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Sunday, September 26, 2021

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FeaturedExclusiveThe biased coverage and real story around Lowell High and school renaming

The biased coverage and real story around Lowell High and school renaming

Attention Chronicle: A lottery for the 'elite' school is neither new nor a radical idea -- and neither is discussing changing the names of schools celebrating racists and colonialists.


I am no one to talk about bias in reporting, since pretty much everything I write has a point of view. But the thing is: You know that up front when your read 48hills.

The more troubling bias in journalism is the hidden cues, the subtle language, emphasis, placement and headlines that skews what is supposed to be a balanced, objective story.

And while I’m used that behavior from the Chron, I have to say some of the stories on the new Lowell High admissions process and the potential renaming of public schools have been astonishing.

The public hearings as the School Board have been astonishing too, with people who want to keep Lowell and elite school with merit-based admissions interrupting and talking over student representatives.

Lowell is widely described as one of the best high schools in the country, with all sorts of famous alums. (The Chron’s first story on the controversy mentioned only white alums: “Lowell dates back to the mid-1800s, with a host of distinguished alumni, including actress Carol Channing, GAP founder Donald Fisher, primatologist Dian Fossey and children’s author Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket.”)

A lot of parents see a Lowell degree as a ticket to an elite college.

For decades, admission has based primarily on grades and a standardized test. And for decades, Black and Latino students have been radically underrepresented at Lowell.

Now, with COVID, the district can’t do the normal testing (with everyone is a big room filling out those test forms) and nobody has grades from last Spring, since the district went to only Pass-Fail during the shutdown.

So the superintendent suggested that – just for this one year – Lowell admission should be based on the same type of lottery that the district uses for all its other schools.

Oh, the outrage – duly reflected in the Chron.

But a lot of the back story hasn’t received anywhere near as much attention as one group of parents who want to keep the test-based system.

For starters, Lowell is a public high school, a comprehensive public school that has no special programs beyond what the all of the district’s comprehensive high schools offer. (Ruth Asawa School for the Arts is different, offering a different program with admissions based on auditions and portfolios.)

The tests alone are a big problem. Board member Alison Collins, who has a master’s in education, told me that “there is no scientific justification for using standardized tests as a metric for performance.” More than 1,000 US colleges have stopped requiring standardized tests for admission, and most experts agree the tests reflect a racial and class bias.

It’s not even clear that the district has the legal right to limit admission to a comprehensive public high school on the basis of tests and grades. “If we were ever challenged on it, we would probably lose,” Mark Sanchez, the board president, told me.

Sanchez has been talking about ending the test-based admissions at Lowell since he was first on the board back in 2001. “I’m at the point now where I don’t think we should have any kind of special requirements” for Lowell admissions, he said.

Sanchez and Collins both told me that ending the “racial isolation” at Lowell is a critical, long-term challenge. But both say they don’t think this one-year change will have much of any immediate impact on the demographics of the school, based on where it’s situated and the fact that a lot of students chose not to go there.

“Having a lottery or not having a lottery isn’t going have that big an impact,” Collins said.

Still, the Chron’s coverage was filled with parents acting as if this was the end of the educational world. The proposal “shocked and outraged many families,” an Oct. 13 story said. The story was headlined: “‘Doesn’t feel fair’: Proposed lottery admissions for S.F.’s elite Lowell High School met with frustration and anger.”

The only board member quoted in that story was Rachel Norton, who said that “under normal circumstances” the board wouldn’t be making a change like this.

Norton, who was part of the unanimous board vote on the issue, is also the only board member who is white. None of the board members of color made it into the Chron’s coverage.

Nor did the Black members of the Lowell Alumni Association. Bivette Bracket, who graduated from Lowell in 1995, told me that “merit-based admission is a lie.” She said some students are tracked to go to Lowell, and Black students are isolated at the school, and “our alumni are trying to brush this under the table.”

The Chron did report on, and quote from, a petition put together by Families for San Francisco, which at this point has collected more than 8,000 names against the change.

