Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wait Pool Best Bets and Hidden Gems with Openings

The kindergarten waitpools, sorted by the ratio of waitpool applicants to kindergarten seats. The number of spots are my best guess. For the language programs, I assumed a ratio of 9 English:13 target language spots.

SCHOOLS WITH OPENINGS

The list of schools with openings has been posted as well. Eyeballing the schools with openings, if I were 0/21, I'd try Longfellow Filipino FLES, Parker, or Lau. All have good test scores. Longfellow has an active PTA and raised money for playworks and smart boards for their classrooms.  Parker has an active PTO and is very academics focused--all parents sign a contract to limit TV, make sure their kids get adequate sleep, and give their kids 20-30 minutes of reading time a day.  Will update this post later.

WAITPOOL LISTS

General Education



School
Program
Wait Pool as of 6/10/2013
Kindergarten capacity
CARMICHAEL
GE
1
66?
HILLCREST
GE
1
44
LAFAYETTE
GE
3
88
FEINSTEIN
GE
3
87
MILK
GE
2
44
SANCHEZ
GE
1
22
SERRA
GE
1
22
MONTESSORI
GE
2
22
MOSCONE
GE
2
22
SF COMMUNITY
GE
3
33
ALAMO
GE
9
86
GLEN PARK
GE
5
44
JEFFERSON
GE
10
85
CHIN
GE
3
22
KEY
GE
12
88
MONROE
GE
3
22
MCKINLEY
GE
13
66
REVERE
GE
5
22
MIRALOMA
GE
16
59
NEW TRADITIONS
GE
13
44
LAWTON
GE
19
64
LILIENTHAL
GE
21
66
GRATTAN
GE
23
66
PEABODY
GE
15
43
ARGONNE
GE
24
66
ROOFTOP
GE
25
65
ALVARADO
GE
20
44
CLARENDON
GE
23
44

FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School)


School
Program
Wait Pool as of 6/10/2013
Kindergarten capacity
LONGFELLOW
FB
None-has spots

CARMICHAEL
FB
1
22?
CLARENDON
JB
14
44
PARKS
JB
2
44

FB= Tagalog, JB=Japanese


Cantonese Immersion 

English spots
Name
Prg
WP
Spots
GARFIELD
CE
2
9 of 22
CHINESE IMMERSION
CE
16
27 of 66
WEST PORTAL
CE
5
13 of 33
YU
CE
10
44 of 66

Cantonese spots
Name
Prg
WP
Spots
WEST PORTAL
CN
12
20 of 33?
YU
CT
22
22 of 66?




No wait pool but no openings for CIS or Garfield for kindergarteners who passed the Cantonese proficiency test. CN=passed the Cantonese proficiency test. CT=listed Cantonese as a home language, regardless of whether they took the proficiency test.

Mandarin Immersion

English spots

Name
WP
Spots
ORTEGA
9
9 of 22?
STARR KING
3
18 of 44 (more will open up later)

Korean Immersion


LILIENTHAL
English
2
9
LILIENTHAL
Korean
2
13

Spanish Immersion


English spots
Name
Prg
WP
Spots
ALVARADO
SE
14
18 of 44
BUENA VISTA/MANN
SE
12
27 of 66
FAIRMOUNT
SE
15
27 of 66
FLYNN
SE
1
18 of 44
MARSHALL
SE
1
18 of 44
MONROE
SE
2
18 of 44
REVERE
SE
2
18 of 44
WEBSTER
SE
5
18 of 44

Spanish proficient spots
Name
Prg
WP
Spots
ALVARADO
SN
9
26 of 44
FAIRMOUNT
SN
10
39 of 66
BUENA VISTA/MANN
SN
6
39 of 66
MONROE
SN
5
26 of 44
MARSHALL
SN
3
26 of 44
FLYNN
SN
1
26 of 44

107 comments:

  1. Great post! So nice of you to put this data together.

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  2. I don't understand your list.....looking at the wait pool list posted yesterday, there are a ton of schools with wait pools that you didn't include (Bryant, Chavez, Cleveland, Sherman, Sloat, Spring Valley, Stevenson, Sunnyside, Sunset, Taylor, Ulloa, Webster) Are you suggesting that these aren't Best Bets?

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    Replies
    1. Big oops! I put up the tables in a huge rush before going to work, after seeing 1+1+1's post, Reporting Live from EPC. Clearly I missed a few. Will update when I get home, tho I'm sure they are already out of date.

      Delete
    2. Ah. No problem. I just couldn't figure out what the data was supposed to be but yeah, it'll be entirely different tomorrow, I'm sure. thanks for doing that. Even as an incomplete list it's interesting.

      Delete
  3. FYI- Lakeshore Elementary is multi-cultural, creative, and accessible and has 5 day a week Chinese language options before and after school.....

    For those of you in the large SFUSD wait pools for Chinese language programs or Art and Science-focused programs, its worth considering . We currently have no wait pool. We're located next to beautiful Lake Merced and Lowell High School and our population reflects the diversity of San Francisco.

    I've seen the conversations on this blog about Lakeshore and why it is less popular than it used to be- I can say that our new principal, starting in the fall is outstanding and community chosen. Its not a school that gets talked about here a lot- but I am going to guess that given current energy and PTA there, it will be soon. The teaching staff is wonderful and long term- many sent their own children there.

