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Sometimes it’s the shortest posts that yield the loudest response. In this case, it was Scott Lewis’ story on the 10 neighborhood schools San Diego parents are avoiding most.

Lewis pulled some district data showing how many students could be going to their local middle and high schools and how many are choosing to go elsewhere, either to other district schools outside their neighborhoods or charter schools. San Diego Unified seems to think most of the problem can be chalked up to competition from charter schools.

In comments, tweets, Facebook posts and emails, readers submitted their own theories about what could be driving parents away from schools down the block.

One insight came courtesy of UCSD math professor David Meyer:

Here’s why: local attendance vs “on-track to graduate” http://t.co/YIgIrOZgj3 @MarioKoran https://t.co/IdsOedodCg pic.twitter.com/3Tp77dpaEM

— David Meyer (@dajmeyer) April 21, 2015

That prompted a follow-up post from Mario Koran elaborating on the correlation. But there were plenty of other responses that got us thinking — and we wanted to highlight some of them here. Some comments below have been lightly edited for clarity.

Former school board candidate Amy Redding pointed out the year-round master schedule at Farb Middle School in Tierrasanta, which came in as the second least appealing school for parents in the neighborhood, might discourage military families living nearby:

@vosdscott @rdotinga Farb is currently a yr round MS…terrible for military families. Also open boundaries in area,most choose DePortola. — Amy Redding (@ReddingAmy) April 21, 2015

As a bonus, Jen Kuhney, press secretary for Mayor Kevin Faulconer, added a little student insight on why De Portola Middle School might’ve been preferable for kids in the area:

@vosdscott @rdotinga … cool middle school in Tierrasanta since it was newer. — Jen Lebron Kuhney (@jenkuhney) April 21, 2015

@vosdscott @rdotinga Can’t complain from an education standpoint. I had outstanding teachers; I still keep in touch with some of them. — Jen Lebron Kuhney (@jenkuhney) April 21, 2015

Sandy Coronilla, a digital editor for the U-T and former VOSD intern, thinks the problem goes beyond any one school: “They’re fleeing because they can. SDUSD makes it so easy to flee. Plus the API scores are so low. I moved to El Cerrito (near Mann and Crawford) a couple years ago and was surprised how easy the district makes it. Came from Poway USD before and it just wasn’t the same way.”

And sure enough, that potential to easily cut your losses and try your child out at a new school came up elsewhere. Parent Sara Morrison pointed it out on Twitter:

@vosdscott I was telling @rdotinga earlier, it’s about parent investment. It’s perceived easier to move schools than to help make it better — Sara Morrison (@karmiclife) April 21, 2015

@karmiclife @rdotinga no doubt. You could work for years to see marginal improvement or you could look out for your responsibility.

— Scott Lewis (@vosdscott) April 21, 2015

@vosdscott @rdotinga But some schools have turned around and mostly due to parent effort (participation and money) — Sara Morrison (@karmiclife) April 21, 2015

@vosdscott@rdotinga I didn’t scout. I believe that if it is broken, I have an obligation to help fix it. Same for other aspects of my comm. — Sara Morrison (@karmiclife) April 21, 2015

Another theme from parent responses: The stats about who opts out give schools at the bottom of the list a bad rap.

Cindy Clements Page came to the defense of Crawford High School, which was seventh on the list of least appealing schools for neighborhood parents. “The perceptions are so distorted,” Page wrote on Facebook. “Crawford has three Gates Millennium Scholars, eight Ford Scholars and three Dell Scholars this year. In case you’re wondering, that’s more than any other school in the county.”

John Nisbet agreed: “My daughter has excelled at Crawford. The teachers care. It was not the same at SDHS where she transferred from. The upgrade in facilities would entice more kids to stay and build up [their] school pride.”

Catherine Green

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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