Elizabeth Weise

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

San Francisco considers changes to its school assignment system

with 4 comments


SFUSD schools have been becoming more racially segregated, an outcome that concerns both the District and parents.

The District has been exploring different assignment systems that might make schools more racially and socioeconomically diverse.

A report looking at some options was presented at the Ad Hoc Student Assignment System Committee meeting November 29, 2016.

You can find an audio recording of the meeting here.

A presentation made to the committee is available here, and is highly worth looking at.

The elephant in the room here is that if the 27% of students in San Francisco who attend private schools were in the public school system, all of the presumptions would change. The District as a whole would be much less racially segregated, as 22% of school-aged children in the city are white but they make up only 12% of public school students.

The question is then how one can entice those families into the public schools.

According to the District’s 4th Annual Report: 2014-15 School Year, 18% of students who are assigned an SFUSD school leave the District before taking the seat offered to them. Bringing these students in the District would be a net positive, both to increase funding (each student brings somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000 to the school) and to increase diversity.

The presentation addresses the negative impact of tracking on school diversity. However at least anecdotally, de-tracking is one reason many families have left the public schools because they feel that without GATE, honors or other advanced classes, their children are not being challenged academically.

Note, they specifically don’t want racially or socioeconomically segregated classrooms or schools, but they do want academic challenge.

So how can we achieve that within a de-tracked system? SFUSD says it is accomplished through in-class differentiation. However many families report that differentiation is spotty at best and often doesn’t exist at all in their children’s classrooms.

In San Francisco, where the public/private divide is one of the largest in the country, dealing head-on with why families don’t chose to educate their children within the district and then addressing their concerns could at least help the issues of re-segregation by increasing the diversity of the district overall.

Other thoughts on the proposals:

A School Assignment System for 2016 or the 1960s?







Written by Elizabeth Weise

December 9, 2016 at 9:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Want to write something about my inane experience with trying to become a sub? I think I figured part of the reason for the sub shortage.

    Jess SFUSD Parent and (hopefully) future Substitute Teacher

    Sent from my iPhone


    Jessica Wallack-Cohen

    December 9, 2016 at 10:02 pm

  2. The related statistic is that 20% of elementary students leave SFUSD at middle school. The solutions aren’t complicate, they are actually pretty simple.

    -First, the SFUSD board has to take responsibility for the problem. Presently they don’t.
    -Second, they have to acknowledge they’re own straight-up prejudice against the 50 years of research regarding high-ability kids. Presently, SFUSD relies on their own fictional science in this regard.
    – Third, allow mixed-grade classes in middle school. It’s no big deal.
    -Fourth, allow a handful of teachers to obtain credentials in Gifted Learning. Available at a handful of universities.

    Nevermind honors. Right now 25% of kids could easily skip SFUSD sixth grade because it is all review. Just allow kids to advance levels according to their ability. If a sixth grader is ready for Algebra or 9th-grade ELA / Composition, or if an eighth grader can test into Geometry, open the door and let them in.

    At the end of the day if you don’t these steps the public / private divide will remain forever. SF

    Steve Ferrero

    December 9, 2016 at 10:33 pm

  3. yes, there is no challenge or and the bar is set too low at the middle school and high school level. i have 2 kids in private for that reason. 7th grader and 11th grader. and they were never differentiated when in public elementary school. although, both were labeled GATE.

    Michelle Londono

    December 9, 2016 at 11:04 pm

  4. We’re a SFUSD family. Both mine are in High School. They went to Grattan back when it was under subscribed and a title one school. It used to be very diverse. Now it isn’t. My son who is a junior took the SAT the first time in November as a practice. He got a 760 in Math and 700 in English. With no external classes. He went in cold. I’m happy with their educational experience. The only thing I disagree with is not allowing kids who are ready to take Algebra in 8th grade. I paid for my daughter to take it last year. She is in Geometry as a 9th grader. She scored exceeds standards on the 8th grade SBAC tests. I feel confident my kids are prepared. (caveat being I had to pay for Algebra)


    December 12, 2016 at 1:36 am

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