Bancroft Transfers- MDUSD Offers Few Choices
By Linda Loza
Bancroft Elementary School families know all too well that the Contra Costa Canal Trail is the dividing line for sending their children to one of the “highest-achieving” middle schools in MDUSD or the lowest. The same applies to high school.
Oak Grove Middle School is not only the “lowest-achieving” middle school in MDUSD, but in 2013 only Horace Mann Junior High, located in South Central Los Angeles and Oakland Middle School in Oakland had a lower API on the State Superintendent’s list of “lowest-achieving” middle schools. Oak Grove was 3rd from the bottom of all middle schools in the state. For context, there are 1,347 middle schools in California.
The State Superintendent’s list of the 1,000 “lowest-achieving” schools in California was compiled each year as part of the Open Enrollment Act (SBX5 4) which passed the State Senate in 2010. The Open Enrollment Act provides students enrolled in one of the 1,000 “lowest-achieving” schools, called “Open Enrollment” schools, the option to transfer to a school with a higher API. The list represents a prorated distribution of schools by grade level and consists of 148 high schools, 165 middle schools, and 687 elementary schools.
Due to the implementation of the new California assessments, API scores have been suspended and the State Superintendent’s office will no longer provide the list of the 1,000 “lowest-achieving” schools. This leaves SBX5 4 without the data required within the legislation.
Bancroft families are left confused with MDUSD’s inconsistent information. Early in this year’s process the District was claiming there would be no SBX5 4 transfers. These transfers historically insured a priority transfer to a higher-achieving school of choice. It now appears that MDUSD is providing a list of schools to which a parent can choose to transfer their children. For Oak Grove Middle School the choices are Foothill and El Dorado and for Ygnacio Valley High School it is Concord High School or Mt. Diablo.
Why hasn’t MDUSD fixed the jagged boundary issues and provided a consistent articulation from K through 12?
Why did the MDUSD Board approve new policy changes in December 2015 giving the children of District employees greater priority to transfer to Foothill and Northgate than those students in the “lowest-achieving” schools?
Why did the creation of a Clayton attendance area become so important when they too have priority to transfer to Foothill and Northgate over students in the “lowest-achieving” schools? And how is that fair?
Update: In this article I wrote “This leaves SBX5 4 without the data required within the legislation.” This is not correct. While the State Superintendent cannot create a new list, the CDE will be using the last available list as data for continued implementation of the legislation. MDUSD is still required to implement Open Enrollment.