Monday, March 3, 2014


No.  It's been playing a numbers game to distract the public from the true and less than stellar achievement results. For years SFUSD has advertised itself as the "highest performing urban school district in California" until last year when San Diego overtook us as its API climbed while ours dropped to 806.  Instead of the highest,  now SFUSD slyly advertises itself as "one of the highest". But it's all a PR façade to hide the real-world academic underperformance of its students. If this is a test, SFUSD is a cheater. The high API is less high than it is  highly misleading.  Published and promoted each year to much undeserved self-acclaim,  the seemingly positive result is more a function of San Francisco's uniquely Asian demographic than any student achievement resulting from education policy, that is, unless you're talking about bad policy. How else can we explain why every major demographic significantly underperforms in SFUSD with the exception of whites?

Little more than a brief review of subgroup achievement statistics reveals a district that is anything but exemplary  - a district that is in large part significantly behind California as a whole - a state that has drawn national attention for its poor achievement results. This district is far from first or even second place when you delve into the true numbers.  SFUSD's African American, Latino and even Asian populations do significantly worse than their respective  statewide counterparts, but SFUSD manages to maintain an aggregate API edge which is the sole product of its uniquely large and relatively higher performing Asian population.  This large Asian population in SFUSD, 41% district versus 9% statewide, a difference of 32%,  outperforms relative to most other ethnic groups and thus the two factors of quantity and quality of Asian students drives up the overall performance numbers. But even here Asians do significantly worse than their counterparts statewide, scoring an 874 versus 906 in California as a whole. What does this say about SFUSD's policies? And how has this school district managed to hype itself all these years without any pushback?

Ironically, district leaders have cautioned parents for years not to misuse the Academic Performance Index as an evaluation tool, yet this is exactly what these same leaders do, in lockstep with the media, when they package the district's overall API results for public consumption, skipping the breakdown whenever possible. And SFUSD gets away with this misleading oversimplification because of a lack of any real journalism in the City by the Bay.  

You don't have to dig deep to see through this charade.  Just look a little below the surface of the aggregate API to see what's really happening. It doesn't take a statistician or even a high school graduate. Any casual observer can figure out this scam. The breakdown by ethnic groups on the CDE's API website reveals the exact nature of the demographic advantage afforded SFUSD by it large Asian  population - a  regional anomaly that has allowed this district to commend itself as a statewide winner while never addressing the real reason for the higher API. The poor showing by subgroups begs the question: Why is every minority underperforming in San Francisco? 

To illustrate how the statistical demographic advantage plays out, consider this: among the four major ethnic groups,  African Americans, Hispanics and Asians underperformed the same statewide ethnic groups by -78, -48 and -32 points, respectively. Only whites outperformed other whites statewide and by a considerable  42 point margin.  SFUSD's white population versus the State is smaller by more than half, 12% versus 26%, yet this school district managed to post a second place API due  to a demographic quadruple it size compared to the state.  Though the smaller white population also is a key factor in overall performance, the sheer size in conjunction with the excellence that Asian culture demands of itself are the two factors most responsible for our high API.  And  this is true despite the considerably weaker performance by Asian students  in SFUSD compared to the Asians statewide - a fact that gives even greater significance to the population advantage posited here. In fact, SFUSD likely would underperform the State if its white students did not outperform, a point which paints an even grimmer picture of SFUSD's educational program delivery.

Why San Franciscans are able to be fed lies from this district has to do with a lack of debate and a political homogeneity in a city controlled by extremists in government, in the media and in the unions - a triumvirate of establishment forces that encourage the imaginary success of the status quo in SFUSD through the trumpeting of false progress. Until we  vote out  the commissioners on the Board of Education and replace the administration with one  predicated on real academic achievement, we cannot expect more from our school district and its union cronies. Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.


Anonymous said...

Very good point Don. The question we need to ask is why do Asians do better almost everywhere and how can we get everyone else to change their home life to match their achievmeents. If SFUSD found a way to do this, I'd be impressed. The whole reasoning behind the lottery is that kids will learn from one another. It's not money, the trophy schools have less, it's the idea that having the opportunity to learn from others who are thriving creates opportunity. However, in reality, this isn't happening. Latino kids are doing better in isolated, nearly uniracial schools in parts of L.A., Fresno, Modesto, etc., than they are as minorities at mostly Asian schools. This is unacceptable. It's a simple concept, follow the leader. Ask the great student how they did it. It worked for Sonia Sotomayor according to 'The Triple Package' and could work for anyone. If a gecko can save me money on car insurance, I'll listen to him even if he doesn't have an English accent. If a kid has better grades than me and I really want to do well, I'll ask. If a parent's kids are doing better than mine, I'll try to learn what they're doing right. We need to respect success instead of avoid tough conversations and behavioral changes. These are the facts, and I am sure you will disupte at least some of them.

Unknown said...

No, that is not the question we need to ask nor is it the one I posed in this article. This is your question and it has little to nothing to do with this post which is not about study habits. It's about SFUSD deception. Every group except whites underperforms by a considerable margin including the ones you point to who study a lot. This mean it is about something else.

You entirely missed the point of this post and again are trying to write your own agenda over the top of what I'm trying to do here in this thread. You say I made a good point and then you go on to some entirely different point. That is not sincere. It isn't that you don't have a point or that it isn't good advice. But it is not apropos to this post and frankly, it is getting very tiresome to hear the same thing day in and day out.

Why not attempt to respond to what I actually said in my post rather than rewrite what you have already said a thousand times before? Show us that you are not so selfish as to want to make everything about you and your ideas and stick to the subject that I raised. Surprise us for once, if you can. Otherwise, don't comment at all unless you want people to think that you are mentality incapable of it.

If you respond back about Asian study habits you'll be deleted. I can tolerate a lot of crazy ideas but I will no longer tolerate your constant repetition.

Anonymous said...

More SFUSD bashing from Don Krause. Do you sit around all day thinking up new ways to criticize the district? How about some positive feedback once in a blue moon?

Unknown said...

Why not refute the message itself instead of attacking the messenger?

Siobhan said...

Why does SFUSD underperform? Is it economic? Do SF's white kids outperform CA average because SF's white families earn more on average, or are more educated on average, than CA whites overall?

Anonymous said...

Siobhan, economics are over-blamed. Obama said you are never so poor the only thing you can do at night is watch TV and ignore homework. Don is right, the elephant in the room is Asians do better, in my view because of hard work, wherever they are. Whites here are richer than average, but also more educated, the poor ones tend to have a parent who is an artist or intellectual in some way. Most rural whites are blue collar or poor. They do terrible. But Asians are the one group that overperforms by 2-3 quintiles. They don't let poverty stop them. Lowest quintile Asians beat 2d quintile whites on the SAT. Siobhan, blaming poverty lets teachers off the hook.

The bottom line is they are failing to convince kids to improve their habits.

San Francisco doesn't discuss habits and work ethic with students. KIPP does. It's a taboo subject. It is the point of this post. SFUSD has done nothing special or to be proud of.

