Neighborhood Schools

Phil Ting's picture

On Aug 15th, the SFUSD will unveil their new neighborhood districts and San Franciscans from across the city will see which school their kids will be assigned to.  I hope this new assignment process will create certainty for families, increase diversity, and improve the parent participation at our schools.  What do you think about neighborhood schools?

DonRoss's picture

Neighborhood schools are

Neighborhood schools are great, if your neighborhood school is well funded, well staffed, and the students are good students with good behavior.  If the opposite is true neighborhood schools are not attractive, but making children travel for school, before high school is not attractive either.  The answer for me would be to see the schools that are performing well, take some of the senior teachers at those schools and transfer them to some of the lower performing schools and make sure the budgets are equal across the board. Parents and families with any means will always find away to remove or move their children to schools or out of schools if they are not satisfied leaving the parents without means in the schools without a real choice. Making all the neighborhood schools strong is the only answer in the end. If you have schools that are not performing, shut them down, recreate them, or make them smaller with a different focus - create schools within schools, and allow more independent creativity at each school. 

amiee's picture

Neighborhood Schools

A decent elementary school (Garfield) is right across the street from my North Beach apartment.  If the neighborhood moms like me actually sent our kids there, we would have not just a good school for our kids, but a powerful neighborhood anchor that built community and empowered our neighbors to invest in North Beach.  I don't want to drive my kindergartener across town for school, and shouldn't have to pay for a private school or even St. Peter and Paul's catholic school down the street in order for my kid to get a good education.  I want my neighborhood school to be the best place for my son to get educated and for my family to build community.

bobbyh's picture

Community

I think Amiee's point about a "neighborhood anchor"" hits the nail on the head.  I am a big supporter of neighborhood schools for a number of reasons, and one of those reasons is that I feel it creates  sense of community around the school.  As the saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child," so why don't we allow those vilages to grow and thrive as opposed to sending kids across town to communities they are not a part of, are not invested in, and where they don't have that village support around them.  Some folks say it promotes diversity, but if that is the only or most effective way we have to teach our kids to appreciate others, then we have lost before we began. 

As to the issue of failing schools, there is no better way to fix a failing school  than to have a united group of local mothers and fathers that are invested in their local school  get organized and help solve whatever is holding it back.  Its a matter of creating ownership, creating a sense of pride, creating a sense of community so that people will be motivated to get involved.  Its a lot harder to band together with neighbors scattered across the city to address problems that are not in your community, as compared with having parents knock on their next door neighbor's home and talk about the problems that their kids are having with the school across the street.

I mentioned this elsewhere on this site, but the reality is that San Francisco faces a crisis when it comes to attracting and retaining families.  The demographic trends show that there is a mass exodus of residents out of the city when they get into their 30's and start having kids.  We are generally not the most family friendly town there is, but the misguided school assignment system is probably one of the biggest reasons people leave to start their families elsewhere.  This needs to be fixed now.

NinerFan's picture

Tale of two cities

I agree, the only option we have is to ensure that we don't have some schools that are top and others that are failing. 

Phil Ting's picture

Info about SF School Assignments www.sfusd.edu/enroll

The School Board and District are taking your comments now.  Contact them and give them your feedback on the proposed school assignment system.  The new assignment process gives you certainty but as you all have mentioned we need to improve all schools across the board and especially close the achievement gap across the City.  You should give feedback here or attend one of the school board meetings - http://sfusd.ggnet.net/feedback/

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137