the community summit PPSSF was giving out grossly false information regarding the legal mandate of school site councils.

    So having said all this, I do believe PPSSF is a worthwhile organization that does good work in the main. If it chooses not raise its voice in the figurative sense it should have the good graces to understand that other parents might have to raise their voices, especially given that it doesn't. You might stop chastising parents who understand that SFUSD doesn't listen to parents who don't formalize their issues within the complaint procedures available. By referring to my efforts as yelling and screaming you are, in effect, counseling parents against advocating for children through the legal channels made available for this purpose. It is a strange position for a child/public school advocacy organization.

  24. There are lies, danm lies, and statistics.

    SFUSD use to allow a list of 5 or so. It would report people getting one of their choices if they were give one of the 5 on the list. Then the list was increased to 7. Now more parents got one of their choices than ever before because they got one of those seven.

    Why stop there? Have everyone list every school we have and report that everybody will get their choice. Just about there for HS choices. MS not far behind. Yet is there that much satisfaction for HS and MS choices?

    If you take the sibling admissions out of the calculations, you do get much different numbers. This was reported in San Francisco Magazine about 2-3 years ago. The CTIP, preschool, and local residence factors make things more complicated. The Clarendon and Miraloma residents found their chances next to nothing, even with the local school preference in their favor.

    One parent who lived in the Inner Richmond, north of Geary, could not get into her assignment area school, nor to another north of Geary Inner Richmond school. She was assigned to Monroe, which is south of Geary, Inner Richmond. She was dissatisfied.

    A lot of people are not going to get what they most want. That is the math for limited number of seats.

  25. Charlie,

    Saying Monroe is south of Geary is like saying that Argentina is south of the border.

    Yes, SFUSD loves to play this game about how many applicants get one of their choices. If I go into a restaurant with a sizable menu I'm sure I will find something reasonable to eat even if I don't get any of my first ten choices. But then I'm happy with a baloney sandwich, which makes a good metaphor for the district's hyped lottery satisfaction claim.

    The K parents don't know the difference as newcomers and the media loves to blow SFUSD's horn. Sometimes they are just as misinformed as parents. Of course with the complexities of the new system it is easy to understand their confusion since most reporters are more interested in stories about surplus book burnings than the boring day to day issues that don't grab headlines. Just yesterday the Examiner's Mellisa Griffith got the elementary school preferences all wrong. How many people do you think even noticed?

  26. I don't think PPS's mission is to be a District watchdog. Personally I thank them for the work they've done in introducing a wide variety of schools to a wider variety of parents. In the end, it's more constructive than only being a watchdog/criticizer. I remember Miraloma before and after...and I saw those out-of-neighborhood parents work constructively to achieve something good. And yes, when your organization is called "Parents for Public Schools," you are likely going to have reps that are biased towards public schools.

  27. "Chinese Immersion is popular but not as popular (right now there are spots in K at Starr King and Avila)"

    No sh*t! I thought spaces at DeAvila were as sought-after as AFY. Also, can't see why Starr King's got vacancies in it's MI program. It's a great school and a great program with a great parent community.

  28. "Does anyone know the equivalent numbers from last year for non-siblings receiving one of their choice schools?"

    It's about 70% (remember to subtract from the nominator and denominator, folks).

  29. "I don't think it is too big a stretch to then realize that the "got a choice" number for the general population (non-CTIP1, non-sibling, non preschool families) is well less than 50%."

    Bollocks, frankly. Too many of the folks here can't do Math. Sibs lst year were 30% of intake.
    51/70 = 72%.

    Less than half of CTIP1 applied to schools outside CTIP1, so that's only ~8% of slots in schools outside of CTIP1 taken by CTIP1 kids.

    So if you're non-CTIP1, non-sibling, it's about 64% if you're not applying to a CTIP1 school.

  30. @4:14.
    I would love to see the raw numbers you found in xls format. Can you post the URL? Finding the real numbers and cutting out Siblings (which seemed to be a very large percentage this year) and CTIP1 assignments will in my opinion give 2012 folks a realistic view of what the school popularity was for everyone else. thanks

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. @10:19 - not sure about the xls doc. But here's a link to the page on SFUSD where the PDF lives.

    Has there been info published beyond the top 14 schools yet?

    As far as PPS, I take all information I'm getting with a grain of salt and an open mind. I'm not saying PPS is the end all of fact. I'm wise enough to know a lot of people didn't get what they wanted. A lot moved, went to privates, etc. I can't do either. I'm stuck in this situation with all of you. I'm going to do my best to find a school I feel is a good fit for my family. If we don't get it the first round, we'll do the second round. If we still don't get what we want we are using Parochial as a back-up.

  33. 9:25,

    Maybe it isn't PPS's mission to be a watchdog, though they certainly engage on other watchdog activities. Don't you think some entity should be a watchdog of the LEA or are you thinking there is no need for public oversight? In any case, if I was conducting parent classes on site councils, I would think it would be in my interest to know when SFUSD is not abiding by the very laws thatare the subject of those classes.

    As for my own efforts, SFUSD found in my favor and revised its BSC to comply with law. Is it too meddling for your tastes to ask that SFUSD abide by the law and give parents their rightful and lawful input in school affairs? Or maybe you think parents should just shut the fu** up and settle for cake sales.

  34. 9:25 here--
    Don, I think advocacy and watchdog efforts should be separated. They require different strategies and attract different kinds of people to the organizations. Conducting trainings on SSC implementation and policing the district on the topic are two separate activities. PPS is likely aware of any SFUSD shortcomings (as all of us are) but don't take your approach to resolving them. PPS seems to me, to be positioning themselves as proactive and positive. BTW, Thanks for the belittling closing sentence and *** stand-in for an expletive. For someone who calls out others when he feels "targeted" you sure do the same thing...and often.

  35. 10:15 I'm not sure you understand the math. In a "choice" system like we have (or even a "neighborhood" which we do not have), all slots are not equal--30% total siblings or 8% total CTIP1 doesn't matter.
    To do the math to figure out what percentage of non-sib, non-CTIP, non-public preschool families received one of their top choices (b/c lets face it receiving your 10th choice isn't exactly a win), you need to actually look at school by school placement data. Even more useful, SFUSD or PfPS should actually publish how many families from each neighborhood get one of their choices. I guarantee that for us in the middle, it is way less than 80%.

  36. PPS bias is to get people to apply to public schools--that's understandable because numbers drive the funding. At the same time, my experiences with them have been that there is far too much focus on "marketing" your school and too little on fixing real problems or acknowledging some of the real failings, both of the assignment system and of the school system. They think it is a mark of success when schools with 40 availabilities are getting 1000+ first choice requests. I call that a broken system.
    So take what you can from their info but recognize that you are getting the insight from the people that either won or had no choice and it is in their best interest to maintain a positive spin.

  37. You post a personal criticism of my efforts using rumor, insinuation and innuendo from your anonymous perch, but never say exactly what it is that you actually find to your precious dislike. And you are offended by a partial expletive?

    I suspect you to be a pseudo-Marxist fantasizing about sowing discord and chaos on Market Street, but alas you're to scared to actually protest in public.

    So how do you like this treatment?

  38. @Lola and others interested in seeing which schools are more likely for non-neighborhood, non-sibling, non CTIP-1 kids to get assigned to:

    Go to

    Look at page 28. You can see the percentage of assigned kids who were siblings, CTIP1 and from the attendance area. Add them up and subtract from 100 and you get the percentage of assigned kids who don't fall into those categories (and thus some indication of what your child's chance of getting assigned to that school would have been last year).

  39. A lunatic without a job ranting about Marxists. Does he ever shut up?

  40. Perhaps Marx upsets him because he doesn't have a job and all he does is post things on blogs all day and night.

    Workers of the world -- unite?

  41. From page 28 of the SFUSD document "Student Assignment"

    the statistics indicate that the non-sibling, non CTIP1, non assignment area success rate is 40%.

    40 (not 80).

    Got that PPSSF? Surely someone there can calculate this as easily as I can.

  42. what you are saying is that siblings and ctip1 kids don't count and should not count in the statistics as being successful placements ? only kids you consider worthy of should be included in that statistc, eh?

  43. 6:51, I believe people want to know the odds for their own situation, not some raw average for all applicants, in general. Their own situation means whether or not they are prek, CTIP1, local area, or none of the tie-breakers. This is not an opinion about worthiness. This is a more detailed analysis for transparency and useful information.

