Saturday, March 24, 2012

The "Swap" Explained

This was posted on SFUSDs website yesterday.

I'm more confused with the lottery process at this point than I was when I started the search for a school.
Good luck to everyone entering round two


  1. I'm still trying to get that... So, according to the way a poster here on SF K Files explained it, Yick Wo/Dianne Feinstein must have been so oversubscribed that not all people who put it in as AA school got in. After the lottery, in the "tentative" assignment stage, there were therefore only siblings and AA kids assigned to the school.

    Then, during the "transfer cycle" phase, the computer looks for people in this group, who did not put Yick Wo/Dianne Feinstein as their first choice and sees, if there is anybody assigned to another school, who has Yick Wo/Dianne Feinstein as a higher choice and whose assignment school is on a higher place on the list of the former? So, they completely ignore that there are neighborhood kids out there, who did not get into their assignment area school, and trade and out-of-area-kid in, just to make those two families happier.

    Is that it?

    I would have no problems with "the swap," if if were restricted to a swap between AA kids in AA schools only (citywide schools would of course be free game to swap back and forth in whatever way anybody wanted). E.g. if a kid of a family whose AA school is their first choice and who is assigned to a school that another kid's family whose AA school is on the third or fourth slot of the family's list and who got into the AA school really, really wanted more, then, well, I have no problem with that.

    But use a city-wide trading algorithm, when there are still AA families out there, who did not get their school, that is just not cool, I feel. Don't lie to us, EPC, and tell us that Attendance Area is a tiebreaker, and then just add some extra steps to your lottery that don't treat it as such! Don't tell people that their assignment area choice means something and then treat them this way.

    Not cool at all... no matter how pretty the "fact sheets" may be that you publish after the fact to justify what you did.

  2. Harvard's Al Roth blogs about SFUSD's assignment algorithms ...

    Sunday, March 25, 2012
    School choice in San Francisco, reports on first year
    I've written before about school choice in San Francisco, and about how Muriel Niederle and Clayton Featherstone led the effort by a group of our colleagues to design a strategy-proof choice algorithm (explained here at a Board meeting in 2010), based on transfer cycles ("top trading cycles" to game theorists...). The school board adopted the plan, but then the staff of the school district decided to implement it themselves, without making the details public. Fast forward to 2012, when the first children have been assigned by the new plan.

    continues at:

    funniest bit:
    "my colleagues and I don't know what algorithm SFUSD is using, even though we know what we proposed and the Board adopted. So...this post is a bit like the ads that sometimes appeared in the financial sections of newspapers when I was young, which, following a divorce, would announce that Mr John Doe was henceforth no longer responsible for any debts incurred by the former Mrs John Doe... "

  3. The actual advantage that an AA family has is proportional to the number of other AA families in the lottery run. For popular schools, the seats are largely exhausted by siblings, CTIP (SFUSD Pre-K and NCLB if applicable). If there are any seats left over at that point, then the AA people are entered into the lottery run for those few remaining and coveted seats. At a school like Clarendon that has so many requests coming in from AA families, chances are not great that you are going to get a seat in the lottery run.

    At that point, the AA tiebreaker advantage ends. However, if an AA family lists their school in the top spot (and nothing below because then it can be swapped away), then they have just as much chance of swapping into it as another non-AA family. So the swap gives everyone another chance at getting into schools to which they were not assigned seats in the lottery run for each school.

    I would imagine that most of the swapping that happens which places non-AA families into very popular AA schools comes from swaps between the non-AA families and CTIP families. Some could also come from AA families who prefer immersion or K-8 to their AA school. But again, AA families who list their AA school #1 have just as much chance at swapping in as non-AA families do. It would seem that what one has listed under their #1 school could make a lot of difference in the final assignment.

  4. I think, though, that if a DiFi AA family, for example, does not get ANY of the schools on their list, the chances of them "trading up" and getting DiFi are next to none. You only have something to trade if you got something someone else might actually want.

    The algorithm needs to be published, and the whole thing needs to be audit-able. This whole thing is just RIDICULOUS.

  5. Chances of swapping are not next to none, they are just plain none.

    It is true that if you don't get a seat in any of the lottery runs for the schools on your list, then you have nothing with which to swap up. That's why listing more schools is better than listing just a few because it improves your odds of getting a seat(s).

  6. the problem with the sway only between AA families is that it would disproportionately favor those familes, and not be more universally fair to other familes that don't have tiebreakers - they would always lose out.

  7. Yes but remember, white and Asian families in the East are making our schools less diverse by trying to go to the West Side or choice citywide schools. These people need to be drafted into the schools that are almost exclusively African American and Latino and poor. Forcing people from far to go there will cause a huge commute and they won't be involved, not to mention huge inconvenience, but forcing those (of means) from close to go there will add people with money to donate, time to donate, and from the community to improve the community. There's no reason they can't transform some neighborhoods into areas like the West Side, as housing costs are high. Areas like Bernal Heights could become like the Sunset, but now the families of means aren't going to the schools. I still say, if you do have money and are white or Asian and live on the East side, you should 100% go to your area school. I agree with letting some lower income AA and L kids into the West Side, even if far away, to add diversity and help bring up the struggling students. I just think it is a double negative when you have a person of means like Duffty from the East Side drive someone out of a West side school who then leaves the district. That's just silly. It doesn't add diversity. It ends up being the same as if they lived West because the only kids left at a school like Cobb, in the middle of a rich "liberal" white area, or Flynn, or Paul Revere end up being the undesireable (not my words, but treated that way by "liberal" people judging from the reaction of those with money close to these schools towards the idea of sending their kids there). If we want to see more transformations, more McKinleys or Rosa Parks, to cite two good schools which do a good job of serving a mix of rich and poor kids of all races, this would be the best policy.

  8. If the EPC is not following the policy they published in the P5101 enrollment guide (which made no mention of the swap)...and if Alvin Roth one of the algorithim designers stated " I don't know what algorithm SFUSD is using, even though we know what we proposed and the Board adopted", then what policy are they using?
    Are they just making something up?
    There is zero transparency so how can we know what they are doing?

  9. Sorry for invading this thread to talk about the older thread, "Good Luck All!" We are having trouble seeing beyond comment #200 in that thread.

    You want to click the title line, "Good Luck All!" and that will get you to a listing of original post and comments that will let you access newer and newest comments.

  10. Charlie,
    Click on the "good luck" thread title ... scroll down to last entry, click "newest" and then you and Don and Floyd can do your troll-thing with your off-topic rants.

  11. I am sorry that you see these comments as trolling. Since Kate did take a time out for bad behavior recently, your comment has support for past comments.

    I think the current comments are not out of line and are not trolling. Please join in the discussion. If there is anything out of line, please explain what that is and how it can be corrected. I welcome constructive criticism.

    And Kate has taken us to task quite recently.

  12. Does anyone know if the "transfer cycle" will be in place for round 2?

    Just strategizing for the allegedly strategy proof algorithm...

  13. "Does anyone know if the 'transfer cycle' will be in place for round 2?"

    They'll probably toss a coin about that. Maybe that's the 'strategy proof' part... that it's completely and utterly random and arbitrary how they decide who gets assigned to which school...

  14. If I were in Round Two, I would pad my list to get swap opportunities. I have no idea what 555 Franklin is going to do, but if they withdraw the transfer cycle algorithim aka the swap, that would look like an admission of guilt. So my bet is they leave it in.

    Once you assume the swap will take place, I know I need to list a lot of schools to get cards in the game, so to speak, but I really do not want to go to some of the schools either. It is a royal mess.

    Leave out any school or program completely objectionable. Put in all, and I do mean all, of the rest. Anybody disagree?

  15. What I can't figure out is if I'd lose my slot in my "I don't hate it but yuck..." school that I currently have. It would certainly be possible to "trade down" and end up with a school I like less. Do I put that one on my list again, in slot #1?


  16. OK, I read this on the SFUSD website:
    If you would like to participate in the May Placement Period, you must submit an Amended Choice Form by April 13th listing any number of more preferred schools than your initial offer for the May Placement Period.

    This suggests that I *could* lose my "I don't hate it but yuck" school and get something that would be worse for my child/family by listing a gazillion schools on the amended choice form.

    Ah, well... since my assigned school is popular, maybe the algorithm gods will smile on me :-)

  17. It is the school district that has to answer these questions.

    Parents need to push them to clarify how this all works.

  18. Swapping is the only way for people not in the higher preference areas -- CTIP1, AA, etc., can get into an out-of-neighborhood school (except citywide).

    To swap, they need to have an assignment to a school that someone else wants, so people near less popular schools have no opportunity to trade up.

    That's why Cobb AA residents almost all failed to get any of their choices. There's no CTIP1 in the Cobb area, and no one wants to go to Cobb, so nobody was able to trade out to anything they wanted.

    There's a huge amount of geographical bias in the assignment system. Not only do people near popular schools have more opportunity at that school, but they also have better chances to get a successful trade to any other school they want.

  19. Rachel Norton's recent post on her site suggests that we have this all wrong and that AA people are not being "shut out" by non-tie-breaker/priority students. Please help me understand b/c there seems to be many examples (and I know of three myself) of non-tiebreaker students getting into a non AA school that is over subscribed, instead of students in the AA area. And it has to be because of the unadvertised swap? What else could it be?

  20. SF Citizen 4:13,
    If school assignment is a closed system, that is, if there are no private or parochial schools in competition with the public schools, then it is a much stronger argument that the swap does not harm Assignment Area students (AA students).

    But that is not the case in SF. Right or wrong, many parents are stuck on the trophies. To name just a few: Clarendon, Rooftop, Alamo, Lawton, and Claire Lilienthal. If they can not get into one of these schools, they will go private.

    If it were not for the swap, we would have lost these parents to the privates. Often these trophy-or-bust parents are not in the local area of Alamo or Clarendon.

  21. I do know of one non-AA non-tiebreaker (they're in the jefferson AA area, no sibling) family who got DiFi. So, if it's true that some AA families were closed out, there's something wrong with the algorithm, or something doesn't work as described.

    I know it was their first choice, so perhaps that has something to do with it...

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. If you live in a AA of a high demand school you have an advantage over applicants from lower demand AA only if you do not list your AA school first and you also win a spot in that school in the intermediate stage of the lottery. In the swap stage you are "offering" your AA school (high demand) to get one of your higher listed choices. More people will want your coveted spot vs. a low demand school. Hence your advantage. Is this fair? I guess it depends on your AA school. But it is a bias.

    other issue.
    Parents are required to enter round two before round 1 acceptances are in so the parent does not know how many spots there actually are available by school. This is unfair and it would help if the round 2 date was moved back a week. They way it is set up now there is a month between the close date and letters going out. They don't need 4 weeks to turn round 2 entries.

  24. Michelle, try this:

    I live outside of D.F., but D.F. is my top choice and I list it #1. I get lucky in the citywide lotteries and I get into my number 4 choice, Claire Lilienthal. Some D.F. AA parent who has the car and time to commute from D.F. to C.L. swaps with me.

    In the meantime, several AA parents never got into D.F. because the sibling, CTIP, and preschool tiebreakers left very few seats for the locals. Maybe this is what happened. These D.F. parents got sent a short distance away, which in my book, is not unreasonable. I cannot think of any failing ES in the Sunset.

  25. Charlie -- your description actually probably does explain what happened, though it doesn't map to what the original publishing of the way the lottery works made most of us expect.

    As for DF families being sent a short distance away, that doesn't seem to be the case, and if you don't get a slot at a school on your list they give you one at whatever school is closest that has room. At the end of the first run, I'd bet all the sunset schools are fully assigned, making the "nearest" school not so near...

    We're talking speculation and rumors, I know, but there is someone on the previous thread who states she lives in DiFi AA and has been assigned Flynn. As in Leonard. As in on the mission/bernal border, which google maps says you can do in 17-19 minutes driving, but is likely to take closer to 25 minutes. For a school that, while it may be a good match for some kids is not "performing well."

    And, fwiw, my commute estimates are based on my own Bernal --> Hoover run, which we only do when I happen to have a late start at work. 20 minutes is BARELY enough for us to get there, and that's at 14th and Santiago. (The rest of the time the middle schooler takes muni, with times as long as an hour each way, but I digress...)

  26. So Sunset kids ARE being sent to the SE. The SE CTIP2 is still doing the lion's share of the work of integrating the schools, but the Sunset is being called to duty, as well. I still think the Sunset has a lot more options. They can list every Sunset school for Round One and maybe stay in the SW. Historically, the ones tough to commute to have seats. Look, not as tough as gong to Flynn--that is the lesson from this year's results.

  27. SFUSD posted more assignment/request data:

  28. Moggy can do her Moggything which is to pretend she isn't a troll and doesn't make continuous off topic comments and accusations and accuse others of doing the same.

  29. Don, you and Moggy have some kind of feud going on. From way before my time. I don't know what it is about and frankly, I don't want to know. The blog has been shut down recently. That was a warning.

    How about you being the better man? Say sorry that Moggy's feelings have been hurt. Then move on. Show Kate that we appreciate her blog and can behave.

  30. I just don't understand how I can make Moggy happy and express legitimate points of view. Is this just supposed to be I got this school, I got this one, I appealed? It seems it is on topic to discuss the policies behind them and whether they are right or wrong, no? What are the constraints? Moggy and Ralph seem to always say I'm violating some rule which makes me a troll? I'm an actual parent with opinions, and to me discussion naturally leads me to have opinions. Are we only supposed to say I got this school, congratulations, this is a good strategy, but any discussion as to what the policy should be is strictly off limits? Other issues come up because the stated reason by the district for the current policy is diversity and fairness for the oppressed minorities and the achievement gap, the idea is it will solve the gap, which I don't see happening, and I don't see integration happening when the bulk of those going west from East are actually the white and high income Asians living in the East, and even the African Americans and Latinos who go West tend to be higher income. So the bad schools end up more isolated and full of kids who are disadvantaged than a pure neighborhood policy would be.

    But seriously, without agreeing with Ralph and Moggy, able to express myself, without violating the rule. I thought debate was OK here and get frustrated when I see these accusations because it's a situation where I can't possibly make everyone happy and feel free. I feel I have a right to express opinions but don't want to be regarded as a troll, but I've come to feel that Moggy and Ralph are so unreasonable this is purely impossible so I have decided I can't compromise with these people and just have to accept they will feel I am a bad troll, but I feel in fairness I am not.

    I wish someone neutral could weigh in as to what the line is and how I can express myself without violating what Ralph and Moggy accuse me of. I do feel Moggy expresses viewpoints not directly related.

