The problem with the Students First initiative

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I'm not surprised that there's an initiative in circulation that would set this as city policy:

The proximity of a student’s home to the assigned school should be the highest priority in San Francisco Unified School District’s student assignment system.

For those of you who are new to San Francisco: To enroll a child in a San Francisco public school, parents apply to seven schools and then pray their child gets into one of them. Unless a child has a sibling at a particular school, he or she will be assigned based on a secret algorithm created by monkeys throwing darts (or something like that).

Actually, most people (about 80 percent) get at least one of their school choices. And yeah, the algorithm is a bit complicated. But there's a good reason why:

Many San Francisco neighborhoods are still racially segregated. Which means if everyone goes to his or her neigborhood school, we will have some schools at are 70 percent black, some that are 70 percent white and some that are 70 percent Asian. And that's a bad idea.

San Francisco fought for years to comply with a 1983 consent decree in a lawsuit filed by the NAACP. THe idea was to desegregate the schools; part of the process that was developed involved giving parents a choice (which many want) over where to sent their kids -- and a system for maintaining some degree of ethnic balance in the school. Subsequent litigation has made it almost impossible to use race as a factor in placing kids, so now the district uses a different system. Since we've stopped using race, the federal monitor reported five years ago on

the increasing resegregation prevalent in the District since 1999, and the parameters of an achievement gap that only became apparent over the past few years.

 

The district's making progress on a lot of fronts, but the achievement gap and segregation are still serious issues in the district. The other serious issue is resources: In an era when there's no public money, kids who go to schools where most of the parents are rich get better educational services. The parents raise money to pay for libraries, special classes, music, art, enrichment programs etc. Schools that have a demographic base that doesn't allow for extensive fundraising can't offer those programs to the students.

So ideally, you'd have a mix -- poor kids and rich kids in the same schools. Some of that has happened at McKinley Elementary, where my daughter is going into third grade and my son just finished fifth. There are better-off families who contribute and raise money, people with financial connections who get grants etc. -- and that benefits the majority of the kids, who come from lower-income families.

Actually, ideally you'd have fair property taxes, and every kid in every school would get enough tax money to thrive. But you get the point.

So this "neighborhood schools" rhetoric sounds good. But until we desegregate the neighborhoods -- and change the distribution of wealth -- it just ain't gonna work. The system we have is imperfect -- but it's certainly better than what it could be if we just send everyone to school where they live.

Comments

Ha!

Ha!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

You fail, entirely, to present a convincing case for why children should be bused across town to satisfy the "diversity" construct maintained by adults.

And why is having a school that is a majority of one race necessarily "bad?" The Supreme Court had already held that standard is not acceptable or compelling any longer when it comes to this issue. I'm surprised someone hasn't already sued the SFUSD on that basis.

FYI - Chinese families are at the forefront of opposition to the school lottery. So casting this as an issue of wealth and white privilege is a complete failure.

An easy way around this is making sure each school receives a set amount of money per pupil - that would ensure economic fairness. Attempting to create some artificial race-balance isn't the answer - at all.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

Neighborhood schools promote much more involvement by neighbors in a community that schools populated by kids from all over town.

In neighborhood schools, every parent can easily know the teachers, and parents can discuss these teachers with their neighbors and friends who have kids at the same school. It's easier for kids to stay after school, study in the library together if they wish, etc. It's also easier for parents in the neighborhood to attend PTA meetings and school events, where the parents meet and see each other and their kids.

Busing kids around is stupid; a pointless attemp to satisfy the "diversity" fetish.

Posted by Scott on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

And no 80% do not get one of there choices, no one is able to prove that number; and before you send me to SFUSD website, there is no raw data to prove that number.

In a city that has Sunshine Laws, SFUSD refuses to publish their algorithm for choosing schools, nor do they prove the 80% get a choice.

Having gone 0 for 14 and yet living very close to McKinley I resent the fact that I am being ask to drive across SF to get my kid to school (I do not as yet own a car); and it is OK for people who do not live near McKinley drive across SF to get there (not really a green policy).

Give me one good reason not to go Private or move to the East Bay (I would love to go to one of the good Public schools near my home). But SFUSD has told me to F*** off.

Posted by Chris Pratt on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

There are, for sure, people like you, Chris, who don't get any of their choices. We got none of ours on the first round and wound up in McKinley (which is fairly close to our house) on the second round, and it's been great. But the system is imperfect.

On the other hand, what if you lived in a neighborhood where the local elementary school was awful, and there was no money to improve it? And you had no choice but to send your kids there? That's what people in a lot of poorer neighborhoods would face if we did nothing but neighborhood schools.

And I have to say: Having only one race in a school is a terrible way for kids to learn about the city and the world they live in. It's also probably illegal.

Posted by tim on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

The segregation of neighborhoods is a different and far deeper issue, but SFUSD looses engaged (if irritable) parents like me, which defeats the purpose. How many parents are there who would choose Public schools if the current system was not so flawed. The schools are not diversified as wealthy parents look for alternatives. (I am not wealthy but I am desperate).

This is anecdotal but at our pre-school a significant percentage left SF for East Bay schools or went private with out even entering the lottery. Also a number of others do the lottery and try the private route (if they don't get one of their choices they again go private).

I have contact SFUSD regarding the numbers they state are getting one of their choices and how they allocate schools but no one is willing to give me any information (hardly transparent).

I suspect this may have been a factor in why Chris Daly also left SF (this is of course speculation). San Francisco does not make it easy to bring up kids here.

Posted by Chris Pratt on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

of showing children "what the world looks like." I can teach my children "what the world looks like" without the SFUSD forcing it down my throat. Holding children hostage to the identity politics-driven view of the left is amoral at best and criminal at worst.

The fact is Tim - this policy is unsupported and indeed hated by the city's Chinese community and indeed by much of the public school-attending public. You still haven't addressed why, if money is the issue, mandating the same spending per pupil per school wouldn't have the same impact as busing a kid from the Sunset to the Outer Mission would?