I'd be impressed if SFUSD found a way to have black and Latino students here work harder and get better test scores. That would be impressive. They're not even educating Asians as well as other places are. They're just bragging about the fact that there are more Asians here, which is just racist. They have nothing else to brag about. Convince kids to be all they can be. Teach them better. Then brag. It's pathetic.

Don may not like my focus on hours studied, but he's absolutely right that our schools are not doing what they could and what they claim, educating people better than other Cities. The reason I mention habits is it's the whole rationale behind making many families endure miserable commutes and driving many out of public schools altogether with the lottery. If diversity is a key, take the time to have a seminar once a semester and talk about how some groups over achieve. Ask Amy Chua and her husband to address the school and teach the parents to be better, more demanding parents.

Unknown said...

It is astounding how you can entirely miss the point of a post. Everyone is SF does worse than in California except whites. That is not caused by lack of studying unless you are wrong about Asians studying more.

People who repeat the same things over and over do so because they have nothing else to say or suffer from some condition. Which one is it? Ignoring of the established blog rules demonstrates that you either refuse to participate properly or you can't? Which is it? Do you have anything else to say except what you've already said b/c if not, and you only keep repeating yourself, there will be no more purpose in your comments and you will be banned.

It isn't that I don't like to talk about study habits. But that doesn't mean I ONLY want to talk about study habits. And like I SAID BEFORE, the statistics in this post illustrate that the lower performance by SF Asians probably has something to do with SFUSD. No doubt Asian do better than average, but they don't so as well as their numbers statewide.

The reason why SFUSD doesn't do well is due to budgeting. They spend a lot of money on lower-performing students and there's not much bang for the buck. Other students get less as a result and this equates to larger class sizes lowering the performance for all except the most disciplined and resourced.

Anonymous said...

Kyle said...

Don, my advice is to ignore him. The more you respond the more you get off topic which is what you want to avoid. I do not suggest removing his comments and climbing that slippery slope.

Some blogs use a tact to ask repeated users to assign themselves a name instead of registering. Comments would be begin Mark said ..., Sally said... This way your readers can identify comments and skip over if desired.

If they don't comply then delete them.

Anonymous said...

This is so obvious. Why have I never heard about it before? And where is all the money going?

Anonymous said...

My logic is why they are able to mislead us, not within San Francisco. Don, what do you think the reasons are for these scores, in general? You think lower class size could make a significant difference? I think it is a minor difference overall. I'd guess

IQ 25%
Focus in class 25%
Hours studied 40%
Instruction Quality 10%

Summer learning loss is half of the achievement gap, and this is a period of time in which teachers don't even see their students. Our public school results are based on the private lives of students. Sure, the 25% focus in class is helped by a school lunch and breakfast, by getting rest, etc. This is why excessive homework can be a problem.

I just think you are over-estimating quality of instruction. You're basically saying that effort is a minor annoyance and if SFUSD put equal money into each school, or more equal than now, there would be significant movement on these numbers. I agree horrible teachers should be fired more than 2 a year in the state for performance, but I think this is a minor issue paling in comparison to personal character.

So what is the magic bullet? Imagine yourself czar of SFUSD. How much of a difference in the API scores do you believe your redistribution of funds would make? Could it get us past San Diego? What other solutions do you suggest?

I agree a lot of the money spent at the SZ Zone schools is wastefully spent. I think all this extra money on this and that should just go to tutors. It's a waste. Consultant this and consultant that and expensive PE programs by private companies.

Go to any area with great students and schools 100-200 points ahead of the average on API. Fremont Mission, Cupertino, Burlingame, Sunset, Richmond, Los Gatos, Palo Alto. Do you see way more sports facilities and parks, or about the same? Way more arts centers or the same? Way more ice cream stores or the same? Do you see way more Kumon/Sylvan/C2C type businesses, or the same?


Unknown said...

You lost me on your first sentence which made no sense. I can't be bothered reading for comprehension what people can't be bothered writing for comprehension.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it Don but I think I agree with the Lifetime Movie Murderer on this one. Do you think if you spread the money to each school equally, that would help? That would put more money in the schools that are most full of the priveleged kids now. He's right in that firing teachers or having a couple kids more or less matters very little. The reason for the discrepancy is racism and history. You can't wipe out history in one budget, and it sounds like you're trying to do the opposite, put more money in for the white and Asian schools?

I would say the test scores reflect

5% instruction/class size/teacher
50% racism/history
30% poverty
15% IQ

Kids in poverty fail. They are too worried about evictions, gunshots, sexual objectification, hunger, violence, etc. You try studying when if you walk home with a book you are called a sellout and beaten. You try studying while your mom cries in the next room because she can't pay the rent to the slumlord without humiliating herself. You try reading Moby Dick when your mother speaks Spanish and your dad is out dealing drugs or being deported by racists. Over 11% of the kids in my school have a relative who has been shot in the past year. How do you just sit and study then?

Racism is far worse here than in most Cities. San Francisco is probably the most racist city. The white people for the most part have nothing to do with anyone who isn't rich and white, they completely avoid anyone not like them. There is far more racism here than in Los Angeles or Sacramento where they at least make a show of trying to fight racism. Here everyone's like hey, look at this gadget no one else can afford, tell me I'm so cool! Like that woman who (rightfully) got beat up and mugged in the Haight for showing off to unemployed people who can't afford a beer her new Google Glass. Now they want to put in more luxury condos. I barely recognize this City. Go study black kid while I show off my stupid car and Google Glass thing you can't afford and get drunk and stagger down your street and piss on your garbage can knowing the cops won't say a thing to me because I'm white. When I moved here things were different. Phooey on the new San Francisco order.


Unknown said...


If the factor of teacher quality were any lower in your estimation we'd have to replace you with a robot. Thanks for reminding me how worthless you are.

I never said that money should be distributed equally. After all your false threats and attributions on the last thread, you'd think you have learned your lesson. But, hey, you're a teacher. You don't learn lessons you give them and yours seem to be - use victimhood as a crutch to scam the system.

For years we've ploughed untold millions into the Supe Zones and what is the result? Still one of the worst records in the state. Black, Asians and Latinos in LAUSD scores considerably higher than SFUSD +58, +34 and + 32 respectively. I'm sure they just study a lot more in LA.

AB said...

The sad reality is that a significant portion of SFUSD graduates do not have the math or reasoning skills to explain how the District can have a relatively high API while under-performing the bulk of sub-groups.

The sad reality (as I see it) is that the important work of identifying and implementing corrective action cannot happen until leadership acknowledges that there is a problem that needs fixing. Thank you Don, for shining a light on the real outcomes of misguided policies and failed leadership at SFUSD.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the district deserves some credit for being smart enough to get Asians to live here and send their kids to the schools. You have to try to attract people who will do well. SFUSD's board works tirelessly to encourage local busineses to create jobs, support small businesses and promote San Francisco to the world as a great place of opportunity to move to and start a family. SFUSD has the smarts to promote the City in nations from which immigrants consistently succeed and building the tech. community. Maybe it's more effective to convince people who do well that this is a place to live. The whites probably do better becuase the majority are either half Asian or Russian or Hungarian, which basically act Asian in school. More than a few are Polish, highest average IQ in Europe according to 'Le Monde'.

