SFUSD Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment meeting is starting now #BoardWatch
Here is info on how to join the meeting by Zoom go.boarddocs.com/ca/sfusd/Board…
The meeting of this committee scheduled for September 29th will start at 4pm rather than 5PM so people can watch the first Presidential debate! #BoardWatch
Here is tonight's agenda #BoardWatch
Here is what sfusd staff are hoping the committee will weigh in on tonight #BoardWatch
Here are goals stated in the resolution passed by the board: but some goals compete with one another, so need to get clear on prioritization, also guiding principals #BoardWatch
Chief O'Keefe is defining the policy design principals: equity, anti-racism, simplicity #BoardWatch
Here is the draft theory of action: #BoardWatch
Here are the three concepts shared with the board and community last year - they were not fully developed proposals: #BoardWatch
Here are some summaries of simulations of what outcomes of these various concepts might look like (will be discussed in more detail later)#BoardWatch
Remember community feedback sessions last year? Here is some high-level feedback. )There is also a much more detailed report online)#BoardWatch
This is the feedback received on the specific concepts presented #BoardWatch
In the Bayview, Vis Valley, Excelsior, Mission, SOMA - Concept 1 not likely to meet needs. Families on the west-side and higher-income families rated Concept 1 higher. #BoardWatch
Concept 2 was rated "most likely to work" by most demographic groups, but many groups still felt it was unlikely to meet their needs #BoardWatch
Concept 3 - most did not feel it would meet needs #BoardWatch
Researchers did simulations of how different assignment processes would actually work and what outcomes would be #BoardWatch
Key takeaways: concepts 2 and 3 could improve diversity, but depends heavily on how boundaries are drawn. Tradeoff between proximity and diversity. Did simulations with certain assumptions (see slide) #BoardWatch
Here are some details, for those who like details :) #BoardWatch
The simulations shown tonight will only explore the first two items under "policy levers" #BoardWatch
Concept 1: assignment to attendance area automatically with the option for choice after. Here are the simulated effects. #BoardWatch
Something not reflected in table is that providing an initial assignment does not dramatically change the status quo. #BoardWatch
Looking at table. There are improvements in predictability and proximity (second box). Block group isolation is number of students who had less than 3 other students from their block attending the assigned school (to measure community cohesion) #BoardWatch
Didn't account for capacity deficits in these simulations (some attendance areas have fewer seats than the number of students in the attendance area) #BoardWatch
Concepts 2 and 3 would require redrawing of zone boundaries. There is a tradeoff between small and contiguous zones and large/non-contiguous zones - the latter of which could better improve diversity #BoardWatch
Here is reminder of difference between concepts 2 and 3. Bigger zones in concept 3 and also less access to schools outside zone in concept 3. Focus in simulation is how zones are drawn, not how much access to citywide schools. #BoardWatch
Existing middle school feeder zones lack diversity and don't balance capacity with student population in the zone. #BoardWatch
Acknowledgment from Professor Lo that there is a lot of dense information tonight! Here is a description of how zone boundaries were drawn by researchers using "optimization" #BoardWatch
Here are some different ways that zones could be drawn:
Generated hundreds of different possible zone boundaries: selected 14 small zones and 12 medium zones on the "frontier" according to diversity measures. It could be that zones that look diverse would not lead to diverse outcomes because student choice is leading to resegregation
Results: small contiguous zones are likely to improve proximity and predictability and simplicity, but tend to be less diverse #BoardWatch
Results: medium non-contiguous zones are best able to improve diversity. Note -this is a model that does not take into account the effects of choice. #BoardWatch
So researchers looked at what would happen if choice patterns were taken into effect. Larger and non-contiguous zones improved socio-economic diversity, but the specific shape of zones effects diversity. #BoardWatch
Results: predictability and proximity improved with small and contiguous zones #BoardWatch
For predictability, it is clear that small zones have better predictability. For proximity, pattern is less clear, but in general small zones have better proximity #BoardWatch
Overall, a lot more work needs to be done to really understand tradeoffs. Non-contiguous or medium zones can give more diverse outcomes. Choice can lead to resegregation within the zone even if populations within the zones are diverse. #BoardWatch
All of the concepts will reduce student choice #BoardWatch
There are other levers that can be explored. They could be combined with zone systems. For example giving priority to some student groups, bringing back the "transfer mechanism"#BoardWatch
Researchers recommend taking concept 1 off the table and get more clarity around how SFUSD is weighing tradeoffs (between proximity, predictability, community cohesion, diversity etc.) #BoardWatch
Now back to SFUSD staff. Here is an attempted summary of what researchers just presented. #BoardWatch
These are the questions posed to the committee tonight #BoardWatch
Discussion prompts:
Next steps (note the time has changed to 4PM for September 29th meeting). Also a series of online conversations on the topic.
There is a weekly newsletter and blog on the topic of student assignment! You can sign up here: sfusd.edu/schools/enroll…
Here is the timeline for this whole process. Changes would not be launched until Fall of 2022 #BoardWatch
Now is time for public comment. Raise hands if you want to speak! #BoardWatch
Public comment: SFUSD PAC coordinator appreciates emphasis on meeting the needs of focal students. Request that we use student-first language (ie "students who qualify for free and reduced lunch"). Also concerned about impacts of non-contiguous zones on transit etc. #BoardWatch
Public comment: parent appreciates the blog and speaker series and hopes this info will be included in weekly SFUSD newsletters. Interested in what measures will be set to see if we meet goals and what time period for measurement will be. Q: what data was included in simulations?
