We were thrilled to receive more than 100 responses in January from parents and guardians of children age 17 and under living in Russian Hill. You shared a wealth of information and we are committed to making your voice heard and working on ways to improve day-to-day life for families in our neighborhood.
Here are highlights of the results:
- Children living in Russian Hill are a range of ages, not just the very young. For example, 38% of parents/guardians reported having children 0-3 years old and 36% reported having children 10-15 years old.
- Families are not necessarily planning to leave San Francisco when their children are ready for elementary school: 65% of parents/guardians said they intend to stay through their children’s graduation from high school.
- When deciding whether to continue to live in San Francisco, parents/guardians site these factors as having the greatest impact: overall quality of life (38%), safety (36%), housing (36%), quality of public schools (34%), and cleanliness of streets and public areas (29%).
- 57% of parents/guardians believe their current housing in Russian Hill is not satisfactory for their family’s needs.
- 70% of parents/guardians feel they cannot relocate to satisfactory housing within San Francisco with 97% reporting “affordability” as the most significant barrier.
- 50% of parents/guardians are not sure if the public schools in Russian Hill provide an excellent education.
- 47% intend for their children to attend private schools in San Francisco. 33% do not, and 20% are not sure.
- 51% of parents/guardians believe a private school education is superior to a public school education in San Francisco. 24% do not, and 25% are not sure.
- 70% of parents/guardians do not feel the needs of families are a priority with San Francisco’s elected officials.
A majority of parents/guardians provided written statements to support their answers. Below is a selection of questions, themes which emerged in the answers, and supporting quotes. For a longer summary of the survey results, please click Families Survey Summary Results.
Do you believe the public schools in Russian Hill provide an excellent education?
Yick Wo Elementary is strong; Francisco Middle and Galileo High School are not optimal.
– “Our child attends Yick Wo Elementary. While we are happy enough with the academic quality there, we believe that district policies tend to favor the needs of disruptive students and the expense of a better education for the rest.”
– “At the elementary school level for sure. The middle school’s reputation is still recovering from years of problems and now some of the district’s new policies are making the schools even more unattractive both due to safety and academics.”
Do you believe a private school education to be superior to a public school education in San Francisco?
Private schools may provide better experiences, but there are exceptions in the public school system.
– “I don’t think all of the private schools are superior, they have more resources, they have more children from families with more resources but some of them are not actually as good as their price tags would indicate, compared to truly excellent private schools elsewhere. SF private schools are just hard to get in to, which makes them exclusive, which gives the illusion that they are “superior.”
– “Private school education may not be better in terms of actual academics. But in terms of safety and overall experience, it may be better. On the other hand, public school is better at exposing kids to the diversity of our real-life world.”
Do you feel the needs of families are a priority with San Francisco’s elected-officials?
“San Francisco would not have the lowest per capita population of children of major cities in the country if elected officials tended better to the needs of families.”
What would need to change, specifically, in order for you to remain living in San Francisco through your child/children graduating from high school
1. Improve the quality and access to local public schools.
– “All children should have access to “excellent” schools & childcare regardless of their income/status. It would be nice if the quality of public schools was in-line to the private options. And for pre-schools in general, if there were more options for all to have a good start in education.”
– “If we could count on the fact that our kids will get into a strong public school within a mile of our house, we’d be thrilled to stay in SF!”
2. Improve the affordability of housing.
– “We have rented for 13 years. We are stuck. We cannot afford to stay in San Francisco and move (to rent or buy) and keep our kids in great schools.”
– “We’ve lived in our current rent-controlled apartment for over 10 years but if we are evicted, we wouldn’t be able to afford anything else in SF.”
Do you have any recommendations on what RHN can do to help support your family?
– Advocate for areas for kids (soccer field, playground) within the new Francisco Park
– Plan more events for neighborhood families to connect and share information about schools, etc.
– Promote neighborhood resources for families
We are up to the task!
We are expanding our Russian Hill Neighbors’ Families with Children Committee to take action on the results of this survey. Among other activities, we intend to share the survey results with the relevant government officials in San Francisco, organize a forum on the state of Russian Hill schools, and actively work to help build a sense of connectedness here for families. We are eager for more members! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining RHN’s Families with Children Committee.
Watch for updates on the progress of the Families with Children Committee in future RHN e-blasts and at www.rhnsf.org.