    Blogs usually have some level of debate. I can't understand Moggy's thought process. I just don't think she'll be happy unless I agree with her and say the board, Garcia, PPS and all these groups, the Union, are all great and making progress, but I don't believe that so I can't say that and don't see how I can achieve both goals. It's frustrating. I don't think I'm a troll.

    Maybe Kate should have a forum where all the parties show up and talk it out and rules are stated clearly so that we can disagree without being disagreeable, so we can use facts and make statements without people like Moggy feeling we are violating basic moral codes, where we can all see eye to eye or come to a sort of compromise.

    Kate, would you be open to holding a public meeting where we have mediators and can express ourselves and come up with rules satisfactory to all? I am tired of Ralph's and Moggy's accusations and think conflict mediation would be the best route to take, or a public forum. Doing it over a blog doesn't work, I feel I'm bending over backwards to try to satisfy Moggy and Ralph but still get angry accusations from them and just simply don't know what to do.

  31. Floyd, we are not trying to satisfy Moggy and Ralph. We are trying to satisfy Kate.

    She shut us down. Therefore we crossed the line somewhere with her. Any ideas what that might have been?

    In my opinion, shorter posts would help.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. We have no advantages or tie breakers and we got someones AA school in the Avenues. Curious why SFUSD couldn't fill up that school with AA students? And, why SFUSD gave us the spot? I thought all schools in the West/Avenues were highly requested by AA families with limited spaces available.

  34. Until SFUSD releases more data, it's hard to speculate.

    They released this today:

    but it is only "Total Requests by School/Grade/Program with Choice Ranking", nothing about how many placements went to siblings, CTIP-1, Feeder Factor, or students living in the Attendance Area... that's what people want to look at.

  35. JJ, which Sunset school did you get and what area are you from? Histoically, the Sunset had a lot of seats for not that many residents, compared to the SE. The pattern has been that the Bayview/Hunters Point commutes out of its area, but still within the larger SE area of town. SF is small, but not that small. Transportation is a constraining factor for choice of schools.

    That the nearest school with space for you was a westside school is what is expected. The very curious assignment was the D.F. resident who got sent to Flynn. How did that happen? Human error inputting info?

  36. Kate, please consider using a commenting system like Disqus, Intense Debate, or Facebook’s social plugin for comments. Disqus and Intense Debate give people several options for login, through Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Open ID, or Twitter, so that people can quickly login without having to create a new account just to write something. Under those systems, blocking certain people from leaving comments on your blog is possible and is not a whole lot of work.

    For others not wishing to have to wade through the troll crap, here’s a few possible alternative places to discuss San Francisco schools:

    Sfschools yahoo group:
    To Subscribe, email:

    New Facebook page:
    Schools In San Francisco!/SchoolsInSanFrancisco

    Parents for Public Schools yahoo group (must be a pps member)
    To Subscribe, email:

  37. Moggy, you still didn't describe what about it makes it "troll crap". It's hard not to violate your rules if I don't know what they are. How is it such? This is why you are always upset, I don't understand what it is that crosses your line so I repeat it. You didn't really address my point which wasn't fair.

  38. Jeezus, let me count the ways, Floyd. How about racial-supremacist comments about Asian parents, constantly? Haranguing people who choose private school or support the choice system, no matter what the topic? Overposting? Rambling? You have maybe 2 or 3 points to make and you make them on every thread, endlessly, regardless of the topic. You are the reason I rarely check this blog anymore, and never comment. And no, I am not Moggy, which inevitably Don (also a haranguer) will say I am. You two have single-handedly ruined this blog, which used to be a great resource, if somewhat contentious. Congratulations.

  39. I want to start by saying that I'm a big fan of the free exchange of ideas, and don't want to "censor" anyone. I also post relatively long posts sometimes.

    That said, I do try to focus on providing *new* or *clarifying* information that is directly related to the thread topic.

    There are a few posters who I do feel beat the same drum over and over and over, regardless of the topic of the thread. While I don't want Kate to "censor" these writers, I would ask that they take a look at what they're writing, and see if it's something they've said 10x already, and whether they're adding useful content to the discussion at hand, just as they would in a face to face conversation with friends.

    This is how I observe this thread going:

    FriendA: I'm wondering how this new SAS system works... I'm seeing some irregularities that are unexpected.

    FriendB: This is what I've read/heard/seen from SFUSD or PPSSF.

    FriendA: Then how does that explain what I saw?

    FriendC: Yeah, I noticed this weirdness

    FriendB: I think this explains it.

    Friend D: Folks from the SE of the city should stay where they are and diversify their schools! Parents in the sunset should be happy with what is available to them! Asian kids perform better on tests! Superintendent zone schools already get tons of money and it's not helping! Don't tell everyone it will all work out, it won't! Leave SF! Go private!

    FriendD has not actually added anything to the conversation at hand, and is repeating things friends A,B, and C have heard over and over and over.

    Please think before you post.


  40. Also, I find it unnecessary and disruptive to again and again see warnings about (now) "trolls" and (previously) "sockpuppets." I understand that this is close to your heart, that you are passionate about this, and that you feel it is helpful to the board to make such things explicit. However, it adds to the overall noise and clutter and distracts from the helpful information.

    Please trust those of us who come here for information rather than debate that we are smart enough to pick up on what you call "trolling" on our own. If you don't but keep harping on this, it insults our intelligence and makes you come across as abusing this board for some kind of personal vendetta.

    The medium of internet discussion boards tends to bring the worst out of some of us. I trust that, were I to meet most of you in person, we would get along great, so I hope what I write above does not come across as hurtful or insulting.

    Even in its currently somewhat crippled form, I find this board to be a helpful tool for both the city/legislative bodies and the parents, whom this city is supposed to serve. This newest "swap" mess-up is complex and complicated enough that I would have never found out about it without this board.

    I wholeheartedly second both Michelle's description and admonitions. Please, all of you, edit what you post before hitting "send," and make sure to stay on topic (also, be so kind as to refrain from wasting bandwidth on again and again calling out those who don't--maybe you should get a punching bag instead, put it into your basement, and give it a few whacks whenever a post bugs you... before posting back).

    yet another wordy poster...

  41. I made no comment on this thread before Moggything attacked me by name. I do agree that some commenters make the same points over and over and that it becomes insufferable.

    One observation of the SAS - since SFUSD claims that less than 25% choose first their neighborhood school, why does the District assign the closest school when all other tie-breakers, preferences and swaps have been exhausted? The default assignment seems in conflict with SFUSD's default philosophy.

    Next point - Michelle's comment that the algorithm needs to be published is the take-away point of this thread, IMHO. If there is so much confusion and mistrust of the system, SFUSD should do something to address the problem giving the community confidence in the integrity this complex SAS.

    Now if this too is off topic you can blame Michelle instead of your favorite punching bag.

  42. Floyd at 1:03, it is not Moggy's rules we should be concerned about. It is Kate's rules, which most of the time just lets us hang ourselves. We do not have to hang ourselves. If Moggy's comments bother you, just mentally black them out. After all, he or she is not spaming your email, just as you are not spaming someone else,

    (with apologies to SPAM, the meal ready to eat of WWII).

  43. Just FYI -- I was at EPC this morning to drop off our round 2 choice sheet -- there were 2 people already working with staff, and I walked right up to the counter and was out in 2 minutes flat.

  44. The reason I mention these things is that the whole philosophy of the assignment system is that if you diversify, the achievement gap will disappear. My point is that Asians thrive in good and bad schools. Being assigned to schools many whites consider unthinkable actually doesn't cause them to perform poorly, so my point is that with dedication, you can do great on tests and that SFUSD should make an effort to teach all to follow the culture of success. Anyone, of any race, who studies extensive hours will do well. This horrible assignment system, whether you like it or not, has not made a dent in the achievement gap because it hasn't focused on the right things, attitude, dedication, and day to day habits. I mention it again because so many people have blown it off. It's a simple solution that has been ignored, look at who is succeeding and convince those who are failing to act more like those who are succeeding. Every sales division does this all the time. We need to do this with childraising. I know it makes people defensive, but I'm not white supremacist, in fact many of the whites on this board instinctively criticize Amy Chua despite getting her daughter into Yale and Harvard, create another criteria by which they can consider themselves superior even if not rooted in fact, some sort of my child is emotionally better off and Amy Chua's child will crack and rebel at some point, something which is not supported by the facts, even at 30 or 40 Asians are doing better than any other race in the U.S., so the idea the stress leads to a crack or rigidity and failure has never been backed up. It is a simple solution that has been ignored due to political correctness and yes, to a degree, white supremacy.

    The current assignment system assumes that all that is needed is exposure. The idea of busing was that integration would help. It does some, but it is a small effect compared to extremely dedicated parenting and focused, goal-oriented, even grade-obsessed childhood. I am the opposite of a white supremacist. I hold up whoever gets results and does well, Asians, Indians, Russians, Arabs, and yes, Africans from many nations overperform in the U.S.

    I don't think most of the people on this board have ever seriously considered how can we convince all children to spend their childhood acting more like those who are succeeding, including grades-focused immigrants of many races. As much as Moggy claims she's heard it 100 times, I doubt she's ever given serious thought to why Asians perform so well and how we can use that knowledge to help bring underperforming minorities and even whites up to this level.

    If we did this we'd be ahead of every nation we are behind now. But it is not politically correct and is damn hard work so it continually gets brushed aside and ignored and we instead focus on other things which lead to zero impact.

    Silence me and the achievement gap is still there in 25 years. My plan is the only one which will make an impact, and it is shared by Kevin Johnson, President Obama, Geoffrey Canada and Michelle Rhee, just to name a few.

  45. If you want to keep it narrow, the assignment system is a disaster. You can work years to buy a home in an area and be sent to school 5 miles or more away. You can't appeal and no one is getting in even if being patient and waiting and trying for 7th grade. Many people are unhappy and the schools aren't getting more diverse and no progress is being made on the gap. The algorithm is shrouded in secrecy for no discernible goal. This assignment system is a disaster. For high school there's not even any neighborhood plus. The letters and comments prove it has failed.

  46. Let's all try to stay on the specific discussion regarding the "swap" in this thread, please. I think the point is that this "swap" is an unadvertsied step in the placement process. Why not spell it out in advance of printing your brochures EPC? We all just want to understand the new SAS, so we can make the best choices for our kids. How many more are out there who feel misguided (or worse)about this unpublicized step which negates the heavily advertised tiebreaker system? I also voted no on Prop H, thinking that this new SAS was already built around an AA/neighborhood school assignment system. Was this just pure incompetence in marketing the process accurately by SFUSD, or was this "swap" information left off intentionally? Did they use the "swap" last year?

  47. Last year was the first year of the new SAS and there was no noticing of any nonAA getting into an AA ES ahead of AA residents. Which leads me to believe this swap is new for Fall 2012. Would SFUSD care to comment, or take the Fifth?

    Would the Board members care to comment or take the Fifth? Do they even know?

  48. They intentionally left it off to win the election No on H. They bassically said a lot of things and when challenged to take a lie detector test and a $1,000 bet, they declined. They knowingly misled the public to believe this. It is not true. You can still live near 5 schools and be sent to school 5 miles away and get none of your choices. Some even put 10 and get none, including AA. It was left off intentionally and even stated in the voter pamphlett. The board all signed it and made claims they wouldn't back up with a test, such as that kids would be forced to switch mid year. I challenged them to a $1000 bet simply that they believed this could happen if it passed, and they didn't take it. Pre-meditated lie, and these are the people who manage our children's schools. The swap wasn't published because it's designed to be inside info, the way that inside people get what they want. In communism, all of us are equal, but of course some of us are more equal than others. The people who are more equal than you are know this and acted accordingly. That's why the algorithm was not published.

  49. ... they're running on their rims, folks. It's endless. But yes, I guess it's true that complaining about the tedious incoherent babbling and repetition only adds to the "noise".

  50. Floyd,

    You may be right that there is some funny business going on, but if you make an allegation of misconduct it should be supportable. Your views on SFUSD subterfuge can be real and or imagined. In the past I have written extensively about various kinds and I have backed up most of my views with current examples of wrongdoing (as I saw it).

    Please do not lead the discussion off onto study habits, culture, and TV time. There is a place and time for it and it is not here and now. We can easily skip over your repetitious commentary but why should they have to? You should be able to ascertain the difference between an on or off topic comment, particularly if you intend to blog as frequently as you like to. The occasional tangent is OK but when it is frequent it is what other call hijacking. For example, you just went back onto your typical tirade immediately after being called out for doing so.

  51. The swap. What did they know and when did they know it? There was no explanation of it to the public. Commissioner Norton says it was discussed during one of the Board meetings--what 3 years ago. I guess they did not implement it for Fall 2011, or else we would have seen the curious assignments we are seeing now. Maybe the placement office had a mental block over how to implement the density tie-breaker and that also delayed the implementation of the swap.

    Like with a new model line of cars. Plenty of bugs to work out at the begining.

  52. I hope that's all it is Charlie, I really do. I've just noticed that I've never seen a supervisor or board member or someone connected have their kid sent 6 miles from home, unless they wanted that.

  53. As tiresome as it is to hear Don, Floyd, and myself, Charlie, repeat ourselves, we have rarely been refuted with a differing argument. We have disagreed among ourselves, but not many others have laid out their own ideas.

    When you see something you diaagree with, please state your position and your reasons. Just clicking like or dislike is not enough. That's not even a D. Give us a real answer. That would be a comment worth an A.

  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

  55. "Comment deleted" does not demonstrate the courage of your convictions. It demonstrates the opposite.

  56. I agree. And as for discussing other issues in other spots, I have tried. YOu might have forgotten, almost every argument died before. There was a thread on the achievement gap and I debated on it but many didn't respond and I made points which were never disproven nor refuted. There were threads on Amy Chua and statements were made and I came up with refutations that were not responded to. If everyone can agree to respond if your point is refuted I can keep it to those threads in the future, no problem, but I found it unsatisfactory last time there was such a debate and many made statements then disappeared. Also, many did this comment deleted thing. I agree with Charlie that shows no courage. If you want to limit it, great, but remember that next time such a debate is prominent. Last time everyone saying this isn't the place disappeared or made a statement and then didn't reply to it's factual refutation correspondingly thereof.

  57. Don, Floyd, and Charlie:

    We all agree with everything you've ever said or done.

    If nobody on this blog cares to engage you in a game of debates, then why keep trying to force one? Why not go start your own blog and debate each other to shared ego orgasm?