    What we offer:
    Cantonese and Mandarin before and after-school programs open 5 days a week to K - 5th grade
    Extended care options to accommodate working parents from 7:30am - 6:30pm
    Art, science and nature-based learning leveraging 7 gardens, a dedicated art studio with a pottery kiln and a well-supplied mobile studio
    Rich diversity and multi-cultural community and curriculum
    Extensive play areas with separate yards for Kinders and 1st graders
    Experiential learning including field trips which reinforce concepts learned in the classroom
    Signature Enrichment programs plus extra consultants which enhance student development in small group settings

    ReplyDelete
  4. Did ANYONE get a letter yesterday getting into a school for this latest round? Does EPC ever publish the data on movement during these waitpool rounds?

    Thanks for the reports, by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PPS says that 208 letters were sent out Monday.

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    2. Thanks very much for posting that. Out of curiosity, for those of you who have done this in the past: is 208 a lot of movement or is that dismal?

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    3. dismal. nothing much will happen until school starts in august and they count empty desks and then offer those spots to waiting families.

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    4. What happens after they do the count? Does EPC call you or do you need to go wait down at their office? Thanks!

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    5. Has anyone received a letter? Wondering where there was movement.

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    6. during the first 3 weeks of the school year the schools literally count heads every day. once the spot is deemed vacant EPC will call parents (not send letters) asking if you want the spot.

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    7. Received the letter just now. We are relieved that this process finally ends for us. Good luck everybody else! We were among the parents received 0/2x choices.

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    8. Re: Anonymous at 1:28
      EPC will call if you get your waitpool spot, BUT you do not get to make a decision between the school you waitlisted and the school you are enrolled in. You will be dropped from your current school and enrolled in the waitlist school. They don't ask if you want the spot, they already enrolled your child in the spot.

      Delete
  5. Can you explain how you guesstimated the spots at the Spanish proficient schools? We're one of the 9 on the wait pool for Alvarado - how should I interpret 26 spots out of 44? Does anyone else get what SFGeekMom meant by the "spots"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My understanding is KIP at Claire Lilienthal is split 13 Korean proficient and 9 English. They make no distinction between Korean-only and bilingual. I used the same split for the other language immersion programs, except for AFY, which seemed to be aiming for 1/3 English Learner to 2/3 English only.

      I agree that there is some fuzziness for programs with less demand from native speakers, like Starr King Mandarin Immersion and Daniel Webster Spanish Immersion, both of which still have openings for kids who passed the language proficiency test. For programs with high demand from native speakers, I'll bet a Flynnarado that they'll stick to the target ratio.

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  6. Sounds like an attempt to guess at the optimal weighting the district theoretically strives for between Spanish native speakers, Spanish-English bilingual, and English speakers [at start of program].

    The theory explained to us in the fall was the balance was hypothetically proposed to be 1/3 in each category, but that in practice there's no proper testing/tracking of the bilingual category; so they break more like 2/3 tested-high-in-Spanish and 1/3 did not...

    ...with the "bilingual kids" and the "mostly Spanish only" kids grouped, and more seats allocated for that group.

    I've heard various anecdotal claims that the split is around 2/3 - 1/3 at most programs, but there is some fuzziness (maybe by program? who knows) and some seats are reserved in some programs for special ed.

    So if Alvardao has 44 SI spots, and a couple are reserved for special ed, that leaves 42 to be dividied; 2/3 of 44 is 27-28.

    When we talked to an EPC counselor when turning in Round Three application, I think we were told numbers about in accord with this.

    Whether it's 26 or 29, it's still long odds that a third of the spots will open in the next two months of course. :/

    But best of luck to everyone striving!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am prefacing my comment with the admission that it's going to be a bit of a rant. We're one of the families at one of the "best bets" schools listed above and frankly, we're pretty peeved that there is absolutely no "first come, first served" when it comes to the wait pool. The school we chose is the one we wanted more than any other. Now, because we have no tie-breakers, we will be kicked to the back of the line behind families who will see that there are only a few kids on our first choice school's list and switch. We actually wanted this school (made the hard choice after touring 31 schools, private and public), whereas now we are not even going to be in the running when everyone else, who wanted places like Grattan or Rooftop or Clarendon, decides that our first choice is better than what they have. I'm tired of feeling like we are being penalized for only having one kid or for living in an okay area of the city that isn't CTIP, etc. Yes, I am TOTALLY WHINING so go ahead an berate me for that, but if you are a in the "no tie-breaker" boat like we are, you've got to admit, at least a little bit, that this WHOLE THING REALLY SUCKS. Thank you for letting me vent. Good luck, everyone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. are you already enrolled in one of the schools? or are in you in the wait pool?

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    2. We are enrolled at a school we don't want, which was assigned to us Round 1. We enrolled because homeschooling is not an option and we do not have a private school back up option. So, we are in the wait pool.

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    3. Yep, I agree that the way the waitpools are handled is totally unfair.

      We waitlisted Sunset when there were only a few spots. Nothing every opened up. As the summer progressed, more and more people joined the line.

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    4. Did you end up getting Sunset?

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    5. No.

      Have been paying for private school.

      We're in the process of purchasing a house in Los Gatos, in an area with a great middle and high school.

      Delete
  8. For your list above, Yick Wo only has 1 on its wait pool list with two K classes. It's one of the highest ranked schools and definitely a "hidden gem" located in the Russian Hill area. They have a very active PTO and a young, enthusiastic principal and great teachers. They do an opera every year and are committed to things like their poetry program. The school is being refurbished this coming year, but the temporary facility is being renovated over the summer and then the actual school is going to be gorgeous! (The parents there don't toot their horns because they are afraid of the school becoming a so-called "trophy" school like Clarendon or Grattan, but they are all really into the school!)

