Monday, April 7, 2014


SFUSD claims the Superintendent Zones are a giant success. Nine of these schools received School Improvement Grants funding totaling $45M over the 2011, 2012 and 2013 school years. Yet, a cursory review of the achievement data paints another picture.

Of the sixteen schools in the Zones, nine of them had lower scores in 2013 compared to 2012. Comparing the 2013 scores with the scores from 2010, the last year before the start of the SIG program, four schools had lower scores, two of which were significantly lower, Malcolm X and Drew. Five schools posted total gains under 25 points during these years, representing a statistically insignificant increase. Three schools posted mediocre to average gains between 25 and 69 points. Four schools posted gains between 70 and 121.  These schools were Buena Vista Horace Mann, Everett, Muir and Revere. Of the sixteen schools  a majority of nine failed to outperform the district as a whole. You have to wonder how the media can overlook the widespread failure of the Superintendent Zones.

Should SFUSD close down the program for most of the schools and stop spending money without reasonable results?


Anonymous said...

Don, are you sure about those numbers? It's hard to believe this school district would blatantly lie if those numbers are accurate.

Anonymous said...

So what is your solution Don? Stop spending money on anyone poor or disadvantaged or not white (or Asians, your wonderful heroes who study a bazillion hours a week even if staving in a ditch dizzy from beatingswith their incredible work ethics!) You never have a proposal to close the achievement gap. Yes, it's difficult Don, it's difficult to teach people who had their land stolen and mothers molested and families torn apart and fathers whipped and cocaine brought in by the CIA and children beaten and raped by a racist NAZI nation! It's difficult to make them single-minded money-obsessed slave-clones who want to study and forget all the abuse they've endured at the hands of selfish, mean racist white men.

So what is your solution? Just give all the money to the west side schools? Or equal money, pretending their is no PTA advantage or historical racism advantage?

You never have a solution to the achievement gap Don, never any compassion for the oppressed, you just want to criticize us in the trenches trying to overcome racism from rich Pacific Heights people like you!


Don Krause said...

It's funny you should ask that. I did list ten school reforms in an older post. You only have excuses for why your students can't succeed and never will succeed. Historical racism. Jews don't plead this case. You know why? Because it's a dumb case.

You work, well... on the days you feel like it, "in the trenches", yet all you can do is complain about why people can't succeed. You are the very teacher with the low expectations that everyone from the governor down wants to get rid of.

A person can come up with all the excuses she wants, but in the end, one has to decide whether to live - to move forward or wallow in the past. You are the biggest obstacle to the future of your students, not some historical demon.

You are enabling people to live in the past because it suits you to keep your oppression mentality, otherwise you'd be an empty shell. But all this political posturing is really just an excuse to hide the fact that as a teacher you suck. No good teacher would ever speak such flagrant nonsense.

Don Krause said...

Regarding the first comment, I did not post the data because it is readily available and if you are skeptical of the accuracy of my summary you'd be skeptical of the data I posted, too. But you can go to the SFUSD website and select any of the 16 schools and see the chart of 2010-2014 scores. My numbers are taken directly from those charts.

Anonymous said...

They need tutors, not social workers. They're spending money in ways which don't work. These kids need one on one time because they have terrible parents. It's not poverty it's effort.

AB said...

By partitioning schools into Superintendent Zones, or any other arbitrary pool of schools, the district is, in effect, ignoring the kids who need help in the rest of the District. We can look at proficiency percentages by school, by grade, by race, it doesn't matter - across the board sub 70% proficiency is disgraceful.

The District says that if you live in a CTIP1 area you have the luxury of 'jumping the line' to get into a 'good' school or you could go to a school closer to home where the district is pouring in resources (all superintendent zone schools are in CTIP1 neighborhoods). What a conflicted message - stay or go, what's a parent to do?

I am all for closing the achievement gap but it seems the District is focused on a select population at the expense of the rest of their students. We will never know how these schools would have fared without the $45MM infusion but the results are certainly disappointing. $45MM buys a lot of books for ALL school libraries or pays for many tutor hours to help ALL kids who need support and extra attention.

I have to go with failure.

Anonymous said...

I agree AB, it's failure. The saddest thing is they have had no impact. Tutors would have had an impact but would have put money in a pool outside of salaries. The union has opposed more money for tutoring. They prefer "consultants" who have no impact and make life easier on "administrators". What a joke! Give that money to someone with focus and they could have turned that money into a full close of the achievement gap.

Don Krause said...

I was reading an article in the Examiner from awhile ago about when Arne Duncan came to SF to celebrate the success of SIG. Of course he went to Everett, one of only four schools and the top school in the Superintendent Zones to have actually outperformed by an appreciable degree. That 12 of the 16 schools barely tread water or that a majority of SIG schools were able to post little more than average scores didn't matter. It was the photo op that mattered.

