Monday, November 19, 2012

Data: Highly Educated Parents in SFUSD - Where Do Their Children Do Best?

How much of a difference does parental education make?  In  SFUSD, a parent's level of education accounts accounts for a 73 point difference in English and 82 points in Math in elementary school. That's huge.

For SFUSD students, in both English and Math CSTs,
  • Having a parent with a high school diploma adds, on average, 10-15 points in English and in Math.
  • A parent who graduated from a 4 year college adds another 35-40 points to each test. 
  • A parent with postgraduate education/graduate school adds another 25 points. 
The lowest performing group is “Declined to State.” Students whose families didn’t answer the question have an average overall score just below that of students whose parents have less than a high school education.

The percentages listed here will be different from what you see on the API website, because the API website doesn’t include the “Declined to State” group in their parent education percentages. Another reason to use CST scores instead of APIs when considering schools.



 2012 SFUSD CST Scores by Parent Education Level, Grades 2-5

% of 
Enrollment
English
Math
Grad School/ Postgraduate
14%
    416455
College Grad (BA/BS)
22%
  391
428
Some College/AA
16%
  361
388
High School Grad
22%
  353
391
Less than high school
13%
  342
378
Declined to State
13%
  343
373
SFUSD overall    369403

Proficient, grade level, performance is 350 and above. Advanced, or above grade level, performance varies by grade, but in 2012 it was about 400 for English and 415 for Math in grades 2-5.

2012 SFUSD CST Performance: Percent of Students At Grade Level,  by Parent Education Level, Grades 2-5

EnglishMath
Grad School/ Postgraduate89%89%
College Grad (BA/BS)78%81%
High School Grad53%65%
Less than high school45%59%
Declined to State47%57%
SFUSD overall62%70%

Source: http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2012/

Savage Inequalities: Differences in Parent Education Level by School

Did anyone read the book Savage Inequalities by Jonothan Kozol? That's the phrase that comes to mind when I look at school demographics and test scores. Here's what teachers at different schools face.

Schools with Highest and Lowest Parent Education Levels, Grades 2-5

Top Ten Schools% College Grad
or Higher
Bottom Ten Schools% College Grad
or Higher
Miraloma80%Sanchez3%
Clarendon74%Malcolm X4%
CIS at DeAvila73%Bryant5%
Sunset72%El Dorado6%
Lilienthal71%Carver7%
Grattan71%Serra8%
Feinstein67%Chavez9%
Lafayette63%Harte9%
Peabody61%Cleveland9%
Rooftop61%Hillcrest10%
West Portal61%Moscone10%
Source: http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2012/

The complete list of all schools had to be removed from the end of this post. Blogspot has a hard time with my long tables, as do some of you, maybe. I'll post it separately if there's interest.

Highly Educated Parents: Where do Their Children Do Best?

     An earlier version of this post reported that in 2012, the percentage of students taking the CST with parents with graduate degrees dropped by 42% from 2nd to 5th grades. I erroneously interpreted this to mean that parents with graduate degrees were pulling their kids out of SFUSD. This was an INCORRECT interpretation.
      The number of 2nd graders whose parents reported a graduate degree is higher because SFUSD attendance has increased over the past 5 years, and changes in the school lottery meant the number of parents who report a graduate education also increased.  So you can't compare 2012 2nd graders to 2012 5th graders. A better comparison is 2012 5th graders to 2009 2nd graders ( 2nd grade in 2009 -> 3rd grade in 2010,->4th grade in 2011 -> 5th grade in 2012). Comparing the 2009 2nd graders to 2012 5th graders, there isn't a significant drop. Mea culpa, mea culpa. The original text has been left below, to give context to the comments.