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    Replies
    1. The 9:30 a.m. start time, no before school care and only off site after care programs are the real draw back of Yick Wo. I could handle the later but not the 9:30 a.m. start time, I have to get to work!

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    2. Yes, that's all true but there may be parents out there who are completely unaware of this little school who could make it work. It's so hard to see so many discouraged people and I noticed Yick Wo was not even listed on the best bets list above. So, if you think it could work for you, check it out!

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    3. My mistake! I forgot to include schools like Yick Wo and Lakeshore that had no kindergarten wait pool and no openings. No wait pool=no entry on the list published by SFUSD, hence the omission on my part.

      Delete
  9. Does anyone know if there was an advantage for the wait pool if you didn't actually have a place at a school? I'm talking about people who when 0-2 in the previous rounds and didn't take the spot they were offered. Did that give you any kind of preference during the wait pool round? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. No, no preference if you didn't have a spot already. I think they used to do that in the old system but now if you were offered a school in Round 1 or 2 and chose not to register, you don't go into Round 3 with any advantage. The recommendation throughout the first two rounds was, unless you had a back-up plan, strongly consider registering at whatever they offered you so at least you'd have something since there wasn't any advantage going into Round 3 if you didn't have a school.

      Delete
  10. Recently moved to San Francisco and looking for a three spots, one on kindergarten and the others in 5th and 7th. Someone suggested this blog and I'm glad they did because this is the craziest assignment system both east and west of the Mississippi. Can this school district make it any harder on families. No wonder there are so few in this town. We are committed to stay for a year at least, but I had no idea..........

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    Replies
    1. It is complicated! My best suggestion would be to pick your 3 top schools and split up the 3 kids (each kid is a lottery ticket!) on each school. Check the wait pool list to see which ones you have the best shot at (probably the upper grades where there is far less movement). Then once that 1st kid gets in, move the others around to that waitpool for sibling preference.

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    2. There are some highly sought-after schools which, as of Tuesday morning at least, had 5th grade openings. I would recommend taking a look to see if any of those schools with 5th grade openings would work for you. If yes, then I believe you should be able to visit the EPC (Educational Placement Center) and get your 5th grader into one of those immediately.

      You could then wait pool your Kindergartener for that same school with sibling priority.

      Another option would be to try for K, 5th and 7th grade spots at one of the K-8 schools. 5th and 7th, in theory, should have relatively few people competing for those few open spots.

      Either way, I would recommend talking to one of the counselors at the EPC to understand your options.

      Delete
    3. 8:43, I feel for you! Where are you located?

      I think the commenter at 10:21 is right as to strategy. As of this morning, these were some of the much requested/regarded schools with open spots in 5th grade: McKinley, Sunnyside, Lakeshore, Sherman. So if those spots are still there, you take the one closest to you or maybe the one with the most K spots total or the smallest K wait pool (for extra insurance). Once the 5th grader is in, you put your incoming Kindergartener in the wait pool for that same school and I think he or she is basically first in line for the next K space that opens up (which may be over the summer or could be 3 or 10 days into the school year, but at most schools, there should be one or two spots or more that open up between now and the 10 day count) or at least would be competing with very few other siblings in a mini lottery for that spot.

      For the 7th grader, it looks like Lick Middle has spots in 7th grade as of this morning--I think that's supposed to be up and coming, so maybe check it out? You could also check with the K-8 charters (Creative Arts Charter School, Thomas Edison Charter School) to see if they have any 5th or 7th grade spots open or to get on their 5th and 7th grade waitlists.

      Good luck and please let us know what happens!!!

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    4. "The craziest assignment system both east and west of the Mississippi."

      8:43, welcome to San Francisco!

      You might be in luck, based on the list of schools with openings. As of this morning, Clarendon had 5th grade openings for JBBP, that provides Japanese language exposure. This is one of the most coveted schools in the city. Sherman, Lafayette, McKinley and Sunnyside are a few other popular ones that had openings. Run, don't walk, to EPC tomorrow morning with your 2 proofs of residence and kids' birth certificates in hand!

      Once you have your 5th grader in, your kindergartener gets sibling priority, going to the top of the list for any spots that open up (and they do), meaning the kindergartener has a very high chance of being accepted to your 5th grader's school by the 2nd week of school. Your kindergarter's chance of getting into a high-performing school without sibling priority is very low.

      BTW, only younger siblings get prioritized, not older ones. So your 5th grader being placed at a good K-8 school doesn't help out your 7th grader.

      As for middle schools, I'm mostly ignorant, but my vague impression has been that International Studies Academy (ISA), Denman, and Vis Valley are considered to be weaker. AP Giannini and Presidio were more popular? Perhaps some middle school parents could weigh in on this.

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    5. Hi. What neighborhood are you in?
      For Sunset Schools . . . .
      Francis Scott Key is a good solid K-5 school in the outer Sunset. My daughter went there and learned a lot. The teachers are amazing and there is a great school community.
      Plus, their PTA has really come a long way and had a very successful auction this year.
      For Middle School, check out A.P. Giannini - it's huge, but . . . in 6th grade they divide the students into cohorts of 70 students - with 2 teachers doing amath/science and social studies/engish split. My daughter adjusted well to middle school with this system.
      Good luck!

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    6. I have a son @ TECA and we're very happy.
      As a Charter parentr, I would encourage you to get in touch with TECA (& Mission Prep, which I've also heard good things about). The charter waitlists move quickly & they can give you clarity of where you actually are. Good luck!

