Sunday, July 27, 2014

In Defense of CTIP1

In her blog, Rachel Norton discusses potential changes to tiebreaker rankings of attendance areas and CTIP1.

I don't have strong feelings about CTIP1, but I do think there are arguments for prioritizing CTIP1 that haven't been discussed. Here's a devil's argument for CTIP1.

Taking the long-view: CTIP1 vs Attendance Areas (AA) 

As we've seen, SF's residential neighborhoods tend to be racially and socioeconomically segregated, and this is one of the barriers to school integration.

Prioritizing CTIP1 over AA creates greater incentive for families to live in neighborhoods with less desired schools, typically poorer neighborhoods. This tends to increase real estate and rental costs in those neighborhoods. Long-term, this promotes more socioeconomically mixed neighborhoods, making school integration less difficult over the long term.

Placing AA before CTIP1 increases incentive for families to live in attendance areas of desired schools, typically more affluent neighborhoods. This tends to increase real-estate and rental costs in these neighborhoods.  Over a time frame of decades, this promotes socioeconomic and racial segregation of residential neighborhoods, making school integration more difficult. Oakland is an example of this.

Since the school board has to take the long view, it makes sense that they've chosen to give CTIP1 precedence over AA.

There are arguments against CTIP1 as an incentive for residential integration. It can work to gentrify neighborhoods, forcing out low-income and middle-income families. One can argue that using CTIP1 to promote residential integration is social engineering outside the purview of the school board.

Can we tease out the short-term effects of CTIP1 from cuts to school buses?

As KH has commented on Rachel Norton's blog, other factors such as the availability of school buses and late start times are also factors in  what schools low-income families choose

Because CTIP1 was implemented at the same time that SFUSD busing was cut dramatically, it's hard to assess the effect of CTIP1 at a district level. A more accurate picture would be to look at the combined effects of CTIP1 and busing cuts on enrollment. It's reasonable to think that the availability of school buses affects school choices for low-income CTIP1 residents more than for high-income CTIP1 residents.

The Case of Clarendon

Clarendon AA residents have been screwed in the SFUSD lottery for years. CTIP1 is only one of several reason for this. First, Clarendon used to be a citywide school. Even after it became an AA school, younger siblings of non-AA residents from its citywide days still trumped AA residents.

JBBP is a citywide language program, and Clarendon 2nd Community (AA) siblings are not given a tiebreaker preference for it. However, the way I read the tiebreaker rules, JBBP siblings have sibling preference for both programs at Clarendon.

Because Clarendon is so popular, AA applicants who get Clarendon can swap to a higher ranked school. The ratio of AA applicants who enroll at a higher-ranked school to those who enroll at Clarendon is about 4:1 (SFUSD 3rd Annual Report on School Assignment, p 39).  The younger siblings of the non-AA residents who swap into Clarendon also get precedence, trumping future AA applicants. This means that Clarendon will always have a significant group of non-AA students.

One could limit CTIP1 offers to a certain percentage at Clarendon. A short-term effect is that younger siblings in CTIP1 would take up all the allocated slots for the next few years, so essentially no one from CTIP1 would get into Clarendon unless they swapped in.

Giving more preference to AA residents over CTIP1 would keep Clarendon residents from getting screwed in the lottery. But because a minority of Clarendon AA applicants request Clarendon as a first choice, it might not significantly increase the percentage of AA students at Clarendon. Because of the swap, it might mostly increase the number of non-CTIP1 students who swap in from other areas.

A proposal

What if CTIP1 residents who enroll at a highly requested school as kindergarteners had to maintain a verified CTIP1 status for a set number of years, say 5 years (K-4), to maintain their enrollment at the school? Those who moved out of CTIP1 would have to re-apply for the next year without CTIP1 status. This would also discourage address fraud.

CTIP1 status would only needed to be verified for the most popular schools--as we know, most students with CTIP1 status choose to attend less popular schools within/near CTIP1 where capacity exceed demand. You could have the obvious exceptions for Ellis Act evictions, changing of CTIP1 boundaries, etc.

This would keep families from moving to a CTIP1 neighborhood for a year, then leaving, without any commitment to that neighborhood.  If a family is willing to move to a CTIP1 neighborhood and stay part of it for 5 years, I don't see that as gaming the system.

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