Racial isolation rises slight at SFUSD 

click to enlarge Racial segregation has increased slightly at district. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Racial segregation has increased slightly at district.

The number of students at “racially isolated” public schools has risen this year in the San Francisco Unified School District, according to a report on the new student assignment policy recently released by the school district.

The number of schools where one racial group represented more than 60 percent of the student body grew from 23 to 24 this year, after falling from 28 three years ago, according to the report. While the percentage of students in racially isolated schools also fell between 2008 and 2011, it rose this year, from 18 to 20 percent.

The increase consisted primarily of Chinese students. Racially isolated schools with mostly black and Latino students tended to be lower-performing and were located in the southeast part of The City.

The district assigns students to schools based on family choice, with certain tie-breakers that include whether a student lives in an area of the city with the lowest average test scores. Beginning in 2010, the district also gives priority to students who live near the school.

Race is not a factor in school assignment, but one group argues that it should be.

On Thursday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area called on the district to “take more aggressive steps to reduce racial isolation in the city’s public schools.”

The committee said the district should “incorporate race-conscious measures into the student assignment plan,” place magnet programs at underperforming schools, and reach out to minority families to encourage them to choose schools not dominated by their ethnic groups.

A spokeswoman said district officials had not yet reviewed the committee’s argument.


Proportion of each ethnicity at racially isolated schools

Latino: 27%   

Chinese: 24%

Black: 17%

Other: 15%

Other Asian: 8%

White: 8%

Source: SFUSD

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