Saturday, June 4, 2011

Further followup on school choice in San Francisco

My Thursday post, Followup on school choice in San Francisco, has generated some followup on its own, in the form of an audio interview yesterday of School Board member Rachel Norton by Stan Goldberg who follows the SF school system under the name Senior Dad.  He summarizes the interview as "Straight answers from Commissioner Norton “because people have a right to know”."

The issue is whether the algorithm adopted by the board last year was in fact implemented correctly by the district staff. It's an important question because the correctly implemented algorithm would be strategy proof, and if parents had confidence in this it would vastly simplify the school choice system from parents' point of view.

Here is my very incomplete and possibly imperfect transcript to give the flavor of the last 5 minutes of the interview (starting just after minute 39) in which Stan Goldberg (SG) raises this issue, and Rachel Norton (RN) replies. It's worth listening to.

SG “The school district was supposed to release the algorithm they were assigning students on, and so far they have not released that algorithm.”

RN “you’ve been reading Al Roth’s blog” ...“I’ve advocated for that, and will continue to advocate for that. I don’t think the staff right now wants to do that. [laughter] But short of 5 votes, 4 votes, they don’t have to.
SG ‘why should the public trust the school district?  “I’ve had the deputy Superintendent say ‘you guys shouldn’t trust us, we haven’t been reliable’. He said that; I believed him.”

RN “I don’t know what to tell you Sam, I think we should release the algorithm, and I’ve said that to staff, I’ve said that to the Superintendent”…short of 3 other board members joining with me and demanding that it be released the superintendent can do what he thinks is best,  unless he’s ordered by the board to do something else…”

SG “not releasing the algorithm makes everybody think something funny is going on…”
RN” well, not everyone…”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not clear to me from this whether they implemented the algorithm based on TTC or not.