Friday, March 9, 2012

Student Assignment 2011 - Final Report

Rachel Norton posted this on her blog
Its the final report of 2011s new student assignment system from SFUSD

Lots of data and interesting reading. I'm glad it is out before the lottery results are due in next week.

http://rpnorton.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/annual-report_march-5-2012_final.pdf

49 comments:

  1. From the report:

    "The Superintendent’s Zone is a reorganization of services and supports for fourteen chronically underserved schools...."

    It is a total fabrication to say these schools are underserved. In what way? These schools get far more in resources than other schools, yet the administration continues to promulgate this lie to defend the massive redeployment of ed dollars into the Superintendent Zones.

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  2. I think by underserved they mean in their lives. The students have poor single moms who speak slang or Spanish and the fathers are often absent, usually absent. Therefore even if the school spends more on the students, because of the terrible home life and lack of advantages these kids get, the children are still underserved and disadvantaged. Drugs, violence, mindless TV. The parents don't do flash cards with their kids, take them to museums, teach them to read, do math with them, etc. They don't read history books to them, science books. Therefore they get more from their school, but still perform worse because they have far lower quality parents, or in most cases one below average mother and no father. These parents often don't make decisions based on how it will affect their kids future, but generally on how it will affect them today. Moods come ahead of long term goals. Therefore, SFUSD thinks it can make up for it, but the stats show they can't. It would be nice if they could. In totality, the children are underserved, or badly served.

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  3. "Underserved" is not the result of an analysis. It is a label for low performing students, typically ones who perform at less than proficient at some grade level at some subject. School improvement is measured by standardized tests and by having students that are least minimally proficient.

    "Underserved" is a euphemism to suggest that their low scores are not their fault. It is our fault for not reaching them.

    I can go along with the idea that we are not doing enough. We are not doing enough testing of the right kind, or enough about how to survive the summer learning loss problem, or enough about professional development of teachers who cannot seem to be able to even teach to the test.

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  4. In today's New York Times, Andrew Delbanco notes that the student body at the top 150 Universities only accepts 3% from the bottom quarter of incomes, which is almost always single moms, disproportionately underrepresented minorities. 25 makes 3, not fair or good.

    To break the cycle of poverty, we have to step in for the deadbeat dad who is in prison, or just ran off. We have to make up for the below average mom who simply uses the "tired" excuse, turns on the TV, and never reads or does flash cards with her kids, then is surprised they seem to be "the academic type" and accepts it with no challenge. They don't do what the Tiger Mom does, which is present failure as something which one must obsess about turning into success, something one must try and try to defeat until it becomes success and becomes interesting. They let their kids give up, and don't have the money to get them tutors.

    Our high schools should pay for SAT prep, all our schools should pay for tutors, Saturday tutors, etc. I saw the tremendous difference one teacher made at Alamo before being killed by a drunk driver by tutoring kids who needed help.

    We should recognize that a high percentage of the income difference is due to luck and not hard work, and that % should be taxed to pay for tutors, for support. Private school tuition, a huge cause of social segregation and inequality of opportunity, should be taxed at the sales tax rates. Private schools hurt our social equality far more than restaurant bills or hardware or software. They are an evasion of Brown v. Topeka and make a mockery of our statement that we are all created equal.

    Some work harder than others, but the poor must be taught the value of hard work. They must have the benefits kids of Tiger Moms have, someone to push them through their failures and teach them how important school is.

    They are underserved by luck, and this part is not their fault. It is not their fault that their mom is not ambitious and mediocre and their dad is not responsible. It is the parents' fault, and they should be condemned in the harshest terms. No father who abandons his children should be able to go in polite company and be respected as a decent person. He is a bad person, and one who is hurting America. But it is not the childrens' fault.

    We must break the cycle by spedning whatever it takes. As long as there are people with millions of dollars blowing it on lavish things, we should raise taxes on them and focus more on fixing the poor, stopping the cycle. We cannot succeed until we focus on everyone succeeding, not just the few.

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  5. I meant to say surprised their kids are "not the academic type". Being academic comes from being raised to see school as crucial from a young age, which is why Asians are so outperforming whites now. The Tiger Mom got her daughter into both Yale and Harvard. We need to encourage more of this parenting, or without this, we need to provide what she would provide her kids. We need to hire tutors to help kids who are underserved.