The most significant pattern is that parents with graduate degrees who start their kids in SFUSD often seem to end up feeling that their kids will do better elsewhere.  From 2nd to 5th grade, the number of these students taking the CST drops by 42%. This is the biggest drop of any subgroup.
   The same is not true of parents whose highest level of education was four-year college (BA/BS).  Their enrollment drops too, but just 19%, in line with the overall drop in SFUSD CST test-takers from grades 2-5.

    There's not a strong association between children with graduate/postgrad educated parents doing better at schools with a high percentage of those children. In fact, there's a lot of variation by school, as you can see in the tables below.  I've ranked them by Math CST score, to minimize the effect of English learners.

2012 CST Scores by School for Students of Parents With Graduate School or Post-Graduate Education, Ranked by Math CST Score


Difference from SFUSD average
% of
enrollment
  English  MathComments
1. Lafayette
27%
20
35
2. Stevenson
15%
30
34
Grades 2-3 only
3. Peabody
36%
14
28
G2-3 only
4. Yu
22%
9
25
5. Clarendon
34%
14
19
6. Sherman
24%
16
14
7. Sunset
29%
17
13
8. King (Starr)
27%
-4
12
G2-3 only
9. Monroe
11%
24
8
G 3,5 only
10. Lilienthal
37%
-7
6
11. McKinley
26%
23
4
G2-4 only
12. Argonne
18%
-7
4
G2-4 only
13. Alamo
24%
-2
1
14. Grattan
42%
8
1
15. Flynn
13%
1
-2
G2,4 only
16. Rooftop
28%
-4
-3
17. Miraloma
44%
4
-7
18. Alvarado
30%
4
-8
G2-4 only
19. Key
15%
-16
-13
G2-3 only
20. Jefferson
16%
-10
-14
G3-4 only
21. Feinstein
25%
-8
-15
22. Sloat
21%
-7
-17
23. Buena Vista
19%
-16
-18
G2-3 only
24. Fairmount
20%
0
-27
G2-3 only
25. West Portal
21%
-7
-28

Source: http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2012/


     The California Department of Education only publishes scores for grades with over 10 students in each subgroup. Other grades didn’t have enough published scores for comparison.
     CIS, Sunnyside, Ortega, Yick Wo, Parks, and Lakeshore, had over 10 students with a graduate/postgraduate parent only in their 2nd grade, so were't included in this list. Creative Arts had over 10 students with a graduate/postgraduate parent in 4th grade only. None of the other school had more than 10 students with a graduate school parent in anygrade.

2012 CST Scores by School for Students of Parents Who Graduated from a Four-Year College Higher, Ranked by Math CST Score


-16
Difference from
SFUSD Average
% of enrollment
with college degree
 OR grad school
EngMathComments
Stevenson
46%
  2660
Lawton
43%
  1032
Clarendon
74%
  24 32
Yu
59%
  12 31
Taylor
16%
  -8 29G2,3 and 5 in Math
Sunnyside
39%
  17 27G2-3
Sherman
48%
  23 26
Yick Wo
48%
    6 23G2-4
Ortega
40%
    0 22G2-4
Ulloa
41%
  17 21
King (Starr)
54%
   -4
20G2, 4-5
Lafayette
63%
  12
19
Jefferson
48%
    3 18
Sunset
72%
  16 16
Argonne
56%
   -9
11
Guadalupe
18%
 -14 7G2,4-5
Feinstein
67%
    6 4
Alamo
56%
   -1 4
Edison Charter
20%
-26
2G2-3,5
Rooftop
61%
    5 1
Key
48%   
    6 -1
West Portal
61%
    1 -2
Alvarado
54%
  10
-2
Carmichael/FEC
21%
   -5
-2
Lau
13%
 -26
-6G2-4
Lilienthal
71%
    6 -6
Grattan
71%
  12 -9
Longfellow
22%
 -13 -12
Milk
42%
  10 -13G2,5
Miraloma
80%
    3 -17
McKinley
55%
    3
-21G2-4
Buena Vista K8
39%
-17
-23G2, 45
Lakeshore
35%
-16-27
Parks
41%
-14-28G2-4
Commodore Sloat
42%
-8-28G3-5
Spring Valley
20%
-9-46G2-3
Creative Arts Charter
56%
-17-54G2,5
Fairmount
39%
-24-59G4-5
Flynn
29%
-19-65G2-3

*Adjusted for the grades that each school has published data for. The California Department of Education only publishes scores for grades with over 10 students in each subgroup. Other grades didn’t have enough published scores for comparison.



