Parents under pressure

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Some concerns that came up at a SFUSD forum to solicit parents' feedback at Cesar Chavez Elementary on 11/14.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

In recent weeks, the San Francisco Unified School District has held a series of community forums to ask parents what they think kids need in order to thrive in school. The meetings were held as part of a policymaking process leading up to next year’s renewal of two important funds – the Children’s Fund and the Public Education Enrichment Fund, which account for some $100 million in funding combined.

There were huge turnouts – a Chinatown forum, where Mayor Ed Lee was reportedly in attendance, attracted more than 180 participants, while a Nov. 14 meeting at Cesar Chavez Elementary in the Mission District drew a crowd of between 80 and 90.

The parents weren’t exactly asking for more museum field trips for their kids. During breakout sessions where facilitators wrote group members’ concerns on flip pads, a few recurring themes emerged. “Job security for parents,” one read. “Affordable housing,” another stated. “It’s a shame to have to talk about lack of funds given wealth and corporations in SF,” more parent feedback stated.

Maria Su, director of the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and their Families, thanked parents for coming and told them, “We know how hard it is and how challenging it is to survive in the city. But that doesn’t mean we should give up.”

The event provided a glimpse into just how tough it is for families to get by in a city where a hefty cost of living amounts to serious pressure. “The sacrifices they make is, their children will have access to resources you can’t get anywhere else,” said Mario Paz with the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, who works with a lot of Latino immigrant families.

A report digesting the findings of stakeholder focus groups distilled the pressures facing families. “Many participants commented on … the extraordinarily high cost of living in San Francisco,” it noted, which “contributes to both financial and emotional strain on the part of our many working class and lower income residents.”

Comments

them to go to rather than the school that some faceless city bureaucrat thinks they should go to.

Losing bussing would be a great start.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

Your comment makes no sense. Something like 1/4 of the incoming Kindergartners put down Rooftop. Rooftop doesn't have room for 2000 kids. Not everyone can have what they want.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

sent long distances to bad schools.

At the very least, the allocated school should be close, even if not the best or the parents' first choice.

The current system smacks of ideological bias and is only a couple of steps from race-based bussing.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

San Francisco used to have a neighborhood based school system. It led to segregated schools because our neighborhoods were segregated. A judged ruled that discriminatory and forced SFUSD to come up with a different plan, which included bussing. Over time we moved to this one instead, which still includes a bit of bussing.

Our neighborhoods are still segregated. Are you arguing for segregated schools?
The Federal Government still won't let us do that, even if you could convince most San Franciscans that it was a good idea.

I do think that most parents I know agree with you though.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

bit as race-based as the "segregation" which you claim.

SF neighborhoods are not segregated at all, but certain ethnic groups prefer certain neighborhoods e.h. Hispanics in the Mission, Chinese in ChinaTown and so on.

We should not be second-guessing peoples' race from where they live.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 6:56 am

You have argued continually about the self-segregation of San Francisco neighborhoods. Now that narrative doesn't support your argument against school integration, so you change your tune and redefine your terms.

Another loss on the ledger.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 7:25 am

Yes, people self-segregate themselves in Sf.

Yes, parents should be attend their local school, not just because of cultural ease, but because of commuting and safety issues.

No, I do not think we should be bussing my kids across town to some place they are not familiar with and do not like. If I had wanted my kids to go to school in Bayview, I would have bought a house there.

You may not agree with my views, but they are certainly not mutually inconsistent or contradictory.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 9:32 am

I don't think it's inconsistent. I just disagree.

I understand. You want what you think is best for YOU. And that means sending your kid to a school that's A) Good, B) close, and C) where your kids won't have to mingle with "those" people.

Lots of people want what's best for themselves. It's perfectly natural. But what you need to understand is that policy-makers need to do what's best for *everyone* -the whole society. And segregation is wrong. Hence the federal government enforces Supreme Court-ordered desegregation plans. There are tweaks that can be made. The lottery itself is one of those tweaks. And it works pretty well. 85% of parents get one of their top 3 choices. But if you want to scrap the whole thing and go back to pre-1954, sorry but you're SOL. Take it up with Thurgood Marshall.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 9:45 am

What you call "segregation" results from individual preferences, and not just those of white bogeymen. Black people prefer to live in black neighborhoods. Latinos prefer to live in Latino neighborhoods. Comparing it to forced, legal segregation is intellectually dishonest.

http://www.livescience.com/20663-black-white-segregated-neighborhoods.html

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:02 am

Take it up with the Supreme Court.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:09 am

And of course they outlawed forced segregation in schools.