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  6. Don, one thing you don't consider is, if we don't pay for a decent education, we'll pay for prison, welfare, food stamps. Isn't it better to tax people money they don't need by making it in brackets of over several hundred thousand, ensuring no one who needs money will suffer and everyone who pays the tax will be living a top 1% life, and save this money for all of us in the future, than neglect to pay it now and pay for their prison later? They count the # of kids who can't read in 3d grade to determine how many prisons need to be built. Why not spend that money we're going to spend now and collect it back in taxes, as opposed to expenses, later?

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  7. Tax and Spend Floyd,

    Spoken like a true elected official, spending other people's money. Easy to override fiscal responsibilitry with good intentions on spending other people's money. Et tu, Brutus.

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  8. Maybe so, but it comes to society. We're constantly hearing about the poor oppressed people and the kids on the west side have to suffer for the bad actions of the parents. How do we ever break this cycle once and for all? For one, everyone wants to move here, start allowing only immigration of those with college degrees or from nations where test scores are high. From Mexico, the only immigration should be those with a college degree, as the high school dropouts' kids do poorly in school for multiple generations. Build the fence, put an end to immigration of the uneducated. Then break the cycle, send in the tutors, the motivational speakers, the study halls, and make sure we don't reproduce poverty by bad education.

    We as a society have to figure out what is more important, rich people having even more money or ending the cycle of poverty. I think the rich had a high enough percentage in 1970, so the increase should be taxed to bring their llfestyle back to the 1970 level. This will allow for the greatest overall happiness for society. These people will still be the richest of the rich in one of the richest nations, you won't need to feel sorry for them. It's more important to put an end to this in one generation. Then after that everyone should learn the right habits and maintain a middle class lifestyle, so we will have no more poverty, but we have to do something drastic for one generation to break the cycle once and for all.

    We've basically made it worse since the '80s. LBJ talked about a War on Poverty, but we didn't follow through. We have terrible poverty still in this nation, and a culture of poverty and low academic achievement.

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  9. When they say "underserved schools" I assume they mean underserved schools. We don't need a lecture on the difference between underserved schools and underserved students.


    There are many underperforming at-risk students in this district who don't not attend what SFUSD identifies as underserved schools. These students get very little in terms of extra resources which tells me that SFUSD is less interested in helping at-risk kids at large than they are in making the headlines by turning around a few select schools.

    The fourteen SZ schools have about 10% of the SFUSD student body, but over 65% of SFUSD is free and reduced lunch. So what does this tell you? It tells you that 555 Franklin is now all about 14 schools and has given up on reform elsewhere.

    For one thing, if SFUSD genuinely wanted more funding to flow to ALL at-risk students it would adopt the targeted improvement option for Title One. But it chooses the Schoolwide model instead, thereby allowing the bulk of Federal funding to flow to certain "chosen schools".

    Garcia wants to make the Superintendent Zones a success and students outside those zones are frankly shit out of luck. In response to parent complaints about lack of funding he stated at the community summit last year that parents should send their kids to the SZ if they don't like funding at their school. This man is a danger to the welfare of your children and should be removed post haste.

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  10. The road to ruin is paved with good intentions. We ruin, at the very least, our bond rating, with wasteful spending. Cut out the wasteful spending. Start all of that testing that I like to find out what is or is not wasteful. Then ask for more money for the social greater good.

    Smart shoppers do not waste money. Because it is their own money. Elected officials necessarily spend other people's money. The obligation to be smart about it does not end.

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  11. Yes but look at what they did with ending seniority at these schools. This is a valuable experiment and if it does turn them around, we can concince downtown to quit wasting so much money on the homeless (a situation which can never improve because the more you spend, the more come here and damage our quality of life), having a bunch of assistants for each supervisor when Supervisor was a part-time position with part-time pay for over 50 years of San Francisco being just as big a City as it is now, just as complex, bureaucrats, restaurant inspectors, police (how many times do you need to see 6 cop cars double parked for an hour because two old Irish guys are arguing to realize we have way more police than we need, based on the late '80s, early '90s crime rate which is now down nearly two thirds), jails (we have 10 x the rate of people in prison/jail as the rest of the 1st world), and a number of other budgets.