My friends, we are getting so screwed. LCFF is the nail in the coffin. By making almost all spending unrestricted it gives districts carte blanche to do as they like. Mark my words, in a district like SFUSD it is a free pass to move money wherever its leaders want to w/o any accountability for spending.

If you have kids in public school you really have to think carefully about what to do in the next few years.

Don Krause said...

I'm not sure I agree with the blanket concept of tutors as the answer. First of all, you'd have to have a high quality and extremely large tutoring pool that could simultaneously tutor thousands of students. You can't do the tutoring during the school day because the students would miss class. Then they'd have to all be aligned with the same curriculum. Most people in a tutoring profession have some reason why they are not working as teachers. Often they don't have credentials or they can't work during normal hours. It is not a practicable solution. It makes more sense to have students in some groups with teachers. Then there the problem of getting kids to go to tutoring after a full day of school and, if and when they get there, having the motivation to apply themselves.

Anonymous said...

That's what the union wants Don. You go give Ken Tray a big hug, and Dennis Kelly a ....well.....bump, hugging him is perhaps physically impossible.

Don Krause said...

I'm not going to disagree with Kelly just because he's Kelly. The schools will succeed on what they do or don't do, not on what happens after school when students may or may not show up. There's a reason why tutoring is not a mass education tool. It is too expensive and it is uneven.

AB said...


Your warning re LCFF is ominous. I, for one, am not sticking around to experience the likely carnage. I'm done with SFUSD, heading to private school next year.

Don Krause said...

I don't blame you for looking out for the best interests of your child. As I understand it, you've had almost a full year in the public schools to inform your decision.

I can hope that I'm wrong and the additional funding in the form of the base grant will translate into additional and commensurate funding at school sites. Based upon experience, I wouldn't bet on it.

Anonymous said...

AB, I think you should read 'The Public School Advantage'. Studies show you spend a lot of money for no actual educational advantage. I don't think it will be as bad as you fear. Do what you like but think about it. Especially if you are in a good school, the good schools are still good schools. I'm still very happy with Alamo. Could it be better? Sure, and Don is right about that, Lowell doesn't even get it's fair share but it's the best high school in Nor Cal public or private by far if you look at statistics. Would you rather have your kid graduate from Lowell, which gets less funding than any other high school, or a high school in DC which has metal detectors and horrible test scores and spends $30,000 per pupil, over triple and probably quadruple Lowell? My point is, LCFF and funding aren't everything. Lowell is even better than Marin Day which spends over 40k per child, statistically, because the kids are hungrier and work harder, and not just academically, in terms of sports, clubs, arts, etc. Money isn't everything.

Anonymous said...

Pubic schools are a disaster. You're doing the right thing by getting out.

AB said...

Don is correct, our decision is informed by our experience at a (highly regarded) SFUSD school. I have no significant issues or concerns with teachers or the overall environment and experience, there are many super-dedicated staff, parents, and volunteers. My primary concerns are 1) lack of resources and 2) low academic standards.

I remain an advocate for improving public education as I see education as the fundamental building block to advancing society and civilization. I have seen, first hand, the challenges of educating a diverse population from varied cultural, economic, social backgrounds, and family environments - it is not any easy task. However, I take issue with how the District chooses to prioritize and allocate its resources - enrollment, financial, human - and am not willing to let my child be part of their social engineering experiment.

Don Krause said...

I have to take issue with the comment @ 10:35. There are many great public schools and many families are quite satisfied overall with the education received. That doesn't mean it will work for everyone, but we should try to stay away from flaming the public school system. I have my concerns about SFUSD, but the district hasn't managed to ruin everything just yet. Still, I can understand those who just can't commit to a system like this. The other side of the coin is that you have zero say-so when it comes to a private. You either buy into it or you get out.

Anonymous said...

You have to think of the effects of opting out on those who have no such option. You may think of it as an individual, but lots do the same thing, I wouldn't be a part of saying my child shouldn't be in something others should, which is essentially what you're saying, it's a caste system, it's outrageous my child be a part of it, but it is perfectly acceptable others be a part of it. I believe we have to fix it as a team and that if everyone were in public schools, there is no way you wouldn't be able to fire a bad teacher or we'd have the achievement gap we have, it would be unacceptable and we'd fix it. The most powerful opt out, and we lose that voice. We have to work as a team.

I was surprised by the findings of The Public School Advantage, but I must say anecdotally, I find it to be true in San Francisco. People who are dedicated and high income have not only helped the cause of social and racial integration by going public, an important cause to not opt out of, but they have also not caused any worse of an education for their own children. I know my kids go to Alamo, but I know many whoh have sent their kids to James Lick, Denman and other schools and had better results than many who went private.

