The San Francisco School Board has been in the news a lot recently. First it was controversy over the decision to rename 44 schools in the district. Then it was the decision to get rid of selective admissions at their best performing high school on the grounds that meritocracy is racist.
Over the weekend, the board took another hit in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle when columnist Heather Knight relayed the story of a volunteer who wanted to become part of the board’s Parent Advisory Committee. Seth Brenzel would have been the only gay member of the group and the only man, but after discussing it for two solid hours the school board rejected him because he’s white:
All of the 10 current members are straight moms. Three are white. Three are Latina. Two are Black. One is Tongan. They all want the dad to join them.
The seven school board members talk for two hours about whether the dad brings enough diversity. Yes, he’d be the only man. And the only LGBTQ representative. But he’d be the fourth white person in a district where 15% of students are white…
The Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club on Friday slammed the board for its “misguided fumbling towards a goal of diversity.”
The person who was perhaps the most stunned was Seth Brenzel, the gay dad whose daughter is a fourth-grader at Glen Park Elementary. “At any moment, I expected a commissioner to address me,” he said, “because there I was.”
The board never asked Brenzel a single question. Instead he sat there, his face being broadcast on the zoom meeting, while the board decided he didn’t belong in the voluntary position because a white male ticked the wrong social justice boxes. This important conversation dragged on while about 500 parents were waiting to hear about school reopening plans.
The board’s focus on woke messaging over student well-being continues despite the fact that data presented last month showed closed schools are widening the academic gap between minority and white students:
Black, Latino and Asian students in San Francisco as well as those from low-income families have lost significant academic ground compared with wealthier and white students during the pandemic, according to new data released by the school district.
Black and Latino students were also more likely to be absent at least 60% of the time during the fall semester…
“We are concerned the gap has widened, especially in elementary schools,” said San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe, adding that supports are in place for the most under-served youth. “But we know remote doesn’t replace in person when it comes to serving our students. We want to return to (school) sites as quickly as possible.”
In other words, if you want to really help minority students and their families the best thing you could do right now is get kids back to classrooms. But when SF School Board president Gabriela Lopez was asked about this decidedly downbeat data, she offered some creative spin on it:
“They are learning more about their families and their cultures, spending more time with each other,” López said. “They’re just having different learning experiences than the ones we currently measure, and the loss is a comparison to a time when we were in a different space.”
No, dummy, that’s not how this works. If students are absent or failing that doesn’t mean they are part of some ethnic enrichment program at home. It just means they aren’t keeping up with other kids their age. In short, there is no silver lining to this dark cloud and until the schools reopen this trend is going to continue.
The board’s focus on woke decision making over addressing actual problems has become so absurd that even some Democrats see it as self-parody:
“We’ve become parodies of ourselves,’’ said Democratic strategist Brian Brokaw, who recounted Republican friends good-naturedly jabbing him as the developments became a running joke on the political scene. “It’s counterproductive in so many ways.”
San Francisco parents and their kids are paying a steep price for electing these woke ideologues to the school board.