    This is something which could change funding.

    Don, I can't recall a time when you didn't want the superintendent fired. You can't fix things by just firing everyone. Who do you think this board would hire if Garcia fired or were quit or had a car wreck tomorrow? Do you think there is even a 1% chance they would hire someone you wouldn't soon be demanding be fired? These people disagree with you, but to fire everyone you demand be fired would mean we would just constantly be putting our energy into that.

    The only way to reform it is stop blindly voting for incumbent in the election for school board and don't hold candidates to ridiculously high standards if they want to replace them. Unify behind people who would change things and volunteer for them, put up signs, donate, etc. Someone who has a chance.

    But constantly firing everyone won't work.

    You can look at these kids and they are in sad shape. I don't think we're doing enough, but it's a step in the right direction.

    Charlie, I agree if it isn't having a noticeable effect, we shouldn't spend it, DC spends 30k per pupil for jack squat. But the end of seniority will make a difference. Seniority is a constant burden all of our schools suffer for. It's a first step to getting rid of it for all. The writing is on the wall, Obama is even on the conservative side on this. In 10-15 years teachers won't have seniority/tenure protection. So since it's hurting so many innocent, poor children, why not get rid of it now? Why want 10 years? No one thinks seniority will be there in 20 years, so if we wait we just consign another generation to poverty.

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  12. Seniority is about who gets fired if there has to be layoffs due to budgetary matters, and due to no fault of the teacher. There is flexibility about the need for math and science teachers, biligual teachers, etc. and this has all been negotiated with the unions. In old language, we talked about reconstituted schools. Whatever the new language is, the idea remains the same that it takes a lot of work to change a school. We cannot let layoffs destroy all that work. Those schools have historically had tremendous turnover and that was part of the problem.

    I just did not know the administration could unilaterally waive seniority in the SZ without agreement from the unions. Maybe it is a case of "let's just see if we can get away with it." Kind of like classroom behavior. Only this time by the grown-ups.

    Seniority and tenure are separate topics from school assignment, so I am off topic.

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  13. Charlie, it's the elephant in the room. It's the issue no one wants to talk about. Surveys showed most people didn't agree with it in the '70s and '80s, but the union skillfully gets people to change the subject or give up. A higher percentage are against it now.

    It is the essential issue to school reform. Most teachers are motivated to do well, but one bad teacher really harms a child. 20% of the people in SFUSD shouldn't be teaching. They just aren't very good at it. SFUSD, just like Microsoft, should be able to fire for poor performance or nonadherence to reform.

    Now there is school loop, but the union gets in the way. 2 years ago it was supposed to be voluntarily, then mandatory the next year. Most teachers use it, but some refuse. If your child gets one who refuses, they cheat you by taking free time most teachers don't, and there's nothing you can do.

    If you get a teacher who refuses to help you help your child and tells you you're wrong to try to help your child get into Lowell and that Galileo and Lincoln are just as good, and walks out of 30-minute conferences after 5 minutes, you can't do anything. If you get a 1st grade teacher who calls in sick all the time and doesn't teach the material, you can't do anything.

    Most of the teachers I've had have been good, and more have been great than awful, yet the awful ones stand out. Seniority did that, and tenure.

    Geoffrey Canada said it was the elephant in the room, everyone said you can't talk about that. It's the one thing which will change things. I gained a lot of respect for the board even willing to experiment with this.

    The union knows democracy wouldn't help them, that most people don't believe in universal tenure, but they change hte subject and get us to go along, and we forget, and generations pass and suffer.

    This is the key to real reform. It's not off topic and it's not a minor issue.

    It is the same reason medicare at 55 would have been progress. We are told the government can't run good healthcare. If we'd had medicare, everyone 55-65 would be happy with it, then we'd hear why not move it back to 50, 45. It's a first step. It opens up the debate.

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  14. There is a seniority lay-off precedent that made headlines, set by an administrative judge in SoCal not too long ago. Technically, there is some wiggle room in the contract so that the effort to overrule seniority is not a slam dunk for the union to prevail. SFUSD is pushing the envelope in the hopes that it may succeed in keeping the teachers intact in the SZ. But those teachers will leave soon anyway as they become more senior and find jobs in schools with fewer teaching challenges. It isn't seniority that is the real problem. Even when there are no layoff those schools still have a revolving door of teachers because few want to break themselves teaching for years in the poor areas with all the challenges. In any case, this temporary effort to retain teachers is fleeting.

