Wednesday, July 17, 2013

SFUSD: ONLY CALIFORNIA SCHOOL DISTRICT WITHOUT NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS


San Francisco stands alone among the 25 largest as the only major school district that does not assign on the basis of neighborhood residency. What makes us so unfortunate? We are much like most of the major school districts with  ethnically diverse  populations  and  some wealthier and some poorer neighborhoods. All these districts operate under the same state education code and other laws of the state and federal governments. So what gives? Why is it that only here in San Francisco where you live does not guarantee a spot in your nearby school?

It's SF's extremist political character. So what do we have to show for it?

The largest achievement gap in the state. 

Note that the ascending number in the far right column is  the cumulative percentage of students as each district is added on to the ones above them. The top 25 districts have 30% of the public school population.

 

 1
Los Angeles Unified
662,140
662,140
10.64%
2
San Diego Unified
131,016
793,156
12.75%
3
Long Beach Unified
83,691
876,847
14.10%
4
Fresno Unified
74,235
951,082
15.29%
5
Elk Grove Unified
62,123
1,013,205
16.29%
6
Santa Ana Unified
57,250
1,070,455
17.21%
7
San Francisco Unified
56,222
1,126,677
18.11%
8
San Bernardino City Unified
54,378
1,181,055
18.99%
9
Corona-Norco Unified
53,467
1,234,522
19.84%
10
Capistrano Unified
53,170
1,287,692
20.70%
11
Garden Grove Unified
47,999
1,335,691
21.47%
12
Sacramento City Unified
47,939
1,383,630
22.24%
13
San Juan Unified
47,245
1,430,875
23.00%
14
Oakland Unified
46,472
1,477,347
23.75%
15
Riverside Unified
42,403
1,519,750
24.43%
16
Sweetwater Union High
40,619
1,560,369
25.08%
17
Fontana Unified
40,592
1,600,961
25.74%
18
Clovis Unified
39,040
1,640,001
26.36%
19
Stockton Unified
38,810
1,678,811
26.99%
20
Kern Union High
37,505
1,716,316
27.59%
21
Moreno Valley Unified
35,690
1,752,006
28.16%
22
Poway Unified
34,569
1,786,575
28.72%
23
Mt. Diablo Unified
33,987
1,820,562
29.26%
24
San Jose Unified
33,306
1,853,868
29.80%
25
Fremont Unified

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don, I think you're right. The only exceptions I know of are the area in North Carolina near Duke, a suburban district encompassing multiple cities. Seattle used to have the system we have but got rid of it about 5 years ago. I would imagine SF will eventually get rid of it, and we may see it on the ballot again. I find it amazing that for all our focus we have worse performance of African American and Latino kids than all these districts, I could understand a larger achievement gap as our white and Asian performance is well above average, but we actually have lower test scores for L and AA kids, which is amazing to me. Kids here are sitting next to poor Asian kids who get into UCs routinely (rich ones too, but Asian is the only race that does well in school even when in poverty, poor whites do horrible and so do poor other ethncities, sorry for the bad grammar).

One question I have is, what is this stat meant to prove? It's an interesting chart but I don't understand what the percentage refers to.

Don Krause said...

I was only speaking of California. I did a bit of research on the rest of the country, but I wasn't able to find any good data on this, though I suspect it's out there. Given the size of this state, to be the ONLY one is quite telling.

The chart was put up to show the top 25 districts by population. The percentage refers to the size relative to the statewide student total.

One caveat - Berkeley has 3 larger residency zones rather than a smaller number of neighborhoods zones. It is a kind of compromise on neighborhood school assignment.

No one should misconstrue from this post that neighborhood school assignment means there are no lotteries. Sometimes districts cannot meet neighborhood demand. Magnet and other kinds of schools like charters may have no zones of residency.

Don Krause said...

I should have mentioned that the enrollment data is cumulative so, for example, if you subtract LA's 10.63 from the cumulative total on the San Diego line, 12.75, you get the % for San Diego. The top 25 districts represent about 30% of the public student population of the whole state.

Anonymous said...

They don't want families here unless they're very rich (private school). You can get more rent from childless people and 4 yuppies sharing a place, and that drives up real estate values now. Real estate interests control the policy with donations. Who do you think donates to Sandra Fewer and Rachel Norton and the rest of them? It isn't parents giving $100 each. It's big time real estate interests. Without certainty, people will move when their kids turn 5, not using rent control. Every person who moves out due to the lottery is a huge kaching for their landlord.

Anonymous said...

