Parents back new school lotto 

A proposal to overhaul the way children are assigned to public schools in San Francisco has gained support from parents as it heads to the Board of Education for a critical vote Tuesday.

The proposed system would replace a complex, oft-criticized lottery that considers a variety of socio-economic factors when assigning students to schools with a simplified method that largely emphasizes proximity to home and uses test scores to achieve academic diversity citywide, according to the San Francisco Unified School District.

The current lottery was put in place in 2001 and was the latest in a line of systems that all took a crack at diversifying The City’s long-segregated schools. The system ultimately has failed in that effort and has done more to agitate parents.

The new proposal has been in the works for several years and amended within the past few weeks.

Under the proposed system, parents would still be able to request any school in The City. However, when schools have more requests than seats, student placement would be based upon a new list of criteria that would vary at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Proximity to a school and standardized test scores would be weighed under the new system rather than socio-economic factors, the district said.

The proposal would certainly be an improvement from the current system, said Michelle Menegaz, who chairs the Parent Advisory Council.

“I think we’re on the right track,” Menegaz said, adding that she was confident the Board of Education would approve the system Tuesday.

The proposal pitched last month drew concern from parents and Board of Education members who said it did not adequately address academic diversity. However, the district amended the plan in an attempt to satisfy that desire, Menegaz said.

“I think they responded well,” she said. “I felt that the Board of Education was doing a good job.”

In a released statement, Superintendent Carlos Garcia said he’s “hopeful” the proposed system “will help move us closer to our goals” of achieving racial diversity and providing equity to students citywide. However, Garcia admitted the issue is “complex” and that “no one has figured out the perfect assignment system.

The new policy would begin in fall 2011 with students entering transitional grades and would “take several years to fully implement,” according to the district.

If the new system is approved, the district will need to decide how to allocate its resources more evenly to schools citywide so that all the district’s 55,500 students can expect a quality education, Menegaz said.

However, she said, that will be difficult considering the district’s burgeoning fiscal woes.

New parameters

The proposed tweak to the school assignment system would give preference to students based upon these factors (listed in order of priority):

Elementary schools
Siblings already attend school
2. Students living in attendance area of school and are attending a district pre-K program in same attendance area
3. CTIP1 (test scores, demographics)
4. Students living in attendance area
5. Students living in attendance areas with insufficient capacity
6. All other students

Middle schools
Students receive initial assignment to middle school based upon elementary school attended
2. Siblings
3. CTIP1 (test scores, demographics)
4. Attendance area
5. Students living in attendance areas with insufficient capacity
6. All other students

High schools
1. Siblings
2. CTIP1 (test scores, demographics)
3. All other students

Source: San Francisco Unified School District

Pin It

Latest in Crime & Courts

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation