Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 18, 2015

Uneven bars

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Updated to include Paden numbers.

KQED, piggybacking on the great This America Life show on schools and segregation, which uses the Normal Rockwell title and painting of Ruby Bridges to evoke the general feel of the piece, tackles the issue from a Bay Area perspective.   Listening to some of the comments of the parents who were upset with students from a failing school district being bused to their district was very difficult in the This American Life piece.

Yesterday someone asked if the trend in Alameda is similar to what is happening in San Francisco and the answer is, “not really.”  The only school that comes close to being “racially isolated” which is defined as 60% or more of one race is Edison at 59.5%.

I put all the elementary school data from the latest available on Ed-Data to show the difference between what the demographics are at the general AUSD level and then compared to the individual elementary schools.   I also compared each individual school against the district wide numbers to show how individual schools’ population differ from the district wide numbers.  Here’s an example of my kids’ school: Ruby Bridges.


Here are the numbers in number-y form, the difference between the district wide demographics and at the individual elementary school level:


The more startling difference is the number of kids that receive free or reduced lunches (which is typically the gauge of the socioeconomics of the school).


  1. Post the chart for the high schools and try to make your point that nothing is wrong…Make sure to include statistics for special education students…

    Comment by Captain Obvious — August 18, 2015 @ 6:38 am

  2. Did I make the point that nothing is wrong? I simply said that the trend of an increase in racially isolated schools is not happening in Alameda. But when some schools do not reflect the AUSD average by race, there clearly are some issues.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 18, 2015 @ 6:49 am

  3. instead of being coy would would Capt. Unobvious care to simply state what they think is wrong and how special ed students are part of that?

    Comment by MI — August 18, 2015 @ 8:12 am

  4. Attendance zones are the biggest factor contributing to the demographic makeup of a school, so if a particular school demographics is “wrong” then the underlying condition is the economics of that particular part of the island.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — August 18, 2015 @ 8:13 am

  5. Why do we use the term “white”? Would it better stated to use the term “European-American.” I have always felt that it was wrong to lump everyone of any color in to one large “pot.” Irish are white, yet they are very different than Italians or Germans, etc. Same with the term “Asians.” The Japanese are considerably different than Koreans and Chinese, as are Cambodians different than Taiwanese. Would it be worth looking at this issue and better defining who we are and how we should be defined??

    Comment by Bill2 — August 18, 2015 @ 9:22 am

  6. Mike. I’m not sure I understand what your comment means. What are “attendance zones”? for example? Can you offer a second statement that may clerify your thoughts for me/us? Thanks.

    Comment by Bill2 — August 18, 2015 @ 9:24 am

  7. Lauren thanks for providing this info.

    Comment by Not A. Alamedan — August 18, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  8. Actually “white” encompasses individuals from the Middle East. For example a good portion of Ruby Bridges’s white population are recent immigrants from the middle east that are English language learners.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 18, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  9. The current U.S. Census definition includes white “a person having origins in any of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa.”[148] The U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation describes white people as “having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa through racial categories used in the UCR Program adopted from the Statistical Policy Handbook (1978) and published by the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce.”[149] The “white” category in the UCR includes non-black Hispanics.[150]

    If your from any of these Countries you are considered White.

    Bosnia & Herzegovina
    Czech Republic






    The Netherlands



    San Marino


    United Kingdom

    Vatican City
    Saudi Arabia
    United Arab Emirates

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — August 18, 2015 @ 11:02 am

  10. Why are we spending taxpayer dollars tracking race, when race has no relationship to intelligence? It would be far better to use this money to help students who need help. The above chart is the modern day equivalent of counting the number of fairies on the head of a pin.

    Comment by Ed Hirshberg — August 18, 2015 @ 11:38 am

  11. The $1-a-week school

    Private schools are booming in poor countries. Governments should either help them or get out of their way

    ACROSS the highway from the lawns of Nairobi’s Muthaiga Country Club is Mathare, a slum that stretches as far as the eye can see. Although Mathare has virtually no services like paved streets or sanitation, it has a sizeable and growing number of classrooms. Not because of the state—the slum’s half-million people have just four public schools—but because the private sector has moved in. Mathare boasts 120 private schools.

    This pattern is repeated across Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The failure of the state to provide children with a decent education is leading to a burgeoning of private places, which can cost as little as $1 a week (see article).