    Floyd, research SFUSD specifically. All your catch-all cures for societies ills are getting tedious. We hsve specific problems here in SF. Garcia is one of them. He's not the poor man's savior as some would make him out to be. He's using your child's money to make a name for himself. As I said before, The SZ is small scale reform and will only yield small scale results. But the collateral damage is anything but small scale.

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  15. Floyd, I think you are mostly talking about tenure. I want to deal with problem teachers with professional development, not loss of job security. That means identify the bottom 20% of teachers, as the US Secretary of Education wants us to. How we do it is up to us, but we have to do it somehow. My definition is if they can teach to the test.

    If they cannot do that minimum, here is help if you want it in terms of professional development.

    Now, with tenure still in place, those problem teachers may just do nothing. Or voluntarily leave the profession. Or take the professional development and become better teachers. Or get scrutinized for dismissal for cause.

    I support tenure. I want teachers who are in it for the long haul. The price I have to pay is to pay them with job security--that is, tenure.

    Teach for America is a different model. They bring in new teachers without tenure or the promise of tenure. Their teachers do not stay in teaching. They make a valuable contibution to teaching, but they are not a large scale model.

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  16. Charlie, to become a teacher you need a college degree, a certificate and to pass an interview. You also have to pass a year in which you are scrutinized.

    I don't think the 20% of bad teachers are putting forth their best effort and just need more development. The bottom 20% are not giving an all out effort. The teacher who left a meeting after 5 minutes when I had response to what she said, didn't call me when scheduled, and tried to pressure me to send my daughter to Lincoln when I'd been making an effort since she was 1 or 2 to prepare her to be a good student so she could get into Lowell, who told me she was just a B student when she was in the top 4% of California students in her area (English) on the STAR test and was willing to work hard each night and weekends to earn an A, and who gave another kid detention for getting sticker tabs instead of plastic tabs and gave him a B in the class and an F on an important test for muttering doesn't need professional development, they need pressure that if they get enough complaints, kids aren't testing well and their boss, the principal isn't happy with their work, they can do something else with their life.

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  17. Floyd,

    You have a grudge against teachers, the police and firefighters. This colors your views and makes you irrational. You blame the parents, the teachers, the district, the students and on and on and then you say what we need is more money.

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  18. It's not a grudge, it's just a waste of taxpayer money. I think most teachers are good, and I actually think the union likes the power it has and exempting anyone from being fired ultimately makes most teachers earn less money. Why do cops get more than teachers? The public decides that. I see more inefficiency with cops than teachers, but some with teachers. San Francisco could be 95% as safe with half the cops, a worthy tradeoff. We need to spend more money to improve education, but money is only part of the equation. Efficiency is another. I'm sure there are certain other inefficiencies, say building or restaurant inspection or something, but that's a fare smaller department so I don't worry about it as much. Schools are important, and cops and jails cost our budget a ton. I do blame parents, to a degree, but feel it's helpless. If we can spend enough to overcome bad parents for a generation, in a generation we can teach people how important education is and the next generation, there will be no bad parents. Amy Cha should be given a role organizing parent training, all across the U.S., and all proven techniques should be taught across the nation. We need parenting coaches. If poor Asians can get their kids into UCs, anyone can. It isn't magic, it's just elbow grease. We could end this in a generation if we all make it our highest priority.

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  19. Seniority also is about which teacher gets to fill a slot at the more popular schools. It is a tie-breaker, if I can use SAS terminology. Would you rather let the principal pick from among the top 3 with seniority rather than the teacher with the most seniority, if that is how it is done now? That is a matter of negotiation between the unions and the district. Is the issue of seniority here an issue for candidates for the school board?

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  20. No, Charlie. Candidates don't run against the union. That is considered political suicide.

    The point is the seniority issue in the SZ is a strawman. Those teachers will leave soon enough anyway. The moment they can bump someone else for an upscale school, they'll be on the other side of the issue.

    Did anyone read the SAS final report? I'll take a look and get back to you on what SFUSD's new spin is on what a wonderful job they are doing.