It's funny though - your fear of "one race" schools certainly isn't borne out by the city's private schools, most of which a thriving melting pots of a multitude of children of all races.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

I live in the Sunset and toured most of the elementary schools there last fall. The closest school to us is R.L. Stevenson. Out of the 22 students in the kindergarten class that I looked at, 22 of them were Chinese. Looking down the list at the door confirmed it, Wongs, Chans, Lees, and Louies. I guess the system that's making us parents jump through hoops at is doing a great job at diversifying the schools.

Posted by George on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

Lucretia,
That's an EXCELLENT question, and it's exactly why I agree with Tim.

Let's reframe the issue not in terms of race, but in terms of CHOICE.

Right now, we have a lottery system, where any kid has a choice of any school in the city. Granted, some schools have fewer spaces than applicants, but at least every kid has a chance to go to the school of their choice. The lottery is imperfect, but some 80% get one of their top 3.

If we did what you want, then kids would have exactly ONE choice -the school their parents happen to live closest to. And that may not be the best choice for them. Suffice it to say that something fewer than 80% will get their school of choice. The kid didn't choose the neighborhood. The kid had no say in their parents' choices.

Why should the kid have to pay the price for adults' mistakes?

Indeed, it is an excellent question.

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

Overwelming number of parents dedicate their lives for the betterment of their kids. They will do whatever is possible to improve the conditions of their Neighborhood schools if their kids attend those schools. It does not matter if the school is all white, black or blue. The proximity of the schools to their residences will greatly increase the possibility of the parents' partcipation in school activities and thus, better communication between teachers, kids and parents. All of which adds up to better education for the kids. Our kids don't need to have political correctness imposed upon them, they need to be educated so they can flurish on their own later on in life.

Posted by Guest Nelson Lum on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

Then to address your concern as well as the concern of the majority of parents in the SFUSD (like me) then why don't we create a balance where a number of spots in schools are reserved for families who live closest to them, while allowing those in other neighborhoods to apply for admission to the school of their choice?

Right now you are not given preference at the school closest to your home. This is a major problem. Indeed, as another parent here pointed out, the SFUSD treats the algorithm by which it decides where to send children as a state secret and refused to divulge even generalities about it. So no one knows for sure HOW the decisions are being made.

Doesn't that strike anyone as just a little paranoid on the part of the SFUSD and the school board? Why is this paranoia acceptable while The Guardian was so alarmed at the hidden cost of the mayor's security detail that it wasted gallons of ink pontificating on how dangerous of a threat to democracy that was. So the method the district uses in deciding where to send your kids to school is justifiably secret while the cost of the mayor's security detail is not?

And again - the "80% of students get one of their top three choices" is wrong. There is no evidence to back that claim up.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

Just because you don't believe it doesn't mean it's wrong.

But anyway... you do have a point about transparency. Transparency is fine. I don't know if the formula is really "secret," or just complicated. If it really is secret, then it shouldn't be.

The line item disclosure of what the mayor spends on security for travel -IIRC, that got 56% of the vote, so I think most people agree with the Guardian's position on that.

Neighborhood schools -if you were to put that up for a citywide vote -Eastside and Westside, I don't necessarily think you'd win. I don't know if you really do have a majority like you claim, if you count both Eastside and Westside residents. Plus there are constitutional issues around desegregation. Brown vs. Board of ed and little pesky stuff like that. So I don't necessarily think you could get rid of busing even if you wanted to.

But yeah, I agree that the lottery could be tweaked and improved. I think we should work on making the system better so that more kids get into the schools they want, and I think the BOE is continuously working on that.

BTW... I don't want to get into this "when I was little I has to walk 10 miles in the snow" mode, but when I went to school in a much larger city, I got up before my parents so that I could go across town to my high school. It was a choice, because the school was better than my neighborhood school, but "across town" didn't mean a few miles. "Across town" meant one entire bus route, plus a subway and an elevated train. Here, the absolute worst commute possible is 7 miles in the very very absolute worst case scenario. If only my commute had been a mere 7 miles!!!

I'm just sayin'... for perspective, you know.

Posted by Greg Kamin on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

That decision really has no applicability here - San Francisco is not and won't run a separate set of schools where students are consigned by race.

The Supreme Court, rightly or wrongly, has vastly narrowed the scope of desegregation efforts by municipalities recently. The societal benefit has to outweigh the impact on families and it would have to be up to a court to decide whether San Francisco benefits from shipping kids across town or not. I know from my perspective that it does not.

Those who support this policy should really consider adjusting it to account for the impact it has on families in this city. Because I have a strong feeling that were it to end up in court it would be overturned and then, as with the issue of MUNI salaries, they're going to end up with a total defeat when they could have had half a victory.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

@greg
Even SFUSD does not say 80% get there top 3, they do claim 80% get one of their top 7.

Beside that even though they do not post the raw data, if you believe them (which I donot as anecdotal evidence proves otherwise), SFUSD includes siblings in that 80%. They do not count drop outs that do not accept their assignments.

So even if you take the 80% it is not a fair representation of the lottery.

I would like to know why in this city where progressives want transparency in government, they are so happy to condone SFUSD obfuscateing the truth of the assignment.

While I am rambling and a little drunk, I want to point out I do enjoy Melissa's writing snarky or not they are entertaining

Posted by Chris Pratt on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

The people who make the argument about mandating equal funding clearly don't understand how public schools work these days. There is not enough money given to SFUSD to provide a decent education for every kid, period. You can make sure every school gets exactly the same state money and it won't matter. In schools where parents have resources, the parents will raise the money to pay for smaller classes, language and arts curriculum, etc. Schools where parents can't do that won't get those benefits.

It's a horribly screwed-up system that has as its root the fact that it's almost impossible to raise enough tax money to pay for quality schools.

So at the very least we need a choice system that keeps the socio-economic (as well as racial) segregation to a minimum.

Posted by tim on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

"have resources" no matter where their children were sent? And doesn't the lottery system ensure those parents opt-out of public education entirely - thus depriving the entire school system of the resources they could bring to the system?

