Economy

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.

Data Confirm Link Between Parent Fundraising, Student Achievement

Jeffrey Thorsby, San Francisco Public Press — Jan 28 2015 - 2:52pm

Last winter, the San Francisco Public Press published a detailed, data-rich narrative showing how private funds have saved a few schools from the ravages of years of budget cuts, but ended up exacerbating educational inequality within the San Francisco Unified School District. As a researcher for the project, I assisted the team in scouring through mountains of public documents, including budgets, California Department of Education data reports, hundreds of parent-teacher association nonprofit tax returns and statistics from other state and local agencies.

Traumatized by the Streets: Illustrated Report on Finding Housing in San Francisco

San Francisco Public Press — Jan 5 2015 - 5:14pm

As seen in our fall issue, this illustrated report tells the true story of two individuals as they struggle to find housing in San Francisco. Follow the different paths of David and Laura as they navigate the city’s supportive housing system.

Click through to view the full story.

Formerly Homeless Residents May Face Higher Eviction Rate Than Other S.F. Tenants

Paayal Zaveri, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 20 2014 - 3:22pm

Even after residents get in to supportive housing, they face many obstacles to keeping it, and make up a disproportionately large number the tenants threatened with eviction. Part of a special report on homelessness and mental health in San Francisco, in the fall 2014 print edition. Stories rolling out online throughout the fall.

A Minimum Wage Increase Means Nothing if Your Boss Is a Scofflaw

Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 19 2014 - 5:17pm

San Francisco’s vote to raise the minimum wage on Election Day reflects the widening recognition of deep income disparity. While the wage hike is a boon for those who toil under law-abiding bosses, thousands of San Francisco employers skirt existing minimum wage requirements, studies indicate.

KQED Tackles Junction Between Homelessness, Mental Illness

Emily Dugdale, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 10 2014 - 5:44pm

KQED Public Radio’s “Forum” hit the airwaves this morning with a conversation with Robert Okin, the former chief of psychiatry at San Francisco General Hospital, who recently published a new book on homelessness and mental illness. He said the common belief that the homeless choose to reside on the streets, from his experience profiling them, is false.

Following S.F.’s Lead, Cities Leapfrog State in Race to Raise Minimum Wage

Alex Kekauoha, San Francisco Public Press — Sep 9 2014 - 11:02am

The momentum to increase the minimum wage that is building in San Francisco and other localities across California has not caught on for similar statewide efforts. Part of the summer edition of the San Francisco Public Press. Get yours today.

Education Reformers Say Students Need a Voice in State Funding for Equity

Paayal Zaveri, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 8 2014 - 3:25pm

With California public schools set to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding in the coming school year, education reform groups say Bay Area school districts have not done enough to bring students — not just parents and other district residents — into the decision-making process.

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