Fascinating CTIP data

District staff recently shared some data analysis the Board had requested regarding the currently-on-hold CTIP proposal, and it is fascinating. Specifically, how many K families  request their attendance area (AA) school as their first choice, and receive that school? If the CTIP preference were placed below the AA preference in the assignment system, how many more AA residents would be assigned to their AA schools if they list those schools first?

For the 2013-14 school year assignment process, there were nine schools for which AA residents requested K seats as a first choice, and did not receive those schools. (Note that this analysis reflects requests for General Education pathways only; it does not reflect requests for citywide schools and programs since the attendance area preference does not apply to citywide seats):

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 10.18.21 PMFrom the above table, you can see that at a few of  these nine schools, changing the order of preferences could have a profound effect. At others, not so much. And at the vast majority of elementary schools, AA residents who wish to attend their local school have a 100 percent chance of being assigned to that school if they list it first — regardless of whether the CTIP preference is weaker or stronger.

From where I’m standing, I think this data strongly supports my assertion that our suggestion to change the order of assignment preferences will only give families who live in attendance areas for very small schools (Peabody, New Traditions), or highly-requested schools with a relatively small number of GE seats (Alvarado, Clarendon), or highly requested schools generally (Grattan, Miraloma, Argonne, Sherman) a little more certainty.* It should not affect anyone else, and it might increase diversity in schools that are located in CTIP areas — the Bayview, the Mission and the Western Addition.  What do you think?

The full table with data for all elementary schools is here.



15 responses to “Fascinating CTIP data

  1. @Easy – we actually originally did something like that with the new assignment system in 2011. I’ll have to remind myself of the details but I think originally you got an “oversubscribed” preference if there were more total applications to public schools from your AA than there were seats available in your AA for that grade. I know that it introduced some unintended consequences and was scrapped for that reason, but as I said I can’t remember the details.

  2. I definitely think that there are issues with the way the CTIP1 preference is playing out. The data posted by Rachel shows that two schools in particular are disproportionately affected: Clarendon and Grattan. And I think it must really be hugely annoying to live within walking distance of a great public school that you would love your children to attend only to know that your round 1 chances of getting in are in the region of 18%. And to know that your chances are only that low because other people (often people from the same demographic as yourself) who live further away are getting a higher priority than you are.

    My concern with simply flipping the AA and CTIP1 priority is what then happens to all the CTIP1 applicants who can no longer get in to Clarendon GE, Grattan, Miraloma or New Traditions? The data above shows that the seats would be completely filled by siblings and AA students in Round 1. Do schools like Clarendon JBBP and Rooftop end up with K classes populated entirely by CTIP1 students? The 40 CTIP1 students who are now squeezed out of these popular AA schools still need somewhere to go.

    I think, at a minimum, there should be an upper percentage of seats at any one school which can be allocated to CTIP1. After all, one of the reasons for the CTIP1 preference was to increase diversity – if the percentage of CTIP1 students in any classroom becomes too high that seems to entirely defeat the diversity intention of CTIP1. It seems as though a 20% or 25% cap per school on K seats with CTIP1 might help.

    The cap might also dissuade the CTIP1 “cheats”. CTIP1 is just too much of a golden ticket as it currently stands.

    And I would love to see some type of means testing enter the CTIP1 definition. I think very few people in this city have issues with giving assignment priority to socio-economically disadvantaged students. But it really rubs people wrong when CTIP1 is giving a huge advantage to already advantaged families.

  3. All due respect, you asked your analysts for the wrong data.

    The question you are really trying to answer is “How many AA applicants who want to get into their AA school can’t do so?”

    That is: How many people ranked their AA school higher than the school to which they were accepted? Not how many ranked it first.

    This is a small sample size and it’s important to ask the question properly; I suspect your results will change significantly.

  4. Here’s a less radical proposal that might help:
    Create an additional tie-breaker after AA called “Adjacent Attendance Area” that helps people that don’t get into their AA school get into a school whose attendance area touches theirs. It wouldn’t displace any CTIP1 students. It wouldn’t help, e.g., a Clarendon AA family get into Grattan, Alvarado, or Miraloma, but it could help them get into West Portal, Milk, McKinley, Jefferson, or Feinstein. The AAs are somewhat arbitrary anyhow – since some schools are on the edge of their AA (Sutro, Peabody, New Traditions, Webster, Sloat, Glen Park, Sunnyside, etc.) many students live closer to a school in an adjacent AA anyhow, and it’d be a good idea to give them a leg up in going somewhere where they can walk to school.

