Tuesday, October 20, 2009

SAP: Plan to Eliminate Choice Is Especially Disadvantageous to Minority Students

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The New Student Assignment Plan (SAP) strikes me as racist.

I have a number of reasons for taking this position.

For the moment, I will only point to the following:

Click on balloons on this map, and take note especially of
  • percentage of returning students (this is the percentage of students at end of each year that return to the same school the following year; of course, students leaving the highest grade at the school are not counted in this statistic).
  • percentage of students at the school for whom this school was their guardians' first choice.
The SAP is a Plan to Eliminate Choice.  This data shows that
  • The best schools are those that have the highest rate of return.
  • the schools with low-rate of return tend to be the lowest performing schools in the district,  
  • In most cases, the majority of children attending low-performing schools did not get placed into their firstc-choice school.
I infer that children whose neighborhood school is low-performing and has a low-rate of return, very often do not want to attend their neighborhood school.

Once the Plan to Eliminate Choice is implemented, the percentage of children who attend low-performing schools, and for whom the school would have been their first choice (had they been allowed to choose) will decrease. This can be tested by recalculating the "First Choice" statistic for each of the past five years, but under the scenaria that children were assigned to their neighborhood school.

How do parents describe the contrast between north-end and south-end schools?

10/14/09 9:20 AM  adhoc said...  [http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2009/10/candidate-forum-round-up.html]

Robert it sounds like you live in the North end where most schools are high performing, full of motivated students, and have a very high level of parent involvement. They are full of primarily middle class and upper middle class families put tremendous value on their children's education. Many north end schools have Spectrum, and those that don't will now offer ALO's, making already great schools, even greater. They have strong PTA's and fundraise piles of money to support enrichment, field trips, camping, chess club, and on and on and on.

But have you visited schools outside of the North end? As a parent who lived in the Central area before moving to the north end, I can tell you the disparity in the schools is day and night, or at least it was when my child entered K.

Go check out Aki Kurose, and Cleveland, and some of the other schools where their FRL populations are over 75%, parent involvement is almost nill, fundraising is non existent, many kids are grateful for a school breakfast and lunch, are unmotivated, drop out, fight, join gangs. An ALO, a few honors classes, the SE initiative.....not enough. Not even close to enough to make these schools anything near what north end schools are.

So, yes, I agree, the district is making some moves to equalize and standardize schools (like making every school offer an ALO), but is that really all it takes? Is that enough? If not, then parents who don't have access to great schools will keep on sending their kids to private schools in droves.

By Tracy Record, reporting for West Seattle Blog on Steve Sundquist's community meeting Nov 7 2009:

"Several in the room Saturday afternoon wanted to discuss the concern reported here Friday night - the observation that the newest revision to the West Seattle attendance-areas map seems to draw a sharp line largely following West Seattle’s north-south economic divide, with the feeder-school list for Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth High School dominated by those with more students from lower-income families, while the feeder-school list for Madison Middle School and West Seattle High School is dominated by those with more students from higher-income families."


comment: ...“Swapping” Gatewood [Elem] for WS Elementary on the maps would also considerably change the demographs for Denny/Sealth [middle school/high school] (i.e. less diversity- Sealth loves to say they are 25% each) and bring substantially less district and state funding to Denny/Sealth because of the drastic lowering of F&RL funding that Gatewood would bring (Gatewood with the new elementary boundaries will have only 20% F&RL, whereas WS Elementary will have almost 80%).

My proposal is that West Seattle Elementary, which has historically been a cross-cluster school, that the line dip down at West Seattle Elementary for it to go north, and for Gatewood to go to Denny. … With the current map, Madison winds up being a very white school. I think both (Madison and Denny) would benefit from the diversity of that line switch.”

That suggestion sparked murmurs of support around the room.

A similar point was made by High Point resident Kathleen Voss, who said, “You can’t draw a blind eye to the socioeconomic realities of this map. … If you (have to move another school into the northern section), why wasn’t it West Seattle Elementary?” She talked about that school’s predominance of students from lower-income families, and asked, “what I don’t see in the plan is, what’s the plan to balance the inequity? It’s great that schools are going to teach the same thing, but schools are (filling out) their needs with PTSA funds.”

Sundquist took sharp issue with that, calling the money raised by PTSAs and other such efforts “a tiny tiny sliver of the funding” schools get, while suggesting that perhaps conversations between north and south end PTAs/PTSAs, and involvement with “organizations like the Alliance for Education,” might “realign those monies.”

...As for the rationale behind the proposed line between the Madison/WSHS area and the Denny/Sealth area, Sundquist said a more even north/south geographic split wasn’t feasible, because northern West Seattle has fewer children than southern West Seattle. ... He acknowledged the boundary appears to create economic segregation, ...[but that] ethnic diversity would not change significantly, according to the district’s latest breakdowns (by the way, the book of data that he referred to, dated this past Wednesday, IS available online - for those at the meeting who wondered - it’s available as a three-part “data book” from links on this page).

Susan McLain. “… I would urge you strongly to consider not basing the (West Seattle) boundary line on elementary attendance areas." ..
Sundquist countered that he’s heard other concerns about “income segregation” and has brought it up with the district’s top leaders, regarding the issue of creating “a school that can deliver a high (level) educational program in a high poverty areathey say … it can be done. … We understand that as school leaders we don’t have a lot of legislative tools to deal with the fact that the income is unequally distributed.”

McLain countered, “There IS a legislative tool to deal with ‘redlining’ - one of those tools is to draw the line right, and not in such a way that exacerbates that.” She suggested community support could be mustered in an attempt to support Sundquist if he chose, as she put it, “to make the stand that I think you know you need to make.”

From Blog post at http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2009/11/meeting-on-boundaries-at-roosevelt.html

"There is worry about the high (proportional to the other NE elementaries) F/RL [Free and reduced price lunch-eligible students] number at the new Sand Point. As well the district is going to migrate the ELL [English language learners] program at Bryant over to Sand Point (over the next few years). What will be done to make this program attractive and successful to parents? Superintendent will appoint principals who will start the design teams which will include parents, blah, blah."

1 comment:

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