    The raw average is that most kids are born in September. The more useful inormation is the actual date of birth. Thank you to the number crunchers out there who have provided the more detailed and more useful information.

    One request. Crunch some numbers for some of the out of the way elementary schools. They have seats available and are worth touring.

  44. I clearly stated that PPS does good work and only provided some feedback for what I consider in my opinion to be some of their fshortcomings. Some other posters really blasted PPS as worthless but their anonymous comments were given a pass and my eponymous comments which characterized as "demonizing".

    For this reason I have decided to stop posting in name on this side of the blog. I think it would be better in the long run for SF K files, but I suspect what will happen in the short run is this: people who relish to personally attack me rather than stick with the issues will start accusing anyone with a less than far left viewpoint as being me. I hope that will settle down eventually as more people get teed off for being accused of being me and speak up against those that want to demonize individuals rather than promote intellectual rigor on educational issues.

  45. We'll easily recognize the bad spelling, awful grammar and ridiculous hyperbole.

  46. My takeaway from Don's previous comment tells me he wants to participate in toning down the negative rhetoric. Immediately (see preceding comment) someone posts a very pointed and very nasty comment as a follow-up to his. That person should be ashamed.
    Leave your baggage at the door if you want to come in.

  47. Yes, poor Don, playing the victim. Poor Don who never says anything harsh to anybody.

  48. Let's please stop talking about him. It's boring.

  49. I didn't participate this past year, but the one constant I hear from parents who did is that there is much more certainty, much earlier in the process. Now that can be good: you are CTIP 1, congrats, you are guaranteed a slot at the best publics. Or it can be bad: you live in the Clarendon area which CTIP 1 folks favor for some unfathomable reason (over closer miraloma!). You are going to get at best a lousy public. Pack your bags now or go private. As two families near me did this past year. The key is to go back and check on sfusd's website the percentage of CTIP 1 who applied to your AA school. If it is high, pack your bags. Low you are ok.

  50. Down with the Donkey's racist, segregationist, and idiotic Prop H. He can't hide so easily from us on this blog. We can tell a ignoramus when we see one.

  51. My advice: be realitic about the process

    "5. Everything will be ok."

    Maybe -- if you are willing/able to apply across the board (public, private, parochial) and potentially lose a large deposit and suffer emotional distress in the process. The last thing you want is no placement anywhere when the first day of public school rolls around.

    We listed our AA school first with 9 other choices. Placed at an unacceptable school in round 1, not near our neighborhood and overall a very poor-performing school. We didn't enroll and received 0/10 placements in Round 2 and 0/5 in Round 3 -- by then we'd already commited our deposit to a private school and whittled down the list to only the closest/best-fit neighborhood schools. After the 10 day count we got a call and were placed in our AA school just days before the first day of private school. We took the spot (and scrambled to find immediate after-school care) and lost our private school deposit.

    Did everything turn out okay? Yes. The process was frustrating, traumatic, expensive and an emotional rollercoaster for both us and our five year old. Ultimately, everything did work out, but at a very high price.

    "2. 81% of last year’s applicants received one of their choices of schools. 75% of those were their 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice."

    I think if you take siblings and CTIP1 out of the equation these numbers look very, very different. During the process, I knew very few people who were happy with their Round 1 placesments and those who were always had one of these two tie-breakers on their side. If you don't have either of these going for you, you probably won't be getting one of your top choices.

    That said, I wish you well in your journey.

  52. I've said this elsewhere on this blog, but I'll say it once again.
    There is no way for SFUSD to provide enough 'acceptable' schools for all the families who want them. Because 'acceptable' schools almost always are acceptable because they have a high percentage of students from middle class or academically minded families. And there simply aren't enough of those families in the public school system to make every school an 'acceptable' school.
    If the 30% of families who send their children to private schools were all to return to public schools, the math would be easier, but that's not going to happen. (But it's an interesting thought experiment.)
    Given that, what is the District supposed to do? I myself don't believe that teaching alone can turn a Muir into a Clarendon. Or rather, it might in fact do that, but the kind of teaching would not be what those middle class, academically-minded families want. So we're back at square one, we might get schools with higher scores but they're going to be considered too regimented and test-driven to appeal to the kind of families on this blog who say the school they were offered is not acceptable.
    Whether neighborhood schools result in more schools tipping than the choice system did is unknown, we'll know in a couple of years.
    So to parents looking at the system for this coming year, you are not guaranteed a seat at a school that you will find acceptable BECAUSE THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH SUCH SEATS AVAILABLE.
    People who act as if they've been personally wronged because they got what they describe as "crap" or "horrible" or "awful" or "unacceptable" schools are presuming that there's enough to go around.
    There aren't. There are a lot, but not enough for everyone who wants them.
    So you do what you can. You apply, because there really are lots of good schools, and more coming on line every year. Your chances aren't bad. By the sound of it it's above 40% but below 80% to get your choice.
    You can also go to a school that's ready to tip and plan to put in some serious sweat equity. Or tip it yourself by getting a group of parents together and all going there.
    If you aren't lucky, (and it is mostly luck, it's not a personal plot on the part of the District) then you have a back up private school if you can swing it. And you can white knuckle it through to the first month of school. You could realize that Kindergarteners are all sweet pretty much at every school so you go where you're assigned and try again in first grade. And if you really can't stomach the school you got, you leave the City.
    "But I should get a school I'm happy with, a good school that's near my house!" people keep saying.
    Well, how shall we go about making all the schools good? Explain to me demographically how it would work. I would love to see the math.
    Myself, I wish the District would focus more of its energy and funds on meeting the needs of the non-disadvantaged, because I think that would draw more of the middle class back to the schools and a whole lot more schools would tip, which I think would be better for everyone.
    But that's going to take a major revamp of the school board. And that's another post.

  53. Beth, I'm really looking forward to that post.

  54. Beth I agree with everything you just wrote. My problem is that the SFUSD is expecting those academically and enrichment minded parents to turn their struggling schools around. I can't express just how much this pisses me off for myriad reasons. Say you're game and your kids are small you have 6 years to work on a k-5. That's reasonably doable. Middle school is 3 short years and parents are burning out so much less likely plus the stakes are much higher. We will leave high school out for sake of brevity. My child now attends one of those sweat equity schools that's slated to feed into a failing middle school. Yes. SFUSD expects us to keep working for them and now turn their reconstituted middle school into a winner. Well I'm done. If I have to work this hard I'll do it for a school that will also give my child a progressive education, small class sizes and stretch their intellect and curiosity.

  55. Beth, "acceptable" can mean many different things to people. The demands of working full-time and single-handedly raising a child in the city absolutely mean that I will not sacrifice time with my child to commute 20 minutes to another neighborhood and back each day, twice a day for the next 6 years. Not to mention investing countless hours of "sweat equity" into a failing school. If SFUSD can't provide me with an "acceptable" school (a good school in my neighborhood--of which there are many) that in turn allows for a decent quality of life, I will make financial sacrifices until the cows come home in order to pay for school and enjoy these precious years with my child.

  56. Beth, and 11/8 @11:57pm, "acceptable" for us involves getting from Soma to a trophy school either by car (45 min each way) or by bus (1 hr each way. ) We did try a neighborhood school near the projects for a few years and despite sweat equity from middle class parents, the safety concern eventually outweighed the desire for immersion program. In addition, the middle school feeder pattern would cause further serious concern. At least Starr King will feed into Aptos. The sister school nearby will likely feed into ISA. That being said , we can only get into an acceptable school if we literally win the lottery. No matter
    how educated , insightful, well researched the parents are, where to send our kids to school ultimately rests on the lottery results. Some parents accept the second or similar
    choice; some refuse to. We kept trying for three years
    until we got in the school we loved.

  57. I think another thing the revamp has done is put to death parents deciding to go to a "just ok" westside school and driving cross town for it. When I did the k search six years ago, that's what we did. We lived in the center of the city so it isn't so bad -- 12 minutes. Now those westside schools are filled up with neighborhood folks.