Not reported: Families for San Francisco is the sponsor of Parents PAC, a committee the endorses candidates. This year, its primary funders, Ethics Commission records show, are the California Apartment Association, the San Francisco Apartment Association, and California Yimby victory fund.

Why the landlords and the Yimbys are against greater diversity at Lowell is one of the weird elements of this story. (SF Yimby endorsed Brackett when she ran for Democratic County Central Committee in March 2020.)

UPDATE: I got this message from Families for San Francisco:

Families for San Francisco is a 501(c)4 organization. The organization isfunded byits co-founders and members. We have not taken any money from other political organizations.
Families for San Francisco took over and started sponsoring SF Parents PAC on August 17, 2020. During this transition, no money was transferred and we
changed the name of the PAC to “San Francisco Parent PAC, Sponsored by
Families for San Francisco“ on September 3rd. During that process, we
welcomed families that were previously served by the SF Parents PAC into Families for San Francisco. We believe all families should have a voice in the political process.
Any previous donations taken by SF Parents PAC prior to August 17, 2020 reflects decisions by people other than those of us who run Families for San Francisco.

I have reached out to the Chron reporter on the story, and if she contacts me I will update.

The whole thing has become an issue beyond the School Board. Joel Engardio, the leading conservative candidate for the D7 Board of Supes seat, is using it as an issue, even though the supervisors have nothing to do with overseeing the schools.

And it has spurred some horribly racist online messaging. The attacks on Collins and Board member Gabriella Lopez are indescribably bad. I am nervous about even using the images, but Lopez put them out on Facebook to show what’s going on in this city.

This kind of behavior is the TIP of the iceberg when it comes to the veiled threats, misogyny, and harassment that is particularly aimed at the two women of color on the Board of Ed,” she said. “I understand many of my decisions may be ones people disagree with, but there has been a consistent pattern of racist and sexist undertones that we need to highlight and call out.”

Here’s what she and Collins are facing:

Then there’s the name change issue.

From the Chron, under the headline “S.F. might change 44 school names, renouncing Washington, Lincoln and even Dianne Feinstein:”

Parents and principals at 44 sites were forced to scramble this week to brainstorm new school names while also juggling the demands of distance learning in a pandemic.

A third of San Francisco public schools could see their names changed as officials push to replace “inappropriate” ones honoring presidents, writers, generals and even Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The mayor is outraged, saying that the board should be focused on getting kids back in the classroom and not wasting resources on “an expensive endeavor.”

Let me add a bit of perspective.

Since last December, a volunteer group of SFUSD stakeholders has been talking about the names of local schools. This is part of a national conversation, one that we need to have, about the nation’s history of racism and colonialism.

San Francisco ought to be at the front of that discussion – not playing into Fox-News-Style narratives about how silly it is to criticize Washington and Lincoln – or “even Dianne Feinstein.”

(Don’t get me started. When Feinstein was mayor of San Francisco, she vetoed one of the nation’s first bills that would have given domestic partnership rights to gay couples. She boycotted every Pride Parade during her time in Room 200.)

But here’s the key fact: This is taking essentially zero district resources, has essentially zero effect on the district budget, and local schools are going to have all the time they need, even years, to think about it.

“The only expense on this is one or two district staffers working at most eight hours a month to support the volunteer committee,” Sanchez told me.

He said the board has no intention of enforcing a short deadline on anyone to come up with alternative names.

“This has nothing at all to do with our response to COVID and our ability to re-open classrooms,” he said. “If anything, the mayor’s statement has forced me to devote more time to explaining this.”

It’s easy to promote a headline and a story that talks about “renouncing” Washington and Lincoln. But there are a lot of schools in this city that are named after a lot of very bad actors – and discussing the school names in historical context is going to be a huge learning experience for students. Which, of course, is what school is about.

My kids both went to McKinley Elementary, which was and is a great public school. It’s also named after William McKinley, the 25th president – and one of the worst presidents in US history. He was the ultimate colonialist who led the country into the Spanish-American War and turned Guam, Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico into American colonies.