Tim's argument gets harder and harder to follow. Socio-economic self-segregation is a fact of life. People who are wealthier can afford to buy in wealthier neighborhoods, shop at different stores and drive different cars than those who are less advantaged. I fail to see how shipping their kids to poorer neighborhoods, thus ensuring they pull out of the SFUSD entirely, benefits anyone. That argument goes WAY beyond what the original decree mandated and beyond what any court is going to allow.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

@tim
Lets use McKinley as an example (but my point will hold true for other popular schools). McKinley holds the Dog Fest and Halloween party, where allot of our neighbors (including my family) go and support the local school. Even though the kids at the school are not locals. It is not the parents with resources that determine the ability to raise funds, I would argue it is the location (the parents at McKinley are motivated). Truly wealthy parents in San Francisco go Private.

Families that go to Starr King no matter how motivated are not able to hold events that can bring money in from the surrounding wealth.

So as you point out even when District money is dispersed equally, the location of the school still determines how much additional fund raising can occur.

The current lottery or having local kids attend local schools is irrelevant to the fund raising process.

If you truly believe in an equitable system then all monies raised by each school should be put in a fund and then distributed evenly throughout the district. I would love to see you argue for that.

Posted by Chris Pratt on Jul. 01, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

from: wikipedia.org/wiki/Desegregation_busing_in_the_United_States

"Since the 1980s desegregation busing has been in decline. Even though school districts provided zero-fare bus transportation to and from students' assigned schools, those schools were in some cases many miles away from students' homes, which often presented problems to them and their families. In addition, many families were angry about having to send their children miles to another school in an unfamiliar neighborhood when there was an available school a short distance away. The movement of large numbers of white families to suburbs of large cities, so-called white flight, reduced the effectiveness of the policy.[2] Many whites who stayed moved their children into private or parochial schools; these effects combined to make many urban school districts predominantly nonwhite, reducing any effectiveness mandatory busing may have had.[2] In addition, school districts started using magnet schools, new school construction, and more detailed computer-generated information to refine their school assignment plans."

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 3:48 am

"The increased average distance of students from their schools also contributed to the reduced ability of students to participate in extracurricular activities and parents to volunteer for school functions, although parent volunteering percentages were historically low in city schools.The increased journey times to and from school - sometimes hours a day on buses - results in less time for recreation, study and (in the case of older students) employment and operating the busses costs a lot of money that would be better spent elsewhere in the education system."

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 4:01 am

I've been an extremely involved SFUSD parent since 1996, and have volunteered as a parent peer counselor in the enrollment process over the years. In all that time, I have still never seen a family that stuck it out through the process that didn't eventually get a school they were content with. I'm not saying on the first round and I'm not saying a school they initially requested. But the fact is that many SFUSD schools (an increasing number) have more applicants than openings, and families that request popular schools may not luck out right away.

That does mean that the process -- as known in recent years -- may put parents through several weeks of high stress. On the other hand, the private school process is worse, and when a private school rejects your child, the school was passing direct judgment after assessing your child, deeming your child and family unfit and unworthy to attend the school. By contrast, if you don't *win* the SFUSD lottery right away, you were simply a faceless number and didn't luck out the first time -- it's not a personal rejection.

And the notion of choosing private school (if you DO get in) to avoid those weeks of stress has to qualify as one of the stupider consumer decisions around, when you look at the fact that you're spending $15-$25K per year per kid over 13 years of K-12 education for something you could get free. Except for the very high-wealth and those who qualify for substantial scholarships, it's a decision you're likely to regret bitterly when you're facing college costs and retirement.

Also, SFUSD has redesigned the system, so in coming years it may wind up being less stressful -- only a real-life trial run of the new assignment system will tell.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 6:06 am

So not knowing why you didn't get one of your top five choices is more soothing than getting a flat-out rejection from a private school? And why is that? I find the rejection from the SFUSD to be more infuriating - because they don't tell you what went into the decision, even if you ask.

The smart consumer choice would be allowing parents to send their children to neighborhood schools, which then act as anchors of stability and growth in the neighborhood. The busing of students, and ferrying them in private cars from all over the city, is harmful to the environment as well.

I live right near Clarendon school and we have a huge issue in this neighborhood with blocks of idling cars either dropping off or picking up students, belching CO2 into the atmosphere, clogging the roads and blocking people's driveways. And almost no one in my neighborhood or the ones surrounding Clarendon that I know send their kid to school there - because for whatever reason the SFUSD has seen fit to ship in a huge number of kids who have to be driven or bused to that school.

So please don't lecture me on the "cost to neighborhoods." I live in one which had been victimized by this policy.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

If you don't get one of your SFUSD choices (the number is 7 -- I can see you are not speaking from experience), yes, you know why -- it's because your faceless number didn't come up in a luck-of-the-draw computer lottery. If you don't get one of your private school choices, as I explained elsewhere, it's because the private school closely and carefully assessed the personal characteristics of your child and you as parents and rejected you as inferior, undesirable and unworthy. If you find that soothing -- well, all I can say is that's probably a minority opinion.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

Yeah? How is mine "probably a minority opinion?"

If your POV is so popular then why are you so afraid of allowing the citizens of SF to vote on it?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 03, 2010 @ 12:34 am

What you are saying is that it's preferable to have your child personally assessed and rejected as inferior, unfit and unworthy rather than deal with a faceless lottery that does not in any way involve telling you that your child and family are losers.

In my opinion, most people would prefer to deal with a faceless lottery rather than personal rejection.

That's why I believe that yours is a minority opinion.

I didn't discuss whether the citizens of SF should vote on an assignment system, but I will now -- I think it's a stupid waste of time and resources. Here are some reasons.

-- Families that live near popular and successful schools want neighborhood assignment. Families that live near schools they don't want to send their kids to want choice. It would basically just be a race to see which of those categories contain more voters.
-- The experience with neighborhood assignment in the '90s showed that all-choice assignment correlates with improved schools and fewer families fleeing SFUSD.
-- SFUSD has just overhauled the assignment system to put more emphasis on neighborhood while still allowing choice. It's particularly pointless to take a vote on changing the assignment system without giving the new one a chance to be tried.