  58. Beth, you mentioned Muir, and whether the new assignment system will change it's composition. And you say that the jury is still out. But I think we shouldn't let sfusd off the hook so easily. What we heard is that this new assignment system was supposed to "jump start" improvement of poor performing schools like Muir. Unlike the choice system where middle class families slowly become interested in a school and improvements happen over five to seven years, the new assignment system was supposed to lead to improvements quickly. Well where are the middle class K families at Muir? They may have gotten an initial assignment to Muir, but they didn't end up enrolling. Doesn't that suggest that the new system is not working?

  59. Every few years SFUSD spends inordinant amounts of time and money to revamp its assignment system while the vast majority of other districts spend no time in this wasted effort at a modality for jumpstarting diversity and student achievement. I say wasted because diversification and reduction of the achievement gap has not been achieved via district student assignment efforts. They have a long history of failure. So why do we continue do this? It is a tangential at best in spurring student achievement? I believe it is the product of a Board Of Education that has run out of ideas.

    People wonder where are the reforms that are the stated goals of the Quality Middle School Initiative? With all the efforts put into student assignment those reforms remain on the back burner even now over a year later. Standardizing programmatic offerings such as honors, music and arts would do far more to make the assignment system a success than revamping the lottery process. By dealing with these reforms first with a focus on making every neighborhood school a school with equal opportunity it would be easier to the change assignment system afterwards. When people see that their local schools have the offerings that they desire it will mean far more than to tell them they have to do the work themselves.

    Beth's supply/demand reminder still stands, but I would only add that without some district-wide reforms put in place - reforms that demonstrate the district's commitment to equity, why should anyone want to do the heavy-lifting for them. There has to be goodwill to build trust. The Quality Middle School Initiative seems more like PR at this point than any real program for actionable change - "change we can believe in".

  60. My apology for typos.

  61. to 10/8 11:57....20 minutes a "commute"? we are lucky to live in SF where you can actually get across town in 20 - 30 minutes. i know MANY cities where even your districted school can take you longer than that. 40 of those 80 minutes are spent with your child in the car - my kids and i cherish our time in the car - phone and radio off, and all we do is talk. if we get stuck in "traffic" (it still amuses me that people that live and work in the city complain about traffic here), it's even more time for us to just "be" with each other. i would love to be able to walk my kids to school. but if i have to go a few neighborhoods over, to make this work - staying in the city, having kids at a good school, etc. - i feel like it's a pretty small price to pay. and the other 40 are half or more of what other people in the country spend in their car getting home from work, picking kid up, etc.

  62. That's the first time I have heard a rational for how great it is to commute. How wonderful to spend quality time burning fossil fuels, increasing congestion, and using up family income on commuting costs. And I don't want to forget to mention the risk of personal injury, driving being the single largest risk that average people takes. There's nothing wrong with making the best of it, but do we have to look at it as some sort of benefit?

  63. Remember, if you don't live in a CTIP1 area, and are not applying to your neighborhood school, the chances of you family getting *one* of your choices is less than 40%.

    Less than 40%.

    If you are applying to immersion, and you don't speak the target language, your chances are even much less than 40%, as most of these programs are in high demand.

    Don't let PPSSF waste your time with disinformation.

    Vote to defend your civic right to access to public education.

  64. I agree with you and I'm voting for Prop H, but you don't have a "right" per se to access your neighborhood school. If that were true we wouldn't need to vote on it.

  65. I'm white, I earned $500,000 last year, and I live in CTIP1. So, are you guys telling me that I should be able to get my child into Clarendon, Grattan or some other top-performing school?

    If so, wee hee!! I rool. Sux to be you! Ha, ha, ha!

  66. In response to 1:46 PM:

    No need to be defensive. I've stated that if SFUSD couldn't meet my needs, I'd look elsewhere -- simple as that. I've lived in the city for well over 15 years (and I don't feel "lucky," to be here I feel committed to a city that I love.) I believe in a live-and-work in the same city policy for myself for many reasons -- quality of life, environmental impact and sense of community to name a few. I extend that policy to a live-and-educate in the same neighborhood policy for my child.

    A 20 minute commute may not sound like much but it is -- especially if you'll remember that I was referring to the idea of enrolling my child in a **failing** school.

    To drive to said failing school twice a day, plus find parking four times a day, *plus* deal with unreliable public transportion to/from my workplace every morning/afternoon -- that makes for a day where my not-a-morning-kid is leaving the house no later 7:20 and returning home at nearly 6:30 and I'm spending way more time in transit that I'd like. *To attend a poor performing school in another neighborhood.* It's not exactly the quality of life I'm looking for.

    I'm glad you "cherish" your commute time with your kids. However, I cherish even more the time we have to be with each other at the breakfast/dinner table that isn't sullied by hustling in the morning and eating toaster waffles in the car and exhaustion and grumpiness at the end of the day when your kid is one of the last to be picked up at 5:58pm. (We tried a similar commute for summer camp this year, I guarantee it's not fun and doesn't work for us.)

    I choose to lead a peaceful life in the city with my kid -- we still have a long day but its much more manageable/less stressful and ultimately at a wonderful neighborhood school -- and for that I am grateful.

  67. "I agree with you and I'm voting for Prop H, but you don't have a "right" per se to access your neighborhood school. If that were true we wouldn't need to vote on it."

    It may not be a strict "right", but in almost every state, the notion that 60% of families applying to public school would be turned away would be unacceptable.

    We only have that situation here in San Francisco because the PPSSF and the SFUSD continually put out disinformation, touting their pretend 80% success rate.

    The 40% number includes *all* the schools in the city, by the way, so chances of getting into an *acceptable* school out of your attendance area are much lower than 40%. The chances of getting into immersion are much lower than 40%. For many, getting into their "neighborhood" school is much lower than 40%.

    The SFUSD and PPSSF constantly spin the numbers so they can confuse the public and stop families from acting against this injustice.

  68. You don't have to tell me as I am the primary writer for Prop H. I'm not trying to parse words by singling out your use of the word "right".I was only trying to make clear that we have to work via the democratic process to achieve a change whether we have a "right" or not. I agree that children have a right from a common sense perspective to attend a school close to home and it certainly seems unfair to use children as tools to promote a specific and failed diversity agenda, but they don't have a right in a legal sense. If we want to turn desire into policy you have to agitate for change.

    Choice has become a poster boy for radicalized left-wing thinking in SF, though it isn't very clear why. A local, grassroots, community action -oriented population would normally want to promote a child and family- friendly school assignment policy. That the SF Green Party would be in favor of a policy that promotes traffic, congestion, air pollution and increased dependency on fossil fuels as well as a lower overall quality of life, just goes to show you how altruistic philosophies get poisoned by politic.

  69. @9:40 AM

    Show your math, I don't believe you.

    The FACT is that 81% of kids receive their assignment school. No amount of lying with statistics can change that fact.

    64% is about right, if you want to know the real number, btw.

  70. Oh, if you are interested in Starr King, go down to EPC and put yourself on the waiting list, you will get in during the next assignment period, which I believe is in January. There are open Kindergarten slots.

  71. @Glen Park Daddy

    I have shown my math: it's over there on the community forum discussion.

    By the way, the 65% overall sucess number I've seen bandied around doesn't account for the younger siblings of families who left the city or went private or parochial when their oldest sibling failed to get admission to an SFUSD public school. These younger children are never counted in the failed admissions numbers as not getting a spot, as they never apply.

    So the number of non-CTIP1, non-admission area FAMILIES who succeed in the lottery is truly below 40%.

  72. GlenParkDaddy,

    You fcalled 9:40 a liar for asserting a number and not providing any substantiation for it. Then you assert your own number as the correct one and provide no rationale either.
    I can't believe some of these K files people. Nice going!


  73. @10:15 already did the math Don, no need to belabor the obvious.

  74. @7:47 which forum?

  75. Only 24% of people picked their neighborhood school in 2011, so I predict that Prop H will get about 24% of the vote. Most people do not want to even go to their neighborhood school.

  76. This is 10:15'2 comment:

    "Bollocks, frankly. Too many of the folks here can't do Math. Sibs lst year were 30% of intake.
    51/70 = 72%.

    Less than half of CTIP1 applied to schools outside CTIP1, so that's only ~8% of slots in schools outside of CTIP1 taken by CTIP1 kids.

    So if you're non-CTIP1, non-sibling, it's about 64% if you're not applying to a CTIP1 school."

    This is the math that you are using to call 9:40 a liar?