I’m supposed to tell me kids to be proud of that name? (I still all these years later have “McKinley” T-Shirts. I am supposed to be proud of this?)

There are so many others.

This is not a “distraction.”

“The board will have the final say, and over time, there will be some name changes,” Sanchez told me. “But it’s a false connection to say this has any connection to our resuming in-person classes.”

Please, Chronicle writers and editors: Avoid the sensationalism and give us the real story.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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  1. SFUSD is underfunded as a whole. We need to have Prop 13 revoked to replace the public sources of funding that was decimated in the 1970s. We also need to have Affirmative Action reinstated.

    When we don’t have these things, we’re in an unfair system that leaves people fighting for scraps, or devolves into the Bread and Circuses of symbolic changes over real progressive change. That’s what’s happening here, in my opinion. With the scarcity of resources that the district faces, the infighting among communities over what remains is inevitable. In the end, I would support whatever resolution allows us to move beyond this. We can name the school after Mark Sanchez for all I care, if that allows us to move on to the real issue and focus on providing access and resources to our teachers and students within the system. I think that the SFUSD is grandstanding, but they will be judged on this for their legacy, not some namechange sideshow.

    I’m fine with changing the names… who am I to say what offends someone, or what doesn’t? I don’t mean to not take those issues seriously, but let’s all agree that it doesn’t change the resourcing equation that we’re really facing. Let’s also agree that any new school names that are chosenare going to have to pass the same litmus tests, and let’s agree that this issue, the de-naming, and the re-naming, could tie up the BOE for the next 2 years, while they take their eye off the ball in so many other ways. I wish it wasn’t such a quicksand issue. It’s really going to drive a wedge between immigrant communities, and other communities of color that actually should have the same/similar agendas when it comes to these access and equity issues. There will be some damage here, when it’s all said and done. Calling parents “racists”, or discounting actual institutional racism… there are real issues here. But, on the re-naming? How about we just call these schools “Public High School #12” like they do in NYC? Does that help us move on? (I’m not joking here) …whatever quickly resolves this issue.

    As a parent of a Lowell Alumn, I am proud that my son did well at the school, and went on to UC Berkeley. I also went to UC Berkeley, as did my wife. Lowell, like the UC system, is a tracked system featuring academic merit as a criteria.

    Testing: I’m fine with eliminating testing, whether UC, Lowell, etc. However, it’s also worth noting that a student now needs to get straight A’s to get into Lowell in 7/8th grade, regardless of which school they go to…this article only talks about testing. The test is the more minor part of the criteria to get into the school, in my estimation. So, what if, going forward, a “straight A requirement” system remained, once the pandemic is over? It’s interesting to note that SF School of the Arts, another sought after SFUSD school that is HIGHLY sought after, has a subjective criteria for entry, but the demographics there are more skewed towards white students vs. asian, in terms of the demographics of their attendance and it’s ONLY Lowell that is asked to change it’s criteria for selection to a lottery. To me, it would be “all or nothing” rather than singling out Lowell, right? On that note, I wonder if any magnet program, or GATE program is permitted in a system with inadequate resources? Can a tracked system even exist in an SFUSD that has such scarcity? Should the UC be able to consider academic merit, for their PhD programs in Engineering or Physics? Is that truly equitable? Seems like a silly question, but in this system we’re in, we’re actually rationing education, and when we ration it, competition and litmus tests are inevitable. At what age do we make it equitable, and at what age do we enforce competition? This is a deeper question in our society, as the economic resources are increasingly divided in an ever more economically polarized city. When I went to UC Berkeley, it was before affirmative action was revoked in California, and it was an amazing opportunity to see highly qualified people from all walks of life participating in their education at the highest levels. I think this is the real solution, as affirmative action enforces inclusion, while still having competition at an elite level. That, and many more UC campuses around the state, would be a better approach than the rationing we see today at all education levels.