    The parents who send their children to these schools in their millions welcome this. But governments, teachers’ unions and NGOs tend to take the view that private education should be discouraged or heavily regulated. That must change.

    Chalk and fees
    Education in most of the developing world is shocking. Half of children in South Asia and a third of those in Africa who complete four years of schooling cannot read properly. In India 60% of six- to 14-year-olds cannot read at the level of a child who has finished two years of schooling.

    Most governments have promised to provide universal primary education and to promote secondary education. But even when public schools exist, they often fail. In a survey of rural Indian schools, a quarter of teachers were absent. In Africa the World Bank found teacher-absenteeism rates of 15-25%. Pakistan recently discovered that it had over 8,000 non-existent state schools, 17% of the total. Sierra Leone spotted 6,000 “ghost” teachers, nearly a fifth the number on the state payroll.

    Powerful teachers’ unions are part of the problem. They often see jobs as hereditary sinecures, the state education budget as a revenue stream to be milked and any attempt to monitor the quality of education as an intrusion. The unions can be fearsome enemies, so governments leave them to run schools in the interests of teachers rather than pupils.

    The failure of state education, combined with the shift in emerging economies from farming to jobs that need at least a modicum of education, has caused a private-school boom. According to the World Bank, across the developing world a fifth of primary-school pupils are enrolled in private schools, twice as many as 20 years ago. So many private schools are unregistered that the real figure is likely to be much higher. A census in Lagos found 12,000 private schools, four times as many as on government records. Across Nigeria 26% of primary-age children were in private schools in 2010, up from 18% in 2004. In India in 2013, 29% were, up from 19% in 2006. In Liberia and Sierra Leone around 60% and 50% respectively of secondary-school enrolments are private.

    By and large, politicians and educationalists are unenthusiastic. Governments see education as the state’s job. Teachers’ unions dislike private schools because they pay less and are harder to organise in. NGOs tend to be ideologically opposed to the private sector. The UN special rapporteur on education, Kishore Singh, has said that “for-profit education should not be allowed in order to safeguard the noble cause of education”.

    This attitude harms those whom educationalists claim to serve: children. The boom in private education is excellent news for them and their countries, for three reasons.

    First, it is bringing in money—not just from parents, but also from investors, some in search of a profit. Most private schools in the developing world are single operators that charge a few dollars a month, but chains are now emerging. Bridge International Academies, for instance, has 400 nursery and primary schools in Kenya and Uganda which teach in standardised classrooms that look rather like stacked shipping containers. It plans to expand into Nigeria and India. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, Bill Gates and the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private-sector arm, are among its investors. Chains are a healthy development, because they have reputations to guard.

    Second, private schools are often better value for money than state ones. Measuring this is hard, since the children who go to private schools tend to be better off, and therefore likely to perform better. But a rigorous four-year study of 6,000 pupils in Andhra Pradesh, in southern India, suggested that private pupils performed better in English and Hindi than public-school pupils, and at a similar level in maths and Telugu, the local language. The private schools achieved these results at a third of the cost of the public schools.

    Lastly, private schools are innovative. Since technology has great (though as yet mostly unrealised) potential in education, this could be important. Bridge gives teachers tablets linked to a central system that provides teaching materials and monitors their work. Such robo-teaching may not be ideal, but it is better than lessons without either materials or monitoring.

    Critics of the private sector are right that it has problems. Quality ranges from top-notch international standard to not much more than cheap child care. But the alternative is often a public school that is worse—or no school at all.

    Those who can
    Governments should therefore be asking not how to discourage private education, but how to boost it. Ideally, they would subsidise private schools, preferably through a voucher which parents could spend at the school of their choice and top up; they would regulate schools to ensure quality; they would run public exams to help parents make informed choices. But governments that cannot run decent public schools may not be able to do these things well; and doing them badly may be worse than not doing them at all. Such governments would do better to hand parents cash and leave schools alone. Where public exams are corrupt, donors and NGOs should consider offering reliable tests that will help parents make well-informed choices and thus drive up standards.