    Maybe you would be so kind as to explain it yourself in your own words given you've put so much credence into 10:15's calculation.

  77. GlenParkDaddy,

    Maybe you would be so kind as to explain in your own words 10:15's short analysis, given you'sve put so much credence into it.

  78. I understand the 70% is the nonCTIP-1 applications. What does the 51% represent in the equation?

    It's interesting that less than 50%applied outside the CTIP-1 assignment zone, if that is in fact true, because that means CTIP1interest in nonneighborhood schools is more than double CTIP-2's interest, using SFUSD's own figure of 23%. That seems to fly in the face of the contention by Prop H opponents that reidents of places like BVHP have no interest in voting for neighborhood schools.


  79. @12:15am- a peaceful life in the city? Um. No such thing. You want peace you head to the country.

    and all you other @times. enough with the percentages and numbers. it doesn't mean crap in the long run. 51%, 64%, 40%... whatever. you either win the lottery or not. done.

  80. I think we should have the lottery drawing held in a public square. They should allow bookey's to set the odds, people to place bets and they can sell popcorn to raise cash for schools.

  81. The whole thing would be better if we did away with all the factors used to weight the lottery. They just create motive and capability to game the system. I know of several people who lied about the various diversity factors (kid went to preschool, language, etc...) I can't say for sure whether it helped them or not, but in each case their kid went to one of the more desirable schools (Clarendon, Alvarado).

    Instead preallocate a number for siblings, have a lottery for them, with the expectation that most / all get in. The have everyone else stack rank their choices. Run the lottery, when your number comes up you get the top choice still available. No neighborhood preference, no racial (or racial proxy) preference. No zone preference. When a school's enrollment falls below a certain level for a certain number of years you close the school. When you don't have enough space for the kids you expand successful schools or open new ones.

    I know it's harsh and has problems. But they seem so much smaller than the mess we have now. At least it's not gameable.

    Note: For full disclosure, I have a middle schooler who's been in private school since kindergarten. I toured over 20 schools, most public, and saw many of both that I liked. But the advantage of avoiding the mess that is the SFUSD overwhelmed my decision process so I chose a school that aligned better with the teaching philosophy I wanted for my child.

  82. A mess? You got that right.

  83. Is it clear than the lottery isn't gameable? As far as I can tell, SFUSD has only published a set of principles and not a complete description of the algorithm they are using. The PPS presentation I went to was more informative but still incomplete.

    It worries me that, before finalizing the new system, SFUSD kicked out the volunteer game theorists/economists (e.g., Prof. Parag Pathak, MIT) who pointed out the myriad ways in which the old system failed to achieve its objectives from a purely technocratic point of view.

    Given that past experience, I do not have a high degree of faith in SFUSD's ability to program something consistent with their objectives; in particular, I would like to verify that putting additional less desired schools at the end of one's list does not impact one's chance of landing a highly desired school. Without some transparency in an official document about what the SFUSD computer is doing, I did not find the PPS bland assurance very convincing.

  84. 12:37 am -- the new assignment system is clearly gameable. Just look at the CTIP 1 definition. Yes, SFUSD tries to give itself wiggle room by saying that it can change the contours of the CTIP 1 map, but they certainly can't change that map after someone has put in an application. That means that nondeserving high SES parents can move to areas within CTIP 1 zones -- and, despite the pollannish comments above, I'm sure there will be a large number of folks doing so. The prize -- eight years at Rooftop or Lillienthal for multiple kids -- is too high not to game the system. On the less nefarious side, there will be efforts to figure out which acceptable public schools have low numbers of CTIP 1 applicants and low numbers of AA applicants. You can see that happening on the side bar discussions going on on this website. Lakeshore, for example, is clearly a school in that category -- and my guess is that people will try to "game" the system by putting Lakeshore high on their list.

  85. OK,

    More mouth than math skills here.

    81% got their first choice. 30% were sibs.

    Nominator: 81-30 = 51%
    Denominator: 100-30 = 70%
    Fraction getting their choice: 51/70.

    Do folks really not know to subtract from the denominator as well as the nominator?

    Like I said,

    "The whole thing would be better if we did away with all the factors used to weight the lottery. They just create motive and capability to game the system."

    Diversity factors are gone, already.

  86. 12:23--I think you are right but I had in mind a more narrow definition of gaming the lottery. I imagine that having high-income families move so that their children fit into the CTIP1 classification might be considered a decent outcome by SFUSD.

    My own puzzle is: let's say we have schools A, B, and C that we really like, plus school D that we would prefer to a random choice but definitely like less than A. B, or C. Does listing D decrease our chance of obtaining A, B, or C? The PPS answer is apparently "no" but I would love some official document about the computer process, as I felt their answers to other questions were pretty imprecise.

    (From 12:37)

  87. 'My own puzzle is: let's say we have schools A, B, and C that we really like, plus school D that we would prefer to a random choice but definitely like less than A. B, or C. Does listing D decrease our chance of obtaining A, B, or C? The PPS answer is apparently "no"'

    The answer is no.

    "but I would love some official document about the computer process,"

    Umm, you have that in the description of the algorithm. No, you're not going to get the source code.

    "as I felt their answers to other questions were pretty imprecise.'

    Don't know what answers you thought were imprecise. Can you give more info?

  88. 'It worries me that, before finalizing the new system, SFUSD kicked out the volunteer game theorists/economists (e.g., Prof. Parag Pathak, MIT) who pointed out the myriad ways in which the old system failed to achieve its objectives from a purely technocratic point of view.'

    Muriel Niederle of Stanford was at most of the SFUSD BoE SAS redesign meetings. The algorithm follows their recommendations. For *implementation* of the algorithm, SFUSD decided to use the same software engineers as coded the old system. There's good reasons why for implementation one would prefer coders familiar with what infrastructure EPC has.

  89. "and my guess is that people will try to "game" the system by putting Lakeshore high on their list."

    Umm, that's not "gaming" the system. Listing more schools increases your chance of getting one of the schools on your list. However, where you rank a school makes *absolutely no difference* on your likelihood to get into that school. [It just affects which slot you keep if you get into more than one school.] That was *specifically* one of the strongest recommendations by the Stanford Market Design team, *to make the SAS strategically simple* i.e. no need to do 11-dimensional chess problems on how to rank your schools.

  90. "It's interesting that less than 50%applied outside the CTIP-1 assignment zone, if that is in fact true, because that means CTIP1interest in nonneighborhood schools is more than double CTIP-2's interest, using SFUSD's own figure of 23%."

    Umm, no, because you don't know whether they applied for another CTIP-1 school that wasn't in their assignment area. Webster and Moscone are CTIP-1 schools, frex.

    "That seems to fly in the face of the contention by Prop H opponents that reidents of places like BVHP have no interest in voting for neighborhood schools."

    70% of BVHP parents sent their kids *out of BVHP*. Mission, Tenderloin, Excelsior less so. I know this is hard for you to accept, but try and take it in.

  91. @5:42 if you are applying to middle school then the order in which you list your school choices DOES matter esp if you do not get one of your top choices and wish to remain in the process for subsequent rounds. The computer runs the numbers for each applicant based on availability and order of choice.

  92. 5:31: Only at the PPS meeting did I see any description of the "algorithm" by which the criteria were implemented. Can you point me to where I should have learned, if not for the PPS meeting, about more than just the list of criteria?

    Perhaps to you the algorithm implementing those criteria is obvious (school-first, shuffle according to student preference, reselect from either unallocated or complete pool, repeat), but it wasn't to me.

    I think the discussion about percentages getting their top choices earlier in this thread supports my feeling that SFUSD chooses to highlight a pretty self-serving subset of information, and PPS parrots it.

    5:42: Portraying the disagreement between the academic team and SFUSD as purely a matter of coding is a drastic mischaracterization. Of this I am personally knowledgeable.

    5:31: Aside from the misleadingly high percentages already discussed in this thread, one example I recall is that someone asked about Prop. H and the PPS response was that "We're against Prop. H because we support parent choice", which is about as informative as saying people who support raising taxes hate America.

    It would be nice to have a PPS-type organization that can focus on Pareto-superior aspects. I'm against Prop. H, to the limited extent I care about it. But try asking someone who listed their AA school #1 and missed out whether the current system guarantees parent choice.