    My thought is that this renaming thing is all a sideshow, and we really need to find more equitable funding for K-12 schools in SFUSD, so that that ALL the schools are such standouts that people aren’t fighting over the scraps. Please, rename the schools. Either way, let’s move onto real equity issues. Those schools that are in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods should get EXTRA resources for the community, to make up for the inequities that exist, etc. This is the goal. The renaming of every school… ? Look, if James Russell Lowell was an abolitionist, I personally think that there are bigger, immediate issues to confront… namely, how to get more black and Latinx students represented at Lowell, and any other schools that are sought after… however, I would also like to see innovative resources put into underperforming schools that create unique magnets in each of the schools, so that there are more compelling PUBLIC choices for families that have chosen to live here…and we don’t have so many people left out of what Lowell offers.

    Also, for those who aren’t familiar with Lowell– it’s the largest High School in the SFUSD system. It’s class sizes were exclusively over 30 kids, often well over that. The teachers at the other SFUSD high schools aren’t any better or worse, and in many cases the teachers at Lowell were unremarkable. The large enrollment allows for a high number of clubs and activities, but proportionally, it suffers from the same dearth of funding as all the other schools in the system. The cohort of kids are academically amazing (straight A’s are hard!), albeit not representative of the city’s population. The same can be said for the UC system at this point. It’s a remarkable place, Lowell, and even with these issues, and a lot of other problems, it was and is a success story in an underfunded SFUSD. It won’t be the end of the world if they change it to not have any academic standard (grade requirement) to get in, but it certainly won’t be an accomplishment. The school has nothing else that sets it apart from the other High Schools in the system, other than it’s overall enrollment size.

    Our other kid is starting HS at a private school this semester. He got a single “B” in 8th grade, so didn’t get in. We’re economically fortunate enough to have other options, most families don’t. I’m an example of a family that has left the SFUSD system, I suppose.

    On the renaming: the board of eduction should get no credit for improving anything. They’re rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, that’s all. SFUSD has enormous problems, exacerbated by the pandemic. No pat on the back to the BOE for this….if they think that this is solving the underlying issues we face, they’re completely out of touch. The energy that they’re crusading with on this issue is counterproductive, and the discussions have created some rifts. I really am saddened by how the pot has been stirred without any of the resourcing issues addressed… and how many parents and other community members are at odds with the BOE on this. It’s very tragic, and divisive.

  2. Tim it is imperative that you keep portraying the school board members as victims of racism and sexism. It’s obvious they are underprivileged and the parents are the racist ones who belong in jail. I urge you to attack the parents as racist and get everyone to hate them. As a journalist, this progressive movement is too important for truth and ethics.

  3. SFLI: I would guess many principals are against erasing the current names. But that is different that picking a new name. I suppose it would be easy enough to have students and teachers to submit a name and forward the most mentioned to the BOE. Maybe some will submit Donald J Trump as the name.

  4. Don Grant: The principals may not care, but at least in some schools, the parents and students care strongly against the changes, and are very pissed off that this process is going on during virtual learning. The principals are tasked with getting input from the student communities for suggested names and passing it on to the BOE by Dec. 18. President Sanchez has stated that there is now some relief to this process, but this relief can be found nowhere in any SFUSD documents or anywhere else–just in Redmond’s column above. I am trying to find out if this is accurate or not. If true, it would be a great relief to many people.

  5. SFLI: Why would principals care if the BOE chose a new name without them? That is, unless the BOE would name the school after the principal. And who is to say the BOE would give the principals the names they select.

    I would guess many principals might say go ahead and select any name you want to; I have more important work to do.

  6. Tim: Thanks for explaining your writing. As I understand you, it is written for the purpose of forwarding a specific equity-oriented viewpoint, and that (unlike the Chronicle for instance) it is therefore entirely appropriate for you to ignore certain relevant facts/perspectives/sources, if those things interfere with the equity-centered narrative you are trying to advance.

    I can understand that. However, like the Chronicle, 48Hills is also a source of news in this digital era, and BOE President Mark Sanchez has given you an exclusive: That: “local schools are going to have all the time they need [to consider the school name changes], even years, to think about it.’ He told you the board has no intention of enforcing a short deadline on anyone to come up with alternative names.” This is great news to a number school communities, but it is contradictory to what is happening in schools right now (schools are being forced to come up with new names by December 18 whether they like it or not-and are being told that if they don’t participate by that date, the BOE will just choose a new name without them–there has been no walkback from this deadline.) This is VERY different from what Sanchez told you.

