School Districts Comparison California Socioeconomics

It’s time for a school districts comparison California socioeconomic indicators for our Santa Clara County. If you read anonymous online comments about LASD vs. Bullis Charter school, you have probably encountered various posts that allege that BCS does socio-economic “cherry-picking” in its admissions.  These posts create the impression that the makeup of the student body at BCS  diverges a great deal from that of other near-by schools.

Before we look at comparisons of individual schools, let’s step back and contemplate the socio-economic landscape of school districts here in Santa Clara County.  The two common indicators are 

1) Percent of English Learners ( % EL) – this is kids who are not proficient in English. There are many households where – for example, Mandarin, Farsi, Russian, or Spanish — is spoken as a primary language at home.  But for most of these, the kids are also proficient in English.  In our area, the majority of student’s classified as EL speak Spanish at home.  (Years ago, The EL’s language at home could have been Vietnamese or Cambodian, etc. EL is very sensitive to patterns and circumstances of immigration.)

2) Percent taking free or reduced price meals (lunch) – Almost all schools in California participate in a state program which reimburses them.  BCS as well as many other small or charter schools also provide free lunch to the needy, but do not exploit the state program for reimbursement.

You can see that LASD is in the bottom 10% to 20% of districts when it comes to serving the socio-economically needy.

Lalahpolitico Comment: How is it that LASD has the RESULTS of cherry-picking, yet  doesn’t use a lottery and “takes all comers?”  Well, it doesn’t take all comers — you have to be able to afford the right address and live in LASD. This is called economic geographic segregation. It’s on the rise.  If you love social justice, what should/could you do about this lack of school resource equity all around us? There is a State of California process whereby school districts can be combined, where boundaries can be redrawn to increase equity.  It seems that those of us really concerned about school social justice in our area should work towards merger with Mountain View -Whisman. The rest of us are just hypocrites.

TABLE: All School Districts in Santa Clara County
ranked from Low to High % English Learners

Interesting districts are in green. The red circles highlight extremely low percentage of students taking a free or subsidized “lunch”.

Source:    You will have to use the online interface to recreate this report. The most recent state data is FY 2010-2011.