      Delete
  11. I take it you didn't previously research the schools and district before relocating. We do have a complicated system, the result of our commitment as a district to social justice and doing right by the less fortunate. This means that many have to sacrifice for the greater good. Best of luck to you and your family in the assignment process.

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  12. How can one know where spots exist in upper grades? Is that published somewhere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - SFUSD list openings across all grades on the Open Enrollment spreadsheet.

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    2. Click on "the list of schools with openings" in the original post. URL is
      http://www.sfusd.edu/en/assets/sfusd-staff/enroll/files/2013-14/Schools%20with%20Potential%20openings%2006.11.13.pdf

      Delete
  13. For the greater good I'm required to put my child's education on a sacrificial alter? If that is the soul of San Francisco, I'd rather live elsewhere.

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    Replies
    1. Nah. That's the soul of one poster. I'm with 10:29 below

      Delete
  14. Forget about changing the world and get your butt down to EPC.

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  15. For what it's worth, we didn't get a letter for our wait-listed school. So far, I've only seen one person posting here who did!

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    Replies
    1. My neighbor got a kindergartener spot at McKinley through sibling preference. Older sibling got a 2nd grade spot in Round 2 and they went for sibling preference in Round 3. That's TWO success stories in one shot!

      Delete
  16. I'm only trying to understand why we are doing this. Growing up in three different states and having lived in five over my 30 plus years I've never been subjected to such a system. It's really depressing. I thought I'd be near the schools and instead I have to go buy a car and plan my whole life around how this. Why?

    We are still in the moving process so I can't get to the school assignment office.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should be ready to run into a certain self-righteous and "for the greater good" mentality that pervades San Francisco. While there are many who live here who are simply trying to live their lives and be decent human beings, there are also many who seem to think it's their job to tell everyone how things should be done, and that includes "saving" the downtrodden by "sacrificing" for those who are less fortunate. These are the people who seem to think that if everyone just "did the right thing" and made every school a rainbow everything would work out just fine. They think the poor in this city obviously can't help themselves one bit and that it's up to YOU to improve their lives. These are the ones that assume that the working class here doesn't give a crap about their kids so it's up to everyone else to do it for them. These are also the same people who will yell at you park at a curb without, in their opinion, leaving enough space for someone else to park. They will use words like "elitist" when referring to parents who send their kids to private school or who got assigned to a low performing school and didn't jump for joy. These people assume you are white and rich and that you are a racist. Again, not EVERYONE here is like that. In fact, most of the people on this blog are probably just like you and trying to just give their kids a good education in a safe environment. But be prepared for getting a whole lot of attitude for feeling that way from a not so small minority. Hope everything does work out for you!

      Delete
    2. To a bemused long-time resident jumping through the same hoops, the motivations certainly appear to stem from both explicit and implicit (or at least, unarticulated) premises:

      (1) all students should have access to all schools, not just their neighborhood ones.

      Reasoning: crummy areas usually have crummy schools, creating a vicious cycle.

      (2) students from the lowest-performing areas should have first choice.

      Reasoning: if a kid is performing poorly, they should get the most support, because social justice means first allocating resources to get everyone up to a minimal standard.

      (3) students from high-performing areas should be distributed as widely as possible.

      Reasoning: high-performing kids typically come from families who privilege education and have resources (time, money, energy) to pour into their schools; allowing them to self-select into a limited number of "trophy" schools perpetuates such advantages in another vicious cycle.


      And here's an observation: SFUSD publications on assignment, its policy goals, and its impacts, demonstrate a monomaniacal fixation on ethnicity.

      From which one might infer that a major SFUSD principal is: ethnicity correlates with and hence serve as an adequate proxy for other factors, e.g. "class" and afluence, and possibly be a predictor of performance and parental resources which are the focus of premises 1-3.*

      * that's what I READ the SFUSD's stance to be... this is NOT MY OWN POSITION.


      Every family who opts in to SFUSD (e.g. as opposed to private school) has to come to their own relationship to these premises.

      Some support, some do not.

      One thing is for sure: it's a lot easier to support, when you win the lottery, either by luck, virtue of one of the current trump cards, or through dishonesty (people cheat).

      Resistance or push-back to these premises and the policies that result from them -- understandably on the part of parents who are the short end of the stick, e.g. those asked to "sacrifice" in the language used above -- has an ongoing history.

      E.g. there is a never-over argument hear (and elsewhere) over how important a roll "attendance area" should be, vs. other trump cards, in determining who gets to go where. The way that argument is framed, and what subtexts are inferred or implied, vary widely depending on personal politics.

      I don't know the facts, but I have heard anecdotally that SF parents fought and won the right to fund their own kids' schools, over the SFUSD's desire to have PTA resources distributed 'equitably' by the district in service of the principals above.


      In the face of all this, and the obvious existence of crappy schools, there are reasons for optimism. The PPS-SF (Parents for Public Schools SF) is a source and archive of such reasons you might find useful.

      Delete
    3. Parents for Public Schools really can't help parents who do not have a school assignment.

      I agree with the above comment about San Francisco self righteousness.

      Don't forget about the self-righteous parents who have their kids at Alvarado immersion or Lilienthal, who live in a 1.6 million dollar home in Noe Valley or Pacific Heights, and who ramble on about "sacrificing".

      They're oblivious. They don't realize that a lot of parents weren't as lucky. I've actually been lectured more than once by these 1% mothers about the glories of the San Francisco school assignment process.

      If you recently moved here with children: ERROR!

      There are about ten very nice areas in the Bay where you could have moved and had a guaranteed spot at a great school:

      Burlingame, Piedmont, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Cupertino, Los Gatos, and many parts of Marin, just to start.