A technical note on why I prefer CST scores to API
API scores are based ONLY on STAR test scores. They include not only the CST but also CMA/CAPA tests for students with significant learning issues, including severe developmental delay.  API gives English Language Arts score (56%) more weight than Math (34%), for grades 2-5. For K-8 schools, API does not separate out K-5 and 6-8, making it difficult to compare K-8 with K-5 schools. API does not adjust for the school demographics such as race, socioeconomic status, or parent education level. 

CST is the test most students take during STAR testing. School CST scores are broken down by parent education level, English proficiency, race, socioeconomic status, and race+socioeconomic status. The disadvantage is these CST subgroup scores are only reported for grades with over 10 test takers at a school. So reported CST scores don't capture schools with a small number of high-performing (or low-performing) students in that subgroup.

34 comments:

  1. Hi,
    My only question is who fills in the information on the test? I think its students who fill in their parental education level which might impact the data. I was looking at the test scores for GATE data and realized that it was inputted by the students which may or may not be an accurate report.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like the info on parent education level and ethnicity comes from the enrollment form that families turn into EPC.
      That's why for 6th grade and higher for 2012 STAR, the data on parent education level gets funky. The 2011-2012 6th graders represent the last kindergarten class for which the mother's educational level contributed to the Diversity Index in the old school lottery system.

      Delete
  2. The most damning statistic is that those with graduate education pull their kids out after 1st grade in much higher numbers. You could call that white flight, given that the majority of people who go to grad school are white. Or, you could say that graduate education gives you a sense of all the doors that can slam in your face before you are even aware that they are, in fact, doors -- not just the door to Harvard (who cares?), but the doors that open for excellent writing and research skills, high-order and abstract thinking, divergent approaches to problem-solving, and so on. The ground you lose if you do not get those skills early on, certainly by the end of 5th grade, is very very hard to make up.

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  3. Some of this data is very interesting. It becomes harder to swallow though as one reads. I have three children, all in SFUSD. This is our 6th year in SFUSD. We have two graduate degrees in our home, both from fancy names. We cannot afford to send our children to private school. Also, we have largely been happy with public school. Yet reading these numbers, I feel like a lost stray from my pack of well educated, more affluent peers who pull their kids out of school. Some of us just can't do that, and yet find ways to bring other elements into our children's lives. Outside of school and after school and during the summer, there are hours and hours and hours of time one can fill with supplemental learning, even the kind noted in one of the posts (excellent writing and research skills, high-order and abstract thinking, divergent approaches to problem-solving.) You might be shocked at how extensive a deep summer camp offerings can be. The key, I think, if private school isn't an option, is to realize just how much time there is outside of regular school hours to fill in the gaps. Lots of it. Yes it takes effort, but if you've got time to examine tons of data carefully, you've got time to find cool extended learning opportunities for your child/ren.



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  4. I don't think educated parents are pulling their kids out of public and going private.

    What I think the data shows is that highly educated parents have more options. They have the option to move to the suburbs or move to another city to take a new job or move to be closer to family. People with lower levels of education and income don't have as many options, so many of them stay here.

    Additionally, when I meet new SF residents that have moved from other cities with school-age kids, many, if not all, opt to go private. The reason for this (i believe) is the reputation of SF public school both locally and nationally is not awesome (although many here - myself included - will tell you that there are many great SFUSD options). Also - many incoming families have means and might be intimidated by public.