    President Sanchez is apparently giving you information that he is not giving his constituents, and some explanation is needed. Regardless of your bias, I am confident that you don’t want politicians use your writing to spread misinformation. Some follow-up essential: what he told you is the opposite of what is being communicated to his constituents. What is the real policy and timeline? Do you stand by what you wrote? Does he standby what he told you?

  7. Tim: What private schools have is fewer students per teacher. Compared to the other high schools, Lowell, Washington, and Lincoln, have more students (20) per teacher. Schools with more economically disadvantaged, more Blacks and more Hispanics have fewer students per teacher, closer to what private schools have: Jordan 9, Wells 10, and Marshall 12 students per teacher.

    What Lowell has that others don’t have is students with higher grades and test score. Students are the benefits that are distributed.

    Students are a resource to be developed to the highest level possible. The reason why public schools exist is to benefit society. We all benefit from developing our human resources to the highest level. It is what gives the US a competitive advantage. Eliminating schools such as Lowell harms the economy and harms us.

  8. Education need not viewed as a scarce commodity that has to be carefully metered out to make redress for past injustice as one would expect in a just city.

    Education should be viewed as an unmetered public utility that everyone can access during school years and on through life. Anyone who can do Lowell quality work or better is entitled to be challenged by the public system. Those who struggle to the baseline are entitled to all the specialized help they need to thrive. Other than neoliberal capitalism, why are we economizing here?

    The payload of education is where the real affirmative action comes into play, where the oppressor’s canon is taken off of its pedestal and considered alongside other, historically less powerful schools of thought. That disrupts the reproduction of oppressive ideologies as dominant ideologies and does much more to end oppression than granting access to artificially scarce quality education to a handful of individuals who are just as likely to be Clarence Thomases or Willie Browns.

  9. Folks: I told you from the start that I have a bias. I try to frame issues in terms of equity, in the sense that Susan Fainstein (“The Just City,”) describes it: “A distribution of both material and nonmaterial benefits derived from public policy that does not favor those who are already better of at the beginning … and equity program favors the less well-off more than the well-to-do. That is, is should be redistributive, not only economically but politically, socially, and spatially.”
    I am annoyed when publications like the Chron refuse to admit their bias.
    I don’t “hate” Lowell, or any public high school. I wish we could repeal Prop. 13 and fund all the public schools to the same level that private schools are funded (as happens in some other parts of the country). I wish COVID hadn’t become this crisis so that the Lowell decision could have been made over a period of years.
    There is a reason thousands of colleges, including UC, are no longer relying on standardized tests. They are not a valid predictor of academic success at any level.
    All I’m saying is that there’s a lot of perspective missing from the Chron’s coverage.

  10. SFLI: Yes, going to private school if they can’t get Lowell, or some other acceptable school, is already happening. I can see how it would also impact middle school. In my upper middle class neighborhood many parents apply to K-5 public school but bail out to private school if they don’t get a “good” school in the lottery.

    Only 11% of public high school kids are White. Many more White kids go to private school than to public school. Lowell has around 400 White kids. SI in the Sunset over 800. Most upper middle-class Black kids also go to private school. And there is financial help for poor smart Black kids as private schools aim for greater diversity. Many rich parents would also like to see more diversity at their private schools and make contributions.

  11. No, it really IS stupid to propose renaming Diane Feinstein Elementary School. Some progressives don’t believe in the concept of merit. If the School Board proposal is actually intended to introduce randomness as the sole way to get into Lowell, they should say so and open the issue to public discussion. The advantage to random selection is equity. But I think there is room for one merit high school in the SFUSD. Of course, K-12 education generally should be improved greatly in the SFUSD; it is embarrassingly bad, and has been so for a long time. SFUSD spends about $15,000 per student per year, even though it untruthfully claims to spend only $10,182 per student. There should be a thorough, neutral, objective, expert audit and evaluation of how this money is spent and what is accomplished with it.