  93. 5:42 pm -- it is a kind of gaming. Sfusd says they changed the system so that people would ONLY put down schools they really like rather than ones they feel the system will let them get into. Putting down Lakeshore because it has low numbers of ctip and AA kids because you live in Twin Peaks and are otherwise goung to get f'd and given Muir is a form of gaming. It is no different than the old system where eastside folks would put down westside schools with low demand. I just think SFUSD needs to get it's head out of it's proverbial a- and stop pretending it has constructed an assignment system that cannot be gamed.

  94. "70% of BVHP parents sent their kids *out of BVHP*. "

    They don't have seats in those areas you mentioned for most of these students.

  95. All this discussion, the massive assignment redesign, and every minute that has been devoted to assignment in general is one gigantic waste of time. With the magnet schools excepted, everyone should go to their neighborhood school and work to make it what they want of it. SFUSD isn't go to do it for you. They are a confederacy of dunces. If you don't like or accept your civic responsibility then get the hell out of San Francisco.

  96. "More mouth than math skills here.
    81% got their first choice. 30% were sibs.
    Nominator: 81-30 = 51%
    Denominator: 100-30 = 70%
    Fraction getting their choice: 51/70.
    Do folks really not know to subtract from the denominator as well as the nominator?"

    There is no denominator in my calculation. I'm simply working with percentages available per school.

    I recorded for each school, out of 100%, the % of seats available to non-CTIP, non-Sibling, non-attendance area. Those are the percentages of available seats recorded school by school, shown on the "my chance at winning a spot . . ."

    That number is 40%.

    The 40% number might be slightly skewed because not all schools have the same number of total available kindergarten spots, but it is a good estimate.

    So, yes, I'm sticking with the 40% available seats to non-CTIP1, non-sibling, non-attendance area applicants.

    Additionally, past applicant data showns that these available seats are filled on the first round, with the exception of only a small number of schools.

    Many schools are heavily oversubscribed, but I didn't estimate that effect here.

    In any case, due to the assymmetry of school picking versus spots available, the actual number of non-CTIP1, non-attendance area, non-sibling applicants who succeed is likely quite a bit lower than 40%.

    One of the reasons that the board keeps coming up with such high success rates for the lottery is that they don't consider families. They don't account for the fact that families that do succeed in the lottery for their first child then enroll their younger children through the sibling preference.

    For families that don't succeed for their oldest child, they often then don't apply for younger children because they leave SF public schools entirely.

    So the SFUSD statistics heavily overweight the successful applicant families, and underweight the unsuccessful applicant families.

    You can do the "available" calculation yourself. I've put the reference for the data and the simple formula I used over in the Community Forums discussion "my chance of winning . . .".

    Nandi, another poster, put up some other reference that allow you to look at the total number applying for available spots in past years.

    In any case, for the available calculation, there's no need to have a denominator, so I'm not sure what 3:17 is on about.


  97. Sorry, I missed something.

    The 40% number is an average for all schools, and could be skewed up or down slightly, since not all schools have the same number of total spots.


  98. "whole thing would be better if we did away with all the factors used to weight the lottery .... I know of several people who lied about the various diversity factors"

    You're about 1.5 years too late for this comment--diversity factors are already GONE, in part due to parent complaints about the complexity of that system and the difficulty in catching cheaters for all of these factors. The CTIP1 factor, which relies on residential address, is a more blunt instrument (as is endlessly pointed out here), but it is much easier to verify than the previous set of factors.

    Also, as someone else said above, I'm not sure that SFUSD would see upper-middle class folks moving to BVHP or the Mission as an undesirable outcome. More diverse neighborhoods in terms of class/education/income make are a good thing for the future of the schools. Increased residential segregation, which would be a likely outcome of returning to all-neighborhood schools (see: Oakland) make their work harder. Thus, if the CTIP1 factor encourages higher income families to move to poorer neighborhoods, that is similar to the moves families have made into previously low-income schools such as Alvarado, Miraloma, Grattan, etc.--it would contribute to long-term school turn-around in those neighborhoods and raising achievement for all the kids at the school, including the low-income kids at risk. Even if the first set of these families are still applying to Rooftop, families that follow them into the BVHP might decide to stick with schools nearer by.

    Webster is one of our latest examples of a mixed-income neighborhood where locals have chosen (key word) to come together to do this. They move into the neighborhood and ultimately band together around the school. But choice is an important factor in the turnaround--it took awhile for the upper/middle families to band together and try Webster. And this process always takes time. No quick fixes.

    Okay fine, a few families might move in to CTIP1, take their Clarendon assignment and then move out again--but most do not have the resources to do this. Just not going to happen on a large scale. A few gamers such as this for the whole system? Worth it for SFUSD, especially compared to dealing with highly segregated, stressed, overwhelmingly low-income schools.

  99. 9:19, the Mission is already almost completely gentrified, in case you haven't noticed.

    I worked on a political campaign a few years ago and went door to door talking to people.

    Sure, there are a number of apartment buildings that are packed to the rafters with low income residents, but the majority of home owners and apartment dwellers in houses are middle to high income. There's very little racial diversity.

    So all that CTIP1 will do is further gentrify the Mission and further push up home prices in that area, for an area where the average home price is approximately $700,000. Many condos are selling for $700,000.

    So the idea that CTIP1 will "diversify" the Mission is a joke.

    Maybe you've been sitting in your office at 555 Franklin street for a few too many years. You should get out more.

  100. 9:47 am -- couldn't agree more with your comment. CTIP 1 designation for the Mission and the Western Addition (not to mention the parts of the Tenderloin close to the Van Ness corridor) are an invitation for abuse. The abuse is not going to be people moving to the Bayview and Hunters Point. It is going to be middle class and upper middle class people who NOW live in the Mission, the Western Addition and the Van Ness component of the Tenderloin. Come on, folks, think of this. You have two kids. You move to Fox Plaza or a rental in the Western Addition or a nice place in the Mission for a year and, voila, you have a ticket to 18 years of free, excellent education at Rooftop or Lillienthal. Look at the CTIP 1 choices -- the majority of CTIP 1 choices outside of the actual CTIP 1 areas were for THREE schools -- Rooftop, Lillienthal, and Clarendon. These folks are no dummies! And if you think all of these folks are low SES, you are dreaming. I didn't realize Bevan Dufty could be considered low SES.

  101. 9:47 and 9:55 You are absolutely right. I have a friend who lives near 24th/Valencia. He's an engineer; she's p/time professional at large SF hospital. They are *counting* on their CTIP1 to get them into their #1 pick school.

    It makes me think that maybe I should move out that way too for a year. I've got two kids to consider. So yeah, there will be some gaming of the system - maybe not to BVHP but to the other areas. And yes, I would put Lilienthal as my #1.

  102. So far, the school district has not said that you have to stay in CTIP1 for the entire ES years. So the one year (or shorter) residence in CTIP1 should pay off for the entire ES or K-8 career even if you move after cashing in the golden ticket (as long as you stay in SF, somewhere). If you buy in CTIP1, consider it an investment for a resale value. Is this an accurate understanding of district policy?

    So, real estate agents can be public school specialists. Real estate agents can specialize in getting you any public school you want by specializing in the CTIP1 areas and its golden ticket. Lots of decent rentals and sales available in CTIP1.

  103. 9:19, the Mission is already almost completely gentrified, in case you haven't noticed .... Sure, there are a number of apartment buildings that are packed to the rafters with low income residents, but the majority of home owners and apartment dwellers in houses are middle to high income ....So all that CTIP1 will do is further gentrify the Mission ....the idea that CTIP1 will "diversify" the Mission is a joke .... Maybe you've been sitting in your office at 555 Franklin street for a few too many years. You should get out more.

    9:19 here again from last night. Ha ha, that's actually pretty funny--but no, I don't work for SFUSD. No connection to the district other than as a parent.

    Also, I have lived in the Mission for over two decades, so I am very, very aware of the gentrification, from a street-level perspective. I have also walked precincts and am aware that the voter lists in the Mission are relatively affluent (or at least mixed) and white. And sure, those who own homes and live in single-family dwellings are surely more affluent--even if the large #s of folks who rent apartments in apartment buildings, aka tenements, are still poor. Can't really not count them, eh?