    - Parent to 2nd grader at SFUSD Spanish Immersion

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  5. 9:21, thank you! I don't think that's the case for elementary school, but I was wondering why the numbers on parent education level get a bit wacky in middle school, and that's a great explanation why.

    7:19, I agree that families deciding to move out of SF is a much bigger factor. When you look at children living in SF, there's a big change in the number 5-14 year olds compared to 0-4 year olds. It occurs across all demographic groups: SFUSD African American student enrollment has dropped tremendously, and accounts for a large percentage of the drop in SFUSD enrollment over the last decade. But as you point out, it's often the well-educated, more affluent parents who have the means to move.

    11:54 and 12:26, I think the academic and cognitive lost ground in from grades 2-5 is more of an issue for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who don't have well-educated parents and summer camps to supplement their education.
    The main issue I see for that many, but not all kids of highly educated are both smart and well-prepared for school, and they get bored. They aren't engaged in school, start acting out, and they check out.
    That was certainly my experience, one that my friends with older kids have echoed. I was fortunate to have parents who did just what 12:26 suggests: they sent me to summer academic camps. Through middle school, I lived for those camps. I spent the school year waiting for summer camp, and I'm so grateful to my parents for sending me there. So it is a viable solution.

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  6. maybe i am reading this wrong but how are we making the conclusion that parents are pulling their kids out? Are you comparing second grade to 4th grade?

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  7. One thing to remember is that middle school is a factor for educated parents to pull their children out of school at 4th or 5th grade. As private spots are hard to secure, parents might try to get into a private school in 4th or 5th grade in order to have a middle school placement that they feel is a good match for their child. Educated parents that middle and upper middle income might want to save the $125,000 on K-4 grade but then spend the money on middle school where social and economic differences can play a much larger role in the educational experience. In addition, may SFUSD classroom jump to 33 students in 4th and 5th grade which also might motivate educated parents to move their children to private where there are usually around 20 students in the classrooms and aides. This is no fault of SFUSD. It's a fact of that California is 47th in the nation on per pupil funding. If you want educated parents to keep their children in public schools, you need a system that is funded so it can compete on some level with a private education. Some public elementary schools are able to raise enough money to provide a somewhat parallel experience K-3 but after that, the funding differences between private and public start to become more apparent. I think if we could raise enough money system wide to have 4th and 5th grades at 25 students per room and offer a truly differentiated curriculum and then had middle schools which had honors tracks and smaller class sizes, you'd probably see more educated parents staying in SFUSD.

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  8. Thank you SFGeekMom for your ongoing analysis and presentation of some interesting data.

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  9. 8:29, it is truly awful to imagine a child waiting for 9 solid months to have a decent educational experience.

    Why I went private, as a highly educated but only solidly middle-class person: I teach students coming out of the CA public schools--the top 12%. I have some very good students, but the middle is stunningly low. And the bottom is unbelievable. My students' lack of preparation really scares me. I could have gone public for K-4 or 5, but decided to take a generous financial aid offer for K. And no way was I going to go anything but private for middle and high school, given what I've seen. I'm lucky we fit into a diversity category, but I would have left this state if it came down to it.

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  10. The last poster has made his point multiple times over the years and every time I read it, I wish for my context. His is one small sample; he or she does not teach most of the top ten percent who graduate from CA schools, but rather a tiny fraction. And some of those students likely come from elsewhere if he/she teaches at a place like UC Berkeley. But we don't know where he or she teaches. I'm the daughter of a professor (Berkeley and NYU and semesters at Oxford and Cambridge) and the product of both public and private institutions, including an elite boarding school. And now I have kids in CA public school. I have very high standards and have not been disappointed with what my kids are learning. My father would be appalled by his/her limited perspective, even though he's a big advocate of small classes.' I just hope those reading this don't immediately decide all public schools in SF leave kids poorly prepared. That's just not true, even at the middle school level. Just go see AP Ginanni and Presidio. This comes from one who envisions a mix of private and public for her kids, but who keeps finding the public experience so far better than expected.'