  12. Don Grant: Yes, but the consequences of this is that of some percentage of the kids who would have gotten into Lowell are now going to go to a private school route that does challenge them and meet their needs. It will probably have a ripple effect down to middle school where poor families were keeping their kids in place, working damn hard, with the hope of Lowell getting them out of a generally pretty crummy school system. This will drain the exceptional and “striving to be exceptional” kids from the district. Maybe this was the point of this who thing, or maybe just an unintended consequence.

  13. Sfli: The Asian-Black math gap is narrower at Lowell than it is as McAteer, Burton, Asawa, Washington and Lincoln. The Blacks that do get into Lowell appear to benefit. Washington and Galileo have a higher overrepresentation of Asians than Lowell.

    Gorn: Many other high schools offer challenging coursework. The difference will be the challenging students, a class of fast learners that elevate each other to higher levels.

  14. Schools like Lowell that develop talented students to their highest levels, benefits society making America more competitive.

    If merit is eliminated Lowell will become just another school. There will be no benefit to Black and Hispanic students. It may be the few Blacks that are enrolled at Lowell based on their merit will be losers. They won’t have a learning environment that brings them to higher levels.

    Like most other non-merit-based schools Lowell can still offer advanced placement programs that are paths to elite universities. But it won’ be the same. Students will not be as challenged.

    Given its location Lowell may still attract high performing Asians. Currently, Washington and Galileo have a higher percent of Asians, with Wallenberg and Lincoln not far behind.

  15. Tim I do know if feel your story is immune from the same king of “biased coverage” that you accuse the Chronicle of engaging in. But there are a couple of glaring omissions in your story that that certainly should have been addressed in writing about this complicated issue:

    (1) The Prextext for the Change: It is widely suspected that the Board is taking this action for political reasons to close the achievement gap by limiting Asian students places in the highest performing schools. Yet, the board is (sometimes) couching it is temporary measure brought on by COVID-10:” For instance, in you state “Sanchez and Collins both told me that this one-year change will have much of any immediate impact on the demographics of the school.” Did you follow up by asking if this move was going to be terminated permanany, and if it was for political equitable reason (the overrepresentation of Asians? If not, why, it seems like an obvious and softball question.

    (2) The Timing: Why did the Board make the decision now? Much of the parents’ frustration and anger is the lack of notice of the decision, and the fact that it was rammed through. Since apparently have Sanchez’s ear, did he discuss this crucial piece process with?

    (3) Scrapping Standardized Testing: You wrote Board member “Alison Collins, who has a master’s in education, told me that “there is no scientific justification for using standardized tests as a metric for performance.” This went unchallenged by you, but Collins’ view is a fringe view held very few activists on this issue, it goes against the weight of all scholarly research in to these issues, and while her view trendy, is still wildly unpopular. You easily could have said this, or cited to the differing viewpoint which could have been very easy to find. Instead you put it out there like a fact. (like saying that the earth is actually getting colder and citing to some lone quack’s article)

    (4) The supposedly “horribly racists messaging”: What was put out there by one idiot online was stupid, no doubt, but also not unusual in toxic social media. Your story would not be complete however, without references to Commissioner Lopez’s own penchant for inappropriate twitter behavior, and Commissioner Collins tendency to call out and name SFUSD Asian parents and students as racists, at almost every opportunity, for simply disagreeing with her about the Lowell decision. It is not a healthy environment, but I would not put the on Asian kids and parents who want to go to the best school they can, and instead are seeing what they work so hard for being taken away from, them, and then being smeared as “racists” as the their dream disappears.