For those reasons, it is, again, a waste of time, energy and resources to put a neighborhood schools measure on the ballot.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 03, 2010 @ 6:05 am

I agree with Caroline, but I want to go a step further: This argument that the lottery is driving middle-class people (and even wealthier families) out of SFUSD just doesn't ring true to me. I know plenty of people who could conceivably afford private schools who choose SFUSD -- because of the diversity, because of the eduational quality, because of the community. There is no such thing as a perfect assignment process in a low-tax, low-spending climate.

McKinley gets a lot of community support -- but a lot of that is due to the fact that some parents have the time and skills and resources to do the extensive organizing that it takes to run something like Dog Fest. Time being the key element here -- people who are working two jobs just to feed the kids don't have the time to do all this volunteer work for the schools. So yes. location is important -- but having a diverse mix of parents is also important.

Posted by tim on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 9:34 am

What's up with all the talk about McKinley? Is this the new hot school project that a bunch of rich liberal yuppies are deciding is the new Miraloma? If only I knew when I applied for my kid last fall...

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

You are at McKinley therefore your view is framed by that, you speak to parents at McKinley this is a limited and mostly satisfied group. (Not saying you do not know anyone else).

Go to the pre-schools in San Francisco and ask how many are going private or leaving San Francisco. The numbers at ours are well over 75%, these are mostly middle class working families. So my experience is very different from yours. As SF does not gather this information we shall never know, but read SF K files and you'll see the frustration.

The current system is not achieving the diversity you so want, parents who are disengaged or who do not understand the process, currently are assigned and accept the worst school, which perpetuates the achievement gap that currently exists in SF schools.

Posted by Chris Pratt on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 10:51 am

Some preschool parents may think that it's worth squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars on private school tuition to avoid a few weeks of stress with the SFUSD lottery because they have bad information, not having gained experience with the school system yet.

When it's pointed out to them that the private school application process is far more onerous and potentially personally painful and humiliating than anything SFUSD could put them through, most families I know get it right away and discard the notion that they need to mortgage their future to pay tuition. I have to knock your preschool, without knowing what it is, for failing to provide good information, Chris Pratt. I hope it's not charging you much, because it's doing a terrible disservice to those middle-class working families.

I know families throughout the city and sent my kids to a school that was unpopular and downtrodden at the time (Aptos Middle School, back in 2002, when it was disdained as a "dirty," "dangerous" "ghetto" school), so any charges that I only have experience with families in elite schools don't cut it.

Happily, there's help! Get good information and learn why you DON'T need to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on something you could get for free (a K-12 education) -- join Parents for Public Schools-San Francisco, www.ppssf.org. Membership is very inexpensive, and you'll get a wealth of information and support, from sources with up-to-date insider knowledge. Your preschool should get in touch with PPSSF too.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

does not make them "foolish." You really need to try and check your value judgments because they have no role in this dispute.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

I am saying that it's foolish on its face to decide to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on tuition if the specific reason is to escape the SFUSD assignment process -- as has been described on this thread. The reasons it's foolish are, again, that the private school process is MORE onerous and that the SFUSD assignment process encompasses a few weeks out of your life. I'm not talking about choosing private school for other reasons, only when it's specifically to escape the SFUSD assignment process.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

is complete opaque, so a parent has absolutely NO idea where their child will be sent and how that decision is being determined. Whereas through private schools you at least have some control over the process.

Why would anyone be opposed to modifying this process so it ameliorates San Francisco family concerns is beyond me. One way or another this policy is going to end soon. Whether it be by a court challenge or ballot measure - the end of this wrong-headed policy is in sight.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

Lucretia Snapples, the process has already been modified for next year, giving more weight to residence and more certainty. As I said, it won't be known until it happens how the new process plays out for families, but the district has drastically refashioned the process. ... Actually, it wasn't true under the most recent process that a parent had no idea. If a family didn't get one of the 7 schools on their list, they were assigned to the closest school to their home address THAT HAD OPENINGS. Unfortunately, that was likely to be the closest less-popular school, by definition, since it had openings. I doubt if anyone was opposed to modifying this process, which is why it has been modified.

As to attempting to favorably compare the private school process, that seems dubious unless your kid and family are shining stars who are highly desirable to exclusive private schools. To restate, if a private school rejects your kid -- yeah, you know why! It's because the school thought your kid and/or family were inferior and unworthy, after a close personal assessment (which includes monitored playdates, watching your kid from behind one-way mirrors, checking out whether you as a parent pass muster during mandatory coffees, and testing). I suppose some people could find that process somehow preferable to being a random number in a luck-of-the-draw lottery, if they really loved potential public rejection and painful humiliation.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

CarolineSF is happy, or more accurately, she has become accommodated to her choices. Therefore everyone else needs to accommodate the same choices.

I can't understand this reasoning. Because CarolineSF is happy with what fate has bestowed her doesn't mean the rest of us need to feel the same way.

CarolineSF and Tim - YOU explain to San Francisco why the current system is preferable to allowing a robust and thriving neighborhood-based school-choice system exist in the city.

The Guardian is constantly singing the song of "neighborhood control" but then pontificates on why that same control doesn't apply to schools. We need an explanation from the SFBG on exactly why neighborhood control is preferable at the city government level, but not on the local school level.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

The fact is this seems like a good idea because the school board believes the whites who say they're liberal and all, but when their kid turns 5 turn into Strom Thurmond. Fact is, our public schools are as good as private schools, and Lowell is far better than any private school, but many parents are forced into private school or moving because they can't go to a school close to home. Parents are under stress from kids and work, and simply don't have the time to get 6 hours a week added to their schedule by a drive 20 minutes each way, twice a day. It's almost like an additional work day, imagine telling parents if you live in Burlingame you work 5 days a week, in SF 5. Many would leave. When white families leave or go to private school, this causes horrible race and class segregation. Chris Daly did it, the phony liberal hypocrite. Neighborood schools won't be segregated at all, our neighborhoods are diverse. No school would be 40% white, let alone 70. No school would be 70% black, as Bayview is more Asian than black now, and equally Hispanic.

This system is causing segregation. The only way to fight segregation is to attract middle class whites and others into the SFUSD System by making their life easier, giving them a competitive school system so they join our community and bring their work ethic, passion, good child raising and strong values to our community. We need to attract educated and successful people to our City, not say we are to be a City of the childless successful, the rich in private schools, and the poor, but not middle class families. We need a strong middle class.