      It's not too late. You don't need to subject yourself to this. Make a plan and vote with your feet.

      Delete
  17. Welcome, and sorry. I can't imagine on-purpose choosing this city knowing you want public school. On the other hand, lots of people land here and have to make the best of it. But totally: get your 8th grader into a K-8 and you are set for the others.

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  18. So, no letter in the mail for us today, which tells us that we did not get our wait pool school! Did ANYONE (other than the two mentions) get a letter? It's like Charlie's Golden Ticket! Please share!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We received a letter. We got a K spot at Peabody, which is our AA school and first choice.

      Delete
  19. Re: 1:17's post

    Yours was a concise explanation for the out-of-towner who is expressing some heartfelt shock at the system.

    I would add that CTIP is a poor policy and will be eventually thrown on the junkheap with all previous assignment systems that have failed to achieve the goal of integration. It has 1 major fault: It fails to specifically identify underperformers for special preferences and uses geographical identification instead. There are other faults but I won't go into them.

    It is true that SFUSD is ethnocentric, but it's barred from using race in assignment. So it uses the low SES proxy which is effective when the racial pool is non Asian. But these district leaders need to wake up and smell the tea. This is an Asian town.

    If low SES is a legitimate proxy for low achievement, why do low SES Asians buck the trend? The answer is that low SES IS NOT a legitimate proxy. Education is about culture, not wealth. San Francisco proves that, but the leaders want to keep their heads in the sand.



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  20. I agree that CTIP is bad. It doesn't do what it sets out to accomplish and it is easy to game.

    If you say you're against it you get labeled a racist. Isn't it racist thinking to force African Americans and Latinos to attend schools with whites and Asians because they'll supposedly learn more by being with them? The makes my stomach turn.

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  21. I feel very bad reading about how hopeless families are feeling. Last year, we did all rounds of SFSUD and ended up with no golden, silver or bronze tickets. We ended up with schools we weren't excited about sending our child to, and are not even discussed on this blog in people's top 30 or even top 40 list.

    Ultimately, we were "lucky" to be offered a spot in an excellent private school and we are attending it now. The school and teachers are fantastic. We have only one child, but even so, we are aware it cost an arm and a leg. We didn't get financial aid, but still took our spot given the enormous quality differential between it and what we were going to get in the public lottery system.

    Also, we noticed that we fit in very well in this private school community despite having jobs that are not high paying. We are developing deep relationships with other families and teachers, as is our child.

    I read this blog religiously last year and felt so guilty defending my choice to go private. We couldn't easily afford it (we've cut out other things), but a year later I have absolutely no regrets and have found it's been worth every penny.

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    Replies
    1. Can you share which independent school your child is at that you are having a good experience with?

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    2. SF Day School is where my child is and I can't say enough good things about it. I would not have gone if I had received a public assignment that worked for our family, but now that I'm here, I'm thrilled and grateful.

      Delete
  22. I sadly have to concur with 7:50. I feel so gullible listening to all the so-called wisdom that it will all work out at the end, and you'll child will end up in a good place if you stick with SFSUD. This advice came from neighbors with kids at Alvarado, Rooftop, Miraloma, etc. who think the system works. It doesn't. I have been given a placement that would make them shudder, have gone 3 days and am left now only with the 10 day count. Every night my child asks where she's going to school next year and I feel sick to my stomach. This system is unfair (it's by defintion a lottery so that's just on its face not equal or fair) and I am kicking myself for being a devoted public parent, and not applying to more privates (we applied to two popular ones unfortunately and sit on their wait lists right now). I should have invested more in the private process, nad applied to 6-7 (not 2) given that I have no tie breakers and live in Alvarado neighborhood.

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    1. Well be mindful of the fact that the poster at 7:50 never actually attended the assigned school and opted out for private without ever having a child at SFUSD. The poster could very well have "fit in" and developed "deep relationships" within the public school system at a non "trophy" school.

      The thing that depresses me the most is how many people I know who opt out of the public school system on the assumption that it's terrible and not worthy of their child but they've never actually experienced it.

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    2. I didn't opt out or give up on the process and have gone for 3 rounds, and am sitting only with an assignment at Chavez. All I have left is the 10 day count. I have no private back up. So I get why people opt out of this system, why should a neighbor get Miraloma or Grattan, and I go all three rounds and only get Chavez? I probably would be singing the SFSUD's praises if I had a better placement, but it's a lottery and it is by definition a risky strategy to expect it to work out.

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    3. I am so sorry for you. I hope it works out better than it is right now. Would you consider parochial maybe?

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    4. 8:33 AM: If everyone was given a period to "experience" SFUSD without losing their private school option, people might take you up on that offer. The reality of the situation, however, that you would lose your spot. This decision is one where you have to rely on what you hear versus having the luxury to test drive.

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    5. You can do this - at some point your private school deposit locks you in and you're on the hook for year 1 tuition, you can also play the waiting game in public as people leave mid-year. Once you get a nice public spot, you can keep your private spot by saying you're taking a 1-week vacation (which you can do in Kindergarten in private) and then have the kid "experience" SFUSD for a week.

      I know one family I'm close to that did this during the first week of school years ago, when their child got into their first choice (Alvarado Spanish Immersion) and they also had paid for the private school. The parents were elated and tried it out (Alvarado) for a week. The odd thing was that the child really didn't like it, and begged her parents to put her back in her independent. Even though she was a native Spanish speaker, so it wasn't a language thing. Her mom said later it was her (the mother's) dream to have her kid in Alvarado Spanish, but not her child's best fit in the end. That said, it was nice she could experience both for 1 week each without losing either spot and make a decision. But perhaps 1 week is not enough really? I don't know.