I've had many friends who felt private was the only option who then tried to get their kids into Lowell and they didn't qualify, friends who spent 20-30k a year while I spent 0. I've seen some do very well in private, but most do poorly. I had a good friend talk about how terrible Presidio was, send her daughter to a private school, and she got sexually active at 13 and got kicked out. I've had several others hopelessly underqualified for Lowell, take the test and be in the 75th percentile while my kids have been in the 97-100th percentile. This is purely anecdotal, but when combined with 'The Public School Advantage' findings, I feel I made the right decision, both in terms of an inclusive society and in terms of my own children.

People used to say James Lick was unthinkable, but I know several families who rode James Lick right to Lowell and whose kids are thriving there, and several others who went to Burke and couldn't get into Lowell. I only mention Lowell as it is a good barometer of how well you are raising your child. People can always say their kid is doing great, but you need statistics to back that up, and Lowell provides a fair barometer, as do test scores.

'The Public School Advantage' used test scores, and it's findings were comprehensive.

As a somewhat conservative (by SF standards) reformer, I also lament the loss of those who would advocate common sense reforms to the system, who would go to board meetings, maybe run for school board, back a candidate, etc. If those who are unhappy opt out, change is that much more difficult.

This is just one person's opinion, with a few facts to back up certain parts.

AB said...

@11:06 Your anecdotal evidence notwithstanding I think the preponderance of evidence supports going private in SF is a positive experience for the majority who go given the generally full classes and growth in private school offerings available.

I agree with Don that there are many good public schools in San Francisco, we are currently at one. The decision to go private is based on our experience and what we feel is best for our child.

It's a bit like eating in Las Vegas: You can go to the Circus Circus buffet for under $20.00 and be full but sometimes you want something a little more elegant with more refined choices so you pay the price and go to Charlie Palmers. You are still full, but the experience is very different.

Don Krause said...

11:06 believes that exiting the public school system is a kind of treason or even worse - racist. Nevertheless, he supports the charter movement which is the same thing as going private, but even more problematic for public schools for a number of reasons not apropos to this conversation.

Whereas many wealthy San Franciscans have a tradition of private school participation, in your case, AB, it is a practical decision based upon your family's particular needs and wants.

If you only look at test scores as 11:06 is apt to do though not entirely, sure, many publics compete favorably. But private school offers a range of other school characteristics that public schools don't usually offer and most don't have the test score mania that has pervaded and tarnished the school system for its missteps as in CCSS.

Like you said, AB, sometimes you want something different. And because the teacher's unions have fought long and hard to maintain the established 20th Century model while districts have been bought off to comply, there's every good reason to be shopping around - especially when it comes to the giving your daughter what you feel would be in her best interests.

Anonymous said...

It's not the same as the quality of food you eat or the car you drive or anything like that because it has deep impacts on the society we want to become and want to be. It isn't one person with individual concerns, 50% of the whites in SF go private, causing severe segregation problems worse statistically than Mississippi or Texas. There is no advantage to the test scores for doing so, yet it does harm African American and Latino children who don't have the same option wealthier whites have due to historical racism. So in a sense, you are saying black and Latino children in this generation deserve to suffer compared to other children because they did in previous generations due to institutionalized racism. Our decisions aren't made in a vacuum and have deep impacts on other people. You take reformers out of the system, and it removes the pressure for change. If 20 parents got behind someone wanting to challenge LIFO and make the funding more equal and provide services which really help poor students instead of wasteful ones, make the tests more relevant, etc., I mean really support one, not just talk and come once but work a few hours a week for 6 months, they could easily get such people onto the school board. However, all the parents with the resources and time to do so opt out and go private. You can't perpetuate the myth that someone is not just "a practical decision based upon your family's particular needs and wants", which makes it seem like a low impact individual decision without deeper ramifications on the vulnerable children without such options. You have to always remember, if some people as you say make decisions "based on our experience and what we feel is best for our child." but some don't have the ability to make such decisions based on historical racism, you are in effect perpetuating the sins of the previous generation far into the future.

We need a solution that takes into account every child, not just our own, if we want to have a more equitable society going forward. It is not just one person making one decision, it's a class thing, it's some people being able to make decisions others can't, it's a permanent caste system.

I would support a private school system if it were vouchers and everyone could sign up, rich and poor, and the poor were subsidized.

But a walk from Burke and Hamlin to Cobb and Bryant shows, in spite of a few tokens, the goal is to keep kids apart, from forming friendships across racial and class lines, and to be separate from "those people". You see, it's the students as much as the teachers that are the issue.