Posted by Floyd Thursby on Jul. 02, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

Lucretia Snapple, you are missing the point. I agree that the system that has been in place for the past few years is too daunting to parents and too complex, and I support the fact that it was just overhauled. It's irrelevant and inaccurate to charge that I'm defending a bad system because it worked for my family.

In fact, at the time when my kids went through the assignment process, SFUSD DID assign almost all families to their neighborhood schools. So the system that worked for my family was not the current system in any case.

The former system, assigning almost all families to their neighborhood schools, chased more families out of SFUSD than the current all-choice system has done. And under the more recent all-choice system, the school district has made significant improvements. In the '90s, when it was basically a certainty for most middle-class families that you would get your neighborhood school, only a small handful of schools were considered acceptable by middle-class families. After SFUSD switched to an all-choice system, the number of schools considered desirable by middle-class families began expanding rapidly. I would say that fewer than 10 SFUSD schools were considered acceptable and desirable by middle-class families in the era when you could be assured of being assigned to your neighborhood school -- so families were quite likely to consider their neighborhood school unacceptable, as we did. Now my estimate is that there are a good 40 SFUSD schools (elementary and K-8) considered desirable by middle-class families. That change -- a vast improvement for our district, obviously -- occurred under the all-choice system.

But still, that system is dauntingly complicated and frustrating to parents, so I agree that it needed to be overhauled. We shall see how the new system works.

It's misinformed and simplistic to claim that a policy of assigning everyone to their neighborhood schools would be a solution, though. Again, in recent past years, the process DID assign nearly all families to their neighborhood schools, and that system chased more parents away from SFUSD schools, while middle-class families began returning to SFUSD and a large number of schools improved greatly under the all-choice system.

Floyd Thursby, the problem with your misunderstanding is that a huge number of the families who flee to private school are refusing assignment to a nearby SFUSD school and choosing a private school that's a schlep across town. Similarly, in my era, a huge number of families rejected their neighborhood SFUSD assignment and fought to get into an SFUSD alternative school farther away (as my family did). The notion that families are fleeing SFUSD because they can't get into neighborhood schools doesn't hold up to even the tiniest scrutiny, because so many families have rejected their neighborhood schools and willingly chosen schools that were farther away, often MUCH farther away. And, again, under the all-choice enrollment system, the number of families fleeing to private schools has been dropping.

Lucretia Snapple, here's the history of Clarendon and why it enrolls students from other neighborhoods. In the '70s there was a big enrollment drop in SFUSD, and at the time, the district was under court order to desegregate schools. With enrollment dropping anyway, the district decided to designate some schools alternative schools that would have special focuses and would be open to families who chose to apply -- not default assignments for neighborhood families. They were experiments in voluntary desegregation. Most of the alternative schools served as popular choices for parents who didn't like the assigned neighborhood school. (That was the case with my family -- we rejected then-unpopular and unsuccessful Miraloma Elementary, around the corner from us, in favor of then-trophy Lakeshore, an alternative school.) So that's the story of Clarendon. A number of the alternative schools lost their special focus after Prop. 13, but Clarendon includes a school that emphasizes parent volunteerism and one that infuses the curriculum with Japanese language and culture. Part of the concept of alternative schools was that schools with special focuses or programs like those shouldn't be default schools of assignment but should be by request.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 03, 2010 @ 5:57 am

I was posting too early and was not clear enough in writing about my own experience. My family first went through the assignment process when we were guaranteed assignment to our neighborhood school (MIraloma). We considered Miraloma a poor-quality school and chose an alternative SFUSD school farther away, Lakeshore. We were initially assigned to Miraloma and had to work through the process to get Lakeshore.

This was what nearly all of our friends did -- they rejected their certain, guaranteed assignment to nearby SFUSD schools that were then poorly regarded, in favor of working to get into alternative SFUSD schools or private schools that were farther away. Often the distance to school didn't factor into the choice at all, especially with the private school families, who tended to take on long schleps to school if they could get into a prestigious school. I agree that in a perfect world it's more desirable to have a school you like that's close to your house, but the fact is that reality shows that proximity has not been a factor to families in recent times.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 03, 2010 @ 6:19 am

It strikes me that the present system just self selects the bad schools. the people with an interest in their child's education will try and get them in a good school, while those who don't bother to try and figure out the system have kids stuck in crappy schools.

CarolineSF's stories just show that there was an interest in education in the family, others without that interest get their kids sent to a crappy school, same with Tim's anecdotes. Good for you two.

The issue isn't about extra money that some parents can bring to the school, its that people have self selected their kids into shitty schools in a whole new way. If a parent has the pull to get their school some cash somewhere else than from the district, that parent isn't going to be leaving their kid in a terrible school for long to suffer the effects of progressive make believe.

The main problem is parents, even in a bad school the offspring of good parents will do well, well better, the offspring of bad parents will do poorly in a good school. No Utopian monkeying with school system will solve these problems, the SF education professionals just put the cart before the horse with these schemes.

Also I know a few teachers and they lament that the parents of the Chinese kids don't have the slightest interest in socialization exercises, they are actually concerned with their kids academics. The progressive should start a special non PC school and the lawsuits would stop. Just offer that school in the lottery and all the lefties can spread the other schools around amongst themselves to experiment on.

Also, shouldn't we encourage or be indifferent people to move put their kids in private school as it will widen the slice of pie for those remaining. Thats one benefit of Saint Daly's carpet bagging.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 03, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

Are you stupid or high? The parents of Chinese kids don't have the slightest interest in socialization... is a stereotype. You have the nerves to make such a comment. Why don't you also say that the parents of White kids don't have the slightest interest in socialization or the Hispanic kids don't have the slightest interest in socialization go on and talk about Indians, Blacks, Koreans, Japanese etc.

I am a high school student myself and know that stereotyping is wrong. Are you uneducated?

Widen your horizons maybe that will help.