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  21. It's just a bunch of obsession with diversity, nothing interesting came up. I thought there would be something interesting but nothing. Read it, you'll see.

    It is a problem, but some teachers will grow attached if they stay longer and maybe stay long term. They need to do more. They should be able to pay teachers more to go to the most challenging schools, but only if they're good. Due to the union they can only pay more by their rigid formula. If they allowed the principals at the SIG schools to offer 10k more only to outstanding teachers, even if they have very little experience, even if that makes them out earn some older teachers who aren't as good, that would really help our most vulnerable children.

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  22. Just as I figured. The report is just an excuse to tout the Superintendent Zones. What a surprise! The very first enumerated point of the report, what do they fundmentally have to do with student assignment, the title of the report? We'd have these zones whether or not the SAS was revised.

    As for the wondrous API results, schools at the bottom tend to have very large relative test score swings and reversals. The real question is how the demographics have changed relative to the test scores at each school. Are the reforms helping or is it just the changes in student makeup?

    The report makes hay over the API results, but the writers forgot to mention that Cesar Chevez ES was disqualified from the API for testing 'irregularities'. In other words, one of the teachers got caught trying to fudge the results. What kind of phony pseudo-scientific paper fails to report on all the evidence collected and only on those items which make SFUSD look good?

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  23. Educated people can easily make stats lie. I see a lot of fudging. I think to really see improvement, they should show the average score of white, black, Asian, Latino, and the other DS and ONW categories which are often white but could be anything, half white, Arab? Not sure. Then compare the results by year. There are more whites in SFUSD than 5 years ago, and the switching means more Asians are at the troubled schools. If that's the only reason, they've achieved nothing. If the average black score goes up significantly, or Latino score, that's cause for celebration. I doubt that is the case however. It's true, at the bottom it's easy to improve. See if they can sustain it, and for all races. Then celebrate.

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  24. Floyd,

    All the race by race information is available at the STAR test website. Take the time to look at it.

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  25. Suppose I make ground beef at a meat processing plant. Suppose I have 100 pounds of good safe beef and 1 pound of rotten beef. Suppose the regulations allow a little bit of contamination and still get the OK stamp.

    Choice #1. Put me down for having 1 pound of bad beef and get bad marks for it.

    Choice #2. Mix the bad beef into the good beef. It is all contaminated now, but it will still pass inspection. And I have no bad marks for having bad beef.

    The standardized test score game and the game over schools having proficient scores tells the school districts to always go with Choice #2. SFUSD is no exception.

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  26. I know you can dig for it Don, it's just SFUSD never reports it. Change any school in the City from 10% Asian, 5% white, 50% Latino, 35% black, to 25% black, 15% white, 25% Latino, 40% Asian, it will always improve the test scores. There are few exceptions to this. SFUSD has not found a way to raise AA or L scores, and has really made the whites and Asians suffer a lot, driving many out of the district, in their misguided efforts to do so. If something worked it would be worth it at least in a way, but they won't touch home life for fear of offending someone, won't have parenting classes, marital counseling to encourage people to marry if one gets pregnant. There's no shame in single mothers, even though stats show clearly such kids do poorly in school. So we act nice, but we get the bad results. It's condescending and makes no progress towards solving the real problem. It's aimless. Malcom X was right, the way to fix the AA community is solid marriages, self-reliance, pride, focus. It just hasn't been followed. People just remember Malcom X being anti-white, which he wasn't before he died. He had a lot of good ideas. But no one has followed them. Obama has good ideas too, but people too often ignore them. Getting good grades is easy, you just have to turn off the TV and study hard and get a tutor.

    SFUSD can't convince anyone to do this, if they even try. They just have this vague blame society thing, blame whitey. They sound a lot like Reverand Wright. If they followed X, Cosby, Obama, it'd be over, the achievement gap would be over.

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  27. What the "Final Report" doesn't tell you is that the participation rate for STAR test is several percentage points higher on average for the category of ALL STUDENTS districtwide than it is in Superintendent Zone. It is hard to prove without the District providing confidential information on individual students, but I would wager that the lowest performing students are the ones who likely don't take the test. If they did, these schools would perform significantly worse than their already abysmal results.

    As for race related info year over year, if I get a chance I'll look into it. But I suggest that you, Floyd, should back up your contentions with facts and not make assumptions based upon your personal beliefs.