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    6. (I'm 8:33) - Yeah but lots of people are seeming to only hear what they want to hear. There are tons of tons of parents posting here about their positive experiences at schools that they didn't initially want to accept. I get the stress and worry about not knowing - I"m in the same boat and didn't get what we want in Rounds 1-3. But I believe very strongly in the value of public schools and will go to whatever school we end up with and make the best of it.

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    7. 8:33/9:43 - Do you have any backup options or did you make the decision early on that it was going to be SFUSD all they way to the end?

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    8. No back-up options! A couple of years ago, I considered parochial school but we never toured any and it never went beyond a quick look at a website for one of them. Then when it came down to it last year in the fall when we really started seriously assessing options, we only looked at public schools.

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    9. Good luck. I hope you end up with a good assignment. We were in the same boat as you last year except we had one private backup. We had to do a lot of soul searching and we decided to go with our private option. Of course we don't know how it would have turned out had we chosen to attend our assigned SFUSD school. Our child may have been very happy. All we do know is that she is thrilled with the school she attends (and we love the community of friends we have made) and the financial aspect of attending private school hasn't posed any issues (with some planning of course). I hope your family is equally as happy with the school your child will attend.

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    10. Out of curiosity, did you go down to EPC on Tuesday for Open Enrollment to see if you could switch your child to one of the other schools that did have openings and just not get one? Chavez seems like the polarizing school that no one wants at all, but as we saw there were some parents who managed to make it down there and enroll at Parker. Maybe you should go to EPC and see if they do have room somewhere else if you are dead set against Chavez (don't blame you for feeling that way) and don't have any other options. Good luck!

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  23. Many of the people who are losers in the lottery leave the city or leave the public school system. Their voices aren't heard because they've moved on and don't look back.

    Most of the people on this blog are asking how not why and that is understandable. This blog is for helping people to navigate the system, not to ask why we have this system.

    Having said that, I would hope that people have some sense that this is their public school system and they shouldn't just accept whatever is thrown at them. They have a say in our democratic society and if they feel, for all intents and purposes, they don't, they might as well not have one.

    SFUSD is a political entity. It is rolling out its version of a social justice assignment system, even if it rolls you over. The work of the district should be mainly that of student achievement. Instead, as is all too obvious, the majority of the effort goes to its diversity agenda - and agenda that has a 50 year history of failure. Does anyone really believe that CTIP is the answer? Despite a preference system that will allow the vast majority of African American applicants a guaranteed spot at Alamo, it has one of the lowest percentages of African Americans in the city. SFUSD can no more force middle class applicants into underperforming schools than it can force poorer applicants to travel far from home. The end result of this shortsightedness is a draining of the middle class applicant pool.

    But the real glaring hypocrisy comes from the liberal voices who support the diversity agenda on principle, but only with school choice so they don't have to be a part of it.

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    1. "But the real glaring hypocrisy comes from the liberal voices who support the diversity agenda on principle, but only with school choice so they don't have to be a part of it. "

      Agree 100%!!!!!! I have far too many friends who consider themselves liberal, progressive, social justice advocates who send their children to private school. These are people with careers based on improving their city and yet they still believe that they aren't part of the problem when they don't support their public schools.

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  24. I'm batting .00000000000000 and have no private back up plan. Middle class and cannot afford private school with a $3,200 rent payment for a family of four. One car only and that is for commuting. Live in the Mission and can't commute across town to deliver our children to schools in the opposite direction of our employment. Neighboring friends and acquaintances either attend trophies or go private.

    The normal fruits of hard work replaced by a lottery, an anonymous roll of the dice. Goodbye SF!

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  25. Somewhat random question but does anyone have experience with Piedmont schools? It's always been in my mind as a desperation move if we get screwed in the lottery at some point but I don't really know that much about them.

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    1. Piedmont High School is one of the highest ranked high schools in the country. They have great afterschool and AP programs.

      Yes, it is 68% white.

      However, it should be pointed out that Lowell High School is 70% Asian. Not very diverse either.

      Neither Lowell nor Piedmont have many Latino or African American students.

      Piedmont is a great place to live with many nice cafes and a great intellectual community. Many of the children of Berkeley professors attend this high school.

      The downside of Piedmont is that it is very expensive to purchase a home. But then, so is San Francisco.

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  26. Alamo does not choose who to accept based on race. The lottery assigns kids to Alamo according to who requested it and where they fall in the preference system. Given its remote location, it's likely to be requested mostly by Asian and white families to whom it is convenient. It's not likely to draw a lot of first-choice requests from low-income African-American or Latino families in CTIP 1 areas. It's too much of a pain to get there, especially for the families the system is supposed to be helping, who don't have spare cars and nannies to haul their kids across town.

    I agree with the poster about white entitlement, which stems from white privilege, which combined perpetuate racism, but think it gets a little better every generation, while classism is a problem that will get worse.

    And finally--those who want people to come an "turn around" a school rather than go private: be careful what you wish for; you may end up a takeover instead of a turnaround. Grattan and Miraloma are the two commonly cited examples of "turn around" schools. Both are now majority white, with Asian the second largest population. While Grattan, with a few more years under its belt as a "trophy," has made decent progress on the achievement gap with what's left of its African-American and Latino populations, the gaps are still very wide at Miraloma.