If it can't be proven to improve a child's test scores to go private, the individual decision based on what's best for a child assumes that what's best is keeping them away from the poor and black and brown.

I used to hear in the '70s and '80s that people would go private for a generation to give the public school system time to fix things, but by opting the powerful out, they took away the pressure to change and we still have LIFO and other atrocities, because it isn't important to the people who are really important to those in power. In this age of unlimited political donations, expect us to become more class divided, more separate, if our schools remain more segregated than those in red states like Texas and Mississippi, in which a white child is 3x as likely to go to a school which is over 25% black and Latino.

These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

You can imagine yourself an individual, but you are part of a white Aryan resistance movement to rebel against integration and hold back equality, in the name of individualism.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you write about racism and past sins and not atoning for them. But it would create a world in which people didn't hatefully try to fire people. You on the one hand are concerned with the horrible apartheid that is San Francisco and the hypocrisy of many who pretend to be progressive but are really quite conservative in every way that counts. But your solution is not for equity it's for treating teachers like farmhands and at will employees. This is horrible. You can't have one form of justice in terms of integrating the schools along with one form of injustice and hate. Phooey!

Anonymous said...

If you knew the history of the Pinkertons and the beatings and how teachers were once treated you would see we are on the same side as the poor oppressed children, not the rich children running away to avoid them. We are liberal victims, noble, hated, degraded, defamed, oppressed, blamed for things that are the fault of the rich. You are trying to divide us and you can't have it both ways. You are either for progress or against progress. Phooey!

Anonymous said...

Phooey you are not liberal victims, you are college educated professionals fairly well paid, maybe a bit underpaid in most cases but partially because you insist on defending your worst so voters are reluctant to vote for higher pay until that is fixed. I'm sorry, a child in the projects or a small shared apartment or basement room or with a single mother and no one teaching them to read is way more a liberal victim than an adult with a solid job and a college degree. No one is saying all teachers should be fired, just the small percentage who don't do their job, but if everyone is a liberal victim then no one is, and it undermines the whole logic behind social justice. Teachers make over 50k, over 80 by the end, and have summers off, I know most work hard and are underpaid but it's an above average income and doesn't qualify you as a liberal victim of racism or oppression. The kids in the Bayview and Tenderloin and Mission are the victims here, and we need to guarantee teacher quality so the victimhood ends this generation and success comes to the next.

Don Krause said...

AS long as you don't send your own kids to the schools that need them you are not walking the walk. It's easy to say - someone else should do it, it's not in my neighborhood, I didn't make the SAS, my grandmother is sick or whatever. But the point is that you want other people to do what you won't and you have the temerity to call it a moral decision. Apparently that only applies to other people.

Anonymous said...

I believe in neighborhood schools with busing. If you are rich from an area with average schools, you should go there, or middle class. No one should live near a school and not be allowed to go. This is about people who live right near a school knocking others out who live near that school under the guise of adding diversity, but they aren't diverse. That makes no sense.

Don Krause said...

Your comment makes no sense. Neighborhood schools with busing is an oxymoron. You cannot make a guarantee to neighbors and then say a certain amount of space must be made available for others, bused in or not. Also,busing is a thing of the past. The State has pulled most of the money for it and districts cannot afford to do it, though they are required to do so in some cases. Do you really want the District to spend its money on gasoline? If you bus some kids in you must move others out against their will. Is that what you want?

Anonymous said...

No, I've explained this before, why did this come back to the top? OK, I think you should only bus in, not out. If you say that the disadvantaged can get in but they can't get themselves there, but then the advantaged from near the disadvantaged who can afford it can drive there, you get it worse. The goal is integrated schools and a convenient commute. I say, only bus targeted minorities into the schools which would be all white/Asian, i.e. bus in blacks and Latinos from the East to the West. Don't bus anyone out. Re-open Cabrillo, expand schools if need be. No one should be bused.

The way you make this work is you make it impossible for white and Asian, non-poor people, to get into a West Side school, they need to build Bernal, Tenderloin, , Excelsior, Fillmore, SoMa, BayView, Glen Park, etc.

You can do both. You just don't want to so you constantly say you can't. Anything you oppose you say can't be done. You play it off like you oppose the status quo bureaucracy, but you love it when it helps your view point.

You can't consider housing costs, unless it's fire/police/DMV/anything but teachers. You can't add from general budget, except San Jose, Manteca and San Diego do, and many places in other states.

What about people who say you can never change tenure and have merit pay and teacher evaluation, that LIFO is set in stone? It is now, but is it permanently?

You focus too much on bureaucracy and reasons we can't. I don't think your techniques will ever lead to the actual reform and change you desire.