    What the Mission is is a *mixed* neighborhood, yes, even still. Not as poor as BVHP still is, but with large numbers of poor residents, a significant percentage of whom are children. The majority of children in the neighborhood are not affluent (and also not white). The vast majority of public school kids in the neighborhood are very poor. You may not see the poor families if you are eating at Range or Flour + Water. They tend to get up early in the mornings to go to work and not be eating late suppers at places that charge double-digit prices. But they are still our neighbors.

    I happen to love the Mission District. But it is not a place where too many middle and especially upper-middle class families choose to raise their children. It is a nightclub area for twenty- and thirty-something hipsters, but it looks a lot different from Noe Valley up the hill, or Laurel Heights, or Cow Hollow, et al. The parts of the neighborhood where you do see more white & affluent families is between Valencia and Dolores--which are not in CTIP1.

    Maybe this is because the Inner Mission still makes the news for our targeted and random gang shootings, and the daily police blotter on robberies and muggings is unfortunately pretty full.

    Anyway, the point is that it is a diverse neighborhood, esp in terms of the kids. It is not a place where our white or Asian and affluent families choose to live (mostly). So if this policy moves some higher-income families to give it a try, it will indeed bring diversity to the Inner Mission. And some of those families may be moved to try some of our local schools--either by moving in en masse, as with Webster, or Miraloma before it; or by trying the locally based successful schools such as Moscone; or using CTIP1 to try our the citywide immersion schools that are in our neighborhood, such as Buena Vista / Horace Mann.

    Most CTIP1 families applied to the better schools within CTIP1. And another set to schools just beyond. Clarendon was a huge exception last year, and Rooftop--high test scores and years of reputation as alternative schools. It takes time for these things to change. The loss of school buses will certainly make change move faster though.

    This is what the district wants!--there is not a downside to them in people moving to CTIP1 neighborhoods. And I really doubt that huge numbers of families will move in/move out. A few, but who really cares. It's not a perfect system but it is better than returning to neighborhood segregation, driven by test scores.

  104. "9:19, the Mission is already almost completely gentrified, in case you haven't noticed.

    I worked on a political campaign a few years ago and went door to door talking to people."

    Yikes! I don't think you are qualified to comment from having visited it a few years ago for a few hours. It's more likely that only middle-class folks actually answered the door. It may have trendy cafes and young hipsters, but walk down the street at any time of day, and, after stepping over human feces, see who is around. It is not mostly middle and upper class. The kids are almost all Latino. Most of the friends I have from when I lived there in my 20s moved as soon as they had kids. The ones who stayed with kids actually didn't qualify for CTIP1, they missed it by a block or so. The other one who stayed has no kids (and lives at 24th and Capp.) There are a group of guys that hang out at the corner store by his house regularly, a stabbed man bled on his porch...I could go on and on. This is far from a family-friendly gentrified neighborhood.

  105. "9:19, the Mission is already almost completely gentrified, in case you haven't noticed."

    Umm, not even close to true. Income in the Mission.

    " And if you think all of these folks are low SES, you are dreaming."

    The purpose of CTIP1 wasn't to advantage low SES persons. The purpose was to not-screw-over those living next to the crappier schools as we moved from a all-schools--are-essentially-citywide to most-schools-are-neighborhood-schools system. We don't income test whether you get the AA preference for Grattan, Alvarado GE, West Portal, etc. So why do it for CTIP1?

    Like Beth Weise said above, the problem with any SAS is the "who takes the slots at Muir" problem: about 40% of the publics are stellar, another 40% are solid performers, but 20% of the capacity is in schools with high concentrations of low-SES kids and extremely poor test scores.

    But the old citywide system did put McKinley, Miraloma, Alvarado, etc. on the map, as opposed to the late 1990s-early 2000s when only the alternative schools were considered "acceptable". Or take Daniel Webster, which was facing a change-or-close situation 'cos of falling enrollment. 7 parents turned it around, by pulling in an immersion program and a private immersion preschool. Its last PTA meeting had 63 parents in attendance. It's a lot easier to get buy-inradical change in a school, as we've seen in many schools in the SE such as Webster or Starr King or Flynn or Fairmount, when you have that change-or-lose-enrollment gun to your head.

    Prop H'ers want to corral everyone into their neighborhood school. Which means we'll see the same lack of impetus for change in Mission and BVHP schools as at the Oakland flatland schools (i.e. none), when we have the low-SES kids quarantined into a few schools and a nice price differential between the good school areas and bad school areas so we can keep the poor families in their proper place and away from the "nice" schools. Just like the hill/flatland divide in Oakland schools.

  106. "I happen to love the Mission District. But it is not a place where too many middle and especially upper-middle class families choose to raise their children. It is a nightclub area for twenty- and thirty-something hipsters, but it looks a lot different from Noe Valley up the hill, or Laurel Heights, or Cow Hollow, et al. The parts of the neighborhood where you do see more white & affluent families is between Valencia and Dolores--which are not in CTIP1."

    A number of families at our private school do indeed live in the Mission, and not between Dolores and Valencia. A business partner of mine who works in Silicon Valley owns a house in the heart of the Mission. Many of the people who work in the Mission 24th
    Ave corridor and on Mission Avenue don't even live in the Mission. They commute in from the Excelsior and from out of town.

    Latino families complain that they've been forced out, into the Excelsior, because the Mission is now too expensive.

    CTIP1 zones, based on some erroneous idea of equity, will simply drive this process further.

    I'm glad that the SFUSD is so concerned about CTIP1 zones and not the quality of schools in CTIP2 zones in the Excelsior. It really speaks to how out of touch both they and you are.

    By the way, unlike SF PAC parents, or Beth Weise, most Excelsior parents don't have the time or resources to contribute to a PTA fund. Bathrooms in the panhandle are not their concern. They sure as Hell would not want to be squandering their precious time learning Mandarin.

    Beth Weise, and perhaps you, may be flush with cash enough to eat at Flour + Water, but the struggling families in the Excelsior do not.

    What they need is access to good GE programs in local schools. That is what they are not getting.

    They are being screwed over by limousine liberals with quaint notions of busing and irrelevant, wasteful language immersion programs.

  107. This on-going never-ending discussion about student enrollment is and will continue to be a gigantic waste of energy. We should be talking about student achievement. The entire Board must be booted out and replaced with moderates who will not make decisions for the school district based upon the implications for their electability as Supervisors. All must go and starting with four in 2012. Boot the bums out!

  108. 5:04 - before you slam those families, all over, that are being asked to bridge budget shortfalls through starting, growing and supporting their PTAs, please take a breather. Many of us are doing it recognizing that all kids in our schools, including those living in Excelsior, BHP, Western Addition, etc. can get some of the services they need.

    In fact, kids from those communities that are going to diverse schools to get away from concentrations of poverty, get way FEWER resources than if they'd stayed in their neighborhood school. But I've found that these parents want their kids to be in schools for different reasons (higher expectations for their students, band/music in middle school, a location that doesn't have lockdowns, safer neighborhoods.)

    In these schools, their parents made a choice to get them out of the neighborhood.

    Unfortunately, Prop H would prohibit these kids and their parents from that choice or opportunity.

  109. "Prop H would prohibit these kids and their parents from that choice or opportunity."

    Do you understand that the measure is only advisory? Can you copy onto your next post the language from the text of Prop H to support your claim? All that Prop H seems to do is put neighborhood residents second after siblings. Everything else remains untouched at the ES level. For middle and high school it would call for much more change because putting neighbors after siblings would be a very large change from the current system. All alternative/magnet/language schools are exempted in this measure.

  110. 5:04--9:19 here again, long-time Mission-dweller.

    So. Just as I don't work for SFUSD, I haven't eaten at Flour + Water. When we eat out (not often), we tend to eat burritos. Not the spendy Papalote ones either, though I hear the sauce is pretty good. Though I am not poor, I make about 25% less than median family income for SF, which is to say mid-five-figures, so no limos. Don't even own a car.

    Why the ad hominem attacks? Wouldn't facts and ideas be more useful?

    Your anecdata about higher-income families with kids living in the Inner Mission (between Valencia and Potrero) isn't borne out by the stats (check 2010 census reports). There are some higher-income families such as your work colleague, but they're in the minority. This is not where most higher-income families ($100K+, say) live.