  58. sort of like obnoxious drunks at a party who follow everyone around trying to find someone who will talk to them, and they're too inebriated to realize that nobody WANTS to talk to them ... or cares what they think ...

  59. At least you are speaking up, now, which is what I asked you to do. So, thank you for that.

    Could you direct some of your comments to what the school district is doing? I think it is fair to say that this swap was a surprise to most of us.

  60. The school district needs to answer this. It's really just all speculation. I don't know for sure, it just seems suspicious. SFUSD needs to explain it. In theory swaps seem fair, when they tried to force my daughter to go to Hoover instead of Presidio, a couple blocks from us, I knew familes near Hoover sent to Presidio who wanted to go to Hoover. We should have been able to switch, but couldn't but got lucky on appeal. It would have ruined our life, cost thousands in gas, lost wages, time lost studying and with our kids, would have been horrible. What bothers me about this is the secrecy.

    I just don't remember the prior debates and people responding diligently. I remember a disappearing act. Maybe I remember wrong. I'll post something on the other issue someday and we'll see. It's convenient to say post somewhere else if it's not addressed when you do. I agree, I'd rather have the debate on topic as much as possible. I'll try again. But conversations veer in different directions, and I explained why I feel it's relevant to this, this is about assignment, and the reasons stated for our current policy become relevant.

  61. Do we agree that the district should publish the algorithm and explain how this happened, regardless of our disagreements on other issues? Maybe we should all go to the next board meeting and request this. I believe under the freedom of information act they are supposed to provide this. It will be interesting to see if the 0 for 10 people get at least something in the 2d round.

  62. Michelle wrote: "The algorithm needs to be published"

    They won't release the algorithm; they are immune from a Public Records Act Request, because California's sunshine laws exclude government software.

  63. Would you agree that the district should answer whether the swap was new for Fall 2012? No one commented on out of AA students getting into an AA school while many AA locals were out in the cold for Fall 2011, the first year of the new SAS for kindergarten.

    Would you agree that, with the swap, there is a strategy now: load up on choices that might help you in the swap? Suppose I have no transportation and do not really have any way of commuting between D.F. and Clare Lilienthal. I live in the D.F. AA but that does not guarantee me a spot there. I go #1 Lawton, #2 Rooftop,#3 D.F., #4 C.L., #5 etc etc. Suppose I get C.L. The odds are good that someone who did get into D,F. actually ranked C.L. higher on her list. I and every applicant to SFUSD should put C.L. on the list for Round One.

    And then, why not list every trophy school in town and every school where some AA parent could not get into his or her local school?

    And then, even though I am not interested in immersion, maybe it is useful for swap purposes.

    Is this or is this not forcing us to play games? And some people knew the secret rules?

  64. I do believe the district should be forthcoming about the SAS. As someone who opted not to bother visiting or putting on her list schools where the numbers suggested there might not even be room for their own AA students (I'm looking at you, Clarendon and Miraloma!) I find the district's actions extremely frustrating.

    I only listed 6 schools, because I didn't see the point of listing schools whose #of AA students exceeded the number of slots available, or those that would otherwise not suit my family. If only I had known, I would have included Claire Lillienthal (too far, I don't want K-8) Rooftop (I don't want K-8) and any other super popular school I could think of, towards the bottom of my list.

    Water under the bridge for me, since round 1 for this year is over, and I don't have any younger children. I really do feel for the parents who got nothing they wanted/desireable in Round 1 -- they have nothing to trade in round 2. My assignment offer is for a school I don't love, but which is popular. I'll go into round 2 with that as "leverage," and hopefully trade up.

  65. Oh, and I want to be clear that when I say "trade up" I don't mean that I think my assigned school is bad, or that the other school is good -- I'm talking about "trading up" in fit for my kid/family.

  66. "But yes, I guess it's true that complaining about the tedious incoherent babbling and repetition only adds to the "noise"."

    And then:

    "sort of like obnoxious drunks at a party who follow everyone around trying to find someone who will talk to them, and they're too inebriated to realize that nobody WANTS to talk to them ... or cares what they think ..."

    So I guess you are just as willing to add to the noise, despite your being above it. I did not participate in this discussion at all until the Moggything attacked me. So who's the instigator?

  67. To those referring to the parent who is in DiFI AA, and in fact lives right across the street, who had DiFi #1 and was assigned Flynn, that is me.

    It is real and unfair. In addition, I know of at least three non-AA families at this point who got in DiFi without any tiebreakers and two families who used other family members addresses to receive DiFi AA though their child does not reside at the Parkside address. One of these families lives in Daly City and the other in a different Sunset AA. If either parent is reading this I am looking at you with the intensity of 10,000 suns.

  68. It may be in there somewhere. I don't think it's entirely secret. I was at an event at the JCC where I debated a woman from PPS about Prop H in front of 50 parents, briefly, I was mainly there to represent an ES. She was advising parents to put as many choices as possible, saying they're all in order and you can't lose by putting more choices if they are good. She said go ahead and put 15 or 20, or 25. I thought 11 was the limit.

  69. K, go ahead and nail them, as Ralph said unless they legally registerd a grandparent as a guardian, they can't use the grandparent's address. In some ways it makes sense in Asian 3-generation culture. In American culture grandparents help a bit but mostly relax, and in some cases are too old to help much. In Asian culture often the grandparents will take on primary parenting duties to help their kids work harder and be more successful. It's very efficient, just as working hard during childhood is. So in some ways it is fair if the grandparents are really raising the child. An article in the Economist showed our kids work the least during childhood and watch the most TV, among advanced nations, and that though we brag about being harder-working than the French, French kids are significantly harder working than American kids. You can nail them if you want, but if the grandparents are primary guardians it might be cruel. If they're just relaxing and useing the address, like Ed Jew, then it would be fair to nail them.

  70. Address fraud makes the whole new assignment system fatally flawed.

    Which is why I proposed the two-school ticket, in which you get resident status, no questions asked, at any two AA schools. But you have heard that before. And is repeated here only for the benefit of those new to the discussion.

  71. k, I cannot believe you got Flynn. Did the placement office make a clerical mistake? Maybe they made a mistake on your addrress.

    If there were no human error, that means there were no seats closer to you than Flynn? I do not believe that and there must be a problem in the algorithim. An assignment like yours is what we got in the old citywide choice days when the SE CTIP2 was not drafted to stay in the SE. Under the new SAS, the SE CTIP2 has been drafted to stay where they are, leaving more seats for the westside to stay in the westside.

  72. Charlie, you make a great point. Maybe families shouldn't 100% automatically get to go to the school closest to home, though it would increase parent participation, friendships and study time. However, my big objection is when families are told they can only go 5-6 miles away, some don't have a car, or have extreme difficulty which leads many middle class educated people whose kids would make the schools better to say, whose parents would spend more money at the stores and restaurants than those who are in low income preschools and now get a bonus, helping the local economy create jobs, say f it, I'll move to Burlingame or Albany or Marin. It doesn't make the kids who test poorly move, only those who test well, those with options, on average, so it hurts the district. If you could say, we'll guarantee you either your neighborhood school or the next one over, that would be good. Maybe schools like Clarendon shouldn't have an AA because they're too popular, but this way we could guarantee no one gets sent more than a mile away for Elementary, 2 miles for middle or maybe 2.5 or 3 for high school. This would make the schools more diverse if it led to the well off on the East Side to not have the option to abandon their AA School and instead of putting their energy into gaming the system, put it into turning around the school the way the heroic parents did at McKinley and several other schools. There should be a mile maximum guarantee. Maybe if 2 is not feasible, you could even do 3. As a community, we have to look at who we're encouraging to stay and who we're encouraging to leave, and the opportunity costs to us as a City. When a spender/job creator leaves, we lose jobs, income, taxes. When a tax taker/user leaves, we save money on our budget. SF begs the poor to stay and drives the middle class out and the rich mostly go private, with some admirable exceptions. This policy isn't helping our economy. I like Charlie's idea.

  73. OK, the Two-School ticket with Clarendon as a CW school. Maybe even Miraloma too.

  74. P.S. The Two-School Ticket means no golden ticket for CTIP1. No CTIP1 and CTIP2 business at all.

  75. This comment has been removed by the author.

  76. Perfect example of SFUSD driving out someone who would volunteer, contribute, make sure their kid did well in school, and probably spend a lot more money in their neighborhood than the kids they kissed up to to drive this family out under the pretense of a bad algorithm. So we gain someone who probably is taking government money for housing, food stamps, free school lunch, and lose someone who would donate, volunteer, have their kid do far better, and spend more. Stupid for the City. I used to advise people to appeal and be agressive but now they are closing it after 10 days so even really determined parents often don't get something. I hope you get something in April, but not sure how likely it is. I know a lot of families who this happened to. I know a family, single mom in the Richmond, with a son in a pre-school near here. She went to Marina to claim her spot and wanted Presidio. They sent her daughter to Visitation Valley. It was impossible for her to get both kids to school and work, so she sent her daughter to live with her grandparents for a year, or her parents, in Sacramento. Now, she applied for 7th grade and got Visitation Valley again. I know another family a few blocks from Presidio who went private and tried for Presidio for 7th, and I know people have dropped out. They got a similar school in the Bayview area so are staying private. It's madness I tell you, madness. Charlie is 100% right.

  77. K, as I have been saying on this blog... SFUSD is a grossly mismanaged operation. It dosn't matter what aspect of the central office you examine. The whole thng is a mess. Over a thousand employees on the central office staff directory and it is rare to ever see these staffers at a school unless it is in the Superintendent Zones. Aren't they their to support the schools? Isn't that after all what a school district does - support its schools?

    But I'm off topic I suppose.

    And Floyd, I have to say that you are just an old broken record. Same thing over and over. It is really intolerble. Please, do some reseach or something with your spare time. Come up with something more than the same tired old advice for the underpriviledged who don't read this blog anyway.

  78. Don, the school district would claim that they sent the 2 Stanford Professors and their probably very smart child to the suburbs to make things fair, because it's the best way to help the poor and redistribute to them, help them learn. I wish they'd keep track. If the person who replaced them goes to a UC, great. If the person who replaced them ends up a dropout anyways, what a waste. If SFUSD isn't closing the gap, isn't bringing success to the poor (who probably don't read this blog much), then it is causing a lot of suffering for nothing, that is my point.

    Remember the scene in Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks tells Matt Damon, when he and several others had given their life so his mother didn't lose each son, you better do something good with your life, meaning if he didn't it would be a waste? That's how I feel. If we actually get these kids good results, good colleges, careers, the cycle of poverty broken, it's worth it. If we don't, it's a waste. That family should know they really made someone suffer and SF did them a huge favor, and they better appreciate it and make sure their kid works hard to make us all proud. There should be some pressure because we sure do a lot for them, more than most places would.

    I agree with you on the 1,000 plus staff. Half should be fired and the rest made to work harder, and the 500 fired should be replaced by tutors on site at the schools. That would get better API results than a bunch of bureaucrats pushing paper and complying with blah blah blah.

  79. Floyd, I disagree that we should tell the African American and Latino communities that we have suffered for their benefit. We never asked them what they wanted to close the achievement gap. The school district is to blame for any of the wasted effort going on.

    For example, the feeders is one big gamble that the low performing middle schools will improve if assignment to MS is moved from citywide choice to something else, anything else. The African American and Latino communities did not ask for it.

    If you asked them if they would like a golden ticket for ES choice for the CTIP1 areas, I am sure they would say, OK, why not. But the golden ticket is not what they asked for for the closing of the gap.

    We can place no guilt trip on the SF African American and Latino communities for the wasted efforts of the new SAS.

  80. The superintendent is retiring, and we are free to think the unthinkable: the new SAS is a colossal mistake.

    We cannot police the address fraud.

    We have no testing to show that individual students improve.

    We only have test score games that the school with the same name, but with a different student body, might have better scores. Which proves nothing.

    Whatever money we saved by reducing transportation only made the transportation issues worse and the budget issues no better as we turned around and spent that money on the descretionary spending for the SZ.

  81. Charlie,

    The new SAS was the end result of a great deal of research and community feedback.There were several large scale efforts to get the input from the community and you can read about them in the SAS literature. To say that the Latino and AA community had no part in this new SAS is to say that SFUSD totally lied about the effort to reach out to the community during the planning stages.

  82. I stand corrected. No community group, African American, Latino, or otherwise was behind the new SAS.

    The new SAS is a top down directive. Academic diversity for socio-economic diversity. Feeders for middle school assignment. Phasing out of transportation to divert money elsewhere. All top down. The new SAS is Superintendent's baby. Not something proposed by the African American and Latino communities to address the achievement gap.

  83. You are right about that Charlie. There was nothing official but I studied the zip code/prop H chart very carefully and am sure the African Americans in SF voted for Prop H but a decent margin, and the AADC reccomended a Yes vote which surprised me. Sadly the most vociferous opponents of H were white and upper middle class Asians from the East Side who want a chance to not integrate the schools in their neighborhood. It wasn't about integration. Neighborhood schools, if followed strictly, increase integration. Latinos I am pretty sure voted heavily against Pro H, about 60-40. Asians I'd say voted for it but not by a huge margin, and whites voted against it, again not by a huge margin. Maybe 60-40 in each case.

    You're right, they didn't propose it. My point is that people should be made aware you're doing something special to help them. Now most of the beneficiaries of this are actually white and Asian, but I have seen cases which frustrate me. A girl from San Leandro who was approved to go to Presidio after getting in trouble at her school in San Leandro, which is a small enough suburb to have just one middle school, made one of the most vicious attacks there 2 years ago, bloodied a girl, the worst fight I've heard of there. To me that's just horrible, people sent kids to live with grandparents for a year, endured horrible commutes, and in some cases left SF so that girl could have a spot, and instead of appreciating the opportunity to go to a school so, according to the board, she could learn from good students and become a success in the future, she just viciously assaults another girl over a very petty issue. She got a special permit, which is rare.

    I'm all for giving more to the AA and L communities and think they deserve it due to past racism. I jsut don't think they can do better without taking it upon themselves to make their kids work harder, but I do think SFUSD needs to help them move up by any means necessary, including expensies on tutors, etc.

    The problem, as Don wisely points out, is that most of the money going towards helping the underpriveleged is doing nothing to actually help them succeed. The same is true in DC, where they spend 30k per kid and get no better results than here, and ran Michelle Rhee out of town for challenging the status quo.

