Across the country, parents and concerned citizens are rising up against unresponsive left-wing school boards, most of which have been put in place without much public oversight by far-left teachers’ unions. The movement for reform has now reached as far as San Francisco:
Three San Francisco school board members are heading to a recall election early next year after the city’s elections department confirmed the organizers of the recall collected and submitted enough signatures from registered voters.
The organizers of the recall campaign told National Review in September that they were confident they would get the recall on the ballot. They say they submitted more than 80,000 signatures from registered San Francisco voters for each of the three races, far more than the 51,325 verified signatures they needed to get on the ballot.
The grounds for the recall are typical of those we are seeing nationwide:
Siva Raj and his partner, Autumn Looijen, spearheaded the recall effort in February when they grew frustrated that the school board wasn’t prioritizing reopening public schools closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than working on a reopening plan, it appeared to Raj and others that the board was focusing its energy on social justice issues: rechristening schools named after such troubling American figures as Abraham Lincoln and Paul Revere, making a highly-selective magnet school more diverse, and deciding if a gay white dad was diverse enough to join a volunteer parent committee made up exclusively of women.
While the phrase “critical race theory” doesn’t appear in the article, it is implicit in the attacks on the “troubling” Abraham Lincoln and Paul Revere and the other issues raised. (Parenthetically, I have no idea what is “troubling” about Paul Revere, but no doubt the leftists can come up with something. Maybe it is a retrospective OSHA violation, since his apprentice Johnny Tremain burned his hand while working in Revere’s shop.)
Then, of course, we have the issue of the school board’s basic competence–again, something we see in one district after another:
The district also is facing a budget deficit of well over $100 million, a drop in enrollment, and significant learning loss, especially among underprivileged kids, Raj said.
Will the recall succeed, or will it fizzle out like the attempted recall of Governor Newsom?
Raj said he’s confident voters will recall the board members in February, citing polling that has shown public dissatisfaction with the board’s performance, and the general energy around the recall effort. Even if the recall ultimately is not successful, he said they’ve already made an impact.
“There’s been this entire grassroots community that’s emerged that is absolutely passionate about public education, and is not going to go away,” Raj said. “We are here. We are going to make sure our schools serve our children. And you can’t wish us away anymore.”
I certainly hope the rebels win, but Raj’s point is well taken. For a generation, most parents have turned the education of their children over to their local public schools, in part because they were too busy to do anything else. But that is changing. Public attention–especially parental attention–has focused on the public schools over the last couple of years, and most parents don’t like what they see. Prospects for reform are bright, whether that reform means voting corrupt union proxies off school boards, promoting charter schools, or taking one’s children out of the public system altogether, through home schooling or private education.