    It is a fact that there are large numbers of poor kids who attend public school in this neighborhood. This is an area of concentrated poverty, especially for children. Yes, there is wealth layered on top, but in terms of kids, it is a poor neighborhood. If a few higher-income kids also benefit from this instrument of CTIP1, that is somewhat unfair, yes, but the more important issue is the under-achievement of the large numbers of kids. The number of higher-income families benefiting from CTIP1 is likely less than 100 at the K level. Is this really the most important issue? Life is never completely fair; there is never a perfect solution to difficult problems.

    Re the Excelsior, I agree that they got screwed in the CTIP1 formulation. At one point the Board was looking at a CTIP1 & CTIP2 out of a total five CTIPs (meaning the bottom 40%, not 20%, would have had the designation). This would have included most of the Excelsior and Portola. But--the Board ended up using only the bottom 20% of census tracts in terms of academic achievement. I wish the Excelsior were still included--or actually, I wish they had kept the old diversity factors. But they were seen as complex and more easily gamed, and middle-class parents hated them.

    Always--the focus is on these small-ball issues, "omg, I know someone who knows someone who may have cheated!" rather than the bigger policy issues of how to effect improvement at all our schools, which would be good for all of us even if a few people unfairly benefited in the process.
    It's an American peculiarity that we would rather screw ourselves out of a better future if the path to get there would mean unfairly benefiting a few "undeserving" folks--a vestige of Reconstruction but the concept of "welfare cheats" was a modern manifestation. We worried so much about welfare that we let Wall Street run amok! Wrong target. But I digress.....

    It's not that we in the SE wouldn't prefer to attend quality neighborhood schools. But: they don't exist here in enough #s, and are unlikely to exist without some degree of demographic mixing. We need short-term policies that provide access to better schools for families in these neighborhoods, and long-term policies to encourage mixing of lower- and higher-income families. Hence CTIP1 and also magnet programs such as language immersion.

    These are better policies than any drastic return to neighborhood segregation. The old "choice" SAS moved schools to become more mixed; we'll see with this one. True that the Excelsior and other southside non-CTIP1 areas got the worst of it (and west/NW got the best). But it's a long process. Busing didn't work because it moved too quickly and without parent buy-in.

    Re your anger about immersion: why? My kids are in GE programs anyway, but from that distance I can see that they have served a function of keeping schools open and encouraging middle class families to stay (or come) to this side of town.

    I don't get voting for Prop H because it is "only advisory." Why would I make a statement of political support for something I don't want?

  111. Re schools in the Excelsior.

    I agree that it is a neighborhood that could be better served, and that it is one of the areas that lost ground in the latest iteration of the assignment system: they don't get CTIP1 status, and they don't get the money that is flowing to the SIG schools, but nor do they have high flyers like Grattan, Alamo, Sherman, Feinstein, Lafayette, Stevenson et al for their attendance area. Upper/middle class families don't seem to look much at the Excelsior, or its schools.

    Still, it cannot be said that their schools are struggling in the same way as Chavez and Bryant in the Mission, or Muir, or several in the Bayview. Longfellow, Guadalupe, Monroe GE, Hillcrest, Glen Park, Sunnyside, Sheridan, Ortega, and of course Taylor all have good things going for them, with a good mix of hard-working families. Check out their test scores--you might be surprised. SF Community is an interesting alternative choice, and Monroe SI too. All of these schools are in a different category than Chavez, Bryant, or Muir. Not trophy, but still.

  112. I think it is a waste of time for energy for a measure to be put on the ballot that is "advisory" (and IMHO extremely flawed)

    Better to start recruiting people you want to run for the Board of Education who really make the decisions.

  113. There is welfare and then there is gold plated welfare. The rescue of Wall Street was gold plated welfare.

    In SF school assignment, the golden ticket is gold plated welfare. The rest of us should have a shot at the trophies or our local schools and programs too. How about equal status between CTIP1 and local residents at local assignment area schools (LAA)? At citywide schools and programs, how about a maximum number of CTIP1 admissions before the golden ticket runs out for that school? After the first X number of CTIP1 admits, the CTIP1 golden ticket maxes out and is equal in status to the nonpreferenced students.

    The new SAS can be adjusted. What adjustments do you want the Board to make?

  114. Charlie, a practical problem: many of the better schools in and near the Mission are designated as citywide, e.g., Marshall, Buena Vista / Horace Man, Fairmount, Flynn SI, Alvarado SI (which has a bus from the Mission). There are not that many slots left over after these, and several of these have been designated as "failing." Taking away CTIP1 preference for these families, for these schools, would be a problem. We have far more citywide designations than other neighborhoods, such as the Richmond for example, and an awful lot of kids.

    Most CTIP1 applicants apply within CTIP1, or very close by. Their influence is negligible on the west side of town. The biggest pressure they bring outside of CTIP1 areas is to three schools: Clarendon, Rooftop, and Lilienthal, which had been alternative schools for decades and had significant bus service from the SE side of town. My guess is that these patterns will shift. Other schools that are outside the CTIP1 zone are not largely affected by CTIP1--but rather by existing siblings (will also play out over a few years) and the uber-popularity of schools such as Grattan and Sherman--CTIP2 versus CTIP2, mainly.

    As for the "golden ticket," it's not so golden to be really poor and have one's kids at risk for academic difficulties for various reasons. Are you really suggesting we shouldn't give a hand up to folks with relatively few options? I think better of San Francisco than that.

    And for the really very few families who benefit who are not the intended target (probably about 2% of the whole)--it is not worth eviscerating the CTIP preference just because of these few folks, unfair as that may be. I did prefer the old diversity index as more targeted, but this one is simpler to administer -- which people said they wanted. Either way, we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Let's keep our eye on the commons and the whole.

  115. I think Balboa High School enrollment this year was very much affected by CTIP 1 applicants coupled with increased popularity.

    We know lots of CTIP 1 kids from our middle school that got in, but virtually no one who did not live in one of these zones.

    I predict that you'll see an impact on STAR test scores as the percentage of lower socioeconomic students increases at Balboa.

    In this case, the new SAS "pushed out" many non CTIP1 families (and pushed many of these to privates and charters when families didn't want to go to their assigned schools at Burton, Thurgood, O'Connell, etc.)

    Not sure what i think the BOE should do - I personally feel that the CTIP1 priority makes sense, even if it didn't work in our favor.

  116. You may be right about Balboa. It is uniquely situated geographically to take kids from BVHP and the Mission. I also think that we'll see Mission HS rising a bit in the perception rankings, which may ease the pressure a bit.

  117. 5:04 from yesterday here . . .

    Sorry, my family missed out on "Reconstruction" as, at the time, they were either eking it out, clearing land in the Eastern Townships of Southern Quebec, or farming somewhere in Northern Vermont, or contemplating a departure for Canada from Scotland.

    I don't believe in the idea that mixing children from different socioeconomic backgrounds improves their outcomes. In fact, I believe that it often creates want and bitterness.

    We don't have this idea in Canada, where I grew up. The approach taken there is to flatten per student funding across all schools. There's no PTA funding. Teachers and parents volunteer their time to teach the afterschool activities, usually sports, but also things like dance. The job of schools there is to focus on academics. In high school, kids can choose to take shop classes, such as metal work, sewing, and woodworking.

    The curriculum is pretty much uniform across each province.

    Canada's PISA scores are some of the highest in the world and rank with many highly ranked Northern European countries. Like the US, Canada has a very high rate of immigration. Unlike the US, the rate of illegal immigration is low, because the immigration laws, although quite liberal, are enforced. The schools therefore carry a lower burden of very poor children who have parents with little education. Like the US, Canada has a poor record of educating indigenous peoples.

    In general, Canada's success with good education outcomes disproves the notion that school economic diversity improves academic outcomes for students. Canada does not have desegregation as a goal. They simply try to level the access to services such as good education, health care and old age security across the population. The goal there is not equality of result, it is equality of opportunity.

    Academic success is largely a function of school and teacher quality as well as the investment of *time* that parents are willing to make in their children's education.

    Schools and teachers have only a limited ability to compensate for the lack of time that a very poor, uneducated, overwrought parent can dedicate to their child's development.

    Most middle and upper middle class parents in the city realize that. That's why they avoid schools like Chavez, Bryant and Muir.

    Canada also has strict neighbourhood assignment for public school. That is the only way they can level the funding between schools and manage the required capacity.

  118. "They simply try to level the access to services such as good education, health care and old age security across the population. The goal there is not equality of result, it is equality of opportunity."