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  27. I think some people need to get off their high horse. Some of us just want schools with decent scores and an active parent community. Some of us don't have an overwhelming need to save the world. I came from the central valley with both parents working in the fields. Opportunities are out there for low income people like my family who takes responsibility for how their own lives turn out. You just have to take it. As if I needed a "white" person to tell me to study so that I don't end up working in fields like my parents. My parents did that, no one else. I really take offense to the idea that minorities can't figure out how to help themselves. I know a lot of people like me of the same brown skin who "made it out" and not working in 105 degree heat picking grapes but their are also many who didn't. It all starts at home.

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  28. SF is very diverse neighborhood by neighborhood, with some small exceptions, but the schools are not diverse. This is the product of SFUSD and its assignment systems, past and present. If everyone ONLY had the public choice of the neighborhood school or a chance at one of alternatives, every school would be more diverse. Instead we get SFUSD and its poster boy lecturing us on the lack of diversity when they are the cause of it. I'll bet you that if we didn't have so many disparate high and low performing schools, making this the largest achievement gap district, and more average schools, we would have a lot more middle class attendees here instead of refugees in schools in other districts. Our total API and per pupil STAR results would go up. Most would be fine with less than a top rung school, especially if they knew that many from their own neighborhoods would be attending as well. They just don't want to send their kids to failing schools and SFUSD has 8 times the state average.

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  29. Sorry, typo - three plus times state average. Based on 2010 data of 188 failing schools out of 6100 in California and 10 out of 103 in SFUSD.

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  30. U.S. Census numbers showed that the number of children in the city has dropped significantly. In 1960, the population was 740,316, with 181,532 children, or 25 percent. In 2010, the population was 805,235, with 107,524 children, or 13 percent. That’s a drop of nearly half in 50 years.

    And the blogger said:

    " Of the kindergarteners who registered for a spot and did not show up on the first day of school, 40% were white."

    The number is probably higher given some whites decline to state.

    Another poster said: "Good luck trying to integrate Pacific Heights. Meanwhile, the middle class of every stripe are moving out of the city."

    Along comes SFUSD, its newly fashioned lottery and CTIP to the rescue! They've sold you all another bill of goods. So many applicants, so few golden tickets.

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  31. If I could do it over, I would not have raised my family in San Francisco. There are so many better places for kids to be. I've been schlepping my them to school and back for 15 years.

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  32. We're heading for the escape pod. Who knows where we'll land? It's got to have better odds than the lottery. Never been a bettin' lady.

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  33. I'm a teacher and am disgusted by this. Dennis Kelly is trying, he recently told the board "it's a moral outrage, you have the money in your pocket and haven't given us a raise in years." The supervisors could put more city money into our budget as San Diego does, which is why there's such a difference. The supervisors actually think we make too much money compared to police, they just gave SFPD a 2% raise for 3 years which will take the average to 131k, more than the average senior software engineer with an MSEE, and we've had no agreement to give us a raise yet, none. Yee, Mar and Kim should stick up for us, not to mention Leno, Ammiano, many others came from the school board originally. It's a stepping stone, they just don't care about us when we're no longer useful to them. It's reprehensible.

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  34. Looking at the wait pool numbers, I guess a lot of people didn't get a letter this week. I wonder how many of them didn't get any of their choices in the previous rounds, but it's moot and irrelevant to the lottery.
    So, tell me - what are you saying to your kids? Are you making peace with your assigned school and starting to tell them about where it is and how things will go? Is this the time to make friends there? Playdates, a tour, etcetera? Or are you instead picketing the school you have listed on your wait pool, making friends where you hope to be? If you are doing both, where do you find the time and energy? (kidding on the last one, but I do have very limited capacity for meet & greets and fake smiling).

    I know this is somewhat off the usual discussion path, but it's the one I'm struggling with atm, especially when she asks "did you pick my school yet, mommy?"

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    1. We told our child that we were assigned Chavez. What we haven't said yet is that we will all be getting up much earlier so that all of us can get across town and be on time at school and at work. We haven't said that we are likely to have to go car shopping since one car probably won't work anymore for our family. We haven't told our child that we will also be getting home much later so there is less time in the evening to relax and hear about each others day.

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    2. Fingers crossed for you and me and everyone else in the same boat. After the next two rounds of wait pool there's stil the spring transfer. I still can't decide whether I should change my wait pool school. Is it better to aim for AA with bigger wait pool, or non-AA with smaller? ugh.

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  35. Usually not much changes till the 3-day count, and then there's a lot of change, for several weeks. It's amazing how many people don't show up for their secured spots.

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  36. It's only amazing if you are unfamiliar with how random assignment systems and games of probability are played. Reading this blog it would be easy to come to the conclusion that most people spend many hours touring schools and doing research. But many applicants do none of that. Given that there is zero cost in time and money to apply, many simply file an application to see what the stork will bring. If they luck out - wonderful- if not, they've lost nothing given that most of these kinds of applicants have a private option in the wings. That's fine, but very irresponsible when they don't inform that District that they have no intention of attending. It puts a major stress on everyone else looking to find a seat.

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  37. It bums me out to have to wait through the 3-day count (or beyond). There are playdates and school meetings and all sorts of other things going on at our assigned school and our wait-listed school. I'd love to get involved and I have a lot of skills to offer but I'm really hesitant to do anything without knowing where we'll end up. This school limbo is really detrimental to the development of the school network!

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    1. You should act as if your child is going to the school you are registered at. Volunteer your time, give it all you can. Your child may end up going there and you will want to feel as if you are a part of the community and put your best foot forward. Then, if you get off the wait pool list and go to a different school, you'll be so happy about that that it won't matter and, for a little while, you will have helped a less desirable school, too!