    I don't know the answer, but I know my answers are better than the status quo. Don probably has far better answers as probably does Charlie. I just know we're throwing money away right now. I'd tax the hell out of people to solve this problem if we could, even legalize a bunch of things and tax them and send it to the schools. I just feel frustrated when the money is spent in ways the board knows won't work and which continually get no results. It's just un-American. I bet Michelle Rhee would know how to use the money and actually get results.

  84. Why is the blog owner letting these creeps kill this blog?

  85. Although Superintendent Garcia is Latino, he never said the new SAS is proposed as something the Hispanic community wanted. He said that he was acting for the general interest. Now many community groups did salute. But there is a big difference from those who salute and those who issue the orders in the first place. The buck stops with the Superintendent.

    I wish the new superintendent, whomever she or he might be, would correct the institutional racism of SFUSD in locating Lowell High School, our citywide academic high school, in the most out of reach far southwest corner of the city. How about moving it to McAteer or something? How about recognizing that although we are not saying there is any purposeful intentional discrimination by any individual in locating Lowell where it is, there a difference in results from a general policy. The inconvenient location is institutional racism.

  86. This comment has been removed by the author.

  87. Look at the people on this blog who take a real interest in education, whether or not one agrees with them, then look at the people who are just posting insults ... then ask yourself - who are the real creeps?

    That said, people should stay on topic and the topic is swaps not insults.

    FYI Charlie, it has been well-covered in the media that Richard Carranza will be the next Supe.

    The location of Lowell in a corner of the city is not institutional racism. To say so is really playing fast and loose with some pretty inflammatory rhetoric.

  88. We can all use a little Eleanor Roosevelt on dealing with insults: No one can insult me without my permission.

    Back to the Swap. With the Swap, we get a closer match to the top choices of the parent, but at the expense of decreasing playing games. With the swap, it might be good strategy to include schools for the sole purpose of having something to trade with: for example, all K-8 citywide lottery schools, AA schools where the local area tie-breaker is not good enough, and maybe even immersion programs because some immersion student might actually prefer your AA school. Or maybe not such good strategy, because it is all guessing about what might happen rather than on what you want for yourself. It is a mess.

    But if this mess is policy, please explain it to all so that all are on a level playing field.

  89. Don and I have a fundamental difference of opinion about SFUSD and institutional racism.

    For Don, there is no institutional racism and funding should be equalized.

    I believe there is institutional racism and that we may well spend more where it is needed more.

    Have I got this right about your views, Don?

  90. Lowell is actually pretty well located from the standpoint of public transportation and who goes there. The 29 goes right there and through the Sunset and Richmond, which provide most of the students because most of the students who study enough to make it in live in these areas. It is also near the M and K, which quickly go downtown through the Castro, Mission, Soma and Tenderloin. The 23 goes 2 blocks away to the Mission and Glenn Park and the 29 goes the other way to the Excelsior and Bayview. The 28 goes through the Sunset to the Marina. Anywhere in SF can take a bus to Lowell in less than an hour. It's worth an extra bus to go to Lowell rather than Galileo. Maybe someone in outer North Beach would have to take the 49 to the M or something to the 28, maybe an hour. Many kids go from Chinatown, a 15 minute walk to a 25 minute M or K ride. Nowhere would be perfect but Lowell is well served by public transportation and at that age, kids can use it. Remember, Lowell is supposed to be a reward to the kids who work the hardest and get the best grades in middle school and study hard for the STAR Test, which makes our middle schools look better as San Francisco kids have a motivation to study for the STAR Test and thrive on it, so Lowell is the biggest campus and near Stonestown and the Lake, near the Zoo, the trains, the GETT Shopping Center, etc. as these kids are rewarded with open campus and a flexible schedule for their hard work. If you ask me, Lowell should get more. They get less money than the other schools from the City. By high school, there is a difference in character and the kids who go there show something better than the kids who don't by getting in, they study harder and do what all kids should do. In our City's backward thinking the kids who don't get in are seen as less priveleged, but many at Lowell are on reduced or free lunch. The kids there make the right decisions about studying or relaxing on weekends, and the results show. They show stronger moral character. It should be clear it's the best high school, but there is a bizarre conspiracy against Lowell where many teachers and others in SF try to claim Lowell is no better than Lincoln or other schools, just different, but you can see in the stats it's way better than any public or even large private school. This City does a poor job of rewarding the students who work hard to make it and publicizing their achievements. Many in the suburbs don't know that the top public or private high school of over 1,000 kids in all of Northern California is in SF, and if you move to Marin you'll go to a worse school than Lowell.

  91. Tina, what are your views? What point do you want to make that it would be so wonderful if I stayed silent? What hasn't been said on this topic? How am I a creep because I disagree with you on something? Did you log on hoping for more info or to make a point? Make it, or ask for it, someone will provide it. I just doubt without us on here, there would be some wonderful discussion we're ruining. For one, we can't post another topic, only Kate can, so we are stuck with what is posted. For another, you haven't had any opinion on this at all. Go ahead, make a point if you like, no one is stopping you, but you are trying to stop me and Charlie and Don for no reason, you log on hoping to see nothing or hoping to see what? What else can I say directly on the swap to satisfy you? Discussions veer. On the swap, no one is commenting anymore. I think it's wrong, it should have been published, people should be guaranteed a school close to home as anywhere else and the upper class of the east and south shouldn't try so hard to get out of going to schools close to home so they too can integrated and improve, but I said this. So I've said all I have to say on the swap. If you have something you're hoping for or think is important, say it or ask it Tina, just quit your whining and attempts at censorship. You are just negative. If I'd never posted, what would you have posted? Then go ahead!

  92. Floyd,

    It's not that there isn't room to discuss related issues within a thread, it's that you refuse to take anyone's advice to stop repeating yourself minute after minute, day after day, year after year or even stay remotely on topic. No wonder people get rude. Their frustration level is through the roof. Your unwillingness to follow accepted blog conventions for reasonable dialogue indicates that you really have no intention of listening to others. That is to say, you are not interested in having a conversation, but rather in using the blog as megaphone to expound at will and on your own terms.

    That said, it is amazing to hear you now make a case that it is OK to travel across town when you have repeatedly made the case that it isn't. In other words, you want neighborhood schools except for when you don't want them. You want the underachievers to learn from the overachievers, as you put, except when it comes to high school, when you want to remove all the overachievers from the rest of the public school pool and send them to Lowell.

    I understand that you believe the quality of education can be measured on a scale from 200 to 1000. If you are listening I would just like you to know that while the conventional wisdom is often proven wrong, this piece of conventional wisdom was proven wrong a long time ago despite your need to cling to a simple solution. Just to make it clear, higher education admission standards only use standardized testing as one measure of competency among many others. And in one's more vulnerable years such one-dimensional qualitative analysis is of even less value.

    Now you can respond with your standard treatise, but just remember, it is unlikely that anyone will give it more than a 2 second glance if that.

  93. Thank you, Floyd for your rebuttal of my opinion that Lowell was inconvenient for public transportation. It is well situated for most high achieving students.

    I recall that Burton and Marshall were started as academic high schools, committed to sending its students on to college. Not much success would be a fair evaluation. So do we throw more money at the problem or change what we are doing?

  94. Charlie,

    As is usual for me, I am not at all clear on what you are saying. Regarding institutional racism, if the amount of money that a student receives is a barometer of the service of the district, the situation could be better described as reverse racism.

    I don't think all funding should be equalized per se. I think there should be limits on the disparities and that extra funding without extra results should be questioned. The problem is that progressives are not results oriented. They make financial decisions on the basis of good intentions.

    But let's not swap the conversation for something else.
    Michelle had it right - the SAS is ridiculous because it is unintelligible.

  95. I think Lowell is fair because every child has a chance to get in and it's not based on parental income. It's based on personal character and how hard kids work. The kids who never open a book on a weekend and study an hour or two a day during the week won't get in. Burton and Marshall took advantage of the excitement over something new and that there are a good number of good students in these areas. A school will only be as good as it's students. Burton and Marshall are near the poorest performing students, and kids do prefer a small commute all things being equal, so the excitement wears off. I think by high school, kids can take a bus, while in elementary and middle it is quite dangerous. There are kids taking MUNI to 1st and 2d grade because they have single moms who can't take them. By high school and college, kids have had a chance to get in based on character. Charlie, we do need to do things different but by high school it's too late if a kid isn't performing. KIPP has it right, we have to reach them by 4th grade or even before. We shouldn't have social promotion and should put in whatever is needed at an early age, and parents are largely to blame. But I've said this, if a kid enters high school with mediocre test scores, maybe they'll graduate from State if they're lucky but the odds are way against them. We need to reach them sooner.

  96. Why then did you support the neighborhood schools initiative that included high school if you don't think high schools matters for local priority?

    Additionally, it isn't true that Lowell is all by merit. There are hundreds of spots that are made available to students that do not measure up compared to the ones that did get in on merit. Your point is not well-taken and you know it. Maybe this is what is meant by the swap. We'll swap high testing students and give the spots to lower testing students. Or we'll swap the truth for nonsense.

  97. "it is amazing to hear you now make a case that it is OK to travel across town when you have repeatedly made the case that it isn't. In other words, you want neighborhood schools except for when you don't want them. "


    It's not OK to send kids across town against their will. Nobody gets into Lowell who didn't ask to go to Lowell.

  98. One frustrating part of being an SF parent is the manner in which we struggle to problem-solve without easy, cynical labels - despite the city's (laughable) self-image as an enlightened haven for reasoned, civil discourse.

    Here are our facts, Mayor Lee:
    - We're assigned to a K-5 school 2+ miles away from home.
    - In Aug. 2010, SF Chron reported that the school was "one of the worst public schools in the state"
    - SFUSD refused to assign us to any one of FOURTEEN closer schools
    - As we're assigned to "one of the worst schools in the state," swaps place others into our attendance area school.

    If we tried private school (who knows) or moved away, we'll be branded as stats with typical SF drivel about "racism," "white flight," "trophy schools," "equity," and related vitriol. Yeah, good riddance to us for asking how we became part of SFUSD's grand solution.

    Too many people in SF would rather congratulate themselves for leash-free dogparks, Critical Mass, nude beaches and benches, organic coffee, and puppet museums than most of the dull, challenging daily nuts-n-bolts tasks that make it run.

  99. Ya, but plenty of kids want to get into Lowell who can't because they are replaced by kids who are academically inferior. So it is not a merit based school to the extent that it provides some preferential seats to students in a lower achievement tier. That's because SFUSD wants representation from all schools regardless of individual merit. We've had this discussion many times before.

    As for Lowell's location, you have to be pretty far-sighted to see Lowell as well placed.

  100. You want to go to Lowell, no one should be FORCED miles from home. And Don, you know it's primarily merit based. SFUSD held 30% for affirmative action bands, but you still need a 3.00 and need to be good at alternative activities or very poor, which means you overcame hardship, to get in. I think 90% should be by merit and the 10 should be exclusively for underrepresnted minorities. You choose to go to a citywide school but every parent should have the option to go closer to home.

  101. We're supposed to be a transit first city. What if you live in the Sunset or Richmond, take the bus downtown, and try to live without a car? It becomes impossible if you're forced to go Richmond to Excelsior to downtown, it becomes unmanageable. The income of SF residents goes down either because the parent gets fired, works less, doesn't get promoted, or moves to be replaced by someone poorer.

  102. Conversely, if you live in Excelsior and want to go to Lowell in Parkside that's OK because it is supposedly by choice? That doesn't make any sense. First you make a case that you can take this bus and that to get to Lowell if you want to, then you complain that it is too hard to get downtown when most buses lead downtown.

    If you are an academically superior student not going to an academically superior public high school isn't much of a choice. And why is that? Because Lowell has creamed off most of the best students and left the other schools holding the bag with too few top flight students. The anti-choice people say this is what charters do to traditional schools, but they don't say a word when traditional merit-based schools like Lowell do the same thing to the other high schools. That's because the real beef the anti-charter people have is the tendency in charters towards non-union shops. The creaming issue is a strawman.

  103. "SFUSD held 30% for affirmative action bands, but you still need a 3.00 and need to be good at alternative activities or very poor, which means you overcame hardship, to get in"

    Give me a break, Floyd. That 30% you speak has blocked out 800 much higher performing students from admission. Any fool can get a 3.0 in some of these underperforming schools. You have been bitching and whining about how some neighborhood residents get bumped by CTIP1. Then you say it is perfectly fine or for the greater good if higher performing students get bumped by kids who are in underrepresented schools and couldn't compete on a level playing field.

  104. What changes do we want in the SAS?

    1. No swap at all?

    2. No swap of a CW and an AA school, but ok to swap CW for CW and AA for AA?

    3. OK all swap combinations. Just explain it more so everyone knows to pad their list.

  105. Look Don, I agree that Lowell should have fewer affirmative action spots. I think they should just have it by points with 10% specifically for underrepresented minorities. Now Lowell is about 10% African American, Latino and Native American combined, and it wouldn't be 0 with no affirmative action so this would probably raise it to 14-15. The goal is affirmative action but they couldn't use race, which will likely change soon due to the Supreme Court, so they try but mostly white and Asian kids get in. In a ridiculous twist, snooty apartheid private white schools like Hamlin and St. Cecilia's and others get affirmative action points because they choose to be underrepresented, bizarre. Whites from James Lick and Asians from VV get most of the spots for this, and the hardship has a lot of whites and Asians too. Even most of the diversity scholarships at private schools go to white kids, oddly enough, people with cultural capital know how to get it.

    So I agree with you Lowell should be almost all point-based. However, it's not a bad commute from the Excelsior. I used to play baseball at Crocker Amazon and could get there from Lowell in 40 minutes tops, and to Geneva and Mission in 25, on the 29 or the K Ingleside. I could get to the Mission in 45 minutes as well. Lowell is as close to the Excelsior as the Richmond, perhaps slightly closer, by the 29.

    As to Charlie, I think they should explain it to everyone. Whatever it is, it should be out there. Some of us should not be more equal than others.

  106. Does anyone here know whether two families can voluntarily swap the placements they received in the lottery. We received our second choice. Another family we know received their second choice. Their second choice was our first choice and our first choice was their second choice. If we are permitted to swap, then each family will have its first choice. Both families wish to do this. Can it be done?