What do those statistics above refer to? Many on the board have children, I don't think they want to drive families out of the City, I always hear the Mayor talking about wanting more families in the City.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll say it again. The chart is the top 25 districts by size, largest first. Each district is followed by number of students, cumulative number and cumulative percentage. I posted it to show that those 25 largest districts don't have lottery based systems and neither do the rest, with the exception of cases where state law requires it.

Don

Anonymous said...

Don why don't you write Prop H a little better and seek donations and get it on the ballot again? It almost won and every year more people would vote on your side. You could win. Do it again!

Don Krause said...

Ultimately, change must come from within the BOE. Nonbinding measures are not effective as long as there's a united front on the Board. If it were teetering, that might be different.

FYI, the Students First group discussed a companion measure to specifically benefit underperforming areas while a neighborhood policy came up to speed. Various options were discussed, but ultimately we didn't have the money. Some people has suggested we were bankrolled by wealthy real estate interests. Not true at all. We ended with debts.

By the way, the only reason we lost, considering the photo finish, is because the Board members and the union lied. The idea that students would be uprooted from schools was a total fabrication designed to scare people off. And that came from the very same people who complained about the ineffectualness of a nonbinding measure.

Anyway, I don't like getting back into this discussion because it sounds like sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

You're right but the last election, there was no way to even vote for board members based on this, I didn't know who was for it or against it. I agree, the lie was the difference, the fact that none of them would bet $1,000 to take a lie detector test bet that they believed what they wrote proved it, if one of them believed it was true they could have made $1,000. What a bunch of phonies. I just hope it comes up again some day. It's true, if one wealthy person wanted it, it would have passed, any trivial thing could have gained 154 votes, or 77 switches.

Don Krause said...

My apologies for having accidentally removed a couple of comments. I'm having some trouble figuring out how blogger works and I was trying for the first time to edit a poorly worded comment I made and ended up removing 2 others. How that happened I don't know exactly. But anyway....

What you're saying is obvious to you and to me, but the minds at SFUSD feel that diversity and school choice trump any practical considerations for neighborhood schools. The funny thing is we would have more diversity without school choice because more people would be compelled to attend the neighborhood school. Areas like BVHP are very diverse, but the schools aren't. That is because we allow the more savvy to utilize the assignment system to their advantage. You really have to wonder what SFUSD is thinking. My sense is that they don't look at the data, but are driven by politics and ideology. For this reason they are falling behind other districts, as I spoke about in my first post of this new blog.

Anonymous said...

They don't want middle class families to stay in SF, they can make more money on rents if we leave and then they pass the crumbs to the board members in campaign donations to maintain the status quo. They don't want people to plan to stay long term, due to rent control. The Marina is more valuable than the Sunset and 30 years ago the Sunset was more valuable. Why? Because in the Marina no one plans to stay long so the rents stay high. In the Sunset people plan to stay, but they want to turn the Sunset and Richmond into Yuppie Marinas and push all the families beyond the City Limits. It's just a first step. It's not an accident that they drive out families, it's the goal.

Anonymous said...

Whine much? What about the achievement gap? How can we close it if all the kids are just in school with kids from their own neighborhood and usually the same race and income level, out of sight, out of mind? How can we ever close it unless kids spend time together exchanging ideas on how to get good grades? You can't expect kids in the Bayview just to magically learn what it takes to get good grades when they don't know anyone doing so. Look I'm sorry you have to drive but that's nothing compared to what these kids have to go through. Sometimes I wish priveleged people would count their blessings that their kids aren't starving and being shot at and molested and abused and choked out and humiliated and discarded on a daily basis. I actually think the priveleged in Frisco complain more than single moms with 3 kids out in the Bay View eating out of garbage cans and being shot at. Ironic eh?

Anonymous said...

I disagree.

Anonymous said...

Why do you disagree? What do you disagree about?

Don Krause said...

I've been on vacation so I haven't been following. I disagree that there is some sort of conspiracy to remove the middle class. It is leaving for various reasons - cost of living, schools, jobs, etc. But I see no evidence of a conspiracy in the classic sense implied by the comment. I think when you allege conspiracies you should be held to a high standard of proof. You haven't provided any. Yours is just making up a cause for the effect.

As for the next comment about magically learning how to perform, I think that is overstated. You are claiming that poor students from the same communities can't achieve or at least that's what you seem to imply. Kids from all backgrounds can perform well over time given the right tools and help, but only if they can learn to apply themselves. There will always be a personal element for which there is no substitute. It is the nature of getting an education. Over the last few years SFUSD has poured resources into some schools. Those schools have shown some improvement. But it is an outsize investment compared to the modest achievement growth and the investment cannot continue unless more funding is found. And that is not likely. In the end I don't believe the answer rests with money. There has to be a personal or cultural element for investment to show results.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Don. I was amazed to learn that our AA and Latino students actually do worse than in any other district with all we focus on their test scores. Something is amiss, an unintended consequence. This was on Sam Rodriguez' web site and from Ed Source, we were the lowest large district in Latino and AA Scores, got an F for L and AA scores, a D for "students of color" and a B for low income students, largely because we have a lot of low income Asian students. I am trying to create a tutoring program in the Mission for Latinos from one of the zone schools, but I need 6-8 trustworthy parents, through the Latino Democratic Club. I was hoping to run for school board but will probably delay that a bit, I'd rather do this and make a difference and learn more about how to fight the gap.