Posted by High school student on Jul. 22, 2010 @ 12:41 am

"Also I know a few teachers and they lament that the parents of the Chinese kids don't have the slightest interest in socialization exercises, they are actually concerned with their kids academics. "

You go to school in SF? That might explain your comment. The above quote is me relaying information from what I have heard from actual SF and East Bay public school teachers.

When you get out of the closed minded schools you will discover that people are different in actual real world ways, all that "celebrate diversity" business is just conformity by another name. Celebrate diversity just means to enjoy the cultures of other people but we all need to think like a progressive.

Remember, don't snitch.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 22, 2010 @ 9:46 am

Diane Ravitch, prominent education historian and author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” has weighed in on the subject of neighborhood schools and this is what she said:

“The neighborhood school is the place where parents meet to share concerns about their children and the place where they learn the practice of democracy. They create a sense of community among strangers. As we lose neighborhood public schools, we lose the one local institution where people congregate and mobilize to solve local problems, where individuals learn to speak up and debate and engage in democractic give and take with their neighbors. For more than a century they have been an essential element of our democractic institutionss. We abandon them at our peril.”

If SFBG supports the grassroots community building it cannot in good conscience endorse any other policy than a neighborhood schools policy. To create more good schools we need build up the broken communities and their schools, not close them down as we heard today in the news regarding Willie Brown Academy. The children of these communties cannot be served simply through transporting them to other schools. The research has show scant evidence of achievement gains in this way. And if diversity is a primary concern ( I believe it is secondary to achievement), BVHP is split fairly evenly between African Americans, Latinos and Asians.

Mr. Redmond speaks about the extra dollars that PTAs deliver to high end schools, but fails to mention the much larger benefit that Title One schools get through all compensatory education funding. Having said that there is little doubt that the biggest issue affecting academic achievement is the effect that home life has on the child as a student, a social being and individual, what SFUSD calls the predictive power of demographics. After that, the next largest issue is the revolving door of teachers at low performing schools. This is primarily an issue of the contractual bligations between SFUSD and UESF. All efforts to reduce this inequity should be made despite political affiliation. Also,SFUSD should consider removing the penalty of averaged salaries that the Weighted Student Formula imposes upon schools with low seniority staffs.

As a founding member of Students First I played an integral part in drafting the neighborhood schools measure. Though it MAY be more neighborhood friendly than the last, new student assignment system is not a neighborhood schools policy. At the elementary level neighborhood students get fourth preference. In middle school elementary enrollment policy carries over through the feeder school method. And there is no neighborhood preference at all for high school. Compounding the problems, the new error prone CTIP system is reminiscent of the era of area code preference which lasted only 2 or 3 years and was discarded.

Under the new SAS neighborhood residents at CDCs get preference at the adjoining elementary school. Why do those students need a preference if they are neighborhood residents and this is a neighborhood policy? I believe the answer is that SFUSD knows that large numbers of neighborhood students will not get spots with the preferences that are built it to the SAS. According to this new SAS the rejected neighborhood applicants would go to the next closer school or the one after that and so forth. But many students at the next closest school may also be rejected for the same reasons of oversubscription.

To address Caroline and her belief that this measure is a waste of time - it is our time at Student's First that we are expending. We are not using up public resources except our own and we are doing this on a limited budget. If you don't want to encourage neighborhood schools you can vote it down as is your choice.

In sum, we have broken up our neighborhoods to the detriment of the quality of our communities in a failed and singular effort to diversify our schools. Children and families across the City suffer tremendously in myriad ways as a result the dispersal of our students across the city. All the while we fail to focus our attention on the real purpose of public education - academic achievement.

On another related note, regarding the value of community efforts to build up schools, SFUSD effectively cancelled the communty’s voice in school governance for next year when it made it District policy not to require a school plan. If the District really cared what parents, families and communities had to say about their schools they would not deny them their legally mandated right to develop and recommend school plans to the Board of Education. But then they didn't really listened to what virtually all communities had to say about the new SAS either - that they overwhelming wanted quality neighborhood schools.

This was written late at night and I hope readers recognize that many complicated issues are covered only briefly here by this one post.

Regards,

Don Krause

Posted by Don Krause on Jul. 04, 2010 @ 12:49 am

I am a huge fan of Diane Ravitch and in fact lent Don her book to read. However, Ravitch lives in Brooklyn, teaches at NYU and is a Texas native. She is not familiar with SFUSD, and I don't think her view on neighborhood schools fits our community perfectly.

Because I have experience with a neighborhood assignment process (the one that was in effect when my family first applied to SFUSD), I can tell you firsthand that it drove more families out of the district more decisively than the all-choice policy that has been in effect more recently. That's because if you are told that you have no choice but to send your child to a particular school, and it's a school you feel is not acceptable for your child, you are going to find another option. Don's children are younger, so he doesn't have the experience that I do with that process; in addition, he lives near a school that has always been highly desirable, unlike my family.

Under the all-choice assignment process, many SFUSD schools that were considered absolutely unacceptable by middle-class families in my time have soared in success and popularity. Diane Ravitch is the first to say that you should learn from the real-life results (that's why she switched from being a full supporter of market-based education/charters/vouchers/privatization to being an outspoken critic). Other posters here who are discussing this have made it clear that they are entirely unfamiliar with SFUSD (besides Don and me) and are not taking actual results into account at all -- they don't have even the tiniest familiarity with actual results.

Obviously I agree that a high-quality school close to home is the ideal, but in real life here in SFUSD, an all-choice system has been far more successful than a mandatory neighborhood assignment system. The ideal, in my view, would be an assignment process that combines both neighborhood access and choice. SFUSD is trying out a new process that attempts to do that, and the results are yet to be seen.

I disagree that it does no harm to put a problematic measure on the ballot, though. I guess you could argue that only those sponsoring the measure are the ones wasting their time and energy. Some of those individuals are misinformed and apparently some are willfully spreading misinformation. But those who are misinformed could be putting their time and energy into something positive and productive instead of into something that's a stupid waste of time, and anyone who is willfully spreading misinformation is doing harm to the community on the face of it.