    (5) School Name Change: Lopez apparently told you re the name change: “But here’s the key fact: . . . . local schools are going to have all the time they need, even years, to think about it. He said the board has no intention of enforcing a short deadline on anyone to come up with alternative names. This is either complete lie, or there is something knows that he has not told the schools. Redmond has a duty to find out. Schools are right now in the process of providing alternative names, with the December 18 deadline. They have been told, If they do not provide names, they will have no role in the same that the BOE and its supposed “blue ribbon panel.” If there is an extension, if there is a way for a school to opt-out of the process Sanchez needs to let us know, because right now all parents beleive project is going forward full steam

    There handful of good follow up questions here, Tim, and I think a journalist would want to ask around to make their story free of the “subtle language” and “hidden clues” you disdain.
    You said you would follow up with the Chronicle got back to you. Please include the above information in your follow up.

  16. So what’s the plan to offer equivalently challenging coursework to students throughout the district if Lowell is to lose its status as elite high school? What if every SFUSD school was as demanding as Lowell? I don’t read the Chronicle–never pay for corporate propaganda–so I did not read that article. Nothing in this piece calls for raising the bar to academic performance to cultivate out as much as we can from each student.

    Or are smart students privileged and should check that privilege by refraining from demanding consideration until “the most vulnerable” have been brought up to remedial baseline level as if we were a public school district deep in the red state south?

    Neoliberals have been well compensated for rendering progressives harmless to contest corporate dominance. Is this an effort to inhibit the threat to corporate power by “dumbing down” the next generations?

    And by reading A. Collins’ posts on twitter, I’m wondering “how did this person get a graduate degree?: and “how did this person get elected to the public office?”

  17. yup @protestboe agree 100%. This “reporting” by 48Hills is not really reporting. Its just propaganda….. and bad propaganda at that.

    Is it any wonder why the Chronicle held a poll for the Lowell Lottery issue and found that SF residents – SF wide – were AGAINST the lottery 3000:500? That’s almost SIX TIMES OVER against the lottery.

    This blog on this issue is a piece of propaganda that scapegoats Asian Americans (Lowell is mostly Asian American) and spread Anti-Asian-American racist hate but carefully tries to mask it otherwise. Shame.

  18. With regard to education, you don’t address inequity by lowering standards and dragging others down.

    Nor should we be denying history and undermining critical thinking skills just because of some people’s misplaced sensitivities.

    There needs to be a cleaning of the house at the SF Board of Education.

    This time around Sanchez definitely must go, and in the next election cycle, Collins and Lopez must be shown the door as well.

    This November 3rd, Vote Michele Parker, Genevieve Lawrence, Nick Rothman and Jenny Lam to the Board.

    It’ll be a good start in turning around the dysfunctional BOE.

  19. It’s sad, but not surprising to still read the name Mark Sanchez name still associated with failing schools.
    The BOE suspended a 30-year-old policy that prohibited the district from hiring or contracting with former board members within two years of the end of their term. His tenure was so bad at Horace Mann, they shut down the school and made it a charter school.
    First, I’m not surprised than an alumni from Lowell felt shut out. My daughter spent a day there. She was introduced to several groups of students studying, and when she approached with her escort, they all hid their homework and notes from her and others. She told me she felt unwwelcome.
    Spending the resources to look for alternative names, while schools are shut down?
    The ONLY thing this school district should be doing is trying to figure out how to teach during a pandemic, and how to open safely. Virtually every private school is open. No one public school.
    If my children weren’t grown, they would be home schooled or sent somewhere else.

  20. I can understand why the over-achieving, standardized test focused, demographically skewed admissions template at Lowell is irksome to idealistic Progressives who are maniacally focused on equitable outcomes. But, it is hard to imagine any real benefit from eliminating the things that make Lowell, Lowell. In other words, taking Lowell away from the over achievers only causes them to lose something. Meanwhile, there is nothing to be gained by the ordinary achievers. I find this to be a common fault of Progressive solutions. Perhaps it is easier to cap achievement and roadblock success than it is to acknowledge and fix the parts of the system that are clearly failing. Personally, I find the Lowell over-achieving types rather one dimensional and obnoxious. But, I find those determined to thwart their drive, determination, and pride fairly misguided, and even more obnoxious.