Unknown said...

The large Asian population is the direct result of the early settlement of Chinese and then Japanese in San Francisco. The Chinese culture doesn't assimilate as readily as some others and the tendency has been to congregate in this city.

SFUSD has little to do with attracting immigrants which is more a function of geography, culture and economics. However, if it has had an influence, the assignment system would be responsible for pushing out rather than pulling in families. I have never heard of anyone coming to San Francisco to participate in the lottery but I know of many who left to avoid it.

This idea that the Board of Education "works tirelessly to encourage local businesses to create jobs, support small businesses and promote San Francisco" is a fantasy. This is the least family-friendly city in the country.

AB, just watch and see what happens to the LCFF money bump. It will go almost entirely to low performing schools and students. They are talking about reworking the WSF for this purpose. Low performers do cost more to educate, but we need to have better results than those SFUSD has provided so far. There is a need to focus on underachievement, but there needs to be some balance and focus on excellence, too, which is sorely lacking in SFUSD.

Anonymous said...

They will be distributed in the form of across the board salary increases. If studying is so great and a panacea for all society's ills, why don't the schools convince every child to study constantly, not just those who would do so anyways wherever they lived? Why isn't that the focus. These kids are bored for the most part.

Anonymous said...

That's like asking starving children why they don't eat more.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but studies show, being interested doesn't always make kids have a great work ethic. To thrive in school you have to study hard in classes that are interesting and boring ones. You can't get a UC quality GPA in high school just studying the classes you'll like. Didn't everyone have some boring classes? That's no excuse for laziness. Character means you study whether it's hard or easy.

Anonymous said...

Oh it's not an excuse is it? Is being shot at an excuse? Is being hungry an excuse? Is having a single mom on drugs an excuse? I had a girl last week ask a boy to show her "something". I asked why and she said mommy has a lot of boyfriends and I hear noises. I asked if mommy worked and she said no, later found out unemployment ran out 6 months ago. Under the wonderful Republican Welfare Reform act. I asked what these men looked like. She said most were white or Asian. Her mom is a young Latina whose husband abandoned her and her kids are mixed, African American and Latino. How charming. She loves one kind of man, but he gets thrown in prison by racists and lifetime movie murderer looking white guys and Charles Ng looking Asian guys "visit" and "make noises" and somehow the rent gets paid. And then she acts weird towards boys and I have to listen to their Chinese mom complain about it instead of teach. How disgusting and despicable. And she's supposed to study? What racism! I even have a homeless family that sleeps in a car. Should they "study more"? How racist! What a charming world we live in! Phooey!

Unknown said...

And made a little less charming by your comment. For a person that focuses her attention on race issues as much as you do, Phooey, it doesn't escape me that you like to judge people on the basis of their appearance, i.e., color skin, etc. This is not a charming duality in your nature. Using people you don't know and only saw sitting in a café, you use them as a blank canvas to write all your ugly thoughts upon. Take a look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

I didn't create the world we live in Don. The people in that cafe were trying to organize to denigrate the pay of 6,000 people by threatening to fire us, ruin our job security, make us afraid to strike, afraid to call in sick, basically make us all second class citizens. They also talked about how many hours children study which I know you hate. If I wasn't in an area of the cafe where they couldn't see me, they would have known who I was, I would have been crying, vomiting, shaking. Their rhetoric was horrifying and racist. They are obsessed with studying. They don't realize you can't study when you are crying inside. The focus just isn't there. They think that you can just put 20 kids in a class and their results are how good a teacher is. They have no idea. They wouldn't last a minute as a teacher. Not one minute. I felt like a Jew in 1940 being blamed for everything. I literally cried that night after I left, to be blamed for all the problems in the world and to hear Vergara discussed as if it's a good thing was just too much. I want al children to have equal hope and opportunity. We just need a radical restructuring of and redistribution of the means of production to ever create that ideal world. We're becoming an oligarchy.

Anonymous said...

Phooey on that cafe and the people who go there to denigrate teachers. The U.S. is broken and it's not all one profession's fault. We all need to work together, and prosper together, no more of this win-lose nonsense. Phooey!

AB said...

So the data shows that SFUSD non-white ethnic sub-groups perform below their statewide counterparts and we all have our theories as to why. I'm wondering if there is some empirical evidence of what SFUSD is doing different from these other Districts, a bench-marking of all sorts of date from funds allocation, resource allocation, ethnic diversity, socio-economic diversity, study time, instruction time, student family demographics and decile ranking within their community and the State, basically every piece of data we can find.

Then lets look at school districts that have shown improvement and look for the corresponding data point changes.

And while we are at it, let's look at the historical record within SFUSD, what efforts have been undertaken to improve academic success, and what were the corresponding results. Based on District data presented here we have seen evidence that a variety of programs from extra funding to diversity through enrollment lottery have not helped.

The answer is in the data, we just have to give up our preconceived notions on social equity/justice/engineering and do what is best for the children.

Anonymous said...

The obsessive concentration on phenotype is deleterious to any comprehensive discussion pertaining to the amelioration of academic performance of pupils of a superior and dominant race, the human race. In ancient Greece there were great scholars and they were all Greek. In London there were great scholars and they were all British. In China, Israel, Japan, Germany, you cannot escape brilliance. Why focus on racial subcharacteristics? Why not focus on enhancing the focus, effort and performance of the entire human race.

As for the referenced and wholly anecdotal accusations of perversions and licentiousness of the noted males of Pacific Heights, 1890s London was one of the most notorious places imaginable, outwardly the noble center of a thriving and ingenious empire upon which the sun would never set, but inwardly replete with debauchery, perversion, rape, murder, narcotics, molestation. Almost nothing was beyond the pale. Almost everything occurred. And this is a time and place considered among the most civilized and respectable and conservative in our entire world history.

Now you may wish to create a world in which the wealthy voluntarily contribute a set aside percentage of funds to those women whose husbands have abandoned them in record numbers. But that world presently does not exist, and this City is quite expensive. I am sure if these women are posting online adverts or searching for men, they want men to pay them for such services they willingly render, so to criticize a few men seems oblivious to the bigger picture. Surely the child whose mother has a lot of "friends" who "visit" is far better off than the child of the chaste woman who is sleeping in her automobile. I can only imagine the harassment and torture inherent in such an endeavor. I myself graduated from an admired University yet found myself sleeping in Golden Gate Park for a week in the early 2000s after the crash, in 2002. It was not pleasant I assure you. I have since built up quite a nest egg. Fortunately I was separated so my children did not suffer said fate.

Any child may elect to diligently study on a daily basis. But they also need someone to hear them out, to play with them, to listen to their innermost fears, to take them on walks in the woody hills and explain the difference between igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock, between fungus and plantae and animalia, and just to have our mirth, our love, our joy. To inspire them. And they need attention, focused teaching, not 1-20 but one on one. This is what is lacking in American society. Many parents feel children don't need this, and leave them alone for far too many hours. Anyone can appear to be a wonderful parent at an occasional event, but few follow it up when no one is monitoring.

