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:
— 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:
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:
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:
— Scott Lewis (@vosdscott) 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.”