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    2. I think that'll be too confusing to our child. She already knows that we haven't finalized where she's going because kindergarten talk is constant at every gathering of parents so it's impossible to keep her oblivious to the process. I don't want her to get invested in school until we have a more definitive idea of where she'll be and with all this "it'll all work out in the end" talk, it's hard to let go of the waiting list school.

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    3. I know it's hard when it's on everyone's mind, but I think for the child's best interest, it's best to limit the conversations. Kids pick up on stress!

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    4. Agreed about kids picking up on stress and also thinking kids kinder age (entering) are really not thinking that much about where they'll go. But what they may do is pick up on your stress, as in, "where will she go?" They might then repeat the question to you, knowing it's something you appear to be caring about. I still don't think it matters that much to them as they have so little context at this stage. (Have multiple kids, older elementary age included, plus one who just went through K.)

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    5. (I'm 11:40/10:31). Please stop assuming I'm stressing my kid out and subjecting her to endless conversations about my frustrations. That's not the problem here. She's fine and I'm trying to keep it that way.

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    6. As parents we try to do the best we can given the circumstances but it really shouldn't be this difficult. I've been following this site in the last 4 years and in that time, I've had to understand a lot about the enrollment process: how the algorithm works (placement criteria, swapping, tie breakers), the different rounds and waitlist options. It's a lot to take in. All in an effort to make the best informed decision you can make given the guidelines provided. This is just for public schools. I really don't blame parents for wanting to skip the public process if money wasn't an issue. Good luck 10:31, hope you get the school you want for your child. My son enters K in 2014 and I'm already starting to compile a list of schools to tour in Sep-Jan.

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  38. Don. I still think it's amazing, because those people that don't show up have already registered at the school. Most of those who only throw their hats in the ring but will most likely go private never bother registering at the school. The private acceptances now come out very closely times to the public ones. Mid-summer, a flood of people aren't getting into private spots all of a sudden. Most of those private wait lists clear within one week after private school admission.

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    1. I understand why it happens, but it does amaze me too that people who 100% know that they aren't going to take an SFUSD Kindergarten spot continue to hang on to it.

      In August last year the EPC made in excess of 750 phone calls to give people wait pool spots. This pretty much tallies with the 400-500 registered Kindergartners who don't show up in the first 3 days every year, as some people will no longer want their wait pool spot and others will be moving from a school that someone else wants.

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    2. I do also believe there is a gap of communication between EPC and schools. We had to drop our spot SEVERAL times last year because the EPC and assigned school never spoke to each other. I had to drop the spot 3 times in writing and twice in person - and this all happened over 3 months. Yes, some families hold onto spots "just in case" but I think there is some administrative lapse as well.

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  39. Dear Admin,

    Please don't shut this page down again. I've been following it for the past 4 years and my first child is finally entering K in 2014. I could really use the information and support for the next round of enrollment. For the most part, this site has been very informative except for the occassional trolls. Thank you for all your hard work.

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  40. I agree this site is great. One issue may be people can't post so they go off on tangents, maybe make it open so people can create posts about is it bad for the poor that so many go to private school or is Tiger Parenting a bad idea and then they can leave topics like McCoppin alone and people can just click on the topic they are interested in. This site was very helpful to me getting my kid into a good school and strategizing the lottery, I know many think I should have sent my kid to the worst school possible because I'm not poor but I thank you for the information. I've learned a lot from this site, even from people I disagree with like Don Krause. I hope you can find a way to make it work. In a sense I agree no one should be censored but it should stay on topic, opening up posting a new topic could be a way to satisfy both demographics, people who want to argue about how to close the achievement gap can argue in their corner, and people who just want common sense advice can stay on topic in there. Just my $.02.

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  41. Jeff Scalini and Don Krause are hateful idiots, just ban them. Or maybe let them post their own debates but not comment on McCoppin or other irrelevant things. CAN PEOPLE PLEASE STAY ON TOPIC! I know I know you can't create your own topic, but change that and then keep them out of more civilized topics like how good a school is. And no more calling everyone racist!

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  42. It's a wonderful site and a treasure trove of valuable information let's just leave it at that. This site has helped hundreds if not thousands of families and children. It's just not good for debate as some people are too extreme or just plain mean and nasty and others are too sensitive, it just doesn't work. Make it an info site, not a debate site. Debate has no place on this site.

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    1. we want to keep the site and make it as useful and helpful as possible. we are all talking about how this can happen without crazy tangents or one two people hijaking conversations with their agendas.

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  43. I don't think Jeff Scalini and Don Krause are the only ones who post about larger issues. There are many anonymous comments about the frustrations people feel about "the system". Scalini posts anonymously and runs on in the mouth and Krause posts in his real name making him a target for anyone who might disagree.

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    1. Maybe people who want to have political discussions can start their own site? Then everyone is free to decide which site they are more comfortable in. I think this has been suggested in the past by many people. I still don't see the other SFK file site. Does it exist and I just don't know it?

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    2. Believe it or not, many come to this site just to understand the enrollment process in SF from parents who are going through it or have gone through it. What's naive is thinking that the way to convince people to listen to your cause is to repeat yourself over and over again and calling people racist, elitist and what ever else. This just turns people off. It's very counterproductive to the cause. There was a time on this board when the only people commenting were the highly political folks because everyone else left. The site finally shut down because it was too much work for the moderators, with the word racist being thrown at people left and right. I see it happening again. The rest of us actually do find this site useful so please don't ruin it for the rest of us. Start a different blog and let people decide if they are interested.

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