The enlightened few can only instruct the pitiable and ignorant masses on the requirements children be as obsessed on scholastics as the most insecure and obsessive immigrants. Fortunately my wife (we reconciled) is of such a culture, though I shall not indicate for fear of retaliation by Phooey and her companions who seem quite a reprehensible lot.

We must strive together. We must not only do what is right ourselves, but help our entire community develop such an admirable prioritization, concentration, and focus.

Anonymous said...

That's what I've been saying but Don gets mad at me. I think this fact proves that home life and home habits are more powerful than a huge difference in money or schools or teachers, so getting everyone to raise their kids the way the successful groups do is going to be very productive if we do it. People can be convinced of anything, but there is no constant message to children that realistically, it's going to take a lot of hours to get top test scores and grades. Maybe if we put a little more money into the trophy schools and avoided wasting money on some of the SZ schools, we could improve it a little. To me this proves you can't spend your way out of bad habits, you have to change the habits. All this money and energy doesn't get us over LAUSD in terms of African American and Latino test scores. I have no idea why our Asians are behind, maybe some are impoverished Vietnamese, Hmongs, Filipinos, or maybe some are 3d generation Japanese who are entitled, which the Triple Package book says have lost their edge. Or maybe so many in one place, some don't want to fit the stereotype or it's more work to be on top, easier when they are 10% and make up most of the top spots. Or maybe SFUSD's miserly approach to the trophy schools, many of which are full of Asians, and over-focus on those who don't want to change ends up hurting Asian performance, all the anti-honors, anti-Lowell, anti-too much studying attitudes we see. I admit it's bizarre.

So Don, what is the solution? You make a good statistical point. What should SFUSD do differently to get Asian, AA and Latino test scores over say, those of LAUSD and SDUSD and SJUSD and Sacramento, all of which they apparently trail and only lead those districts because we have so many Asians.

If you ask me though, these statistics prove Amy Chua should be listened to and followed, along with her impressive husband.

Anonymous said...

No solution? Just a quip? You sound more like Jebediah Atkinson than Abraham Lincoln.

Unknown said...

Insults are counterproductive and will be deleted.

AB said...

San Francisco has a very large percentage of school aged children opted out of the public system attending private or parochial school (I've heard it's the largest percentage of any US City).

San Francisco also has the lowest per capita school age children of major US cities (per US Census), with a noticeable dip around the age of 5, when families are making school decisions.

These stats have often been cited as evidence of people with means choosing to opt out of SFUSD - voting with feet and dollars. It would be interesting to know how these kids would do on the standardized tests versus their SFUSD peer group. Could it be possible that the smartest kids are leaving SFUSD for Private/Parochial or other Districts?

Anonymous said...

I think its actually the opposite. Our whites do best and most of the private school and white flight element is white. Were failing to convince black and latin kids to put in the same effort white and asian kids do. They don't even try. The achievement gap is based on effort and hours studied and parenting and tutors but our school board only talks about poverty and curruculum changes and suspensions. They think putting more money in the sz schools will raise black and latin test scores. It hasn't. Don is right they have failed to achieve their own goals. Vergara if it wins will make more of a difference than all this so far squandered money.

Unknown said...

That there's white flight simply means there are fewer whites, not dumber ones. But the ones that stay are outperforming whites statewide by a lot. It isn't that the smarter people leave or go private as much as it is that the ones who lose the lottery or opt not to hassle with it do. More whites would increase the aggregate API but it wouldn't change the subgroups, unless of course you subscribe to the contact high version of education.

By Amy Chua's reckoning, the first and second generation Chinese should do better. SF has many of these immigrants who have yet to assimilate and move to the suburbs, yet they don't do as well as statewide. This could be a result of ELA, but even high school scores are lower.

The problem is a misuse of resources. One dollar spent at a high performing school will do X amount of good, usually determined by test scores. To get the commensurate academic gain result at a poor performing school you have to spend much more. In a business model you don't put your money where you get the least return. But education is not a business and money needs to be spent on remediation. the problem rests on the failure to exact a turnaround at SZ schools. There are taking a community school approach by bringing in wrap around services which are very expensive. If schools are going to be social service agencies they have to be funded as such. But they aren't. So instead the educational program suffers. Low test score are identified with those kids who rely most on the extra services.

AB said...

So if we accept that intelligence and SFUSD opt out are not causally linked (ie a child's intelligence does not drive their parents to opt them out of SFUSD) we can look to geography, is there something in the Bay Area that is causing low student performance?

Comparing SFUSD to San Jose shows parity at a District level (SFUSD 2 points higher) but SFUSD trailing for Asian (69), Hispanic (31), and African American (138) sub-groups. Comparing SFUSD to Oakland we see SFUSD ahead on a District level (79) but trailing for Whites (8), Hispanic (6), and African American (25) sub-groups. Framed another way, SFUSD Asians outperform Oakland counterparts (50) and SFUSD Whites outperform San Jose counterparts (7).

So not only does SFUSD trail statewide counterparts in 3 of 4 major subgoups, we trail our two major local counterparts in 6 of 8 subgroup matchups. Clearly the problems lie within the District.

I share this exercise only to further show how SFUSD fails its population across the board, no matter the comparative District or population and to reinforce one of the tenets of the original post, that SFUSD leadership is hiding the reality of its failure to improve student achievement.

Anonymous said...

I think it is that there is this general attitude in San Francisco that how long and hard you study is a taboo subject, when it is probably the most obvious factor. Many, many kids do study long hours and pay for tutors, though there are more tutoring centers per capita in San Jose. There are whole neighborhoods here hwere you rarely see a Kumon or C2C or Sylvan, for instance Bernal Heights, Glen Park, the Mission. You see organizations dedicated to the arts, sports, free writing. There is a general attitude that testing is meaningless even though it is consistently associated with both academic and life outcomes. We tend to praise the rebel who makes it big, drops out of school and gets rich, Jeff Bezos, etc. Teachers openly tell kids in middle school not to do "too much" homework and to not care if they get into Lowell. I know from personal experience, I actually had to argue with teachers who tried to convince me my kids shouldn't worry about working harder to qualify for Lowell, should just do their homework and see what they get. Many teachers here feel Lowell either shouldn't exist or should simply be a place for the kids with the best genetics in terms of testing, and many say that is only one kind of intelligence. They feel every kid should study an hour or two, then play, and if you get an A, nice, that you shouldn't strive to get in. Many parents feel differently. The hippy attitude and attitude that we are not a meritocracy doesn't encourage diligent study. When people talk about work ethic of students, they are blown off. It's almost like encouraging a football league to voluntarily not lift weights, many citizens resent the idea you should study more and longer. Many have referred to Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld as horrible people for focusing on test scores and income, saying they should focus on holistic measures of success which are difficult to measure. Then we're back where we started, talking about things we cannot measure. I know many celebrated a year of no tests. Many proclaim test scores are meaningless.

I think it is our general culture. I don't think many Cities would discourage a child from trying to get straight As, especially knowing admission to Lowell is on the line.