One factor is hours studied per week, 13.5 for Asians, 5.5 for whites, though probably significantly higher in SF for whites, and the study just said under 5.5 for Latinos and AA students. You just won't close the gap without equalizing this, but it's not enough. You need tutoring and support, and if a family doesn't have these resources, we need a way to provide it and help parents learn how to re-organize their family life around academic achievement at the center. We won't close the gap by changing curriculum or the lottery which has so far caused more segregation than it has prevented. It is more complex than a lottery can solve. The one big factor that is white and Asian kids at schools considered bad outperform AA and L kids at schools considered good. It means we need to provide these kids motivation, support, knowledge, many other things. I don't think it's about poverty really, but it's associated and it's a factor. Obama is on the right track when he says no one is so poor they can't study and can only watch TV, but most kids who even determine to study hard will flake if they hit a wall, it's human nature. We need people there to help them through it. My kids have hit many walls and I am always there. Many parents are, but it varies. We need programs that focus on removing barriers and providing support.

I don't think the Superintendent Zone plan has been effective or the money has been spent in a way that is worth the damage it has done, I just mean we have to do something to close the gap or California has no future. Over half of students in California now are Latino or black, and over half will soon be Latino. We have to find a way to fix this and we can't be politically correct and avoid the tough issues. It won't go away on it's own. We must address:

1. Hours studied per week.
2. Availability of support and assistance for kids with low income.
3. The pernicious effects of TV, video games and mindless computer usage.
4. Reluctance of many to have their kids to significant work on weekends and summers, which makes a big difference for kids who do, Asian and other.
5. Parenting support.

This is only the beginning. I agree money won't do it. If I had the money again for the Zone, I'd distribute half of it and spend half on free tutoring. The money was spent ineffectively.

Don Krause said...

This comment is very much off the topic of neighborhood schools. Please try to comment with some relation to the subject at hand. There is wide latitude to do so. This comment doesn't really make sense anyway. ...pushing the middle class out as part of some conspiracy to raise rents? The middle class families compared to young singles are more likely to be owners than renters. The poor cannot afford to buy a junior five house in the sunset or anywhere else. The rich certainly aren't going to move into it. But let's leave that for another time and another post.

Anonymous said...

That's not what Don said. Don said spending should be equal per student.

Don Krause said...

I'm not saying every student should get exactly the same funding and if I did say that or implied that, please let me know where so I can correct it. Regarding per pupil funding, what I am saying is that there is too large a disparity between what some underperforming schools get and what other schools get. We shouldn't damage one school's basic funding so we can keep throwing money at a problem, particularly when we cannot demonstrate that spending more makes a significant difference. Of course some students need extra resources. That goes without saying. But how much more is the question. Some people just accept the notion we need to spend more than the average on certain students, but don't make any effort to understand what is the appropriate amount. They are making decisions based upon feelings rather than demonstrable outcomes.

When most categorical funding was made flexible in '09, this returned power to the districts to spend billions in formerly restricted money as they wished. Rather than say that each student is entitled to a certain minimum percentage as Constitutionally required for general fund money, SFUSD is trying to deprive over 800 API schools of basics to accomplish their goals in the Superintendent Zones. It isn't professional or scientifically proven to pour money into remediation projects without an supporting data to rationalize the costs. Remember, every flexed dollar to one school is a loss of a flexed dollar to another. Is it right for one California student to get only a third of what another student gets simply because he or she is a higher performing student? We need to show a modicum of respect to spend our dwindling resources with equanimity towards all students. Just because we have failure at one end should not be a rationalization to starve students at the other end of the achievement spectrum.

Anonymous said...

You should run for School Board. I agree every dollar spent should be analyzed for results. The union opposes this.

Anonymous said...

Don would not fit in on the school board. He's too honest and asks questions about everything. They would all team up against him ant try to make his perfectly reasonable questions seem crazy. They're a bunchy of liars!

Anonymous said...

Who wants another person to fit in on there? I want at least someone on there who will fight for families, for children, fight against the union supporting bad teachers and the ridiculous lottery and the unfair funding. I would go to meetings just to cheer his speaches.