  5. I could not agree more with Joel’s sentiment!!! I would love for our kids to be a part of our neighborhood community. It is a great neighborhood. I want to be able to go to the local restaurants, shops, grocery store, and walks around our home and know who the neighborhood families are.
    We are willing to make a significant effort in improving our neighborhood school *IF* we can ensure a majority of the other kids in the neighborhood can get in. We are not nearly as motivated to send our kids to the local school, that is not a top requested school, if it is not going to have a majority of kids from the neighborhood. I think this is what is completely lost in the data. There should be more effort from SFUSD to persuade/motivate families to attend their local schools.

    As second point, why is there not more attention paid to what it would take to get more of the middle and upper socioeconomic class families to attend SFUSD schools? I keep reading reports and comments from the school board about the importance of integrating middle and upper class with those in need, but I see zero effort to increase these numbers. It all seems to be about focusing on those in CTIP1.

  6. I have taken a closer look at the data. First, the fewer AA residents who make their AA school their first choice, the better the chance of getting that choice. That makes perfect sense. Less competition.

    With some exceptions, schools with the lowest percent of AA residents making their AA school their first choice tend to be schools with high percent Black or Latino enrollment with high economically disadvantaged enrollment. Curiously, very few residents in the Harvey Milk AA in the Castro make it their first choice. It may be that nearby Clarendon and Alvarado are more attractive.

    Conversely, the highest percent of AA residents who make their AA school their first choice are schools with a high percent White enrollment and low percent economically disadvantaged. There are only two schools with a majority White enrollment, Grattan and Miraloma, and one with a near majority White enrollment, McKinley in Corona Heights. These schools are among the most popular among AA residents. Interestingly, all 19 AA residents who made McKinley their first choice were accepted. The McKinley AA, like Milk, is near to other popular schools, New Traditions and Grattan. Maybe 19 was a low enough number not to be a problem.

    The rejection rate, the percent of AA residents who made their AA school their first choice but who were rejected follows a similar pattern. There is a relationship between higher rejection percent and higher percent of White enrollment and low percent of economically disadvantaged. If you live in an AA with a school with White affluent enrollment you chances are less of being accepted.

    I don’t know if from the school’s demographics one can come to any conclusions about who is more likely not to get their first choice. However, my guess is that being White and affluent puts one and a disadvantage in getting assigned to their AA school. It may be White affluent applicants are getting their top choices but it is not in their AA. That would be interesting to find out. The highest performing schools other than Isolated Asian or majority Asian schools tend to be more White and affluent.

  7. Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for sharing this interesting data.

    I think your conclusion is slightly incorrect. I feel that parents, in reaction to the inherent uncertainty of the lottery, only optimize for the highest performing schools. (since they feel as if there’s little chance of getting their AA school, they shoot for the top 10) That’s why the top schools are the only ones where a CTIP flip would have meaning in the current lottery. Because those are the schools that are way oversubscribed.

    For me, the biggest problem is the uncertainty. I would love my young son to be able to attend our AA school (around #20 in the list) in the coming years. However, because I cannot be certain about that option, I feel an awkward disconnection with part of my local community.

    I feel that raising the AA preference or even guaranteeing a certain number of seats to AA residents would give local parents of young children a much stronger connection to their local schools. I would be more inclined to help with fundraising and volunteering if I could bring along my son and say “Next year — this is where YOU will be going to school. Won’t that be fun?”

    I feel the random hat draw of the lottery has broken a support connection to neighborhood schools and subverted the process in to a ‘shoot only for the top’ mentality instead of ‘let’s all work together to make the school down the block a great place to grow’….

    If you don’t vote to change how the selection process is made, people are going to keep gaming the system in the same way. I believe you need to alter the priorities if you want to see a change in how people behave/react.