  21. Well Tim Redmond, Your coverage is ever bit as biased as that of the Chronicle’s. You obviously hate Lowell High School just as much as the SFUSD Board of Ed does, and your bias really shows. You also leave out important information, just like you say the Chronicle did in its article. You leave out the fact that during the October 13th Board meeting, Board of Ed Commissioner Alison Collins called Lowell parents, CHILDREN and the general public “RACISTS” after they pleaded with the Board to retain some type of academic admissions policy that it has always had. In addition, you failed to investigate anything from the other side of the controversy. Talk about lousy journalism. If you had, you’d find out that the Board waited until the last minute to lay this proposal on the community and they refused to negotiate or even discuss the matter with parents. It’s obvious that they had already made of they’re minds and weren’t interested in hearing ANYTHING from their constituents. Let them eat cake!
    They had NO concern about screwing over a whole bunch of 8th graders who worked hard to try to get into the school for next year. The Board of Ed doesn’t care about THEM, because they consider them racists and elitists, just like they say about the rest of Lowell HS and anyone who supports the school. And you also left out thte fact that the Board of Ed has openly defamed Lowell HS students, also calling them racists, and adding the “ELITISTS” name as well, just like you did in your article. They despise Lowell HS, because it doesn’t fit into their militant political views. NO high school student in this school district should be called names by the Board of Ed, the exact body who is SUPPOSED to support and help them achieve academic excellence, and especially during these difficult times of Covid-19. But you and the Board both seem to think that’s just fine, as long as it advances YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS. I’m sure you wouldn’t have appreciated this, though, if this had happened to your children and their school when they were in SFUSD. No student within the school district should be treated by the adults on the Board of Education in such a disrepectful, hateful manner. The Board of Ed refuses to listen to its constituents – SFUSD parents, who just want what all parents want for their children — a good environment to learn, be treated with dignity and respect and to achieve academically. If this current Board refuses to listen to parents, treats their children poorly and only cares about imposing its own political views and ambitions on the school district, then this city will continue to be divided and the bad vibes and acrimony will continue. We need REAL LEADERSHIP on the Board of Ed, not flame throwers who are only angling for their next political posts in San Francisco. And we need REAL journalists who ACTUALLY care about investigating ALL sides of the story and are not blinded by their OWN political biases and sloppy reporting. – You really could learn a thing or two by reading the account of this entire matter in “The Lowell,” Lowell High School’s student paper. I’m sure you can find it on-line. If the Board can’t lead, then they need to resign or they’ll be booted out of office. They’d better figure it out. And so shoud you. – Louise Whitlock

  22. That Mayor Breed has expressed “outrage” about the school renaming shows she doesn’t remember where she went to school.

    Breed regularly states she attended Rosa Parks Elementary School, but that is incorrect. Breed attended Raphael Weil Elementary School. The only reason Breed can say she attended Rosa Parks is because it was RENAMED in 1995. Maybe she’s suggesting that Rosa Parks should be “un-renamed,” but I doubt it.

    From her attempt to order SFUSD to reopen schools, it’s clear she’s really only grandstanding. As Mayor, Breed should focus on what is in her purview. For example, funding for parks and playgrounds. Less than two weeks ago she and Phil Ginsburg got all excited about reopening playgrounds. Ginsburg stated, “We are thrilled to welcome families back to our playgrounds, centers of neighborhood joy and connection that have been sorely missed, particularly in our low-income and high-density neighborhoods.”

    But Ginsburg’s Recreation and Parks Department is neglecting the largest park in one of the city’s lowest income and highest density neighborhoods. Boeddeker Park in the Tenderloin is only open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Once the Eddy Street gate is locked, it’s hard to get close enough to read the official Rec and Park sign at the entrance to the enclosed children’s play area. The sign says the playground is open to the public after 5:30 during the week and all day on weekends – a full one and a half hours AFTER the park is closed. (On weekdays, access is limited to childcare and community hub programs operated at the site.)

    Two other TL playgrounds have longer hours and are staffed. The funding for the staff comes from Supervisor Haney’s office and the Lower Polk Community Benefit District. Rec and Park expects someone else to pay to operate their sites, but is more than happy to throw out happy sound bites about how they’re really helping poor kids.

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