I recently suggested more money be spent on tutoring for disadvantaged kids at Alamo (28% free and reduced lunch) instead of the donations (some from long ago) going to P.E. and music/singing. I had a parent say test scores don't matter and when I pointed out their relation to income, she said all teachers are winners but they don't make money. I'm not sure about that, 47% come from the bottom third of college graduates. I think teaching is a mix, some sacrifice income to help children, but many aren't being heavily recruited into the higher paying jobs when they start teaching due to a low GPA or school or major. To assume most teachers would make a lot doing something else is very generous. There are many college graduates who earn less than teachers. If you graduated in the top third of college, which is I believe 24% of teachers, you probably are giving up money, but that's not true of 3/4 of teachers, so we shouldn't assume every teacher is giving up a huge income to serve children. Some went into teaching because of the job security and time off to pursue hobbies, some are artists, but some just enjoy the time off. I think you'd have to do a survey to claim that, but in San Francisco it is just assumed. Ken Tray says all 6,000 are noble people who sacrificed high earning careers for love of children and are underpaid, noble and hard working. Phooey would agree.

If someone is in the bottom third of college graduates, you can't necessarily expect them to encourage students to work longer and harder to get a better test score. It generally comes from the parents, so if parents don't do it, no one steps in in San Francisco. It's parents or an embarassment.

Anonymous said...

As to Don's recent comments, I agree. I tried to get involved in nonprofit tutoring in the Mission and found none talked about test scores on their web site, or grades. It is curious that we have so many underperforming Asians. Maybe so many being together makes some not want to work so hard just to be in the top 3d, may discourage some.

As for resources, it is true. I don't mind more money going to SZ schools, but SFUSD money should be spent on scholastics. A lot of these psychologist/social worker jobs should come out of another budget and not be done within SFUSD.

I believe the union really encourages job creation. You should hear Ken Tray when he yells about "6,000 educators", you get the feeling of 4,800 did the same thing by more focus, he wouldn't be as proud. Money on a psychologist or social worker should be used to pay a tutor for 3-5 hours. Kids need one on one time and poor kids are often not getting it at all. 3 hours a week for every kid on free or reduced lunch will do more good than all the money on consultants, bureaucrats, psychologists and the like.

We also spend a lot of money on the food, even though food stamps calculate nutritional needs and pay for enough food for every poor child, in fact you have the supreme irony of people on food stamps being obese more than those who are not on food stamps. I believe the meals should be paid for once and the excess given to tutors.

Unknown said...

AB, thanks for adding to the conversation. I appreciate that comparison with other local districts you provided. Statistics point toa problem, but those stats don't tell us the nature of the problem. Not to oversimplify, but it is clear that SFUSD is doing something wrong. Demographics cannot explain away the underperformance. However, the white outperformance shows that it isn't all doom and gloom. I'm sure that point is meaningful, but I haven't figured out what the meaning is.

Repeater @ 12:54, again? You always say "I agree". I don't even know what you are agreeing to. But you repeat yourself, Repeater. Is it some kind of compulsion for you to have to say everything over and over again? I really can't imagine that anyone is listening. It's mind-numbing. I only give your posts the briefest glance in the hope that they may contain something new. But no, just the same rehash.

Believe me, you wouldn't last one day working in an inner city school, but somehow you have all the answers. I think I can speak at least for some others here who are weary of your cheap, facile advice. Study more? Please. It's hard enough to get some of these kids just to show up let alone provide 3 hours of after school tutoring weekly. They would laugh in our face or spit in it just to spite you. Supplemental Education Services are supposed to be doing exactly what you claim is the answer and it been an unmitigated failure. KIPP doesn't say do more homework. They actually provide more class and less homework and get results. You aren't going to get anything out of these kids away from school. There are too many conflicts.

Teaching and especially in inner city schools is an incredibly hard job. It pays poorly and it's a wonder anyone does this work. These people know that there is no easy fix. When you say students just have to apply themselves and study more it's laughable. While that is obvious, it is also obvious it is more obvious you can't change people's culture and attitudes without a major shift in the way schools are run. It is a long process that takes years to turn around even in the best of circumstances. I'm not making an excuse for the status quo. What I'm saying is that your fixes are straight from the mind of the uninitiated - the modern reformist mindset that doesn't grasp the humanism in education. For you it's all input and output. Cracking the whip and Chinese water torture.

Unknown said...

Check out this article. Maybe it provides the answer as to why SFUSD does worse. If our district has seen the younger enthusiastic teacher rolls depleted like in Sacramento where they have dropped by as much as 70% since the Great Recession, the inner city schools would likely be staffed with rejects like Phooey by default - meaning by seniority. Ineffective teachers are pressured out of better schools and end up in the worse ones. SF is an expensive city and LIFO can dissuade a prospective teacher from wanting to work here in particular.

Anonymous said...

SFUSD is doing a good job. Stop defaming our teachers!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

6,000 people don't deserve to be defamed! We are unified! We do a good job! We do a very good job! This is defamation. You have no right to defame us! We sacrificed a normal life to be educators and live on a low income. We sacrifice for innocent children and you defame us!

Anonymous said...

Some teachers probably the large majority do a good job. Not all. But all are treated the same whether or not they do a good job.

AB said...

Uh, this topic thread is about the administration failing to acknowledge District achievement failures and the spin of data to cover it up.

But, if you feel the reputations of the many good teachers are being tainted by the acts of the few bad teachers you can thank/blame the unions; it is they who insist that all teachers be treated as equal and interchangeable with the only differentiation being hire date {LIFO). Teacher evaluations will allow the many great and excellent teachers to be formally recognized and acknowledged as such, and differentiated from the few bad apples that have no place in the classroom.

Unknown said...

Phooey, I don't know who you are referring to, Repeater or me, but I'm not defaming teachers. If you are going to criticize, please refer to the comment so at least we know what you are talking about - not that I really care at this point since you have repeatedly shown yourself to be beyond reason. You have criticized me incorrectly twice in the last couple of weeks, Phooey - first about a meeting which I didn't attend and then in regard to a comment I didn't make and was in fact the words of the Superintendent.

I would never accuse all teachers of the inappropriate and utterly ridiculous comments you make on this blog.

But as AB said, can we please try to stick to the main idea as he so succinctly put it?

It's clear that teacher unions won't self-identify failing teachers. It is probably too much to ask a union to weed out its own members. After all, a union is not a professional organization as much as political one. That's why we need stronger laws to make the profession stronger as there is a clear societal imperative in protecting students from ineffective teachers. I wish I could get data on this but, as you know, the unions have fought long and hard to keep STAR data from being reported by classroom and only by grade. They did this specifically to shield teachers from test score results. Had there been an functional evaluation and dismissal system in place, there could be a case made for shielding teacher from a test- only review which is one-dimensional. But without any system in place I would rather have even a one-dimensional review.

Anonymous said...

Very true, the teachers could have had a real evaluation system in place, but failed to do so, then nitpicked when someone else had an idea. It's OK to nitpick, but then replace it with something, definitely not what we had in place before.

So Don, you're saying it's impossible to get children of poor backgrounds to study more? How do Asians do it? How does Jaime Escalante do it?

