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more on paying to create an unequal society


A little more research reveals that the 20,000 school age children not in San Francisco public schools are not all white. However, what I’m now hearing at least anecdotally (but apparently backed up by data I have yet to see) is that the children of middle and upper class parents are going mostly to private schools. And since income breaks down by race, with Whites and Asians topping the statistics in San Francisco, middle and upper class parents are paying to create a racially unequal society.

Furthermore and contrary to what I initially thought, people (mostly parents) are talking about this problem. (I’ve been insulated from this situation because I don’t have kids.) The problem is that voting patterns and political influence are also correlated to class status, with working class and poor parents being least likely to be politically engaged. And so the parents who are most likely to impact the public school systems are paying to remove their children from that system.

At least that’s part of the educational and racial justice story in San Francisco. Is it like this elsewhere? Is the same dynamic playing out in cities across the country?



  1. Godfried says:

    The more information link is broken so I’m not sure if I’m repeating information. This organization http://www.basicfund.org supports 5,000 inner city kids in private schools in the Bay area. Based on your 20,000 figure that supposes 1 in 4 kids in private school aren’t white. My point? Not sure, only that statistics can mean many things and are subject to interpretation. I’ll admit I jumped to the same conclusion as you did when I first glanced at the figures. However statistics about public schools say nothing about private schools, home schools, or dropouts.

  2. halshop says:


    Try the link again.

    As for the 5,000 kids being supported in private schools in the Bay Area — please be careful with the base number here. The stats I’m quoting are for San Francisco, alone. The number of “Bay Area” — which, depending on the definition being used, might include San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, Marin, and much more — school age children will be much more than 75,000. So 5,000 kids would be a much smaller percentage of the total private school children in the entire Bay Area than of just San Francisco.

    Further, yes, the public school numbers do not speak to dropouts or home schooling. So take out whatever number you like from the 20,000. Let’s say, to be overly generous, 10,000. That leaves at least 10,000 mostly White and Asian kids being removed from the public schools. => My analysis stands, so far.

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