Civil & human rights

Change of Address: Voices Humanize Homelessness

Stacy Bond, Ellison Libiran and Chloe Davidson, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 29 2016 - 8:00am

The San Francisco Public Press and Sonic SF present a collection of eight audio portraits giving voice to people who are — or are on the verge of becoming — homeless.

How Media Coverage on Homelessness Falls Short (And What Reporters Can Do About It)

Hye-Jin Kim and Meka Boyle, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 22 2016 - 8:00am

In many newsrooms, “the homeless” is a well-worn catchphrase for the often-anonymous people on the street or in shelters. But many professionals who work with these populations on a daily basis find the term offensive and misleading.

Fight Club Charges in S.F. Jail Aren’t New. Remember ‘Gladiator Matches’ of Corcoran Prison?

Cody Wright, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 2 2016 - 5:54pm

The case of three San Francisco sheriff’s deputies accused of forcing inmates to fight one another was not the first time sworn officers in California have been accused of inciting violence behind bars.

Body Cameras Will Not Be Cheap

Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 30 2015 - 4:00pm

San Francisco has become the latest of many cities nationwide where leaders are deciding that the benefits of outfitting police with body cameras outweigh the myriad costs.

As Courts Flip-Flopped on School Integration, Diversity Has Remained Elusive

Sanne Bergh and Paul Lorgerie, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 5 2015 - 5:26pm

By 2005, when a federal judge lifted the most recent desegregation orders, San Francisco Unified School District had been trying for more than three decades to make its schools more racially and socioeconomically diverse, starting in 1971 with forced busing. San Francisco schools no longer exhibit the level of racial isolation they once did, but they are now resegregating, as are many others across the country. In 2013–2014, in more than one-quarter of city schools, 60 percent of the students were of one race. That is a far cry from 1966, when more than one-third of the schools had student populations with 80 percent or more belonging to a single racial group. (In 2014, just three schools were segregated to that degree.)

As Parents Get More Choice, S.F. Schools Resegregate

Jeremy Adam Smith, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 2 2015 - 9:40am

Each January, parents across San Francisco rank their preferences for public schools. By June, most get their children into their first choices, and almost three-quarters get one of their choices. A majority of families may be satisfied with the outcome, but the student assignment system is failing to meet its No. 1 goal, which the San Francisco Unified School District has struggled to achieve since the 1960s: classroom diversity. Since 2010, the year before the current policy went into effect, the number of San Francisco’s 115 public schools dominated by one race has climbed significantly.

San Francisco Schools’ Changing Demographics

Paul Lorgerie and Jeremy Adam Smith, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 2 2015 - 9:39am

Over five decades, San Francisco saw a demographic transformation in its public school system. In 1969, white and black students together were the majority, as in most of the rest of the United States. Since then, San Francisco public school enrollment has fallen by 39 percent, and almost all the missing faces are white or black. But the two groups have not disappeared in the same way.

Isolated Schools Clustered by Test Scores, Family Income

Jeffrey Thorsby, Emily Dugdale and Paul Lorgerie, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 2 2015 - 9:39am

If one looks at the San Francisco Unified School District as a whole, a clear pattern emerges: Schools with the highest level of achievement tend to have the lowest levels of family poverty. And schools that are identified as “racially isolated” are visibly clustered by both income and achievement. This plot shows the base Academic Performance Index for each school in the district for which data are available, as well as the percentage of students poor enough to qualify for free and reduced-price lunches, which are used as a proxy for measuring poverty.

Ranking Schools by Diversity

Jeffrey Thorsby, Emily Dugdale and Paul Lorgerie, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 2 2015 - 9:38am

Schools across San Francisco show markedly different levels of racial and ethnic diversity. Increasingly over the last five years, schools are dominated by one racial group. With mathematical tools, it is possible to measure which schools are the most and least diverse. We chose to rank schools using a formula that economists use to tell whether an industry is dominated by monopoly ownership, the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, also known to ecologists as the Simpson diversity index. The idea is the same: Sum up the squares of all the fractions of your sample. The higher the number, the lower the diversity.

Transportation Challenges Complicate School Choice for S.F. Students

Rebecca Robinson, San Francisco Public Press — Jan 29 2015 - 2:05pm

While San Francisco’s school assignment system has benefited families with the means to transport their children to schools with the most desirable programs, it creates dilemmas for more disadvantaged students who must travel long distances to school, often without the help of their parents. Many lower-income students must choose between long commutes on unreliable public transit and attending lower-performing schools closer to home. This may help explain why San Francisco public schools, like those in many cities nationwide, are increasingly resegregating as decades of court-ordered diversity measures recede into history.

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