You've never answered this. What is your strategy to close the achievement gap within ten years? Hispanic students are over 50% of the public school students in the State. If we can't increase the 5 hour a week study average, if that's a permanent and unyielding factor of our society, good luck closing the achievement gap. Do you think by improving teachers and making slight changes in curriculum we can close the achievement gap, raise California's standing and raise our international standing significantly?

How do you propose to get the achievement gap down to zero within ten years? I know you hate Amy Chua's strategy, but what is your strategy?

Anonymous said...

Rhere is no strategy punk. I'm a teacher and I got the email about this illogical insipid crap. Black and Hispanic kids usually could not care less about GPAs and test scores they're thrilled to make it to a state school. Asians and whites to a degree have a different culture. Stop defaming teachers. We don't decide who does their assignments. Even kids whose parents bother to come to a conference by the end of the school year are failing to turn things in and forgetting to study for tests. Asians don't do that. You will never close the achievement gap unless you convince Asians not to wor as hard which some of my colleagues do and probably is why our Asians do worse. We get sick of this unhealthy obsession with grades. Its so narrow. Stop expecting the achievent gap to close and stop defaming teachers.

Anonymous said...

That's preposterous. That's fucking ridiculous'

Anonymous said...

What's preposterous?

Anonymous said...

That no one should expect minorities to work hard and close the achievement gap and that it is defamiing teachers to say out loud what we all know that some teachers are not effective is preposterous.

Unknown said...

The commenter at 11:34 never said he didn't expect some minorities to work hard or that some teachers are not effective. He was telling you his experience as a teacher with other cultures. But, true to form, you overlay your ideas on him just as you refused to actually listen to what he had to say. And you twist his words and distorted his views to fit you own twisted ideas.

For a person who wants to preach to everyone else you ought to start by learning to read and write. For example, you said "Very true, the teachers could have had a real evaluation system in place, but failed to do so, then nitpicked when someone else had an idea. It's OK to nitpick, but then replace it with something, definitely not what we had in place before."

What is this crap? It has the quality od a nine year old. You are making a damn fool of yourself. And you just don't give a damn about anyone else by continuously refusing to follow the focus of the thread.

Your childish plea to close the achievement gap in ten years is analogous to asking how to end world hunger, war, inhumanity to man or any other intractable aspect of the human condition.

Unless you want me to delete your comments, be respectful or go away, preferably the latter.

Anonymous said...

Don you are being mean-spirited rather than constructive. The point is, we know bad teachers are protected. The people who fight change want to appear to object to certain aspects of the proposals, but in reality, they reject to a change in the fact that it is nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher. They don't dislike the idea to use test scores because they think it's inaccurate, but because it will change the fact that it is prohibitively expensive to fire bad teachers. They focus on the individuality of proposals not as a means of bettering them, but as a means of maintaining the status quo.

Teachers and the union could have come up with another system whereby the same percentage of teachers is removed as, say, public defenders or prosecuting attorneys for the City, which isn't high, but isn't zero either. They haven't proposed any because they favor the status quo. They know teachers often grow complacent and like that they can be complacent. I believe Ken Tray likes the fact that he can say he'll take a sick day because someone disagrees with him on another issue.

If I were an executive at Google and said my idea for neighborhood schools caused people to argue with me, so I may call in sick tomorrow, my boss might fire me, as it would pretty much encourage people to call in sick when not really honestly sick. It's not what a leader in a profession does, outside of teaching.

You often understand my points but pretend not to just as a way of being ornery. It's a rhetorical technique on your part, you do understand but pretend not to to attempt to gain leverage, which is why usually when I do clarify you either still pretend not to get it, ignore the question but look for minor issues to nitpick about, change the subject or ignore it. You make it not useful to explain myself because your goal isn't to understand me, you understood me in the first place but pretended not to, your goal is to be argumentative just for the sake of it because I don't agree with every point you make.

I think the 11:34 poster made a good point about some kids' parents not showing up and some teachers discouraging hard work. I've been the victim of that myself. But he seems to believe it should be taboo to ever criticize a teacher, that it's OK to call people punk, and that it's defaming teachers to not support the status quo. I believe his or her main goal was pro status quo.

Now you suddenly seem to be backing LIFO. I can't understand why unless it's just to be provocative.

Unknown said...

I didn't start this blog to have the same conversation over and over like the movie Groundhog Day. Is that really so hard for you to understand?

Imagine you were a reporter asking different questions but no matter what questions you asked one person keeps giving the same answer over and over while others provide interesting new answers for each question. Why would you ever ask that person anything?

This thread is about why SFUSD is higher performing. Got it, Repeater?

I don't have the answers, but that doesn't mean another answer is correct. Duh? If you respond with another off-topic comment you won't see it long up on the board.

Anonymous said...

Oh balderdash, just a bunch of rubbish. To achieve your maximum potential you'd have to do nothing but study and exercise and sleep. Rubbish!

Unknown said...

Rubbish is right and the fact that it is totally off topic is why I deleted the last six comments. If you don't like following the standard blog rules you're free to go elsewhere.

Much of the stuff is so poorly written it's hard to understand. Though we do share some similar views like the need for union and statutory reform, that's about where any agreement ends.

You can spend all day long writing posts, but if they are off topic I don't care what they say. I will delete them.

Anonymous said...

So Don, to keep it simple, how will you close the achivement gap, which you attack SFUSD for not doing, without addressing effort? Is firing Carranza enough? Can you do it in the curriculum? If you ere going to close the gap without changing effort, a taboo subject, you'd have to somehow do a better job teaching the underperforming groups, or magically teach them so well they get it by osmosis and somehow get equal grades with less effort, just by the services being so amazing.

So Don, what is your magic bullet?

I already told you I agree that SFUSD isn't doing as well as they claim and are probably running things worse than SDUSD and SJUSD but do better only because there are more Asians here. If that's the only thing to discuss, I run out of things to say, the answer is yes, is this a poll or a blog?

Anonymous said...

I'm lost. What do you mean is this a poll or a blog? Who is Don, the moderator? Who wrote the post "Is SFUSD REALLY HIGHER ACHIEVING?" Don? Are all the posts written by the same person?

I read it a couple of times and I thought it was a worthy effort at shedding light on some darkness. It made me think about why have I never heard this before? Maybe the media is complicit in a cover-up or maybe it doesn't like to speak badly of schools. Maybe they think its bullying. Maybe no one gives a hoot about test scores.

I don't understand the comment from above. the essay from above isn't about the achievement gap . It isn't about solutions either. Are you asking for a magic bullet or are you kidding? It is hard to tell. There are no magic bullets. That's why they're called magic bullets.

Anonymous said...

I do believe the media doesn't like to talk bad about schools. I think Don brings up a great point but he wants us to all discuss it following a rule that certain subjects are taboo, yet those are the reasons for the problem. I believe test scores are primarily a result of IQ, which is average over population groups, and effort, which is higher in some races, cities and classes than others. What we're talking about is test scores.

Don feels that SFUSD is at fault for this and is doing something wrong, however he doesn't feel that they are failing to get kids to learn from top students or study more hours, he feels it's something else and that shouldn't even be mentioned.

