Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 19, 2015

Census track

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Mike McMahon’s comment yesterday regarding attendance zones got me thinking about creating some new graphs based on census tract specific data and how this compares to the attendance zones for the neighborhood schools. I wasn’t able to precisely map the census tracts to the attendance zones, and there is some overlap, but in general it gives you an idea of the neighborhood data as compares to what the school demographics end up being.  Here are the tracts that I associated to each school, I did not include Maya Lin as it is a magnet school and therefore open for all students regardless of attendance zone:

census tracts

I created two types of infographics: one which overlays a line graph over bar graphs and the other as side to side bar graphs. All of the East End and Bay Farm schools (Earhart, Bay Farm, Edison and Otis) tracked the school demographics closely to the census data.  Franklin also tracked pretty closely to the census data as well.

However all the other schools did not (Lum, Haight, Ruby Bridges and Paden) these school have disproportionate numbers when you compare the census numbers to the school demographics.  Haight is a bit tricky because it’s a large attendance zone after Washington’s rebirth as Maya Lin, so I won’t be going into detail about Haight.  First off Lum:


The graphic I posted is static, but if you visit the link above it’s a dynamic image.  As you can see the “white” population for those census tracts is well over 40% but the population of white students at Lum barely hits 25%.

Here’s Paden:


It does slightly better for the white population.  The census revealing that around 32% of the residents are white, but Paden’s population is only 25.5%.  Somehow even though the Asian population is nearly 40% per the Census, Paden is only able to draw 21.3% to that school.  And while the Latino population per the Census is only 11%, the school’s Latino population is 18.2%.

And on to Ruby Bridges:


Ruby Bridges numbers, as you can see does not reflect the census data very well. Even when I isolate for the census tract right around the school alone it still isn’t similar:


Ruby Bridges consistently loses Asian and White students to other schools and while the census tract data only reports 13-14% for Latinos, Ruby Bridges’s share is 18.7%.  Similarly the census tract data reports 15-16% for Blacks and Ruby Bridges’s share is 24.5%.

I was really excited to hear Superintendent Sean McPhetridge’s presentation on his goals, priorities, and visions for the next year.  Particularly this bit on refocusing on equity:

• We can debate what it means, how it works, why we need it, and on and on. But the simple truth is when a foster child, an English language learner, an immigrant, a child with different learning needs, or a child who comes to school hungry or hurting needs our help, we will be there to provide care and service and support. It’s just the thing we do as educators.
• It’s what the LCAP is about, it’s what Alameda is about, and it’s what I’m about. It’s why we do what we do: to achieve AUSD’s mission, we have to take care of all of our students.
• Our course ahead is one we chart with a renewed sense of hope and focus. AUSD must return our focus again and again to using an equity lens in decision making so AUSD continues to provide an excellent academic program for all students with extra resources for those in need.

Based on the way that AUSD has disbursed out money in the past for “innovative and magnet” programs, it really hasn’t done a good job of directing the money in an equitable way.  While Maya Lin and Encinal have received large pots of money from the Parcel Tax for their innovative/magnet programs, both Bay Farm schools have also received substantial amounts of money to make high performing schools even more attractive.  And while that is a laudable goal if all schools were succeeding, there are schools that still struggle and do not have the resources among its parent and teacher populations to create proposals for innovative and magnet programs.


Given the plethora of “choice” that exists on the West End, I’m hopeful that Sean McPhetridge will focus on the schools that are most vulnerable and find innovative ways to make these school more attractive to existing and incoming AUSD families.


  1. If I am not mistaken, the census data while providing the high level breakdown of demographics it does not disaggregate the data within age bands. So while the current census shows the entire Alameda population at just over 50% white, the demographic makeup of Alameda school age children is different.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — August 19, 2015 @ 7:47 am

  2. I’m a little fuzzy about the implications of much of this data as per Mike’s comment in 1. My understanding is that Maya Lin’s test scores which lead to Title 1 status have improved to the point where it may be removed from Title 1. Title 1 schools get staff who are dedicated to Title 1 “issues” and work on reading among other things. When the status goes, that staff goes, away too, but the students who benefit are still there with all the ongoing needs. The implications are obvious.

    Comment by MI — August 19, 2015 @ 8:39 am

  3. Mike M. is absolutely correct, the demographic data is not broken down by age so there are certain assumptions that have to be made that the overall demographics match the school age children. The East End and Bay Farms mirror pretty closely, the West End schools do not.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 19, 2015 @ 9:02 am

  4. Just a few quick clarifications. First, the chart that is posted about expenditures on innovative/magnet programs includes both general funds and parcel tax funds. Measure A money is only used for *planning* innovative and magnet programs, not funding them over the long term. As such, the parcel tax funds comprise only a fraction of the revenue used for these programs. That’s why the topic of the “sustainability” of our innovative/magnet programs has come up at several Board of Education meetings over the last few months.

    Second, although only some schools have created and implemented official “innovative” or “magnet” programs, other schools in our district receive other types of funding to create unique programs to better serve their students and families. For instance, in 2013-14 alone, Wood Middle School received more than $320,000 to restructure its program (and hopefully attract more families). That same year, Ruby Bridges, Paden, Haight, and Maya Lin received about $530,000 for state-subsidized afterschool programs, and Ruby Bridges received another $279,000 over and above the afterschool program and federal Title 1 funds to use on, for example, paraprofessionals who can translate and an assistant principal.

    These are the kinds of funding decisions that can get buried in budget spreadsheets but that are important to discussions of equity in public schools.