  107. It should be allowed, would hurt no one, but I suspect it isn't. Call in and ask, it can't hurt. My prediction is they will say you have to both go into the lottery again and anyone could get either spot, which is very stupid and unfair. Somehow making both of you unhappy to them appeases the poor minorities and makes up for past racism, but all white private schools like Hamlin aren't racist at all. And the most ridiculous part is they haven't closed the achievement gap at all because they're too afraid to say what needs to be said and offend someone, even if it's the exact thing Obama says. Obama's too conservative for SF. Crazy! Good luck! Tell us how it goes.

  108. Stadum,

    I don't think it's allowed and shouldn't be allowed. I don't think this SAS is a good thing, but it is what we have and if people are allowed to make personal swaps, what will stop anyone from applying to public schools with no intention of actually attending and then selling their seats?

    No, making swaps like that will lead to all sorts of problems. Floyd, never thinks 2 steps in advance so of course he's going to say it should be all right and use the opportunity to respond to you by throwing in some utterly unrelated racist charges.

  109. You know, Floyd, this is just disgusting the way you identify people as racist simply because they attend a private school.

  110. The direct swap will probably not be allowed, as it has the potential to lead to assignment sales -- not a good thing at all.

    I'd suggest just going into round 2, each putting the other's school as your first choice. The round 2 form includes a spot for your current assigned school. If they can't give you your new requested school, you maintain your old assignment. So, you could both get your preferred school, neither get your preferred school, or only one of you will get it -- but if you don't you get to keep your second choice.

    Interestingly, it sounds like the swap only runs through once... or your assignment and your neighbor's assignment would have been switched.

    Another question about the opaque swapping system..


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  112. If you send your kids to a place like Hamlin you believe Brown v. Topeka was a great historic decision....which should only affect other people, that you and your kids should have no part in the hard work of ending apartheid in America. It's like Marin people claiming they're environmentalists than voting against BART. Pure hypocrisy. I respect someone who says they're Republican and believe in a class/caste type system and defends it, but if someone says they're liberal and live a block from Cobb and won't go, they aren't liberal. People can't really defend the apartheid public / private system, so they just go quiet, it's indefensible. It's the 1% sticking it to the 99%.

    As for the swapping, maybe a solution would be to let two people do it if they both live close and are going public. You're right, it would suck if people tried to get into Rooftop and Clarendon and then offered to sell the spot, it would be like people buying sports or concert tickets with no intention of going and then scalping the tickets. But far worse as it would hurt innocent young children.

  113. Floyd, your assumption is that people attend private school to escape exposure to low-performing minorities. You could say that about Lowell. Many people go to private because they like the school and can afford it. With all the nonsense that people have to deal with in the public school system, it is no wonder they go private. So by your thinking, Floyd, if you are sent to a crappy school far from home and decide to stay in SF and go private instead, your a racist!

  114. Fighting racism and having actual social integration and ending up with true equal opportunity not only for all races but for all individuals within races, or at least a strong opportunity for all, requires some sacrifice on the part of the strongest and those with the most resources. You can't get there for free. It takes sacrifice. I agree with you that SFUSD is ridiculous and drives people out. I just think that there is no free lunch, which goes for both conservative points and liberal points. You can't get cleaner air without sacrificing some time walking and taking transit, and you can't get equal opportunity without spending more, spending smarter (probably much more important I admit) and having those in the strongest position make some sacrifices for the common good. The individual is probably not racist, but is nervous about their kids being around certain people. However, the effects of the decisions of many individuals is racist, and classist. It has the effect of making it so there isn't equal opportunity in America.

    Paul Krugman and Jonathan Kozol and others have studied this and there is less economic mobility in the U.S. than in Europe and the prosperous parts of Asia and Australia, New Zealand and Canada. We pride ourselves on Horatio Alger stories, but we don't live up to it, more people in these places change quintiles than here. Very few Americans move more than a quintile from childhood to adulthood, putting Americans in 5 quintiles.

    Sure, part of this can be blamed on Conservatives cutting taxes for the wealthy and others (we have the lowest taxes of these nations save one) and cutting education budgets, part can be blamed on bad habits and us failing at convincing the poor to act more like the successful, but a lot can be placed squarely on the shoulders of liberals.

    Liberals contribute to this lack of mobility equally in several ways. One is that they rigidly support seniority and tenure rules and bureaucratic resistance undermines many reforms. Another is they are afraid to tell those failing what they need to hear, to step in and try to teach kids to be better in a way someone like Coach Carter, Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee, just to name a few might.

    But a third and equally important one is that it is fashionable for people who consider themselves far left liberals, radical liberals, to either go private (Alioto, Hall, Reis, Bock), the far left Pacific Heights liberals, or to be a part of white flight, and it is white flight, it isn't equal among all races the phenomenon of moving when your kids get older. Examples of far left people doing this include Gavin Newsome and Chris Daly. Jimmy Carter backed up his talk, but most modern liberals believe liberalism applies to others, and not only in schools and opportunity. Another example is the Supervisors voting for Transit First then getting a free parking space and never taking a bus, despite being within 25 minutes of City Hall by transit. I know a couple supervisors take the bus/metro, but most don't.

    I don't see a lot of hope in us changing this. I just know that currently we are not a nation of future Horatio Algers. Read liberal authors like Paul Krugman and Jonathan Kozol, among others, to see this. To many SF liberals, liberalism is fine so long as the inherent sacrifices are made by others, who are equal but less equal to them. It's so clearly Animal Farm. Jimmy Carter was the last true liberal. The hippy movement is dead. Now it's cool to be liberal, until there's a cost.

  115. I have started and deleted this post several times now.

    As a "liberal," I believe all our schools should be good. I believe all the kids in San Francisco deserve a good education. I also want my child to be in an ethnically diverse setting, which is why we moved to SF instead of the 'burbs when we relocated from our E. coast suburb.

    I also know my 5th grader was BORED OUT OF HER MIND at her so-so performing elementary school, and begged not to go to school. She's having a great experience academically and socially at her high performing and also ethnically diverse middle school.

    So, please don't accuse parents of racism for wanting their kids to go to schools where kids perform well. Yes, ideally all schools should be able to address the needs of all students, but the reality is they can't.

    As the advocate for my children, I need to make sure there's a cohort of children like them academically at the school they go to. I want to improve all the schools, but my child only gets one education, and as a parent that is my focus. I don't do this to demean other people's children, or ethnic groups, or academic performance. I just know that if there's a class of 26 kids, and 25 of them lack basic skills, the 26th will not get attention.

    A dilemma, indeed -- and name calling doesn't help solve it.

  116. I have started and deleted this post several times now.

    As a "liberal," I believe all our schools should be good. I believe all the kids in San Francisco deserve a good education. I also want my child to be in an ethnically diverse setting, which is why we moved to SF instead of the 'burbs when we relocated from our E. coast suburb.

    I also know my 5th grader was BORED OUT OF HER MIND at her so-so performing elementary school, and begged not to go to school. She's having a great experience academically and socially at her high performing and also ethnically diverse middle school.

    So, please don't accuse parents of racism for wanting their kids to go to schools where kids perform well. Yes, ideally all schools should be able to address the needs of all students, but the reality is they can't.

    As the advocate for my children, I need to make sure there's a cohort of children like them academically at the school they go to. I want to improve all the schools, but my child only gets one education, and as a parent that is my focus. I don't do this to demean other people's children, or ethnic groups, or academic performance. I just know that if there's a class of 26 kids, and 25 of them lack basic skills, the 26th will not get attention.

    A dilemma, indeed -- and name calling doesn't help solve it.

  117. The problem is that not everyone has that option, it by definition is reserved for those who are "more equal than others". If people like the Aliotos had their kids in public school, they'd never dare to do furlough days or have one cousnelor for 400 kids or blow people off. They'd be more responsive and better funded. It's an option only some have. It's good to advocate for your children but in a way that also advocates for all children. Some children have no one to advocate for them. I'm not calling you a name, just saying the institutional effect on children has a racist result, it keeps the gap between rich and poor bigger and keeps us separate in childhood and in life. I just don't think the effects are liberal, they're conservative, extremely conservative. If everyone in private in SF were in public, there would be a lot more money voted for the schools. We have $5 per pupil in tax revenue for everyone $1 per pupil Fresno has, yet we spend the same, and we spend on all sorts of other things. That wouldn't happen if Alioto/Daly/Newsome/Reis, people who really pull the strings, had their kids in the system. Some do, but they always get a good assignment. You just know Newsome isn't going to end up living in the Haight and having his kids go to Hunter's Point due to a bad luck draw. So if entire swathes of the city are immune from many of the things many suffer from, it creates a racist impact and leads to no real effort to a solution. And there is no real effort, the things you hear now are identical to the '80s. As long as there's an opt out, there will be something more important for the City to spend on than serving students.

  118. Michelle, Floyd's name calling does not help. I let all that go through one ear and out the other.

    Where I find Floyd's comments on point are with all that needs to get done OUTSIDE of the classroom.

    I would never criticize any parent for her choice of schools, public or private. Thank you for not deleting your post.

  119. I'm not calling names; I'm discussing the effects. I just think there's a reason in the '70s it seemed we were on the path to more equality and since then have veered drastically in the opposite direction. It's all talk, not action. I agree, we should do more outside, but for kids who don't have rich parents, we should tax the rich to give them every chance rich kids do. These are children, they don't deserve an unequal opportunity because of the parent or parents they were born to. We have to spend enough to make up for the things they lack at home and to give them the guidance a good parent would give them.

  120. and the JUST SHUT UP award goes to ...

  121. As I see it, Floyd is not having an honest conversation. He says he's not insulting anyone, but calls certain private schools racist, which is the same as saying the culture or the families that go there are racists.

    So if he's not going to take ownership to his own statements and views, what is the point of conversing?

  122. The private school phenomenon has been devastating to Latinos and African Americans in big Cities, which have a higher % in private than many conservative states. I don't feel I should shut up, I feel this is too little talked about and is the primary reason why our goals of equality in the '60s and '70s have come to jack squat. I'll say this, the culture doesn't care that the practice keeps class and racial inequality strong and has devastated underrepresented minorities for a generation going on two. It's too complex for Mobby to realize. She'd rather pat herself on the back for being liberal because she's for the assignment system which actually increases segregation because only those in the know use it, those with resources, but then she won't criticize the segregation of the rich and poor by private school. If you deny this has hurt minorities you are blind or lying.

  123. Denial is not just a river in Egypt Don.

  124. You rationalize calling people racists because there are issues of class in America and in the world as if one were a synonymous with the other.

    Is this the education you got at Lowell?

  125. I relaxed on tagging the SW location of Lowell as institutional racism, but I am not so sure affected communities would let that charge go so easily. In any case, the African American and Latino communities are not asking for a relocation of Lowell. They asked for, and got, college prep high schools in the SE: Burton and Marshall. If there were institutional racism, that is the remedy they asked for.

    Can we say that this new SAS is the remedy that the communities in the achievement gap asked for? The answer is NO.

    This new SAS is the product of the leadership of the outgoing Superintendent. School staff, the professionals here, offered academic diversity, with its CTIP1 and CTIP2, as the replacement for the diversity index. School staff gave us, top down, the feeders to the middle schools. Superintendent Garcia did initially rank the local school tie-breaker above some of the other tie-breakers, but the Board saw fit to change those priorities, producing several attendence area schools with almost no slots for locals.

    This is all history. What changes do we ask candidates for the Board to make in the SAS?

    What changes should the new superintendent explore?

  126. Charlie,

    You talk about top down decision-making as if it were something odd or unusual. All assignment systems, and all district policies for that matter, are products of the district leadership, not that of local schools or communities. Where did you ever get the idea that it was anything but? This is really very naive on your part. You could do yourself a service by reading Ed Source's website from beginning to end.

    It makes good copy to say we are getting screwed by bigshots who don't care about the communities, but it has never been the case that bottom-up decision-making makes district policy for anything in SFUSD. This is not Podunck, Il. This is a big city political machine that dictates how and for whom your ed dollars will be spent and those decisions will never be made by parents or communities because they have one very big fault - they have the interest of students in mind.

    The public elects the union's chosen Board candidates and these members are responsible for everything after that. If you want a bottom up revolution, support charters for they allow individual communities freedom from the dictates of corrupt union-driven BOE's.

    It's all a scam, Charlie. Look at the Middle Schools Initiative. They drew up some papers and the whole thing is now in storage. It's dead.

    A working example of my point on top-down versus the supposed bottom-up efforts, a school doesn't even have any say on who the district hires as a principal. Sure, they have supposed panels of community members who interview the candidates, but these candidate slates are stacked to yield only one possible winner - the district's choice.

    Lastly, due to Board conflict in years past, this Board seems to think that unanimity is the holy grail. They forgot that varying opinions may strengthen rather than weaken SFUSD. After all, diversity is the spice of life.

    People who have decided to exit SFUSD are probably making a wise move - racists all of them!

  127. I like Charlie's point. Moving Lowell hasn't been asked for. I wouldn't have minded if it had been at Masonic, near where Wallenburg is, I had friends there and it wasn't hard to get to. Galileo and Mission are both, in my view, at beautiful, cool spots. I'd have loved to have gone to high school on Dolores Park or a block from Acquatic Park and Bocce Ball Courts and North Beach and Musee Mechanique/Fisherman's Wharf. I just think it's a lot for you to ask Don, to suddenly demand Lowell be replaced after 50 years and a lot of people used to going there, and the teams used to running around the lake and having an open campus, just because it is suddenly seen as racist to be in the SW? I do think it's pretty conveniently located for most who go there, and it isn't bad from the Excelsior. As you know, I think the AA and L communities should state what they want. They aren't getting much from the assignment system because those advantaged are mostly white and Asian. And it drives the middle class out because in the neighborhood, those who are poor get first crack due to the low income pre-school factor.

    I think they should ask the leaders what they want. I'd say tutors would help more than assignment.

    Charlie, they should have just put neighborhood first and set aside 20% of spots for underrepresented minorities, which would force all whites and Asians in the East to help improve their schools. This would be the best of both worlds. For the record, I think Presidio and Alamo and Lafayette, and Clarendon and Grattan, have too low an AA and L percentage. 1% AA? You could do more by reserving 20% of spots and could guarantee no one be forced against their will to go more than a mile from home, 2 for MS, 2.5 for HS. The fact is, most of the affirmative action/diversity admissions to Presidio, Alamo and Lafayette, and Grattan and Clarendon, are white and Asian. Almost all, just look at the numbers. Most of the L and AA kids who do go there are in the Richmond. Presidio has some from the Fillmore, more than Alamo.