What I'm trying to figure out is what does he feel they are doing wrong? I know he's upset about the funding and feels the trophy schools should get more money and services. Maybe this would help our Asians get even higher, a partial solution. My question was more, what can we do to raise Latino and African American test scores to the level in San Diego and San Jose and even LA, which I believe is a pretty poorly run district most with money avoid, even liberals like Matt Damon, without changing effort?

Services? Tutors? What should SFUSD be doing? I know he feels Carranza should be fired, but what would a good Superintendent be doing differently which would solve this problem.

Unknown said...

First of all, 10:57, welcome to the blog. I write the posts and, as you can see, I comment frequently as well. Others can submit guest posts by email which I will put on the board if it is reasonable, decently crafted and makes sense. It does not have to be in line with my own views or opinions. Suggested topics are also considered.

The person commenting above is what is known on blogs as a hi-jacker. He wants to turn every post topic into something else- almost always either about study habits and cultural change or union reform and "bad teachers". He doesn't understand the difference between taboo and off-topic.

There are no taboo education subjects on this blog. There are subjects that are off-topic depending upon the post though generally I don't moderate unless the comment is persistently and entirely off-topic. I don't want to see every thread devolve into those same two subjects or be an Amy Chua love fest just because Repeater can't think of anything else to say and is obsessed with a couple of issues.

For your information I have discussed cultural change at length and I support removal of LIFO and some major relaxations of the strict tenure and seniority laws as they affect teachers. I'm clarifying this since, Repeater @ 3:40, is in the habit of shamelessly speaking falsely on behalf of other people. I'm not particularly a religious man, but bearing false witness is unpleasant form of behavior and people who attempt to persuade that way have to be red-flagged. They have no business telling anyone about good behavior or proper morals. Repeater is the same person who comments on other blogs under various aliases. In this case he seems to want to persuade you not to participate on this blog. I hope he won't succeed.

Lastly, the subject of home life and study habits are an important one for education, but it is also the most intractable part of the reform/progress pictures. It is very difficult for schools to change people's habits which is the same in many cases to changing cultural standards. As one teacher recently commented he cannot make students do their assignment, especially if they don't care about grades or have support from home. Schools could increase the school day and/or rearrange it to provide more assistance, but these changes are systemic and would require huge costs increases. It isn't clear whether disengaged students would benefit at all or whether a longer school day wouldn't increase the dropout rate.

Regarding tiger mom Amy Chua, attempting to press one culture over the top of another has been tried many times throughout history and failed miserably. She even mentions that in her book. For good to come out of cultural change it has to be an organic process. the community leaders need to work from the inside out to get students on board.

Anonymous said...

The answer is obvious. This city has so many fun things to do. Why should children study all day and night? There's more to life than that! Let kids be kids and stop putting them in an Amy Chua prison camp.

Anonymous said...

But do all these fun things help them afford San Francisco later in life? Or is it a revolving door, parents struggle to move here, kids have so much fun they can't afford it and leave when they grow up?

Don, my question is, since you want Carranza fired, what do you believe should be done? Agreed, habits are hard to drastically change, but what should we do to get higher scores per race than LAUSD, SDUSD, SJUSD, Sacramento, Fresno, etc?

Should we make the City more boring? 12:23 seems to feel the problem is there are too many distractions, too much fun. However, they may feel that the API score is not a problem, that we should be happy 3 of 4 primary races do worse because they are having more fun than their racial counterparts in more boring and less expensive cities, which may cause a revolving door, especially as costs rise.

Is the answer to provide more and more housing fast enough to lower cost?

Anonymous said...

Hi Don. This is lost at 10:57. Thank you for the detailed response. I see your predicament. Repeeter seems sincere about his concerns, but is completely uninterested in following the everyday blogging guidelines. He or she's beating her own path. You have a good blog and you want to protect it. How bout requiring registration?

Floyd Thursby said...

I really honestly don't understand the point of this whole piece and what the criticism is. I keep asking and no one answers. You can't change study hours, but you want to change the low performance of these groups. How? It sounds like Dennis Kelly, we can change the curriculum. How? What can we change if effort is off the table. We have to get kids more productive in the same time. Tutoring? Don seems to be against that. So what is the plan? What are even some ideas? I get it, no talk about effort, but then what is it that we change? If we do the same, why complain?

Anonymous said...

Maybe we just should accept it. We should just not complain about the achievement gap or being behind other localities.

I am trying to imagine what someone could suggest as the way to fix this that Don wouldn't be mad at.

Now let's look at it this way.

1. You have to raise our achievement for 3 of 4 ethnic groups.

2. You can't change effort.

3. You can't fire bad teachers unless you win a lawsuit.

4. You also have to close the achievement gap.

5. You can't provide tutoring or longer school days because Don says this will make more drop out.

It's like one of those ancient mazes.

It's like saying, you have to lose 10 lbs., but you can't exercise more and you have to eat as much as you have been.

And if you talk about those things I'll call you a moron and insult you. But you have to find a way, we should all be enraged at SFUSD and want to fire the superintendent because 3 of 4 groups are behind.

Carranza and the lot of them did something horrible, something worth firing, but I can't say what.

Good luck with that one. It's like an ancient riddle from 'Clash of the Titans'.

I don't think it can be done.

I'm trying to imagine a suggestion Don wouldn't be enraged at, that he would find useful, which doesn't violate any of his rules of repeating or taboos.

I give up.

Let's all just accept it. If Don can't even suggest a strategy to do this according to those rules, I think it's time to stop demanding they fire Carranza for it. With that many rules, I don't think Geoffrey Canada, Jaime Escalante, Ms. Montesori, Michelle Rhee, Amy Chua and ten other geniuses could find a way to close the achievement gap or even raise 3 of 4 groups' scores. To boot for pointing it out they're a moron.

So let me get this straight, you couldn't come up with anything, but I'm a moron. So you're smart somehow but you have no solution? Yet you demand others be fired because they have no solution? That's insanity. You'll quit on every goal you ever have if you create such riddles. You'll work yourself into an illogical crazed feeling of rage with everyone you try to join and then quit. That's the only solution to such a riddle, to accept it and give up. You've basically admitted there is no other strategy, but you couldn't do it gracefully, you had to make me the bad guy for pointing it out. To me that's insanity.

Unknown said...

Look at the title of the post. Stop blaming other people. Isn't that what you are always saying? It isn't anyone else's fault that you can't follow the discussion.

Unknown said...

Look, I'm not responsible for what other people write. If someone insults you blame them. Since you have written comments falsely attributing ideas to me, I'm really not to concerned about how you are treated. Nevertheless, insults are bad for the blog and I delete them for that reason. If you are being insulted you might want to ask yourself why a person might refer to you in the pejorative.

Anonymous said...

Don, what is your solution? No one can be blamed, effort can't be considered, only funding. OK so say we distribute funding more evenly, maybe our Asians would reach the level of Asians in other Cities, but that would presumably cause our black and Latino students to do worse or at least no better than now, assuming the excess money is a waste. So how would reducing this money cause them to do better than they are now?

Unknown said...