The campaign for the measure will undoubtedly involve lying to the voters, such as making the false claims we've seen on this blog that SFUSD schools were more successful when there was mandatory neighborhood assignment (that's a lie; the opposite is true) and that diverse, high-poverty urban school districts with neighborhood assignment are more successful than SFUSD (that's also a lie; the opposite is true). Telling deliberate lies is a seriously wrong thing to do -- worst than just wasting time and energy. (I exonerate Don from that, but we can see other posters here doing that.)

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 04, 2010 @ 9:04 am

And a usual progressive low opinion of people who do not agree with her.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 04, 2010 @ 10:42 am

I have a low opinion of people who make **** up and promote falsehoods confidently when they have no actual information. Wouldn't most ethical and righteous people have a low opinion of that behavior?

And because I do have information and experience regarding SFUSD schools and the assignment process, I'm devoting a little time and energy this weekend to refuting the lies with facts.

As to whether I'm a progressive, the green/progs view me as a conservative, for what that's worth. People in most of the nation would call me a latte-sipping liberal commie, but this is SF.

As to the issue of whether correlation equals causation, I am well aware that it doesn't, so here's my response to that.

The guaranteed/mandatory neighborhood assignments of the '90s correlated with far fewer successful SFUSD schools and far more middle-class suspicion of, antipathy to and avoidance of SFUSD schools. The all-choice process of the 2000s correlated with an increase in -- explosion of is not too strong a term -- the number of SFUSD schools that are viewed by the middle class as successful and desirable; with improving test scores; and with a surge of new interest by middle-class families in SFUSD rather than private schools.

In fact, private schools are now largely viewed by the middle class in SFUSD as backup in case they can't get into an SFUSD public school that they want -- that is, second-rate, behind the desirable SFUSD schools. That is a total about-face from the prevailing middle-class attitude of the '90s, and that reversal in attitude correlates with the all-choice assignment process.

Now, I'm aware that correlation doesn't equal causation, so I can't claim that the all-choice assignment process CAUSED those improvements in SFUSD schools and in middle-class satisfaction with and acceptance of SFUSD schools. But as the all-choice assignment process clearly CORRELATED with that major improvement in our school district, it would be foolish and risky to go back to the process that correlated with a far less successful school district.

If you have any refutations of my facts, Matlock, feel free to provide them, but that fact that your retort to me is entirely based on rather vaguely denigrating me personally makes it pretty clear that you don't.

Back to sipping my latte now.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 04, 2010 @ 12:04 pm
heh

As to causality, that you seem to attribute any betterment is SF schools to these goofy schemes of the progressives. You assume your interest in education is the same as other peoples and thus they share the same experience, so that your experience is universal to all, thus you speak from authority.

If indeed the schools are improving in the city it would likely be a confluence of things such as access to abortion and poor flight for example. Although I doubt there is an improvement city wide, John O'Connell was built ten years ago as a model of educrat greatness and its a bottom percentile school.

Your interests in the education and your assumptions as to what other people think of it and their interest in it are strange. These free associations of yours are just odd and seem to be made up on the fly.

Also the learned behavior, you talk down to everyone and then proclaim your genius? As I said "And a usual progressive low opinion of people who do not agree with her." Your strung along opinions about how middle class people feel about the SFUSD are not facts.

My posts are often condescending, I would never say they were not and then turn it around on someone else when someone pointed it out. I have at least that much self-awareness.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 04, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

Matlock, I specifically said I can't attribute the improvement to the all-choice assignment system -- I said that in so many words -- but that it correlated, and the correlation can't be ignored.

My posts may be condescending, but that's because this is an area in which I have a lot of experience and information, and I'm talking to people who know absolutely nothing about it but are brazen and arrogant enough to sling around misinformation with great confidence. It may not be possible to call out people like that without condescending to them, and they certainly deserve it (if not flat-out withering contempt).

My information is based on 23 kid-years as an SFUSD parent and extensive involvement in SFUSD as an active volunteer. You can disdain that if you want, but in my book it's far more credible than knowing nothing and just making **** up, as the so-called "Student First" supporters posting on this thread have been doing.

And yes, there has been tremendous improvement in SFUSD schools citywide over the past few years. Your citing one struggling school does not disprove that in the slightest. Anyone even slightly informed about SFUSD is aware of that great improvement, with dozens of schools that were once viewed as "failing" now newly popular with middle-class families. How can people presume to take an interest in what's going on with SFUSD without troubling to inform themselves even the tiniest bit? It demonstrates how contemptuous they are about education, including their own need to acquire any.

Posted by CarolineSF on Jul. 05, 2010 @ 7:18 am

Like all good progressives you never mention academic achievement and only discuss diversity and equity, a la Carlos Garcia, as if education is only a social endeavor and has nothing to do with book learning. All the diversity and equity in the world is not going to deliver performance without fundamental reform of staffing of low performing schools, strengthening familial and community ties and setting clear and high expectations for student behavior. All kids have great potential. But they don't develop that potential based upon who they sit next to in class. Your idea of diversity has grave racialist underpinnings.

You go on to say that some schools would have 70% of one race if we did not have our diversity policies, as if there was something inherently wrong with that. My God, children of the same socioeconomic class together! The abomination! And in fact many schools have 70% and higher under our diversity policy now. If we had neighborhood schools, highly diversified neighborhoods like BV, HP, Vis Valley and Mission would be much more representative of the rainbow demographics of those areas.

I'm all for diversity, but I want a diverse group of critical thinkers, not just a diverse group of colors. Really Tim, who cares how many kids of one color or another are in the class? Get good and steady teachers, a strong curriculum and a community that encourages them and you will get positive and improving results on average. But I don't maintain that we can always save everybody from themselves or their environment.

You also say that 80% got one of their choices but fail to mention that they made 7 choices. I don't know about you, Tim, but I didn't have my heart set on 7 different schools. I don't believe that number anyway and there is no accounting for it. I would hope that those of all political persuasions would have higher expectations than what currently passes for transparency with the SAS, past or present.