  128. Charlie's wish list:

    1. Give the local school tie-breaker greater priority than the CTIP1 tie-breaker.

    2. Shrink the Clarendon and Miraloma attendance area.

    3. Drop the swap. Maximizing the granting of the first choice is inherently playing games with strategy. The district is juking the stats over how many got their top choice.

  129. The last month I was having a conversation with a lady whose cultural background is that of the highest performing ethnic group in SFUSD. She told me she got the preference to send her kids to "any school she wanted" and complained bitterly about having to drive about an hour from the SE to the Richmond to go to school. I asked what was her local school and she said it was ER Taylor and that it was a very good school. Obviously then asked her why she didn't just go to that school instead and she said she didn't like the kind of people that went to that school.

    Now you can take away from that response whatever you think it means, but I would say that for some while the CTIP1 preference is opportunity to attend a better school, for more it is a pass to avoid having to mix with what they consider "undesirables".

    Though my family eventually got into the ES of choice many years ago, preferences then and now allow for greater segregation because the majority of people exercising these preferential rights are not from the underperforming crowd.

    You talk about whether the swap is fair or desirable, but the new SAS has so many larger problems, the swap seems like a triviality in comparison.

  130. Candidates for the School Board should be asked to take a position on specific issues. My wish list if offered as some positions they might be asked to take.

    If you do not ask for litmus test issues, all you get is hot air from the candidates. As a total replacement for the new SAS, I have previously asked for the two-school ticket.

    Fill in the blank, I want _____. If someone does not ask for what she or he wants, he or she will not get what he or she wants.

  131. You can ask till you're blue in the face. The BOE isn't listening to this blog. You have to have an organization with a considerable membership. Then they will listen. Or else you have to sue. Those kinds of influences result in change through bottom-up decision-making - whether SFUSD is pressured by interest groups or mandated by a court. The rest of this is just you and me talking. It's fantasy talk, not unlike a sex-talk line where people play out their fantasies.

  132. It takes work to figure out what you want, and then to explain it to others. It is worthwile work, however, because it means we are working to make things better.

    Prop H nearly passed, despite opposition from almost all officials and major school groups in town. Sometimes David wins. Sometimes he just comes close. But he does not quit.

  133. Don, you're making great points. Many of the "liberals" concerned with "diversity" are actually white and Asian people in the East who don't want their kids to go to school with "undesirables", or as they would say, to "a bad school". They'll blame the school but any school over 50% AA and L, they'll come to the conclusion it's a "bad school" somehow. Between the 94% in far liberal Pacific Heights who won't go to Cobb and the Moggies of the East who don't want to go to school near home, it severely isolates the AA and L kids. It's not all liberalism behind the SAS.

    Charlie, I agree, and we may put it back. The truth is a couple sentences difference e or one person working 10 hours and we would have won, it was that close. The issue was that we wrote the wrong school year, because we didn't have enough hard-working people. We had to wait a year to get the signatures, which enabled the board to lie and claim it would cause a mid-year switch. Don wrote it well, but because we didn't have the volunteers to get the signatures, had everyone looking over their shoulders to hope someone else would do the work, we put it off a year. Then the same situation repeated itself a year later when everyone had an excuse and no one put up signs or worked much.

    If we had 12 people willing to work as hard as Don or I, we could get it on again and win, but I doubt there are that many people. Everyone complains, but not many put their money where their mouth is, or their effort. The nature of this City is a lot of people say they'll do something, then don't. If you are for it, I'd love to meet you and discuss. We may try again, but probably not with a lot of the people because many of them have no interest in doing any actual hard work. It's clear to me that with 10 hours more work from anyone, we'd have won.

  134. In the real world changing the entrenched education system takes more than blogging. You have to bring resources and pressure to bear on the establishment.

    You mentioned Prop H. It showed that the people are not in line with the heavily progressive establishment considering that the vote was a statistical dead heat.

    SFUSD is happy to see parents squabbling on blogs among themselves. None of it has any effect upon their policies and it creates a psychological outlet for people and their frustrations. If it makes you feel better you can talk until the cows come home, but the Board of Education is a million miles away.

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  136. Floyd, I have my limits and I will not be meeting up with you or Don to work on issues in person. You do have my thanks for doing so much work on Prop H.

    Don, you do not have to do anything, not even fill-in-the-blank. I am responding to some of your comments as an illustration to others of what I hope they might carry away with. Others might decide that they want ____. Others might decide candidates for the Board should be given litmus test issues.

    You, yourself, Don, do not have to do anything you do not want to do. I hope this explains my comments to you.

  137. Charlie,

    Are you aware that Gov. Brown has proposed changing the entire system for how students will be funded in California? Yet you want me to fill in your blank as an exercise? There are tectonic shifts going on in education funding. But I'll humor you - what I want is a minimum student allocation that does not cede vast portions of education funding to special interest groups. At a minimum this funding should be about $6000 per student. That would account for about $36M of the 40+M ed budget.

    Brown wants to do away with revenue limit and categorical funding and merge the two into a weighted pupil formula that would establish a base funding level, add-ons of 37% for ELL, 37% poor students, double for both and an increase to that number where concentrations are larger. This would be a boon to urban school districts and a disaster for everyone else. it creates larger funding disparities and spits in the face of John Serrano and equity in funding all of California's students.

    While it is important to change the currently wasteful, inefficient revenue limit/categorical system, Brown's system is rife with flaws.

    It is arbitrary in its assignment of costs, it doesn't require districts to use the money in accordance with the student body demographic profile, and it gives much greater power to the unions because much more of the district budget would be 'on the table'.
    There is, in effect, no accountability for increased student achievement.

    The proposal will likely fail because it is the state that holds final responsibility for the education of its students as it holds the purse and legislators are unlikely to grant new permanent authority to districts without some revisions that provide greater accountability.

    Charlie, my ultimate fill-in-the-blank dream of a proper student funding mechanism would be state funding direct to schools with greater school autonomy in hiring and firing, not greater district autonomy. But I realize that such wishes are the stuff of dreams.

    Lastly, if ELL and free and reduced lunch students get an extra 84% under Brown's heavily weighted formula, why is it that SFUSD provides over 100% on average and even 200- 300% to certain underperforming schools? Why? Because they (the district) establish the base per pupil funding and redirect remaining resources at their discretion. They have been robbing successful students and schools and plowing it into the others with precious little to show for it - all so that the Supe Zones will be fully funded. Many parents are sick of this inequality in the name of social justice and leave the City or go private. And you have people like Floyd calling them racists for doing so which just sends them at a faster clip towards the exits.

  138. Don, they wouldn't be able to do that if no one were in private, don't you see that's part of the problem. The Aliotos wouldn't let that happen to their kid, the Newsomes wouldn't. It creates an outlet which avoids fairness for all. Charlie is fairly typical, there are 10,000 people who feel strongly on this, but when it comes down to it, won't do any work. In fast there are 100 who won't do any work for every one who will. Maybe more. With 20 people we could achieve anything. I have said 10 times I'm condemning the act but Don, you want me to just say there is no racial element in this and it doesn't hurt minorities at all, you won't be satisfied unless I retract everything and I won't do that. I do think race is a factor. Just about every heavily AA and L school is politely avoided by the upper middle class, and the woman you spoke with at Alamo. It's not a coincidence. They hire from the same pool of teachers and often can pay more at struggling schools. The teachers/principals/etc. at the minority schools cannot always be worse, so when they say they are bad schools, I think they are referring to the students and the race and class. Sure, they don't mind a scholarship kid or a few who know they'll be kicked out if they act out, but they won't go to a school with 30-50% or more AA or Latino, and it is consistent across cities and states. I do think race is a factor in people's decision-making. It's statistically impossible that each time a school happens to have a high % of minorities, it is always a "bad school" where kids can't reasonably get an education, but it is then OK for other kids to go there, just not kids of the well-connected. It is a contributor to inequality. You should read Paul Krugman and Jonathan Kozol. You act like there is no racism or classism in society and it isn't in anyone's minds, that by some amazing coincidence virtually every school that's heavily L or AA in the student body is somehow bad. That these schools are not good enough for some, but are good enough for others, meaning we inherently accept that not all children have equal opportunity. It truly doesn't matter if the parent is racist, what matters is that the impact is racist and perpetuates segregation and inequality. You never address my points, you just complain over and over again that I did something horrible by mentioning racism in school segregation, that it's some sacred thing that should never be said, and I disagree. It has to be discussed and remedied if we ever plan to close the achievement gap. I don't think we'll ever, ever do it, even in 100 years, if some schools are OK for some but not OK for others, and even if we do racism will just be replaced by classism. We've been trying for 50 years and haven't done it, more like 60. White flight and private schools have been part of what maintained segregation against the Brown decision, whites didn't embrace Brown v. Topeka but instead looked for ways around it for their kids, meaning the poorer ones went in many places like Detroit, but not the well off. Here we have good schools for one reason, Asians, but whites mostly opted out one way or another, lottery (Duffty, Fewer), private (Alioto, Reis, Hall, Bock), flight (Newsome, Daly). This can't have no racial impact. It's just impossible. You never address the merits of the case, just try to create a sacred taboo. I won't fall for it.

  139. Floyd, the Black middle class of SF has left SF for the suburbs. Are you going to call them racist?

    If, yes, I suppose you are being consistent, but, I am afraid, consistently wrong.

    If, not, what kind of double standard is that if you do not criticize middle class Blacks for leaving the low performing schools, but will criticize, in very harsh terms, the nonAA and nonHispanics, who would rather not attend the low performing schools? Please let up on this name calling.

  140. Charlie I said 5 times the impact is racist, and some who make the decisions are not but don't care that the impact of their decision is. I keep saying that. Name calling is when you say an individual is something and I don't know what's in someone's heart.

    The blacks didn't leave to avoid other blacks Charlie, they left mostly due to economic reasons and because they didn't feel a part of SF culture, that many of the benefits of SF didn't benefit them so the cost wasn't worth it. Being close to museums and the symphony is great but if you never go, you're paying for something you don't use. I feel like that in this recession, I don't get the benefits of SF but hope to in the future.

    Most blacks now are actually leaving to areas which are more black, Sacramento, Fresno, Stockton, Oakland (though more blacks are now leaving Oakland than moving in, many have gone from SF to Oakland and still do), Richmond, Concord. The question is, how do we turn a school around if the Bocks and Newsomes of the world have it on auto-cross out, and maybe the rich blacks too? If schools are OK for some but not others, if even those close to the school reject it in hordes (Cobb), how do we ever achieve integration and equality? Let's face it, Newsome didn't move to Oakland and send his kids to a half black school, and it's not random, everyone could have predicted his move to another place would cause his kids to be in school with fewer L and AA kids, not more, it always happens, it's not a coincidence, not random.

    As for the racism in school selection historically, even private schools themselves admit this is a factor and some try to fix it, though I don't see much effort from others which give most of their scholarships to middle class whites (SI) or hardly give any (Hamlin). This is from the web site of a private school, these people support private schools and are discussing the impact and issue:

    Independent schools are often rooted in a history of racism and white privilege. Some were only formed after public school integration began, specifically by those who didn’t want their children going to school with African Americans. Other schools have been around much longer, and were clearly established — often as reflected in their early mission statements, and certainly in the way they functioned — for the education of wealthy, Christian, and explicitly white children. For persons of color who are considering such schools for their children, worries about whether their kids will be fully accepted are real and understandable. For whites, not having to worry about how a school’s history, traditions, and origins might feel alienating to them and affect their ability to truly fit in, is another example of privilege.

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  142. Floyd,

    I don't know why I waste my time with Floyd's moronic nonsense, but such outrageous commentary should not be allowed to stand. Most of the others here just see it for the nonsense that it is and say nothing, but because I introduced Floyd to the blog, I have to take some responsibility for the damage I've unleashed.

    Blacks leave SF for the same reasons everyone else leaves, Floyd. The economy is bad, many of the schools are bad and the solution to go across town is bad. Your notion that blacks act out of some different motivations is racialist to the core.

    Floyd as dictator would likely make unlawful private schools or else tax them into oblivion. Taken to its logical conclusion, that's what he seems to be saying. So much for the freedom to congregate, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and our other precious freedoms, which include passing on the right to a public education. If so, we would be the only government in the world to make private school a crime. Floyd will say he doesn't want to outlaw it, he just wants to convince people they are racist interlopers of the public good if they don't send their kids to schools with the less fortunate. That he doesn't do so himself doesn't seem to filter into that part of his brain where thinking takes place.

    How would removing the private option be consistent with our freedoms under the Constitution and why would such a socialist takeover of our individual rights not apply to every other aspect of society in the name of his flawed concept of social good? If anything we should do the exact opposite and make education far less under government control. The relationship between public education and institutional failure is not a coincidence. And it is not due to the existence of private school. If Floyd's comments were to be taken seriously and not just the ranting and raving of a lunatic, he would have to recognize that it is HE who is encouraging the disenfranchisement of the underclass with his rabid support for elitism in the presence of schools like Lowell.

    Floyd, you are big proponent of charters, but the biggest and correct criticism of charters is that they cream off the better students. How is this consistent with your views of an egalitarian public school system? You claim to be a liberal and customarily denounce limousine liberals, but you don't send your children to the underperforming or distant schools that you insist that others go to out of your interest in what you perceive to be the common good.

    Now go ahead and mouth off at will. You can do so to your hearts content. But I'm afraid you have lost your captive audience. Charlie seems to think your wrong and I just think you're ridiculous. And no one else gives a damn.

  143. But I do object to the fact that my kids' schools don't have enough L and AA kids because those getting in under affirmative action, as you note, are mostly not L or AA. I would encourage more integration. No, I wouldn't want to be forced to drive an extra hour a day, frankly I'm economically stretched and sleep-deprived as is. I do think there is an easy solution though, and NS would cause more integration. My concern is that the parents on the west side are attacked by these policies, distribution of funds, assignment, but those who are one level more priveleged and elite, private, have no responsibility under this system.

    Don, you are being selective. You accuse me of repeating the same thing, but you cause this. Why? Because you don't address the points I bring up and go to the same statement, basically that freedom is more crucial than equality, that individualism is more important than bringing up the underpriveleged. If that's true we'll still have a gap 50 years from now. If we do what we're doing, more whites are in a position to go private or move to segregated areas, so over time, there will be separation by class and race, inequal opportunities, privelege will be passed from one generation to the next.

    You only think I'm wrong because you don't address my points. If you actually stopped saying the same thing over and over again and actually read and considered my points and thought simply, does this help or hurt African Americans, you'd have another perspective.