Public comment: advocacy chair for CAC for special education says theory of action needs to go a step further and address inequities between schools. Also special education is only mentioned once in the presentation and not in simulations #BoardWatch
Public comment: how is community feedback being taken into account when building plans? The presentation seems to be advocating for non-contiguous zones which were not presented to the public #BoardWatch
Public comment: member of CAC for special education notes that in May a report was submitted about student assignment and still waiting for board to get back. Many families are very skeptical about where these zones will be. #BoardWatch
Public comment: some key pieces of information are missing. Will citywide schools also be balanced for diversity? What is Title 1 threshold and what impact would this have on site budgets? If prop 16 overterns 209 could be more explicit about using ethnicity as criteria
Now moving on to comments from Board members. Starting with clarifying questions. President Sanchez: concerned that survey responses are not from a representative sample of parents (skew high income and white) #BoardWatch
Chief O'Keefe suggests that Board members look at the engagement report which is online. For in-person respondents, about 20% of families were white, and about 20% of in-person respondents had incomes over $200K #Boardwatch
Commissioner Lam has questions about how special education was considered in simulations, and also what analysis has been done around transportation? #BoardWatch
A: Students receiving special education services as well as those in special day classes were included in the simulation, just not highlighted. O'Keefe notes any of these options will decrease transportation costs. #BoardWatch
Commissioner Norton gets answer to question around who was included in simulation–it was indeed those who participated in any round. Also asks for legal memo on implications if prop 16 passes. #BoardWatch
A: can answer now that there are still supreme court decisions that would limit use of race/ethnicity in assignment even if prop 209 repealed by prop 16 #BoardWatch
Commissioner Cook asks if targets were reached with respect to community outreach. A: in total heard from 339 people in person who filled out survey, but believe there were over 600 who came to events but did not fill out surveys. Participants were largely representative.
The survey data presented also includes people who got a link to the survey - not representative. But data was disaggregated so we could see who was responding by different demographic groups. #BoardWatch
Now moving on to draft theory of action and seeking comment. Seems to be overall approval also general approval on proposal to take Concept 1 off the table #BoardWatch
Commissioner Norton is interested to see that small non-contiguous zones seemed to meet most of the goals. Is there a way to draw those in a way that is not unworkable? Draw some parameters in terms of distance. Concerned about making kids travel a long way to get to school.
Norton is interested in the idea of larger zones, with no choice outside zones. Could accommodate all needs within the zone. #BoardWatch
Norton: wants to limit choice and also the additional details/strategies that people might use. Less add-ons like identifying particular students or particular addresses for priority. Want it to be straight-forward with a modest amount of choice but few "offramps" / guardrails.
Norton: how are we thinking about special education? Community needs to hear that it isn't an afterthought.
OKeefe says it is essential. Will share findings next week.
Commissioner Cook has a question about why people would choose a school because it is diverse. Could create a zone, but what will make people choose an option if they have other choices (ie, segregation within zones) #BoardWatch
O'Keefe: goal is to create diverse zones, and then also levers within those zones to create diverse schools. Will go into these in more detail at next meeting. These are the levers listed in slide 29 - only talking about 2 tonight. #BoardWatch
O'Connell: points to example of Berkeley. Use small zones and each student is assigned a score based on address. There are then limits within each school for students with each score. #BoardWatch
Commissioner Cook: projecting that once this is rolled out will still have schools that are segregated. Imagining iterative process. Is that possible? #BoardWatch
O'Connell: any boundaries drawn would be monitored over time, but will need to explore other levers besides just restricting choice within boundaries. Hope that whatever is recommended can be flexible if not meeting goals. #BoardWatch
Cook: we know people, they will find ways to get to places they want. Want to know how we will check-in and assess how the system is doing. Lam: agree and this is why it important to limit choice, not keep adding more and more guardrails, even if it means bigger zones.
Norton: like idea of being upfront about how we are going to monitor and adjust. Part of how we went wrong in the past was trying to make changes on top of what was already built to make people happy. #BoardWatch
Cook: wonders what legality is of using race as a factor in assignment. What would happen if we did it knowing it wasn't legal? We get sued anyway.. #BoardWatch
Counsel Wong: good news is we have done this analysis before and law hasn't changed too much. Can draw on past briefs and supplement with update on prop 16 possible outcomes. #BoardWatch
Sanchez: hears interest in exploring larger zone. Would be better able to incorporate a citywide option into those zones. Would also have to think about how this might mean families with least means may not take advantage of all the schools in that larger zone. #BoardWatch
Could explore small diversity index? Could we say that 30% of each class must meet certain income threshold? O'Keefe: this is one of the guardrails that we will be exploring in future meetings. #BoardWatch
Norton: interested in looking at levers based on public housing, kids in foster care, homeless youth. Problem with Free and Reduced Lunch status is don't have the data for incoming kindergarteners. #BoardWatch
Researcher has question about what the concerns are about non-contiguous zones. Norton: one is the issue of who it is who gets bussed out of their neighborhoods? Often Black and Brown children. Also, transportation is very expensive. #BoardWatch
Lam: recognizes that comment about larger zone is counter to other values I have stated. May be a limiting factor in looking at much larger zone. Want to prioritize keeping communities together. #BoardWatch
Sanchez: if we leave any space at all for "opt-outs" that will be inequitable taken advantage of. Need something that cannot be gamed. #BoardWatch
Cook: doesn't think geographical barriers are so overwhelming, having grown up in the city. #BoardWatch
Cook: already know which bus lines our students frequent, working with Muni could help address the issues #BoardWatch
Cook: important also to give families more confidence in the schools no matter what neighborhood. #BoardWatch
Commissioner Lam: want to make sure that our next meeting we get specific in the discussion of potential "guardrails." O'Keefe confirms that will happen. #BoardWatch
Meeting is adjourned! #BoardWatch

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