After years of complaints from parents, the San Francisco Unified School District has just taken a serious step toward revamping its well-meaning but labyrinthine student-assignment system, which decides the educational homes for tens of thousands of children.
The current system — designed to meet the terms of a settlement in a long-fought federal desegregation case — involves a complicated computer algorithm that creates student “profiles,” using various economic and educational factors, with the aim of sending students of different backgrounds to the same schools.
It has resulted instead in more segregation and has aggravated parents to a point where efforts to manipulate the system have become endemic.
This month, the school district rolled out a new plan. It is designed to more closely consider proximity between a student’s home and classroom. It is to be applied to every child headed for kindergarten.