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  28. The waiver for the SZ on the lack of seniority when layoffs for budgetary reasons are made. That would be an incentive for the teacher to stay in the SZ. Another bribe that we pay to try to turn around low perfoming schools. Otherwise, the inclination to transfer to a more upscale school will kick in--and continue the problem of rapid turnover of teachers at low performing schools.

    It probably takes new teachers a few years on the learning curve. And just when the've started figuring it out, they transfer out, if possible. We do have to slow down that rotating door. Yes, give the SZ the waiver on lack of seniority, if we can get away with it. Praise for the Superintendent for this smart move. He earns his pay, once in a while.

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  29. Charlie, Charlie, Charlie,

    When SFUSD spent over 2 million for professional development related to inner city youth issues, Carlos Garcia did nothing when layoff forced out many of the very teachers who has just received this expensive training. But now he does want to stop the layoffs in a very similar situation. The difference then as compared to now is that now he has a project with his name and seal of approval on it - the Superintendent Zones. It may be a smart move (if he wins in court) but it has more to do with his reputation than it does with any belief in closing the revolving door, otherwise why did he allow much of the 2 million to go to waste?

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  30. Don makes a good point. He should have fought for this years ago. My problem with this isn't the goal. It's a noble goal. it's just that it achieves nothing and no one seems to hold anyone accountable or even care. My house full of AA and L kids is thriving academically. It takes good parenting. It's not rocket science.

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  31. Don makes a good point. He should have fought for this years ago. My problem with this isn't the goal. It's a noble goal. it's just that it achieves nothing and no one seems to hold anyone accountable or even care. My house full of AA and L kids is thriving academically. It takes good parenting. It's not rocket science.

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  32. We have good government when the wrong guy does the right thing. What counts is that the guy in charge does the right thing, whatever is his motive. So you may argue that the superintendent is just doing it for his reputation. I am not saying that I agree or disagree with you about this. I am saying that I do not even care to guess about that. And it does not matter to me one little bit. Slowing down the revolving door in those schools is needed. And he is trying to do that. Good for him and good for us.

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  34. OK, Charlie. I understand and appreciate that you do not care what Garcia's inner motive is, if the outward result is the right one, assuming it is indeed the right one. The problem is this: Almost 70% of the district student body is low SES and many schools suffer from the exact same problems as those in the Superintendent Zones, but these zones comprised less than 20% of the total problem of teacher retention. If this policy of overruling seniority is good for the goose, it is good for the gander. So will Garcia remove seniority for other schools that suffer from a revolving door or is he just focused on the areas where his reputation is at stake? What about all the thousands of other students who are not part of his pet project? That's why I say this is all about reputation and very little about the children of San Francisco.

    On another note, if SFUSD continues to allow 10 to 20% of the students at SIG schools to avoid the STAR test, I don't see why there should be any merit to the numbers that the Central Office likes to tout to the public.

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  35. Sandra Fewer said they are really trying to label kids as disabled at these schools for numerical reasons. Or to get more money. She was against this. She said black kids are steered into this.

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  36. Is there a way to block the Floyd/Don/Charlie trolls?

    The SFUSD superintendent, Carlos Garcia just resigned: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/14/MNE21NKLQG.DTL&tsp=1

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  38. Ralph asks if there is a way to block the comments by Floyd, Don, and myself, Charlie. There is. When Kate, whose blog this is, makes that determination.

    But let us assume that Ralph has made a formal request to block the comments.

    1. Are the comments bothering Ralph? Ralph could just not read them. It is not like we are spamming his email.

    2. Does Ralph disagree with what is being said? Ralph may contribute to the marketplace of ideas with his own opinions and reasons. Please give us your ideas, Ralph. This is the opposite of censoring.

    3. Has something taken place that requires censoring? This is Kate's blog. She calls the shots.

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  39. Floyd,

    If Sandra Fewer said that there is a deliberate attempt to wrongly identify some African American students as special ed for the purpose of getting more money, that would be ludicrous. Special ed is a drain on the district, not a source of extra funding. Every year, SFUSD and most districts must use considerable sums from the general fund in order to comply with special ed mandates.

    Either you misunderstood, Floyd, or else Sandra Fewer is pulling a fast one.