But they do not ban an all-white school if it is a neighborhood school in an all-white neighborhood.

So SF could have purely local schools without breaking any sanctimonious federal imperative.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

They're sad because they were born a few decades too late. They long for the days of Governor Wallace and Jesse Helms, but those days are gone forever.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:12 am

Valley in any way racist against anyone?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:19 am

Wallace supported state sanctioned segregation, he also supported racialist policies.

No one here is supporting state sanctioned segregation, and the people who support racialist policies are progressives.

Posted by Matlock on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

It permeates and pollutes their thinking.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

1) Identify a classification system that suits your ideological bias, e.g. race, income etc.

2) Classify people according to that bias using stereotypes

3) Hate on the class you don't like i.e. practice class warfare

It's really quite simple.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

a big euphemism for "I don't want my kids to go to school with black and brown kids."

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 9:55 am

True dat.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:07 am

But not OK to send their kids to school there?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:21 am

is always racist, or classist.

Other people have world views that might have them wanting their kids going to an area school for various reasons, such as they don't want there kid getting up at the crack of dawn to take three MUNI buses across town to go to school.

Progressives have world views that they know how society should be reorganized, this world view has anyone who doesn't agree with them being a racist or a classist.

Progressives also claim an intellectual acumen that has them proclaiming their own intellectual acumen, they are in love with the idea that they have the ideas.

When faced with counter positions the reason for the counter position must be that the other side is working from a base level, not an intellectual one, because "progressives" have a corner on the intellectualism.

Posted by Matlock on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

If they fear economic and ethnic diversity so much that they want special treatment for their kids, then let's see a wealth surtax on parents of school age children to equitably finance education so that all kids get an equal investment in their education.

That would not be fair to those parents who might pay too much? Boo fucking hoo, 2/3 of all San Francisco families are childless and gladly pay taxes to finance education of which our families take no direct advantage already because it is the right thing to do.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:09 am

Good luck with that one.

Although it does explain your politics, since why would you care about the future if you have no kids?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:20 am

Per-pupil spending favors black students over white students. But you love the idea of new taxes that you don't have to pay.

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/04/the-myth-of-racial-disp...

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:27 am

Well, if the Heritage Foundation says so, then who am I to argue with the architects of Obamacare and Romneycare?

Posted by marcos on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 1:51 pm
Posted by anon on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

You're appealing to an authority that neither liberals nor conservatives trust.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:09 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

Foundation has to say, but then the kooky studies and operations cited in this forum and "newspaper"...

Posted by Matlock on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:54 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:54 am

Mostly and predictably because it is a public sector activity, so employee costs are far higher and productivity lower.

We really need to privatize schools and then just give people vouchers to help them pay the fees. ObamaCare for public schools would have been something I could have gotten behind far more than with healthcare.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 11:07 am

"Teachers' salaries represent the largest single cost in formal education and have a direct impact on the attractiveness of the teaching profession," the report states. "Since compensation and working conditions are important for attracting, developing and retaining skilled and high-quality teachers, policy makers should carefully consider teachers' salaries as they try to ensure both quality teaching and sustainable education budgets."

I am glad to see that you agree that teacher's salaries need to go up.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

when they ridiculous pensions are taken into account.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

Finland spends about half what we do per pupil and tops world PISA scores. Throwing money at the problem isn't working for us.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 4:38 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

Apparently it's one of the hardest languages to learn.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

There is a pretty strong correlation between what states spend on students and what their test scores are:

http://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spendin...

It is not absolute, Utah for example is an obvious outlier. But it is pretty strong: you spend more and you get more, at least in the Unites States.

There are some things that we might be able to adopt from Finland, but I don't think that it is a very similar situation to the United States. Mississippi and New York are much more like California than either is like Finland.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

So black and brown people who don't want to send their kids to a black school are racist?

Progressives clownish howls of racism are so comical.