    Joel Krauska

  8. Hi Rachel,
    Do you have data which shows the actual percentage of AA families enrolled in these schools after the 10 day count? I think that would be more relevant as there is so much movement between Round 1 and the 10 day count.
    After reading your previous post and looking at these numbers, I think the board should shift its focus to issues which impact a much great number of families across the entire system. From your previous post, it is clear the board and the district needs to concentrate on supporting teachers and administrators in terms of the Common Core, inclusion, training, supplies, and teacher/administrator pay. The board should be working with the board of supervisors and the mayor’s office to finance the district at a rate which reflects the socio-economic reality of our city. Spending on our public school students is 47th in the nation. We should try to raise our per student funding so that it is in the top 20 of the nation as our local economy is one of the strongest in the country. The board should be looking at how to provide housing for teachers and administrators and how to raise teacher pay so they can have a middle-class life in San Francisco. We should be looking at loan forgiveness programs for teachers who work in the district for over 7 years as teachers, unlike many other San Francisco residents, never have the possibility of an “equity event” of stock options. The district should be looking at ways to hire more teachers to support lower class sizes in math and science in order to provide accelerated math classes and after-school math tutoring and clubs. Parents have asked for honors and accelerated math programs and these programs are a great way to give low-income and minority students a real opportunity to access college and better job prospects. As the majority of SFUSD students are low income and/or minority offering honors/accelerated math programs would have a much broader and potent impact than an assignment system. The board might look into strategies employed in NYC by Eva Moskowitz in the Success Charter schools which raise the math scores for all of its students and places an emphasis on teacher support and training. The issues facing the district such as teacher retention, teacher housing, teacher pay, and teacher support will become more pressing as income inequality has a greater impact on our city. In addition, income inequality means that our public schools might be the only chance for low income and middle class people to make any socio-ecnonomic gains. Therefore our public schools need to function at a level on-par with private institutions which focus on advancing students in a competitive way, especially in math, teacher training, smaller class sizes, the arts, and PE. Private schools receive between 22K and 30K per pupil per year plus donations. The board and the district needs to start pursuing ways in which public students are funded at a level which is at least half the amount of a private student. Public students are funded at around 7k per year. The district should look at trying to push funding levels up to 12k-15k per year. You should be looking at funding our teachers, our administrators, and our students. In the end, the assignment system means very little if the schools are not functioning at their highest level possible.

  9. Sandra halladey

    Or you could revisit the notion of a zone or cluster for elementary school assignment – most homes are close to 3 or 4 schools

  10. PS. I think that the District and BOE should put AA before CTIP. I hope that you continue to push for change.

  11. The numbers in your table for Alvarado are not correct. It should read 52%, no change.

  12. I am not sure how to interpret the data. For Clarendon 34 of area residents made it their first choice. 82% of area residents who applied as their first choice were rejected. How many slots were there? According to the report card there are 88 enrolled in Kindergarten.

    It would be interesting to see the demographics of CTIP1 enrollees. Comparing Year 11-12 to Year 12-13, the number of African Americans dropped from 20 to 17 and the number of economically disadvantaged dropped from 104 to 101. One would think that with CTIP1 priority those numbers would go up. Clarendon along with De Avia, and Grattan, have a significantly low percent of economically disadvantaged.

    Another curious thing about the report cards is the increase in the number of enrollees where the race/ethnic group is not reported. The number not reported increased by 70 students at Clarendon. Could it be that Asian and White race is being under reported at Clarendon?

    Whether a change in the assignment system will impact schools in the Bayview is a good question. Looking at Drew only 5 out of 134 Kindergartners living in the area made Drew their first choice. Asians in the area seem to be applying to schools outside the area. It is possible that if Bayview Asians can’t get into Clarendon etc. the diversity of schools in the Bayview will increase. But wouldn’t the language issue be a factor?

  13. Silly question – but why should listing your AA school first matter for your chances of getting it? I thought that the lottery process was supposed to be designed so that families could list their true preference (i.e. I am perfectly happy with my neighborhood school, but I would love this K-8 so I put it first). I keep hearing rumors that if we want our feeder middle school, we need to put it first on our list and that seems to contradict what the data people were saying just a few years ago.

  14. Rachel,

    Thanks for sharing this data. Can you clarify the simulation data? I noticed that the simulation shows no change in “% assigned round 1” as compared to “% assigned simulation” for Alvarado and other schools. What does the column titled ” AA School 1st Choice +NOT Assigned (AA before CTIP1)” represent? ” It seems strange that that Alvarado has 44 general ed K-seats, 15 go to AA 1st choice, but 14 AA 1st choice do not get assigned? Could 29 seats be assigned to kindergartners with siblings at Alvarado? This simulation data would be clearer by adding the number of siblings assigned that come from AA or CTIP1. What we may find is that if the policy changed today, it would take six years to see a gradual shift in assignment composition due to sibling preference. Regardless, the odds for AA kids for Alvarado are 52% and that represents a lot of uncertainty for parents.

    The AA boundaries could be adjusted so AA parents have equal probability of attending AA schools. As it stands now, the boundaries are drawn in a way that is very unequal across different attendance areas. There are some areas that are very impacted while others have more capacity for AA residents.


  15. Hey there!

    Have you heard what a mess our move for our construction will be?

    There’s just no good option to move us all to any other location within our neighborhood.

    Sent from my iPhone