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  11. Meant, wish for more context not my context.. Typing on phone

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  12. Private school, of course.

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  13. It isn't inspiring to me to know that SFUSD is not good at educating the children of highly educated parents. I find that depressing.

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  14. I really have a fundamental problem with the entire thrust of this article. The article assumes that test scores so correlate with teaching quality that mere differences of 20 to 40 points mean something significant. Yes, as a very general matter, higher test scores mean, generally, better quality teaching. A school with a test score of 920 is better at teaching than one with a test score of 620. But no one, including even the most fervent supporters of using test scores as an indicator of teaching success, would presume that the tests are so sensitive that they can pick up material differences in changes of 20 or so points.

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  15. 9:39, I think you may be confusing CST scores with APIs. CST scores only go up to 600.
    I agree that CST differences of 10-20 points between schools should be taken with a grain of salt. The numbers of students with scores at each school is low, and variation in the abilities of the student enrollment from year to year can influence test scores quite a bit.
    I would consider a difference of 30-40 points on the CST to be significant. The tests are scaled so that scores of approximately 400 or above represent advanced/above grade level performance. 350 or above is "proficient," or grade level, performance, 300-349 is "basic," or below grade level performance, and below 300 is "below basic." So if your child scored 350 on the CST last year, then took it again this year and scored 390, that's a significant gain.

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  16. I think the data only gets you so far:
    1. There is no similar data you can analyze for private schools. It doesn't exist.
    2. There is no standardized test for creativity, which many believe is the most important competitive advantage in the workforce and in life
    3. The data only gets you so far. I have seen the inside of at least one predominately low income school. This school was rigorous and the school placed emphasis not only on closing the achievement gap, but also on challenging the gifted students. You have to see which school is the right fit for your student and your philosophy.

    We are a family that can afford private but we have enthusiastically chosen public. We personally will never go private unless one of our kids has a learning disability that can't addressed in the public system. One of the biggest reasons we embrace public is that we truly don't think that the teachers in private are any better than those in public. Period.

    The second big reason is the cost. Do you know what you can do with 30k? You can help a struggling sibling/cousin with a down payment. You can sponsor children to go to school in Africa/India. You can build your own non-profit in San Francisco. You can donate to your own SFUSD public school.

    I spend a lot of time at work *educating* colleagues who have left the city for the suburbs or have chosen private. I proudly tell them that we attend the public school and that our school is great. I especially enjoy educating the suburb dwellers that the class sizes are the same or smaller in SF and for many of the sub-groups, our test scores are higher. Many of these people really never did any research at all (except 5 mins on great schools).

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  17. I think I love you 4:15, and your eloquence.

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  18. 4:15

    After striking out in several rounds of the lottery, we were left with the choice of possibly leaving SF (and our extended family) or going to a private school (which we are very very happy with at this point). Would I rather spend that money on other things? Of course. At the same time, do I have any hesitations about spending that money on my child's education? None what so ever. While I have never thought the education at any private school is necessarily any better (especially at the k-5 level) than the good public schools in SF, I am certain it is better that the assignment I was given by SFUSD. And the fact remains, I not only didn't "win" the lottery like some other families did, I wasn't given a spot in any of the 10 schools I would have considered having my child attend.

    Things don't always work out as people like to say on this blog.

    While we are going down a path we hadn't considered at first, please do not make it sound like because we attend private school that we need to be "educated" about class sizes, teacher quality or what other things we could spend the money that goes to my child's tuition on.

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  19. Private schools do have better teachers for one reason. They can fire the ones that fail. Public schools cannot do that. Every public school almost always has a group of middling to poor teachers who cannot be fired under almost any circumstance. Hope your child doesn't get assigned to one.

    As far as the difference between CST and API, there is a lot of misinformation here. An API is nothing more than an aggregate schoolwide CST score modified for demographics.