When they can't really cope with input they just fall back on their racism schtick, the problem is that people appease this child like idiocy and try and reason with a progressive. That of course is not possible when all they have to do is whine out "racism" adding that word to the others they have decontextualized.

Posted by Matlock on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

"no black family is affluent" or "all Asians are successful".

Thinking in race terms always leads to trouble.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

We should treat people as individuals, not as representatives of races. If individuals happen to live in the same neighborhood and attend the same local school, the government should not be in the business of micromanaging them based on their perceived "race."

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 9:37 am

You cannot detect it reliably from DNA, and people are becoming more mixed all the time. Again, people lie about their ethnicity to get a better deal.

Maybe everyone should enter their childrens' race as "black", under the one-drop rule, and then schools could simply be assigned by residential address.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:48 am

Is that your claim? That no one is discriminated on the basis of race? Because if you do claim that, you are pretty seriously out to lunch.

The only people I have heard make that claim are white people. I guess if you swim in privilege you don't even notice it.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 11:04 am

non whites are more racist than whites these days

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 11:18 am

"A judged ruled that discriminatory and forced SFUSD to come up with a different plan, which included bussing. "

You are actually just about exactly wrong. I know the BG has pretty low standards, but you really should do the basic homework before posting something on a public forum and making yourself look silly.

If you care:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Unified_School_District#Stude...

Posted by RemyMarathe on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

In what way that does that wikipedia article contradict what I said? I think you are confused here, that Wikipedia article is kind of thin gruel. Here is a better link:

http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/osi04.soc.ush.civil.sanfran/des...

Click on the

" In 1983, an agreement was reached between the NAACP and the San Francisco Unified School District. Under the consent decree, no racial group could constitute more than 40 or 45 percent of the enrollment at any given school. Moreover, each school was required to have admit students from at least four out of nine ethnic groups.

The consent decree allowed desegregation by voluntary busing and enforced racial and ethnic diversity in San Francisco schools for the first time, but it also limited who could attend the city's top-performing schools and determined who would attend the city's lower-performing schools."

Read the background essay. I already linked to the court ruling in another part of the discussion, it is worth reading as well, if a bit dry.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

By forcing families into the lottery system and sending kids to schools in far away neighborhoods, San Francisco is creating a hardship for everyone and preventing parents from strengthening theirs schools/communities LOCALLY from the inside out. It's a backwards and failing system. Much like Obamacare, it needs to be sent to the scrap heap.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

The system can perhaps be (and has been) tweaked to incorporate some activists' demands, but doing away with it has been put up to a vote and rejected. The people have spoken.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

I don't disagree with you in fact I am in favor of desegregation. But I don't remember a vote on this, when did that happen?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 1:54 am

Prop... B? I believe. The "neighborhood schools" crowd put it on the ballot themselves, thinking it would be a winner at the polls. Did they ever miscalculate!

They also made it an issue in Eric Mar's re-election. David Lee talked about neighborhood schools till he was blue in the face, and made a huge issue out of Mar's support for the lottery when he was on the school board. They misjudged the sentiment of the electorate there as well.

This turkey is DONE.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 8:27 am

Maybe it was couched in such obscure terminology that I didn't recognize that was what it was really about.

But I fail to see how anyone could oppose the idea of your kids being able to walk to a school close to their home, and where their friends will all be.

But maybe so many parents who feel that way have gone private that they don't care any more.

You don't have kids, right, Greg? Big difference, because this is just ideology to you, not real life.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 9:35 am

And it was November 2011. That's right, the organizers wouldn't be so stupid as to put it on a high turnout election like November 2012.

So my memory is a little faulty on the details. But I clearly remember the substance of it. And the proposition was clear as a bell. There was nothing obscure about it.

And yes, the whole city voted on it. I actually don't think the vote broke down based on parents vs. non-parents. It broke down more East-West. You want an election where only people who think like you do get to vote, but it doesn't work that way. This is a matter of policy, and it affects everyone. Non-parents probably have a clearer view, because they don't have a personal stake in it and they can decide based on the merits of the question.

But like I said, there are some things that really shouldn't be decided by a vote. Segregation is one of those things. Transit policy can be decided by a vote. Planning and zoning are appropriate policies to decide by a vote. But segregation? I don't care how many people vote for segregation. It's still wrong. Fortunately I'm glad that most San Franciscans agree.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 9:57 am

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