Yesterday, a person who has commented a few times on the blog left this comment (apologizing in advance for its length). Under the pseudonym Idealistic Mama, she wrote: “This comment started out as a response to a request on SF K files to make a case for public schools. It turned out as something way too long to post as a comment, though I did email them a copy. After putting so much thought in to it I am genuinely interested in hearing what other parents (and certainly school board members) think. Feel free to do with it what you wish.” I was struck enough with her comments — and perseverance in writing more than 2,000 words about the assignment system — I asked if I could post them as a rare guest post. She agreed, so, without further ado, here are Idealistic Mama’s comments on the current assignment system, school equity, and the cases for/against neighborhood schools. Enjoy!
Every year a significant number of San Francisco families are denied access to a viable public school option for their kids. In some cases it is the result of sheer misfortune as a result of the lottery system. In other cases it is the “misfortune” of living in an area with an undesirable attendance area school and a preference system that favors you going to that school, not escaping it. In all cases, it is unfair.
Neighborhood School Assignments Will Not Work Unless Disparity Between Schools is Reduced
I disagree that because only 24% of people selected their neighborhood school as their first choice that parents do not want a neighborhood school system.
Just about every parent I know dreams of being able to walk to, or be in close proximity to, their kid’s school…assuming of course its a good school. But, under the new assignment system you still have the same set of desirable and undesirable schools in place. You can’t expect people to automatically want to go to a struggling school simply because it is now their “neighborhood school.” And it is unfair to place the burden of turning that school around solely on the families that live in that attendance area. Continue reading