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  40. By the way, Garcia will resign almost to the day he gets his lifetime pension. What about seeing through his Superintendent Zones? I guess he's more interested in collecting 2/3rds of $293,000 without putting in any work than he is interested in finishing the job.

    His social justice agenda fit very well into SF political culture, but the reality is that while SFUSD has scored incrementally higher year over year, the failing schools are still failing despite all the money he spent on them to the everlasting bad fortune of those schools and their students who had to pay the bill with their education usurped.

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  42. It seems that some people have as a sole purpose to prevent other people from having a discussion while adding nothing themselves. This final report is full of information about K issues. Maybe these detractors can think of something to say about this report instead of complaining about who else is commenting.

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  43. Ralph, if you want to talk about Kindergarten, just skip this thread, don't look at it. Stop whining, it's pathetic. We don't agree with you and we don't agree with you censoring us. If you have a debate point, prove it, state your opinion and back it up. If you want others censored, it may mean you don't have facts to back up your points but want to have your views prevail anyways by censoring anyone who disagrees. And you have commented on issues other than kindergarten in the past.

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  44. Wow, Dennis Kelly just proved he cares more about adult interest groups than children with this comment. He just wants to continue the mindless seniority system, which is devastating our children.


    "After working closely with teachers and other stakeholders to bring additional resources into our schools, improve student achievement, and make inroads into closing the achievement gap, he leaves the school district with the same divisiveness that marked the departures of previous superintendents," said Dennis Kelly, president of the United Educators of San Francisco. "It is clear that his useful time here is at an end."

    The union also criticized district officials for the decision not to conduct a nationwide search for Garcia's replacement.

    "If Deputy Superintendent Carranza is in fact that candidate, he should have no problem competing with the best and brightest the nation has to offer," Kelly said.



    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/14/MNE21NKLQG.DTL#ixzz1pElq4QRb

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  45. Examiner today:

    "Although Garcia previously worked well with the union, the District's move to set aside seniority rules and protect teachers in the Superintendent Zones from layoffs this year soured that relationship."

    Garcia did nothing substantive at SFUSD schools until 3 years into his term when he decided he would have to do something as Superintendent before he retired.

    Once he started his very small, but cash intensive reform project, Mr. Garcia must have realized he was going to have to solve the seniority problem or his beloved project would go down in flames just like the NUA effort did. A little slow on the uptake, it was a real if belated "eureka" moment for him, though reformers across the nation have been talking about the necessity for seniority reform for years. Well, better late than never for Mr. Garcia and the rest of us.

    I wonder how he, the hard line progressive, will rationalize his pro-union beliefs with the on-the-ground reality of the barriers those beliefs present when he actually tries to do his job of promoting student achievement? I guess it was time to hit the road and avoid having to explain himself out of this quandary.

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  46. You can't both solve the achievement gap and stick with union orthodoxy. Dennis Kelley has made clear he stands in the way of positive change for children. You just won't do it by spending more on a parcel tax, you have to change the incentives for teachers, the structure of the profession. If you're a principal now, what can you really do if people don't push themselves and work hard to the best of their ability? What can you do if someone calls in sick on Mondays and Fridays generally, and always calls the maximum allowable times, saddling the school with substitute costs and inconsistency for the students? What can you do if they walk out of conferences, teach poorly or don't make themselves available to students? Dennis Kelley makes it so that you can do nothing, and I see the effects first hand. We're lucky teachers are as good as they are and that most are pretty solid, but the ones who aren't still do a lot of damage, and Dennis Kelley supports this, and so does Ralph by calling for censorship of this issue.

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  47. Kate should start a thread about the assignment letters people will get starting tomorrow, and Kate should tell the three blowhards to stay out of the thread completely so this blog may regain some semblance of its former self.
    Or we should start a Facebook page for discussion. Blocking people on Facebook is easy.
    Censorship? Nope, it's getting rid of those people who stay too long at a party, and it's plugging ones' ears to those people who talk too much, repeat themselves constantly, and don't know when to shut up.

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  48. SFUSD FAILS TWINS AGAIN
    Twins separated into two different schools. One in the Richmond, Argonne (year round) and the other in the Mission, Flynn (school year), which was not even one of our 14 choices.
    Why doesn't the school district check the placement letters before they send them out.

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  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

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