    It's not racist to note the difference. Most whites move to areas like Orinda, Belmont, Marin, San Mateo, Pleasanton, Burlingame, to name a few. Most blacks aren't moving to these places. Most whites move and buy a nice house in a segregated area. Most blacks move and buy an inexpensive home far from SF or move to a less expensive suburb. It's about as racialist as saying white people are whiter than black people. If you do your own study, you'll see there are different motivations and different endgames in these two things. Many blacks are moving to the deep south. Few whites leave SF to move to Georgia. Noting facts is not racist. You've never studied this, you find it easier to repeat the same thing and not consider or address my points.

    I like charters because they end the abuse of the unions, but really the best solution is to actually negotiate with the unions and force an end to some of these policies like guaranteed tenure. Newsweek agrees, many agree. We can't continue with it being almost impossible to replace a bad teacher and close the achievement gap.

  144. Don, I think you have a different method of solving racial inequality and racism than I do. You seem to think you can have hundreds of years of inequality, slavery, institutionalized racism, and just suddenly say, treat everybody equal, and wait hundreds of years, that's fine. To me that's unfair to many generations of minorities who will die long before equality sets in.

    I think you have to be proactive. If whites are far more priveleged and just look out for #1 with no consideration of what is equal or fair or right, I think it will take a long time before the average income of different races equalizes. We've been trying this for 50 years. I don't think many whites actively discriminate anymore, and women have made amazing gains because they have the advantage of being right next to the men and boys of the same class, there is no physical separation for women. Blacks and Latinos have made far slower gains, as have Native Americans.

    If you don't care, that's one thing, but if you do I don't think it's fair to wait another 5 generations. We should do things which level the playing field now. Private school is using one's advantage to pass it to the next generation. It doesn't make all kids have an equal opportunity. This isn't radical; Jimmy Carter agreed with this. It seems obvious to me.

    I think it's naive to think we can solve racial inequality overnight just by not discriminating directly and not looking at the larger sociological issues. We've tried it for a long time and it hasn't worked.

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  146. You want to reform the system but won't consider Lowell for reform due to your fond memories of jogging around the Lake Merced or so you have said. Ya, I see what reform means to you.

    Claiming to know what I have studied or not would require that you are a mindreader. What I know is that your views are just opinions rarely backed up by any facts or research, though you like to drop the names of people you read. And you know what people say about opinions.

    You say that I am responsible for your repeating the same thing for failure to answer your questions (which forces you to repeat them frequently), as if anyone who does not oblige you and your infernal accusations and questions with a response is responsible for your behavior on this blog. It is because of us that you are forced to scream like a mad dog into the night. It is because of our unwillingness to be a honest as you are about the realities of society. It is this kind of nonsensical conceit that leads many to utterly dismiss you as a crank.

    Nevertheless, I will try to answer your question, whatever the hell it is, in an effort to encourage diplomacy. Apparently you believe it is the role of every person to do whatever he or she can, including sacrificing the education of their children, to end class division and education inequality (except for you and your family since you go to the best schools). And to make sure that we have a more perfect union, we, by extension, should not buy any luxury cars or take vacations unless others also get to do the same, for the betterment of class relations as these actions lead to differences in experience and greater racial and class division, making us more unequal, as you like to repeatedly say.

    In a nutshell, (no pun intended) you believe that equality is more important than individual freedom. That is to say you are a card-carrying Socialist.

    But to answer, I would say, though the requirement of an answer has more to do with the value of the question than the demands of the questioner, if you believe in the rights of individuals under the Constitution you cannot require that everyone seek a public education.

    It is not the role of the individual citizen to provide for the needs of others other than what that individual takes upon himself voluntarily to do so that if one does not wish to participate in a social experiment it is his or her right not to. If what you want is for people to be more charitable in their efforts to create, in this particular case, a better public school system, I suggest you have the intellectual and moral character to demand of others only what you require of yourself. If you want to make low performing schools better by asking that others stay in the system and attend them , it is incumbent upon you to do the same. But when given the opportunity, you chose not to.

  147. Don, I've said before I'm open to Lowell being a district school. In self-interest I think it would be bad as I worked hard to get in and get my kid in, but as a moral issue or what is best for SFUSD, I admit you have a good point. I'm mixed on the issue. It would make Lincoln, Washington, Balboa and Wallenburg far better, among others and would only make one school worse. It might make less people go to private high schools.

  148. One difference though is Lowell admits by personal character. There's no personal character involved at Hamlin, you just go because your parents are rich and want you with other rich kids and pay.

  149. If Hamlin, etc. is for racists parents as you continually infer for no good reason other than that they are attending an elite private school, why do you want them in the public school system anyway?

    When you say you are mixed on the issue, what that means to me is that when you are talking in the abstract about people you are feel free to cast whatever labels you like, but when you are talking about your own real life experiences your willingness to apply the same labels and logic changes. This is the danger of identifying people as members of groups rather than as individuals with individual interests and needs. This is your trademark your MO and it is very disturbing.

  150. I told you I was talking about the effect. It hurts minorities and the poor, nationwide. It's the biggest thing that has caused Brown v. Topeka, which I consider to be a moment of hope in America, into something which was primarily avoided. My question to you is do you think the existence of private schools and the very high attendence here, 29% vs. about 6 nationwide, 8 including homeschool, hurts or helps African American, Latino and impoverished children? I think it hurts. It benefits those who already have an advantage at the expense of those without.

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  152. Well-regarded studies, one of which was discussed at length on the community blog last year (I forgot its title), have shown that private schools in general do not outperform public schools. So I don't think there is a case to be made that the hypothetical nonexistence of private schools would fundamentally change the achievement outcome of public. It might even make each worse given that competition forces both sides to compete and innovate. Additionally, in the same hypothetical context you are not considering the effect of the loss of many specialized private school programs which likely would hurt the kids who attend them.

    It might be true that support for public would increase if the well-heeled attended in greater numbers. But I don't see the achievement laggards substantially improving from increased funding. There is no evidence to indicate that compensatory education funding has been a value added for all the decades since the 70's when they started in earnest. In fact, investment in remediation is an abysmal failure.

    In any case, the book "No Excuses" illustrated the point that education is not a contact high. The panacea of diversity as a solution to achievement is an illusion. For someone like yourself who espouses conservative principles like personal responsibility, discipline and good study habits, I don't know why you keep beating the dead horse of diversity. Diversity is a good unto itself even if it is not the purpose of government run education, but it is not the answer to student achievement regardless of the fact that our Board commissioners continue to cling to these social justice agendas in the manner that Obama claimed right wingers cling to guns and bibles.

  153. That was the Nation's Report Card, which reported an achievement gap for public school compared to private school, IF YOU DO NOT TAKE DEMOGRAPHICS INTO ACCOUNT (emphasis added).

    I was not able to wade through the material, but others on the blog went through how, the report indicated that if you do control for different socio-economic factors of same income level compared to same income level, the results are mixed. Sometimes the privates have the better scores and sometimes the publics have the better scores.

    Therefore, the Nations's Report Card shows no achievement gap for the public schools, on a national scale. My own opinion is that San Francisco's private schools are above average, as private schools go. I would not be surprised if the privates beat the publics in SF even if you do control for income. But we have no data on that one way or the other.

  154. The study I was referring to was from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) which did account for demographics in the analysis. It was a mixed bag.

    My point was that Floyd repeatedly tries to make a case that if only private school didn't exist everything would be hunky dory. That it is private school that is sucking the life blood out of public education. This is just a trumped up answer to his own loaded question. On what legitimate basis can he make this assertion?

  155. I don't think the privates do win in SF, but largely because Asians consistently outperform whites on test scores, and the private schools have a higher white percentage. My point is, if we truly want to close the achievement gap and ensure everyone has equal opportunity, it is going to take some sacrifice from the advantaged. I do think having people like Newsome, Alioto, Bock, Kat Anderson, etc. not care about public schools, maybe say they do but not have it really impact their lives, is part of the problem. People like this make one phone call ahd things change. Don, you are this type of person and do the public schools a lot of good, make the schools you are a part of do well by your children, put on the pressure, but imagine there being 20 of you at each school. That's how it would be if the powerful were willing to say, I'll take one to make America live up to it's creed that all men and women are created equal and should have equal opportunity, and I'll try to make my school better, donate, volunteer, and help kids of different backgrounds go to school together. Not a few tokens under threat of expulsion, but a true cross-section of society all working together to make America equal. This is what Jimmy Carter believed in.

    There are other things that could be done, but I believe those things would be done of those people were in the public system. If seniority and tenure were clearly damaging Newsome's kids, they wouldn't last long. Alioto, Bock, etc. If the people at the Olympic Club were talking about the damage of seniority and tenuge, they'd have a short lifespan.

  156. The achievement gap within demographic groups at higher API schools is only slightly better than the gap between lower schools and higher schools. If diversity were the answer, we would,'t have these persistent gaps at higher API schools. Bringing in more private school students isn't the answer, though it might be a small help.

    Floyd, when you speak about the values of studying and home discipline, you address the fundamental issue that holds down the progress of AA and L populations in general. This idea that a better political/economic education system is the answer just doesn't hold water. It is the liberal mindset to believe that if there were just more government services (more money) for students they would magically learn, as if they had a medical problem that needed proper attention, nothing more.

    Students in the Supe Zones get WAY MORE, but are they doing any better? SFUSD throws a party if they rise a couple percentage points. And several of the SE schools have fared even worse with more money. And where does that money come from? It comes from your child's education.

    Gov. Brown wants to increase the amount given to ELL and poor students to 37% above average and 84% for students in both groups. But SFUSD spends 100 to 200% and that is way above what is given in categorical aid. So where so they get that money from? I already gave you the answer. And this does not include the SIG money which temporarily raises the per pupil spending to almost 300%. My point is that money is not the answer. No big shot can wave their economic wand and make the poor kids from t he ghetto into school whizzes.

    Besides, when everyone sees how totally inept the education system is, why would they want to increase taxes to feed the corruption?

    You also have not considered the positive effect that private schools have on education finance. When fewer students attend public the pot is divided among fewer students and each gets more.

    On another note, FYI, SFUSD's SPED was audited by the State after a private audit elicited no corrective action by the District. Now SPED may get taken over by the State Board. Garcia was responsible for this total failure of administration. So when they say he simply retired I doubt that is true. He's high-tailing it.

    Everything under his watch was a failure. His Balanced Scorecard was found to violate the law, his middle school initiative went no where, SPED is on the brink of a state takeover and the signature Superintendent Zone effort shows very little progress considering how much pain it had inflicted upon the rest of the district. I'd say good riddance to him, but hiring one of Garcia's chosen successors was a terrible idea. But the Board thinks he's done a good job. So it just goes to show you.

  157. The Daniel Pink book, "Drive," tells us that there is a big difference between external motivations, carrots as rewards and sticks as punishment, and internal motivations, such as the drive to learn that springs from within. The carrots and sticks may, in the short term, produce some results, but, in the long term, harm the internal motivations and ultimately prove counter-productive.

    A few weeks ago, a newspaper article talked about the Spring standardized exams and several tricks and rewards that Mission High School was doing to motivate the students to try hard on the standardized exams, which, after all, many of the students could care less about despite how the scores might affect the schools and the district. It was all extrinsic motivations.

    A better job of educating students may mean that we wrestle with internal motivations as well as external motivations. A better job may mean that we unhook ourselves from the mantra that throwing more money at a problem solves the problem. It will mean that we check to see if the problem is actually being solved, and, if not, open up ourselves to trying something else.

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  159. I think you've raised a good point about motivation. America was a rich country that always thought it could buy its way out of its problems. That comes with success. Whether we could or not, we no longer are that rich nation and we cannot afford to buy our way out. You don't need a statistical background to see the writing on the wall. Good schools are still maintaining high scores with decreases in funding. If it were true that money improves schools (above and beyond a reasonable base line of service), lack of it would do the opposite. That is not what we see.

    Floyd, you seem to think that if we just forced out the privates ( as if that were possible) all the problems would go away. That racism would disappear and achievement would increase. Floyd, it is time to come down to the real world and stop indulging your dreams. Pick a topic and press the district to make it better. Get off your high horse and stop screaming at everyone from the bully pulpit. You are being selfish by repeating yourself and insisting that you are right when you have nothing to back up your assertions.

    Ackerman started the dream schools. Another failed dream. Your dreams have little to do with solutions. You're a utopian, sorry to say, which means you are foolish.

  160. Don, you make great points. I just point out the hypocrisy in liberalism. We take pride in being a progressive City, but if we were really as progressive as we say and the national homeschool+private % is 8%, we'd be lower than that, not higher. To me it's just on par with Marin saying they're environmental and voting against BART or the Supervisors giving themselves free parking spaces despite claiming to be a transit first city. They should not give parking, it should be a cash amount and those who take the bus should get that in cash, and those who choose to drive should have to pay for it, meaning the 2 supervisors who do take transit should have more money left. That policy is a joke. There is no neighborhood which claims to be more liberal than Pacific Heights, but the 94% figure belies that claim. I agree, you can't ban them, I just think it lends credence to the claim I heard from professors at UC Berkeley, SF claims to be liberal but behind the scenes is a very conservative City.

    I have always thought projects were a terrible idea. Putting all the troubled and poor people in several square blocks is a recipe for disaaster. In my view, every 50th unit in the Bay Area, City and Suburb, should be divided into small flats, as they are subsidized, for public housing.

    When the poor black kids live on your block, go to school with and play with your kids, maybe more people will take an interest in helping to solve the problem

  161. You make another very interesting point that habits and studying are the key. I agree, but the well off are so far removed they don't make an effort to say it. It's easier to seem nonracist and say nothing. Some people still didn't give Amy Chua credit for getting her daughter into both Harvard and Yale. The idea of someone from the group who does the best in school actually reaching out and trying to convince others to do the same is seen as so far beyond the pale that people focus on the negatives and predict her demise, but it is a cover up. The people who predict Chua's daughter will not have social skills or crack will not admit they're wrong even if at 40 she's very successful, it's automatic criticism and rejection. She broke the sacred taboo. The projects are something over there, where those people live, mostly or entirely in schools our kids don't attend, people we rarely see. Harry Edwards used to say it's easier to deal with overt racism than someone who shines you on, says they aren't racist but then makes sure their kids never associate with yours and they don't spend any time around your type, quietly avoids you, etc. This may be an exaggeration and not true of all, as you and I both agree Alamo could do more to integrate and guarantee every neighborhood resident a spot by denying any Asian or white parents or parents of high income a chance to get in over anyone who is a resident, thus increasing the diversity at their own neighborhood schools which they are fleeing.