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  20. Even in private schools there are teachers parents strive to avoid on behalf of their kids. What is interesting though is that sometimes the teachers move between private and public. My son's teacher taught in private prior to teaching in public. Some do that before earning their teaching credentials, which you need for public but not private. My public fifth grade teacher went the other direction, leaving public for private where she then taught my brother.

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  21. 4:15
    I was intrigued by your assertation that SFUSD test scores for subgroups are as good or better to those in the burbs. So I checked out Hillsborough, Piedmont, Orinda, and Belvedere/Tiburon on the CST website.
    For students of parents with a graduate education, grades 2-5, Hillsborough outscored SFUSD by about 30 points in English and 40 in Math last year. Students in Orinda outscored SFUSD by 12 points in English and 30 points in math. Students in Piedmont outscored us by about 10 points in each area. Students in Belvedere/Tiburon performed the same as SFUSD.
    The differences were bigger for students of parents with only a college degree: Hillsborough outscored SFUSD by 40-50 points in each content area; Orinda outscored SFUSD by 30-40 points, Belvedere/Tiburon by 20-30 points, and Piedmont by 15 points.
    As you point out, test scores can only tell you so much. If a family is thinking about moving out of SF solely for better schools, the CST scores suggest that southern Marin and Piedmont may not be the most efficient use of their real estate dollars.

    10:23, the API is NOT modified for demographics. It is only based on test scores, not only the CST, but also the STS for Spanish speakers, and CMA and CAPA for students with moderate to severe learning disabilities and/or developmental delays. The 2011-2012 API Reports Information Guide detailing this can be found at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/documents/infoguide12.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  22. For a while it was harder for educated parents to win the lottery. The truth is we should give them first choice because they have the option to leave and really hurt SFUSD if they do, hurt other kids. We need to do anything to keep these people and give them whatever they want. It's sad but many people when making these decisions only think of their own kids, not the other kids their decisions devastate. But SFUSD should find a way to give them whatever they want so as to keep them in the district because the donations and example are huge.

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  23. I agree every child deserves an equal chance. The rich will always go private, they'll find a way to justify it and say we all have equal opportunity, so what we have to do is tax them enough that we spend more on every child. We spend less than 10k now per pupil. We probably could not get it to private school levels but if we could get it to 15k that would do a lot to alleviate inequality and give poor kids the one-on-one tutoring they deserve and need to improve their lives. Maybe 17k. We have to tax inheritance and even wealth more. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Some of that excess wealth should be taxed and given back to the poor. You can't claim the rich deserve their wealth due to hard work if so much of it comes from their getting an unequal education. But the problem is you can't just put it into the general pot, we need tutors and special help for kids, one on one. I agree with the Geoffrey Canada analogy. That guy knows how to get things done. We should raise it 10% every year until we see more equal results between the races, and the rich should be taxed more to pay for it.

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  24. SFGeekmom - the problem with your comparison to the suburbs is that you picked the absolute richest ones. Some middle class kids can go to Piedmont, but the others? Not so much. A more fair look would be at other areas in Marin, East Bay, and Pennisula with more mixed incomes. Are your friends moving away from the city to Orinda and Hillsborough ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, I'm not familiar with Contra Costa or Marin counties. What would be other areas that would be more representative?

      Delete
  25. This is 4:15

    I actually looked at the subgroups for the schools that were on my list the year that I applied and compared them directly to the Orinda school district (which is supposedly one of the *best* in the east bay). For the schools on my list - Alvarado, Fairmount, Marshall - all of the sub-groups outperformed Orinda.

    I will also add that yes - It's tough if you don't get one of 10 schools on your list. It's hard to ask a family to play all rounds of the lottery and then play again in 1st grade. If we had struck-out in the lottery, I believe we would have gone to Edison Charter or Creative Arts Charter (have heard great things about both) and then weighed our options for 1st grade.