You go on to comment on integration and its history and say that we are making progress. But we are doing very poorly in closing our achievement gap -if I remember right, only 187 years to go. The assignments systems you support have not been successful in this regard, And that is because assigning a child to a school is not the same as educating a child. One does not suffice for the other. The assignment system is not a substitute for teaching. No amount of diversity will ever increase the educational outcome without all the rest of the pieces in place. But with those pieces in place diversity is immaterial. In constantly beating the drums you are shortchanging the very students you want to help. And while you are shortchanging them you are also shortchanging all the other families, the district budget and the environment by promoting this system that requires moving so many about on the chessboard in a big shell game that is costly, -oh so costly to society. The end result, Tim, is that many of those that can afford it leave the public schools and this results in further depriving the district of the very diversity (and dollars) that it you believe it needs first and foremost. How can you can have socio-economic diversity and low SES populations within a school below 40% when the whole district is 52% free and reduced lunch? And yet these policies derive from the data-driven educrats that maintain the status quo, beat the drums of racial inequity and, all the while, drive out blighted schools in the BVHP and elsewhere for the land developers' benefit.

Tim, as you sum up you speak about more dollars and redistribution of wealth as if they were instructional methodologies that increase brainpower of their own accord - that is to say, me thinks you mean that socialism is the highest order of human endeavor and thought. Just more dollars and more redistribution of wealth and all the kids would magically do better. Sure we don't adequately fund education, but there is so much more to education reform than just fixing the tax base. Many students persevere and excel under any circumstances. To be sure the most fragile students need extra help, but unless that extra help starts in the home, no amount of redistribution of wealth ( which I wholeheartedly oppose as nonsense) is going to make one iota's worth of difference in the student outcome. So if you don't want to look towards the family and the student and you refuse to hold the teacher's union accountable for any student progress, I guess you'll just have to blame it on lack of diversity, not enough money and any other nonunion bogeyman.

Next year the schools will have to figure dropouts in 8th and 9th grade into their CST results. School and student performance data will plummet and the achievement gap will open like a cavernous abyss. Nothing will have changed, but liberals will be screaming that it is the result of underfunding to be sure.

By the way, I'm a former teacher and I greatly support and respect high quality and dedicated teachers for the challenging work they do.

Posted by Don Krause on Jul. 06, 2010 @ 11:55 pm

The current SFUSD is about 15% white (10% stated but the real number is higher due to the ONW and Decline to State categories being largely white or half white). This is in a City that is over 40% white. We are driving many middle class parents of all races with eduction, money, and passion and dedication out of the SFUSD. This is causing less diversity, we need to welcome them in and build more schools where parents want to go and allow those who choose to commute if they CHOOSE to.

Now I was out there gathering signatures and let me tell you, I met many wonderful people this City should be trying to attract who are leaving or went to private school because of this system. I met doctors, businesspeople, etc. Imagine if you told people, live in SF, raise kids, and you have to work 6 hours every Saturday for free, and also pay $100 a month for the privelege, but move to Marin or Burlingame and you don't. Imagine if we told single people this? Well we do, parents with many options are told they must pay for gas and drive 20 minutes each way twice a day. Many wealthy people love public school and believe it's the moral thing to do, but are forced to private or moving.

I estimate 10-15,000 more kids would be in our public schools, and fewer miles of traffic would be driven, if we had neighborhood schools, plus the schools in the Bayview and Bernal Heights will improve simply because they'll be forced to concentrate on home, study habits and the real reasons these kids are struggling instead of blaming ghosts. Not only that, but many in those areas are successful and try to go to schools on the West side, and if they went to these schools, many would turn around like Miraloma, Balboa and other schools which used to be bad and are now pretty good.

With Lowell, we have the premiere high school in the Bay Area. We should make it bigger, to 3200 kids, guarantee a neighborhood school to all if they want it by zone, and prioritize remaining spots to actual underrepresented minorities by race and pay for the buses instead of paying for wars and jailing victimless criminals and executions (we have executed less than 1 a year and pay millions for death row appeals). We should do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to encourage educated, successful families to raise their kids in SF in public schools and bring them into the system, which will help all kids in SFUSD. We should pay money to transform peoples' lives for the better and talk real with kids the way Obama does. Study habits matter far more than who you sit next to. Work ethic is key. And even in the most dismal schools in SFUSD, there are children who are immigrants with many challenges who are doing well, learning and who have a future, who work hard. Admire them, strive to be like them, should be the message.

If you've ever been in sales or any competitive job, we all know the boss will make a speach and say, work harder, be more like Charlie, do what Maria's doing, look how much money he/she is making. But teachers are afraid to say that about school, and if they did, these kids would make more money in their futures. Don't be afraid to offend someone, be afraid to not inspire them. All our kids can succeed and do so without driving people out of our City. We want true diversity in our town. We are a world class city. Let's try to get as many world class people to move here as we can, and help the poor become very successful and contribute more in the future, believe in all our children, not keep blaming the successful for the poor study habits of others.

These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

.

Posted by Jason Dominguez Schierer on Jul. 07, 2010 @ 12:58 am

"These are the facts. They are undisputed."

Jason, these comments of yours are less fact and more opinion. For example, where do you get the idea that 10-15,000 more students would be enrolled under your system? Didn't you just make that up? Wouldn't some people who might attend a choice school go private instead if forced to go to their underserved school down the street? What makes you think students will be forced to be more motivated and improve under a neighborhood schools system? How will they be forced to improve? What are these ghosts you speak of? How will not having these factual ghosts help students? Explain the mechanism because I don't get it and you say these are undisputed facts.

Don't get me wrong. You seem to have your heart in a good place. I just wonder about your logic. Perhaps you can provide the facts to support your contention for neighborhood schools in San Francisco.

Posted by Edward Silva on Jul. 07, 2010 @ 6:14 am

Jason, are you someone schilling for the neighborhood schools initiative?

Posted by Hallie on Jul. 07, 2010 @ 7:10 am

-the schools in the Bayview and Bernal Heights will improve simply because they'll be forced to concentrate on home, study habits and the real reasons these kids are struggling instead of blaming ghosts.-

Did I miss something? What will be the cause of students suddenly becoming overachievers when neighborhood schools are in place? I hope Students First has better logic than demonstrated by this numbskull.

Posted by poppycat on Jul. 07, 2010 @ 10:16 am