School choice program earns a solid B and two As

I did some poking around on the OUSD Web site, and I found a document with an overview of the School Options results. It might have been there for awhile, and maybe some of you have already seen this, but I thought it was worth posting.

Apparently 87 percent of Oakland’s prospective kindergarten families — 1,966 — received one of their top three choices of schools, an improvement from last year. The district reported a 96 percent success rate at the middle school level and 97 percent for future high schoolers.

Not bad, at least on paper. I guess before we can give a final grade to the much-maligned School Options program, we should see the success rate for families who did not put one of their home schools on the list. I asked for exactly that tidbit of information this week, and I’ll post it when it comes in.

Kerry Hamill, the board member who chairs the special committee on enrollment and attendance boundaries, told me last night that the district has collected data from most, if not all, of the schools. She said she would ask staff to post the information on each school, if they haven’t already (If they have, it is not in an obvious place).

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • hills parent

    I would be interested to hear how many neighborhood students did not get into their neighborhood schools, when requested.

    Additonally, in Redwood Heights I know that new families moving into the neighborhood have already been told that there are no spots available for next school year. Spaces have already been given to non-neighborhood students. This means anyone moving into the neighborhood with school age children after January, 2008 until September, 2009 are out of luck.

  • Public school fan

    I’m not sure that I would give the options program an “A” for its success rate of placement at the middle school and high school levels. I guess it is an “A” for the percentages placed in one of their choices, but it would be interesting to see what the attrition rate is for students “graduating” from OUSD elementary schools. How many of those students continue on in OUSD middle schools? How many OUSD middle schoolers continue on to OUSD high schools? Although I could be wrong here, it seems to me that there are 2 large exodus points from OUSD: 6th grade and 9th grade. Families tend to move out of the district or go private (if they can) or go charter at those two points. Hence, there is greater capacity at those two levels. If you have excess capacity at the middle school and high school levels, it shouldn’t be hard to give people one of their 3 listed choices. I’m not sure that should be considered a success,however, when the reason for the excess capacity is that families are opting out altogether due to the perception (either real or imagined) that their choices are undesirable.

  • hills parent

    I can say that the attrition rate at Redwood Heights Elementary from grade 4 to 5 is high. This probably means that students are leaving to position themselves into private schools before the 6th grade year. I wonder if this is also the case in other “hills” school, other than Hillcrest.