    Good luck to all of you. I shared my story to hopefully help others who are feeling like guilty parents for *not* seeking out private. We are public and proud of it.

    ReplyDelete
  26. 4:15, thanks for your comments! Can you tell us where your child goes to school?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Orinda is a rich district. SF as a county does better than the other counties, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and very close to Marin, probably beats it if you take out our bottom quarter of schools. Sure, if you take just Palo Alto, Orinda, Sausalito, Piedmont, we look bad, but we beat the bigger areas. Also, Lowell is a better high school than any suburban high school.

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  28. All the focus on test scores is typical for new public school parents who believe incorrectly that standardized test scores are an accurate barometer of student achievement. They don't understand that STAR and API were designed to aid in the designation of program improvement status from NCLB and its predecessors. The whole point of these metrics was to track change in achievement among subgroups year over year. It was never intended to be an absolute measure of individual student or school achievement at any given point in time. Yet, year after year, parents look at these numbers and make the same mistake over and over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That may be a bit overly harsh. I think the intent was to look at how students with similar demographics do at different schools. I would caution everyone not to confuse causation with correlation, though. In my experience as a parent whose children attend public school, there are a few important things parents can do to support academic achievement: get your children to bed at a decent time, make sure they have a nutritious breakfast before sending them to school, arrange for a healthy lunch (either school lunch or a packed lunch), read to them at home, show up for parent/teacher conferences, and ensure your children have a place to do homework that supports learning (i.e., turn off the TV). I suppose people with a higher level of education provide these things, which causes higher achievement? But these things have more to do with what goes on in the home, as opposed to at any particular school.

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  29. In terms of retaining middle class and educated families, I think the new assignment system will help as it favors a more localized school assignment. Also the district can't afford buses and people are more apt to list schools near there house. The western and northern areas of San Francisco have many wonderful and high performing elementary schools. In the SE, Sunnyside, Glen Park, Milk, McKinley are good and fairly accessible GE options while Alvarado, Buena Vista, and Fairmount are attractive Spanish Immersion options. In addition, Edison Charter and SF Community school are both great schools with good foundations and will really take-off once there is more economic diversity present. In talking with parents outside of San Francisco, it seems that the SFUSD schools do well considering the heterogeneous mix of students and the sheer numbers of students in SFUSD who qualify for free/reduced lunch. In fact, many SFUSD K classes are smaller than some districts where there are 30 children in a K class. San Francisco schools also have the options of establishing partnerships with many different organizations such as SF Symphony, SF Ballet, SF Opera, Playworks, UCSF, 826 Valencia, and others to provide additional educational opportunities. I think if people do some comparative research, SFUSD is actually a good option compared many neighboring districts, especially at the elementary level. I've look at some comparative numbers and it is true that extremely wealthy enclaves that are economically homogeneous do score higher on tests. If you can afford to live in those areas and also want your child to be educated in one of those schools, then by all means go for it. But it is unfair to criticize SFUSD as being a failing or sub-par system for elementary education. I can easily list 25 elementary schools that would hold some appeal for an educated, middle class person. I think the biggest hurdle is the lack of neighborhood community that comes with schools in the suburbs. People really love the family, school, and local neighborhood connections that come with neighborhood schools and I think that is one thing that really drives mobile people of out SF.

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  30. Comparing schools was not the point of API at all. The point was to determine, first, whether a school belonged in Program Improvement and, secondly, where it belonged within the program if so identified. Identification meant that a school and its district would have to abide by the laws that regulate such a PI designation. The media picked up on the simplistic and absolute API number as a way to churn the pot.

    A school that has much lower numbers and has less "highly educated parents" may be a much better school in every respect when it seems to defy the standard correlations of acheivement and SES.

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  31. I don't like the idea of this, it implies kids should be segregated by parental education and income, and to me that's the problem with ending the achievement gap. This just makes it worse.

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