    The growth of private schools is a manifestation of the healthiest of instincts: parents’ desire to do the best for their children. Governments that are too disorganised or corrupt to foster this trend should get out of the way.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — August 18, 2015 @ 12:02 pm

  12. @6 Attendance Zones for Alameda High,n,alameda%20high,z,94501,t,pb,i,1017276.cfm

    I disagree with McMahon. The clever and well-connected in Alameda have always been able to jump zones to attend a more desirable school. E.G.: Had I not attended SJND, I would have had to attend AHS. But my cousin who lived on the same block, 3 doors away, somehow was able to attend EHS. She was supposed to have to go to AHS.

    [we both lived in the Gold Coast and both ended up at MIT]

    Comment by vigi — August 18, 2015 @ 1:16 pm

  13. 10. really? In terms of data, race correlates to socio economics which correlates to who thrives. College graduation rates are tied directly to income, as in it’s really hard to work your way through college or not accumulate huge debt so many people drop out. Not driven by race, but I’ll bet that a majority of those who drop out are not second and third European American. We are spending tax payer dollars tracking “race” because it matters.

    Comment by MI — August 18, 2015 @ 2:49 pm

  14. 11. The Economist is a great source of information and the humor of their covers is better than New Yorker, but they can be so Libertarian that they can’t see the forest for the trees.
    “Lastly, private schools are innovative. Since technology has great (though as yet mostly unrealised) potential in education, this could be important. ” that sentence is totally stupid. What we need is the dedication and compassion to make universal education tuition free, innovative and effective, which is not inextricably linked to private or public, though in terms of the universal part, public heightens access to all. Education is a process, technology is a tool.

    Comment by MI — August 18, 2015 @ 2:57 pm

  15. 14: regardless of what the Economist says, or what you think of it as a newspaper, the fact remains that some of the world’s poorest people are paying out of pocket to put their children in private schools because they see education as the best chance of improving their lot, and the public sector is failing to deliver on a monumental scale. And yet you pick on their comment about technology. It’s you that can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Comment by A-la-median — August 18, 2015 @ 3:26 pm

  16. fix the public delivery system or let the poor continue to pay out of pocket for what they can’t afford. Technology isn’t going to make the poor rich, fund their schools or create some magic carpet which zooms us all to privatization Utopia. If you think technology can do that you need to at a minimum map out basic course, otherwise you are like Donald Trump just saying stuff cause it sounds good. Simply using the words “unrealized” and ” potential” doesn’t mean shit.

    Here’s an idea:

    Comment by MI — August 18, 2015 @ 5:09 pm

  17. Last week’s (Aug 1-7) Economist articles, The Dollar A Week School, pg 9, Learning Unleashed, pg 19-22, a three page article, are the most pertinent. There is a lot there that has been left out by CBKJ. Much of the articles, while interesting, are aside to the original topic – the breakdown of students in our grammar schools. If we want to discuss private schools, globally, especially Africa, we need another place.
    This article, about breakdown in Alameda should have the floor here, now. One thing I think that does not show up in the way the data is gathered (use White) is the probable big difference in those White subjects that are also in the Minority demographic, and those Whites that are not. What can be done about bringing this hidden demographic to light, if anything. Does the partnership between Edison and Ruby Bridges help in any way? Are there any other similar partnerships? Do we need to know what the percentage of Minorities don’t fit the down-trodden, struggling, poor definition most people assume in relation to this term? How about the difference under other racial headings?
    There’s lots more to know to have a meaningful discussion.

    Comment by Li_ — August 18, 2015 @ 8:23 pm

  18. you mean to say the fact that poor folks in third world countries struggle to pay for private school does not somehow imply a complete and comprehensive road map for equity in education across the globe ? and also gigantic strip and paste dump by CBKJ lacked over all context… oh my, what next?

    “Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society….To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.”— Gore Vidal, 1961

    Comment by MI — August 19, 2015 @ 10:00 am

  19. To the left, giving parents freedom of choice in education for their children sets them up as the enemy. Odd, isn’t it?

    If schools are performing, they won’t be hurt by more SchoolChoice.

    Give the money to the Kids and Parents and let them make the decision.

    Anyone fighting against schoolchoice is fighting to deepen oppression.

    Why the world’s poor choose to pay private school tuition

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — August 19, 2015 @ 11:18 am

  20. School Choice Is Good for Teachers, Too

    School choice offers educators opportunities to innovate and lead in the classroom and beyond, argues former teachers’ union president Doug Tuthill.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — August 19, 2015 @ 11:34 am

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