    By the way, if you’re looking for reports on Measure A and how the funding is spent, the annual reports (which are written for laypeople 🙂 ) are here:

    Comment by Susan Davis (Community Affairs, AUSD) — August 19, 2015 @ 9:30 am

  5. I’m sure the age differences are a factor, but the conclusions are pretty clear. White and asian families (who would tend to have more financial and social capital) are choosing to “flee,” to some extent, the more diverse schools and are choosing to send their kids to the charters and/or private schools.
    Parents often place too much emphasis on the achievement of the peers/school, instead of realizing that their expectations and involvement will have a much greater impact on their kid’s achievement than whether they attend a 9/10 school or an 8/10 school. The instruction your 2nd grader will get at Edison isn’t much different than they’ll get at Haight, even though the test scores would imply it. They really just reveal that the parents of the Edison kids are all engineers and lawyers.

    Comment by BMac — August 19, 2015 @ 10:21 am

  6. They really just reveal that the parents of the Edison kids are all engineers and lawyers.


    I’m personally acquainted with a couple hundred Edison parents, and estimate that maybe 5% are engineers or lawyers.

    Comment by dave — August 19, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

  7. 6. how many plumbers and dental hygienists ?

    Comment by MI — August 19, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

  8. 6. dave, it was a purposefully hyperbolic statement, meant to imply that the demographics of the parents (more education & higher incomes) have more to do w/ the school’s ratings than the quality of the instruction. Especially when comparing w/in AUSD.

    Comment by BMac — August 19, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

  9. “Well, a lot of people forget, New Hampshire is 25% Franco-American.” -West Wing

    Comment by BMac — August 19, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

  10. 6. how many are cashiers or waitresses ?

    Comment by MI — August 19, 2015 @ 3:49 pm

  11. I know of 2 plumbers, no dental hygienists, 1 cashier and no waitresses, but there may be a fair number. There are many folks whose occupations I don’t know.

    Comment by dave — August 19, 2015 @ 4:03 pm

  12. If you are interested in the Parental Education Index (2002-2010) by school go here:

    Parent Education Average – The average of all responses where “1” represents “Not a high school graduate”, “2” represents “High School Graduate”, “3” represents “Some College”, “4” represents “College Graduate” and “5” represents “Graduate School”.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — August 19, 2015 @ 5:42 pm

  13. Re: Parent Ed Average. Interesting how many 4+ parents in lower grades, but none in high schools. Where did they go? Surely they weren’t all transferred out of Alameda.

    Comment by Li_ — August 19, 2015 @ 11:04 pm

  14. Li, I’m not sure what you’re reading. Isn’t there just one number in the chart which is an average ? the whole point is that elementary enclaves are more concentrated in terms of incomes and by high school those pools are mixed because the high schools are fewer, so the average drops ? They are still there but diluted. Edison is consistently up there, which makes BMac’s point, hyperbolic or not. I noticed the spread between ACLC and other two is significant, which I think corroborates what I’ve argued about ACLC, that ACLC families tend to be upwardly mobile and not an even cross section of the island, i.e. it’s not as diverse as the island at large.

    Comment by MI — August 20, 2015 @ 9:54 am

  15. When was the last time Alameda had a discussion about abandoning the neighborhood school model entirely, in favor of a lottery system that forced diversity (using geography as a proxy for SES)? Serious question.

    Comment by gaylon — August 20, 2015 @ 11:42 am

  16. 15. I can’t answer the question about when it was last considered. I would guess during the recession when budgets got tight and school closures/realignment happened. But, Alamedans seem to have reaffirmed their preference for the neighborhood school model, and keeping more schools open to achieve it at the expense of $efficiency$. I want my kid to be able to walk to school. My argument above applies here as well, I think. We don’t have anything that really would be considered a failing school, do we? I think the quality of the school experience w/in Alameda schools is likely very similar, even if achievements are somewhat unequal. The district has the ability to allocate resources appropriately to try and close that gap.

    We could move kids around w/in the district and get the numbers to average out more evenly. I doubt it would signify any real change in the individual outcomes though, it would just look more fair on a school to school basis. The demographic breakdowns of results would likely not be different, IMO. Ergo, wouldn’t be worth the hassle and genuine inconvenience of eliminating neighborhood schools. Besides, the west end and middle parts of the island are gentrifying so quickly that this discussion becomes less and less relevant. I am by no means advocating for ignoring the achievement gap, or endorsing the economic tsunami affecting Alameda and the whole region. I just don’t think ditching the neighborhood model is the solution to much larger problems. Hopefully some of that made sense.

    Comment by BMac — August 20, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

  17. Dear Lord:

    Please grant us a district-wide lottery in Alameda.


    Comment by East Bay Private Schools — August 20, 2015 @ 3:51 pm

  18. I can see the headlines now – “AUSD lottery results in more traffic in Alameda!”

    Comment by Sarah O — August 20, 2015 @ 4:26 pm

  19. “Parents reading to their children bedtime stories are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children.”

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — August 20, 2015 @ 10:31 pm

  20. Lottery. The realtors would freak because it would ruin their system of getting big bucks for east end homes. How terrifying to not know where your kid would end up. The outcome would supposedly solve everything but the transition would be like busing in South Boston. and it does mess up the whole walking to schools thing. #5.”The instruction your 2nd grader will get at Edison isn’t much different than they’ll get at Haight, even though the test scores would imply it.” deal with it.

    Comment by MI — August 21, 2015 @ 8:52 am

  21. 20. really? what a bunch of convoluted horseshit. beyond pretzel logic.

    Comment by MI — August 21, 2015 @ 9:04 am

  22. 20. It’s pretty obvious you had no such unfair advantage.

    Comment by BC — August 21, 2015 @ 10:24 am

  23. The Bedtime stories being told here seem about the same.

    “convoluted horseshit. beyond pretzel logic.”

    Could not agree more.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — August 21, 2015 @ 11:48 am

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