16 Sep 2016

San Francisco Schools Ranking – Under-Appreciated Excellence

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920x920Go into any San Francisco coffee shop full of people with strollers and you will hear them lamenting the public schools and talking about how they might move out of San Francisco to get into a “good school district.”

The latest US News & World Report rankings placed four of the top 30 high schools in the Bay Area in San Francisco Unified School District. Lowell, Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, Lincoln and Washington High Schools all made the list. Lowell is rated #3 in the state and the schools it is behind are much, much smaller. San Francisco, in fact, has to keep making Lowell bigger because there are so many motivated, qualified kids trying to get in. It’s currently up to 2,700 of the hardest working kids you’ve ever seen.

Read the article here.

You’ll be surprised who is and isn’t on the list. Piedmont, so famous for it’s schools it’s often in divorce decrees that a parent live there, isn’t in the top 30.

You might say, “But that’s high school – I have five year old and the elementary schools are awful. The process is awful. You can’t tell where you are going to go.”

With this end result, how could one conclude that the elementary schools are no good? There are 77 public elementary schools and the vast majority of these college ready, amazing high school kids came up entirely through SFUSD! Sure a few independent school and parochial school kids opt in at 9th grade, but it’s a minority. The thing that scares parents away from SFUSD – the lottery system – is one of it’s strengths. You can find the right school for your kids if you just trust the system. You will be in a diverse environment and have lots of choices (Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Italian or Filipino language pathways for example). It is not comfortable not knowing exactly where you are going to end up, but families seem to end up at the right schools in the end.

I am proud to be a San Franciscan, proud to be a SFUSD parent and exceedingly proud to have represented so many San Francisco teachers in the purchase of their homes. I am thrilled to help keep these teachers in SF and am grateful for their contribution to our city. Being a great city – not just a 20s/30s party town – requires great public schools. We have them, and I am so happy to see them acknowledged.

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