Elizabeth Weise

What can parents and communities do to create socioeconomically integrated schools?

4,000 more kids in private school in San Francisco since 2009

A total of 14 new private schools have opened, or plan to open, in San Francisco since 2009. That’s in addition to a new charter school that is launching next year.

Fifteen new schools.

Even if each of these schools only has 30 kids per grade, which is probably on the low side, that’s 450 more kids in private school per grade per year than there were in 2009.

That’s around 4,000 more students in private school in San Francisco than there were in 2009.

Contrast that with the public system. For the fall of 2015, SFUSD had 364 more applicants for K – 12 seats than it had in the fall of 2014. (Here’s the data.) And we don’t know how many of those who applied will actually attend.

Clearly, someone (a lot of someones) see a niche that’s not being filled by our public schools.

Given as we don’t live in a totalitarian society, we can’t force parents to send their children to public schools. Instead, we need to deal with this head-on and find ways to change it by making them want to go public. There’s been a lot of excellent effort by PPS, schools and parents, but clearly more is needed.

Some percentage of parents in San Francisco are voting with their feet, and their pocket books, by choosing to pay $25,000 a year for what they could get for free.

Are private schools really $25,000 better than public? If they’re not, how can the District prove that to parents? How can we make it care about proving that to parents?

We need exit interviews, to find out why families leave public school, or don’t choose them in the first place. We have little data beyond the growing number of private schools being founded.

There’s a marketplace for education. So SFUSD needs to offer a better product. Actually, it doesn’t have to offer a better product, just one that’s better enough that $25,000 isn’t worth it.

Find out why these families aren’t choosing public and then either change their minds or change the schools so they come back. Fight for them, don’t just wave it off by saying they’re all prejudiced elitists. Some may be, but the majority are not.

Clearly something’s going on here. How can we fix it?


New San Francisco private (and 1 charter) schools since 2009



Millennium School

6 – 8

southern San Francisco

100 students



Episcopal School for Girls

(name isn’t set, still a work in progress, would be a complement to the Cathedral School for Boys)

K – 8

Location undetermined

No projected enrollment numbers

No projected tuition



The New School of San Francisco (public charter school)

K – 12

“inquiry based”

Location undetermined

Opening fall of 2015 with 44 kinder and 44 1st grade students

No tuition, this is a public charter school




Sunset Progressive School

K – 5 (site doesn’t say)


“where gifted children aren’t forgotten or set aside.”

No projected enrollment numbers.

No tuition listed.




Proof School

7th – 12th

Downtown San Francisco

Math and science focus

No projected enrollment numbers available

No tuition numbers available



Live Oak

Will double enrollment “to meet increasing demand”

Potrero Hill

K – 8, “The private school for public school parents.”

260 students now, rising to 500 by 2022




Alt School

Planning for five locations: Dogpatch, Hayes Valley, SMA, Marina

K – 8, “Personalized learning.”




LePort School

Mid-Market, Pre-K, moving to K-8. Montessori.

No tuition listed.



Presidio Knolls

SOMA, K – 8. Mandarin immersion.





Mission, K -12. Science, hands-on focus.




La Scuola

Alamo Square, K – 8, Italian immersion.




San Francisco Schoolhouse

Inner Richmond, K – 8. Parent cooperative




Alta Vista

Portola, K – 8. Math and Science focus.




Marin Prep

Castro, K – 8. Spanish “infusion.”




Stratford School

Oceanview, K – 8. Accelerated curriculum




Written by Elizabeth Weise

March 27, 2015 at 4:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] San Francisco’s public and private enrollments reflect a multi-decade trend in California of increased market share for private schools. About one-third of the city’s 80,000 school-age children are in private schools. At least 15 different private schools have opened up in the last six years, and enrollment in these institutions has risen by 4,000 students since 2009. […]

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