    Imagine if Cobb were 50% black, 50% rich Pacific Heights kids. It would be Martin Luther King's dream. The parents of the rich kids would advise the poor kids, make sure the message gets across that they can be as successful as anyone but they will have to look at the examples of groups who routinely go from poor and lower middle class to rich and work very hard weekends and week nights to get great grades and get ahead.

    One of the weakest points in SF is the bad advice kids get. Teachers and counsellors work so hard to stop the worst students from slacking, but barely lift a finger ot help average students become good or good students become great. At Presidio they stick to the lie that all a kid has to do is an hour to an hour and a half of homework a day and that Lowell is no better than Galileo. If I let my kids study an hour and a half a day, 7.5 a week, my eldest would not have made Lowell.

    As for Lowell, I am mixed because I see both sides. It is fairer than Hamlin because nearly 30% of the kids are on reduced or free lunch, so it is helping poor kids do better. Lowell has been an academic school for a long time. The kids who graduated and worked hard to get in would lose the pride, and it would be confusing. People would forget a time when to go to Lowell meant you worked harder and achieved more and were therefore judged as better than the kids who didn't get in, so the 20-60 year-olds might lose the civic pride involved in going to the oldest school West of the Mississippi.

    However, it would make every school but Lowell much better, so I see both sides.

  162. Why is it in SF that almost everyone in the SFUSD feels it is a taboo to point out that kids who study 20 hours a week do better than those who study 5, and to encourage an obsessive focus on grades and scholastics which is the only hope for a high income of kids without connected parents? I've never understood this. It's seen as taboo, yet it would do more than all the money they are wasting to focus on this one small fact. They should publish the hourly study averages of each race, income, and subgroup and focus on the averages as they relate to grades, SAT Scores and the ability to move quintiles. They fail to do so at their peril. It's seen as racist to point out how Asians achieve so much, but in my view, it is racist not to point this out because you are consigning students to future poverty. What's liberal is what leads to results.

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  164. What's with these comments deleted by the author? If you disagree with me, just say it, I won't flinch. Just like I said, it's better to have it all out in the open. Harry Edwards used to say that, if the racism were in the open it could be combatted, overcome, worked against, but when it is silent racism no one can prove, it is more deadly. If you disagree and think there is another way to close the achievement gap which requires no sacrifice on the part of the rich, the liberal elite, the union, and extra work from those failing themselves, I'm all ears. But don't write a comment and delete it. Come out of the closet and tell us what you think. No one will even know your real name.

  165. Floyd, you mentioned a few posts further above, that you are interested in discussion. This has not been my experience with you. I went through the trouble of answering to some of what you said but have found that you do not ever seem to actually listen to anybody but yourself. Any attempt I've ever made at any form of discussion with you has ended in your ignoring every single thing I said and going back into perpetuating your spiel.

    If you are indeed interested in hearing an opinion that does not match yours, feel free to read the following.

    As to your ongoing talk about Asian kids' study habits: As a European-American who married into a traditional Chinese family, let me assure you that it isn't as easy as forcing non-Asian kids to study so they catch up. Chinese culture encourages collectivism, while the predominant U.S. culture encourages individualism. There is a wealth of research about this out there, if you're curious. Just google collectivism/individualism. Collectivist cultures encourage achievement submission into a family or other social unit (and can accidentally, in the process, slide into extreme self-denial), while individualist cultures value hedonistic self-expression, creativity, and independence (and can accidentally, in the process, slide into extreme narcissism). That is also why many Chinese immigrants tend to try to isolate their kids (often not very successfully) from mainstream U.S. culture.

    Just trying to coerce, prod, beg, or otherwise trying to motivate kids, who were born into an individualistic culture and come with big egos and a sense of entitlement, to practice self-denial won't work.

  166. Floyd, you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. Time to try the honey. Essentially, the same message. But honey, not vinegar. That means no telling other people what to do. Only saying this is what your family has done and that it got you into Lowell, etc.

  167. SF Mommy, I apologize if I have done that in the past. I don't like it when others do that and didn't mean to do that.

    I agree that it is very difficult to change a culture. I think it's worth trying to do. I've had friends tell me why do we allow so much Latino immigration? We know Latinos are 1/10th or so as likely as Asians to get into UC Berkeley or an Ivy League school without affirmative action. Chinese will gladly work the fields and make sure their kids are good students, so the 2d generation will be tax contributors.

    I've disputed them and said we can improve anyone with the proper focus. My family itself, my kids are half white, half Latino. My wife didn't go to a University. My adopted daughter is African American. My eldest was just admitted to Lowell and only lost 2 points, had 87. All my kids are doing pretty well for their age and I hope to get them all into Lowell.

    I remember as a kid I'd hear some whites frustrated with African Americans' in many cases not taking advantage of the opportunities given them, rejecting mainstream culture, speaking slang, not studying as much, divorcing and having kids out of wedlock at a higher rate, not trying to fit into the culture they fought for acceptance into, etc. What I have now realized is that yes, if African Americans embraced mainstream culture and were more open-minded about this, rather than embracing what their parents or community taught them, they would do better but the same is true of white culture. We go on closed-minded auto-reject, in much the same way we criticize African Americans for doing. An example is Amy Chua's book. She wasn't rigidly about grades, she was also obsessed with her daughter playing the violin well, an artistic endeavor which most whites would agree is something liberal, something artistic and showing being well-rounded and deep, something many whites accuse Asians of lacking. She also helped her kids get great grades, but the general response from whites was not to open-mindedly read her book, but to go through it looking for things to criticize her on and destroy the messenger, the same way Fox news combs through every Obama speach looking for something to criticize. How do I know this? Because when her daughter was admitted to both Harvard and Yale, they didn't have an open mind and say look, it worked, they went on auto-negate closed mind and predicted she will crack. However, if she is very successful and happily married with kids at 30 or 40, none of these critics will admit they were wrong.

    This places Amy Chua in the unfair position of being wrong no matter what. If her kids fail, it's her fault, she was too strict, but if they do succeed, her critics quietly look the other way and say nothing. This isn't fair, there has to be a way she can win without abandoning her culture and raising her kids the way the average American does, the whole point of her book was she had a better way. This has to be a testable hypothesis in some way, but it isn't because closed-minded mostly white people are on auto-reject. It's literally not possible for her to win.

  168. So, SFMom, what I have done is this. I spend evenings and weekends with no TV on, or very little. My kids know the alphabet before turning 2, in English and Spanish, the sounds by 3, flash cards by 4, sound rules or phonics by 5 and have read a book. I don't send them to kindergarten as empty vessels. I do math quizzes, prep books, science, museums. But I also tell them that grades will be the largest determinant in the future quality of their life, success, ability to travel, etc. I take them to a library in San Bruno Avenue and point out that almost all the kids are Asian, then take them to UC Berkeley and show them most of the kids are Asian and these people at Call will average quadruple the income of a high school graduate and more than a high school drop out. I take them to a park near said museum to show them that being in the library is a decision and that it isn't an all-Asian neighborhood, which it is not. The park has all races about equally, the library not. I show them income stats for Asians. I spend Saturday with them studying at the cafe.

    I don't look at Asian culture as perfect and recognize Jewish culture is equally effective and somewhat different, though studies show in hours studying per week it is fairly similar. I do have my kids in the arts, in sports, music, but what I reject is TV, computer games, and pure wasting of time.

    We can't accept that Only 1 in 30 Latino kids will make a UC and 1 in 3 Asians will, that 1 in 8 whites will and 1 in 35 blacks. We need to say what are we doing wrong as a culture that many people don't believe in themselves, in success, and in the hard work it will take to make America great again. In short I do think we can convince peple to change and do the right thing, but it will take hard work and open minds, meaning looking at what works. There is almost no effort at this now.

    Now I think we have to move more towards the Chinese way. China is catching up because they save more, self-deny more, and are able to make decisions in the interest of the US. Our very survival will depend on it. We can't have someone making $100 million a year try to make $110 million by outsourcing engineer, accountant, paralegal and other educated jobs to India; it wouldn't happen in China. That's what the 99% Occupy Protests are about. We've become too individualistic. We don't want to become too lazy but we've gone too far the other way, to the level of the Robber Barons in the late 19th Century. The Gilded Age and the '20s led to depressions. Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt brought us to a more collectivist nation with things like ending child labor, integrating schools (Teddy stopped Asian only public schools in San Francisco), the GI Bill. Europe and Japan are so obsessed with individualism they aren't reproducing their own cultures and are dying, as are some subsets of educated Americans, the ones Pat Buchanan refers to as the Suicide and the City crowd because SEx and the City reproduced themselves 1/4 genetiall and 3/8ths by influence, which as I respect adoption consider the more important figure. Excessive individualism is failing us. No one ever has enough, and our poor feel that society has it in for them and doesn't believe they cansucceed as they see many avoid them in private or suburban schools. We have failed to motivate our poor. It's a failure of imagination. We're trying the same thing over and over until we are insane.

  169. Nothing is more important than raising our children and we can't afford to do it by blindly doing what was done to us. We need help from experts and we need to neutrally study the issue with no prejudices. The kind of blow off of Asian culture is similar to the blow off of Jewish culture in prior anti-semitic eras in which there were quotas in the Ivy League and mass resentment and sometimes violence, instead of embracing of success.

    We talk of equalizing test scores. Steve Sailor broke down 65 nations by ethnicity and found that our white students do better than every nation save Finland, our Asian students do better than every Asian nation save Singapore, our African American students outperform African Nations and Trinidad and Tobago, and our Latino students outperform all Latin American Nations who participated.

    Our schools aren't that bad but we are failing to assimilate and motivate our minorities to do what it takes to achieve at the level of whites or, better yet, Asians. Childraising is fluid, it constantly changes. If you went back to the '20s and saw how your grandparents were raised, you'd scarcely recognize the way you raise your kids. My mother was encouraged to drop out of high school and marry, ridiculed for going to any college. No one in my family graduated before me from college, on either side, of big families, yet I grew up with Asians and was open-minded enough to realize they were doing something very right. We can all be so open minded. We can change how we raise our kids and we inevitably will or we will fall behind as a nation. The far left can become rigid as much as the far right. We ignore Asian success at our peril. We close our minds at our peril.

    I don't raise my kids exactly as Asians do at all, I'm atheist, love old movies, arts, foreign languages, comedy. I just incorporate many elements I see have worked well for Asians. I encourage sleepovers, friendship, will let my kids date and go out with friends, etc. I just think about every element of childraising, and if we all do, and our government does, we can do a better job in our most important duty.

  170. SF Mommy, your supposition is that we can't change the way we raise our kids, but look at how many ways we have changed this in just a couple generations, so why can't we change to a more education/grade-focused way, why can't anyone?

    1. Bullying. A few years ago kids were encouraged to fight and bullying wasn't taken seriously. Assault was, but not verbal bullying. Now it is a focus of schools.

    2. Women's rights. A couple generations ago schools were very sexist, textbooks showed gender stereotyped roles. As late as the early '90s home economics and homemaking were taught to girls, not boys, in many rural disctricts. Now girls are outperforming boys at all levels of education and getting more law and doctorate degrees.

    3. Gay rights. Even in the 80s in SF it was routine for kids to use all sorts of slurs to harass boys they felt might be gay. Now there is a whole movement against this and kids are more respectful of gay rights.

    4. Racism. In the '50s the textbooks would not be recognizable, had many racist stereotypes. Now schools are focused on creating integration and togetherness as much as possible within schools and teaching kids not to judge by color.

    These are just a few. If we've changed these, why not change collective vs. individual if that helps us do better academically? Why is this seen as an insurmountable obstacle? We choose each night how to raise our kids. We choose to study or watch TV, to go to the park or the library, or both for a while. We choose to divorce and fous on ourselves or stay together and focus on our children. As parents we make decisions every day which have huge impact on our children. This is just one way we could all do better.

  171. At long last I see your point. If only everybody were more like you...

  172. Many parents in SF do a great job but many don't. If everyone at least just did their best we'd be #1. We are a long way from that. It's nothing we can't do. It's something many parents choose not to do. For short-term gain and long term loss for their kids. Certainly that is a huge reason for the achievement gap. If you have the TV on 20 or in some cases 40 hours a week. Probably many don't believe it makes a difference, so we need to convince them or see their kids fail. It's a sad situation all around which could easily become happy with a little effort.

  173. Floyd, you are assuming that if parents did a better job everything would be OK. But as you well know most of these kids don't have two parents and the one they have is often so stretched to cope, helping with homework is a very low priority.

    In many cases, maybe most cases, the parents of the low-performing students don't have the resources or the mentality to assist children with schooling.

    To use an analogy, in effect what you are saying is that the doctors should do a better job of treating their patients - except in this case the doctors are not qualified to practice medicine.

    Most anyone procreate, but being a responsible parent is quite another thing.

  174. You make good points Don. Many men in many communities lack basic morals, like if you impregnate someone, you marry then and stay with them, at least until your kids turn 18.

    This is why we should have tutors. If we break the cycle just once, it will not only affect these kids, but their children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren, if we break the cycle of poverty, the practice of not staying together for the kids, the TV, etc. 74% of African American kids aren't even born to a married father, and half of those who are aren't living with him by 18, so only 13% of AA kids turn 18 the way all kids should turn 18, with a father at their graduation living with them and their mother, loving them, caring for them. But we need to teach this as well as study habits and birth control. We can break the cycle and part of that is following the Asian method of putting study and childraising ahead of individual pleasure.

    Any guy could have some fun leaving his wife and marrying someone younger and hotter, but not a lot of Asian men do this, not too many but some white men, but very few black men don't do this. It's putting sexual joy ahead of personal responsibility, the same way hanging out at the park instead of the library on Saturday or watching MTV or whatever instead of studying.

    We have to teach the Asian way. It's the way of the 21st Century and stats show it works best.

    Anyone can pretend to be a great parent. We assume everyone loves their kids and wants the best for them. But most kids who fail have parents who show by their actions they don't love them or want what's best for them. They want what's best for themselves.

    We have to stop judging all parents as equal because they seem nice and go to an event looking friendly. Fact is, any father who abandons his kids, any parent who prioritizes TV over study, hanging out vs. library, is an enemy of the State, a dishonor to our nation, and someone who is hurting not only their own children but the community in which their children will live and their nation. They are dishonoring their family name, their City, and their nation and should not be looked at as good people. They should have to change if they want to be looked on as acceptable people.