After some consideration I suspect that the explanation for the lower numbers, at least as it concerns blacks, (I'm not talking about differences between subgroups i.e., achievement gap) is due to distinctions within the lower socioeconomic class group. The free and reduced number is based upon a threshold and it does not differentiate between levels under the threshold. I'm not sure about Latinos or Asians, but the African American population in SF has seen a steep drop in its middle class component due to cost of living. This may hold true for Latinos and Asians as well. I haven't done the research, but I know it holds true for blacks because this issue of middle class black flight has been reported on frequently. If the middle class leaves how can the lower class stay? That is due to section 8 and other public assistance programs. Remember, this district is not that big and a few thousand can sway the numbers dramatically. None of this is to say that more academic focus wouldn't help blacks, but the other subgroups do poorer as well so we talking about something else than effort related causes unless there is some sociological data to show that effort in SF is lower than average, the silly comment by someone about all the fun things to do in SF not withstanding.

It would make economic sense that other groups would leave for the same reason. Perhaps only the white population can afford SF without Federal assistance or poorer Chinese who have a strong family support network.

Regarding Floyd's interminable complaint, let me put it this way. Let's say that instead of a blog this was a radio show like Forum. If the subject was why SFUSD did relatively poorly overall, constant calls about how to solve the achievement gap would not be pertinent. This is simply not the subject under discussion. Why does Floyd have such a hard time understanding this simple concept? If he wants answers to that question go back to other posts. I think I addressed that to some degree in ten school reforms.

Effort can be considered if that was a consideration within the topic under discussion. Funding equity would likely increase overall scores. Dramatic funding increases at the lower end has been shown by me to have minimal effect and lower funding wouldn't reduce achievement by the same token. However, funding balance that focuses some additional resources towards excellence would have an effect because high performing student have been shown to take advantage of educational opportunities to a greater extent. A little balance is all - not pulling the rug out of remediation efforts. Just a recognition that achievement gains at all levels is essential to educational progress. The bottom quintile is not going to be America's engine, though they certainly could be a hindrance. Everyone deserves a great education but not everyone will take advantage of it. We should put our money where it does the most good for society.

Floyd, have you ever thought about getting tested for ADHD or OCD? There's no shame in it. ADHD runs in my family

Anonymous said...

How do you get tested for that? Is it expensive?

I guess that's what I learned growing up. If you're on a team that's not as talented, sometimes you can push harder, sacrifice more, and win. If you lose, you keep trying. I believe if we all in San Francisco unified behind civic pride and all worked harder and pushed for everyone to do so, it would make a difference.

But many believe it is bad to work too hard, so we fall into the average.

Outside of that, you are right that they are throwing good money after bad. What SFUSD has failed at and the fact that Washington DC spends 30k per pupil for nothing shows that money can't make lower class kids perform better. Maybe it's because effort is never addressed. It is with Geoffrey Canada, and he gets results, but a lot of people criticize him and say it's only about the extra money he gets in donations.

That is the problem, people not taking advantage of it.

I don't believe it is how much you spend but how intelligently you spend it. For instance, SFUSD is getting a lot more money. The union has been active in opposing alternative spending ideas in favor of an across the board salary increase of record proportions.

There is a good chance this extra money will come and go and the achievement gains be barely recognizable. We are about to waste a historic opportunity. The union opposes hiring more tutors, because if it's shown to work, this will take money out of base salaries determined by seniority and tenure. Once it's in, you can't cut it. I think we should be very conservative about salary increases and build up a rainy day fund to prevent a similar scenario to what we had and leave some flexibility, we should build a significant nest egg. But Dennis Kelly is screaming at meetings that they have the money, and must spend it on across the board increases.

Anonymous said...

From UESF, the new money according to them should only go towards making SF affordable for teachers, which as we know as there is more growth, sets up all increases to go towards an unquenchable problem which can never be solved:

SFUSD Suggests Only $13 Million Available to be Split Between Educators & School Sites
March 5, 2014

At the bargaining table on February 26th, SFUSD administrators presented their understanding of the district budget for the coming three years. Despite an influx of significant resources, the district claimed that only $13 million was available in the coming year – to be split between funding school sites and compensation and benefits for UESF members.The presentation raised serious questions about the commitment the SFUSD is ready to make to ensure educators can afford to live in the most expensive city in the nation. A troubling new report from Redfin shows just how expensive San Francisco is.

For more, read the next edition of UESF Table Talk.

Sign up for the next contract campaign training on March 12th.

Contract Negotiations Open With SFUSD: Several Proposals Exchanged in Productive First Day
February 24, 2014

Unknown said...

A district has to spend the money it gets or it has to return it to the state. It cannot save state apportionments for a rainy day fund.

I don't understand why you are copying an article about contract negotiations on this thread. What does that have to do with this post?

But since you brought up teacher salaries, they have actually dropped from 5 years ago. In general teachers deserve a raise as SFUSD is lower than average and a raise is long in the tooth. This is a different issue than merit pay, statutory reform, etc. Maybe some undeserving teachers shouldn't get a raise, but most are deserving and it is long overdue. Linking a raise to some reforms is not going to happen. Reform, if it happens at all, will be done through the court irrespective of teacher salaries.

Anonymous said...

You were for it before you were against it. You sound like John Kerry.

Anonymous said...

Don, you're saying it has to be spent on teachers, but teachers haven't closed the achievement gap or raised scores. What if we do a small raise of 2%, and say we'll look into a bigger one next year if the absenteeism dips well below last year's 7.5% and 12% on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving? Also, since it's 2 and they could afford 4, we put half into hiring more people, tutors, to do what teachers and the curriculum haven't, tutor every child whose test scores are not proficient or advanced at least in 2d, 3d, 4th and 5th grades. This will take underperforming middle schools like Denman, MLK, VV, and make them significantly better in a few years, if you can raise the test scores of all the kids feeding into them. This would be a more goal oriented rather than across the board strategy. I think any significant raise should await a fixing of the 12% absenteeism Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Don, you say that it can only be done in the courts. The problem is, it takes a unique combination, a ton of money which usually comes from a few wealthy people who care enough to help.

However, the educational labor establishment is going on blogs saying it shouldn't be done in the courts, only by the legislature, and they individualize it to say it's just rich people, and say bring another lawsuit some day equally funded by millions of poor people, but they know poor don't donate to this much, and someone would have to organize it, and then they can nitpick at it and complain about that.

If someone does that, they'll still complain. They'll do nothing to fix it, but they'll complain and complain and complain and complain and complain.

Then they say go to the legislature, but the legislature is controlled by the union dues. About 75% of Californians support ending LIFO, but the legislature is so intimidated they won't even make it easier to fire molesters for union opposition. So they are directing the movement to another area then trying to prevent a vote based on public opinion and force one based on control by the union, knowing they will win.

You're kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't. They come up with some way to villainize it either way.

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem as I see it. We just moved here from NYC where my daughter attended Kindergarten.mshe is now in 1st grade in SFUSD - at a "top" school. She is basically repeated what she learned in PRE-K!
The school day is 6 hours long. This includes 1 hour for lunch and Recess. 1/2 hour for Music, 1/2 hour for Art, 1/2 hour for PE, etc.etc. when do they actually TEACH the kids. Their is no clear path of academics. I now understand why so many are flocking to parochial schools. SFUSD is the worst.