    Can't disagree with this approach. Unfortunately, SFUSD is not in a position to create Canada-style Medicare-for-all type programs or other measures to flatten the growing enormous inequalities of the United States that are reflected in our student body. But it sure would be good to have these things.

    I wonder how much diversity Canada has to manage outside of Toronto, Vancouver and to some extent Montreal? That's a real question, btw. I don't know, but I suspect it is less than we have here. Certainly Canada flattens inequality through social policy such as health care. I know the liberal immigration policy has invited in many members of the Commonwealth countries, including Hong Kong, Jamaica, etc. But overall, do most Canadian school districts need to deal with the levels of racial and ethnic diversity we have here? As you mention, Canada did not do a great job educating the First Peoples (nor did we). There were big tensions around French language education in the 1970s and tensions between national and provincial government in Quebec.

    I have sometimes wondered if Western European-style social democracy, and Canadian-style, is possible mainly in homogeneous societies for whom the "commons" is easily imagined as people you know, who are like you. We, in all our wonderful diversity that was built on successive waves of immgration (forced and otherwise), seem to harbor more suspicion toward one another. Thus, we see the "undeserving" recipients of welfare, golden tickets, special services, and all the rest, rather than the benefits of expanding health care and education for all.

    Off-topic, I know, just musings for a Friday afternoon.

  119. Is it possible to flatten funding across schools in San Francisco?

    I do think we could do more.

    By the way, I'm not against the CTIP1 zone, per say. I just think that it is unfair to have a CTIP1 zone without addressing the lack of capacity issue in the SE of the city. Also, many SE schools are under-resourced compared to the rest of the city. I was just reading an article last week about how Monroe (Excelsior) has one dance class per week, compared to two at New Traditions (Castro). (New Traditions has two because of PTA dollars. I happen to know a parent at New Traditions. Apparently, the amount of money they have to raise through PTA dollars is becoming onerous even to middle class families.)

    Is a Canadian style system possible in San Francisco. That's a tough question to answer.

    I could tell you that a Vancouver style system might be possible in San Francisco. Vancouver is very diverse, probably more diverse than San Francisco. It has the largest Sikh community in the world outside India. It has a large Iranian community. It has a recent and growing community from Latin America. And, of course, about 40% of the population is Asian, of various flavors.

    Schools in Vancouver are good and more homogeneous in quality than San Francisco. There is no lottery. You automatically send your child to the school zone in which you live. Elementary schools (K-7) are tracked into high school. All high schools have band and sports teams. All have an academic track. French is taught as a second language in all high schools.

    (There is a separate French public school system for French and bilingual speakers. French and English are both official languages in Canada.)

    Could that be done in San Francisco?


  120. At Aptos, funded at $3800 per student, we didn't have paper for the school. Everett and Horace Mann got funded at over $9000 per student.

    At the same time, once the enrollment crept up to capacity, Aptos lost $200,000 in Title I funding (note: the kids that received services from Title I funds were still there and the number had actually increased - but those that did not qualify for Title one had increased in the school only slightly more.) The Aptos PTA did a paper drive and doubled fundraising (raised a whopping $30,000 from the student population of 1000 - only about 70 families got us to our goal) but clearly this doesn't make up for the difference in WSF and loss of Title I. It is a myth that middle schools are raking in the bucks for PTA funding - or if anyone is, I haven't seen it. As far as I heard none of the schools that had relatively active PTAs raised much more than ours. Clearly, this isn't making up for the disparity in funding that SFUSD allocates.

    At least at the middle school level, it its completely untrue that westside schools get more money per pupil. They do, however, get some economies of scale through a larger sized school. But schools like Horace Mann had "staff tripping over each other" (per the principal at the time) while Aptos had 37 kids per class, no paper, and was lacking what they needed to fully staff Language Arts in 8th grade. This fell on deaf ears at the central office.

    SFUSD really is overdue in taking a harder look at how funding is allocated, what resources are coming in and what it really means to students for whom the funding is needed. This might start with looking at how they decide on cutting off Title I funding to schools. The fact is: the money does NOT follow the students that need it and instead SFUSD does it in a way that just makes it easier for them to administer it. That's not "social justice" .

    A low socioeconomic or ELL kid would get way more resources at Horace Mann or Everett, yet we saw a significant increase in families from the Mission who chose Aptos. (Of course, between the feeder plan and Prop H, these families are being shut out of Aptos. Under the proposed feeder plan there are virtually no Latino kids being assigned to Aptos in the future - and this has been our largest and fastest growing group in the past three years at Aptos.

    Social Justice? No mas

  121. 11:29 pm -- I agree that middle school is not where you see big PTA funding disparities. It is at the elementary school level. Not to knock success, but Alvarado raised over $300,000 last year, a whopping sum. That kind of funding prowess puts it in a league of its own. It gives them the ability to hire teachers to reduce class size. My kids' elementary school PTA sweats to pull down $100,000. We have debated endlessly on here the merits of more all-district parent fundraising. And to their credit families at Alvarado have stepped up to the plate in that regard. As far as Title 1 funding disparities, I agree that, once you get beyond elementary, it does start to look awfully unfair. Some of that is middle class family burn out. Successful schools like Aptos and Giannini are simply not able to pull down the big bucks that an Alvarado can command.

  122. 5:04 from Thursday, (and 4:45 and 8:06) from yesterday.

    Again, this business of PTA funding is a disaster. Sure, a small number of low income kids, maybe 5% of the low income population in the SE, will benefit from those Alvarado PTA dollars. And, sure, there's a certain feel good factor that wealthy parents at Alvarado will get from those PTA dollars.

    But the other 95% of poor kids in the SE will be attending schools like El Dorado, Bryant and Chavez.

    Middle class families at Sunnyside and Flynn don't benefit from Alvarado PTA dollars.

    Schools across the city should get the same funding. Parent fundraising should be limited so that there isn't a wealth disparity between schools that will encourage teachers to abandon poor district schools. The funding should be enough to ensure that California curriculum standards and special ed can be fully delivered in each school.

    Administrative costs should be minimized.

    I am tired of the endless lobbying be various factions here in San Francisco. I'm tired of the ineffectual diversity policies. I'm tired of the joke that is the "assignment system", or the "non assignment system" as the case may be. Now I have a new thing to be tired about: the crying from SF Parent PAC, because, lo and behold, these parents have suddenly realized that California has a massive budget crisis that is going to sink us.

    In case anyone is interested, you can check out the Vancouver School Board to see what a real public school system looks like:

    I had a look last night, just to remind myself how fortunate I was to grow up in Vancouver.

    A few things have changed since I was a student there. There is now a small Montessori program in two elementary schools which are allotted on a pure lottery system. There is one Mandarin immerion school that also has a pure lottery. Otherwise, schools are allocated on a strict attendance area basis.

    The Vancouver school district did experience a small budget shortfall in the last year. However, unlike San Francisco, cuts were mostly made at the administrative level.

    The school board website is published in eight languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, French, Hindi, Vietnamese and Spanish, just to give you an idea of how diverse Vancouver is, compared to San Francisco. Per pupil funding in Vancouver is $8,300.

    The highly politicized and inadequate "public" education system here is shameful. A joke.

  123. Yep, just checked per pupil funding numbers in California.

    Californi, as of 2008, spent $8,852 per student. The numbers for 2009 and 2011 are not yet out.

    How about that? Vancouver, with no PTA funding, a pure neighborhood assignment system, two public language tracks (French and English), cultural diversity, and a good special ed program, spends less per student than California . . . and still manages to deliver school quality that rivals Lowell and Miraloma.

    Well, something is definitely extremely broken here.

  124. I think I'll move to Vancouver.

  125. Many people here are confused about per pupil funding. The Weighted Student Formula funding is about $4,800 per student. The rest of the money goes out mainly in compensatory education funding. Very little is used for SLAM type programs. Schools that privately raise funds can provide that kind of enrichment. But low performing schools get anywhere from 50 to 300% more than other schools on top of the WSF funding - an amount that dwarfs privately raised monies. These monies are in the main earmarked for remedial instruction. The additional time that must be allocated to deliver these instructional programs, which are designed to address core subject performance, cuts into the school day and makes enrichment programming all but impossible without a longer school day. In the case of SIG schools there is extended day.