Should schools be too cool for pools?

San Francisco public school students, weighted down with the requirement of learning to swim before they can graduate high school, could see that mandate and others lifted from their load.

The City’s school board recently agreed unanimously to eliminate drivers education as a requirement for a diploma. Now, student trustees Nestor Reyes and Jason Siu say they’re combing through the class schedule to find other outdated requirements that might stand between students and their diplomas.

“We’ll definitely look at others that perhaps can be removed so we can give our schools more flexibility,” Siu said, adding that he’s exploring the possibility of allowing students to fulfill their career education requirement, a half-semester course that partnered with drivers education, through internships rather than class time.

In another example, the district has required for decades that students learn how to swim, even though none of the high schools currently have a functioning pool, forcing students to trek to public pools, spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.

“I don’t know if there are other requirements we have that are inconsistent, and my guess is yes, there are,” trustee Norman Yee said, referring to aquatics. “It’s those types of things we really need to look for.”

San Francisco also requires a semester-long health course.

The California Department of Education’s statewide requirements — including three years of English, two years of math, two years of science, three years of social studies and two years of physical education — have intentionally been kept to a minimum to let districts set their own requirements, according to Joe Radding, a consultant with the state agency.

Many districts have nixed drivers ed, and some have also done away with rudimentary computer courses.

“School boards, partly at the urging of students, realize that students are well beyond that — so why take up room in the schedule?” Radding said.

However, trustee Jill Wynn cautioned against removing such courses from the roster altogether once they’re no longer required.

“We need to look at the equity issue,” Wynns said during the discussion before the vote to eliminate drivers ed. “We know that access to driver’s licenses, for some students, is very serious.”

bwinegarner@sfexaminer.com

businessLocalScience & TechnologyScience and Technology

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco leaders argue that plans to develop housing in the region’s transit-heavy urban areas are at odds with goals to increase equity for people of color.
SF officials fear regional housing strategy could increase displacement of people of color

Equity and climate goals at odds in plan that concentrates development in transit-rich urban areas

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority cut most of its bus service last year due to the pandemic, and has been slow to bring it back due to budget concerns and low ridership. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Supes urge SFMTA to expedite restoration of Muni lines

Resolution emphasizes focus on seniors, individuals with disabilities and community routes

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott listens at a rally to commemorate the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside City Hall on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Will the Biden Administration help SF speed up police reform?

City has struggled to implement changes without federal oversight

Reports say that the number of American visitors to Mexico’s Quintana Roo, where Tulum and Cancun are located, increased by 23 percent between 2019 and 2020. (Shutterstock)
Stop going to Mexico

Travel during pandemic is ‘vacation colonialism’

Snow covering the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe appeals to skiers and snowshoers. (Matt Johanson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Winter Wisdom: 50 lessons in 50 years, Part 1

Series offers tips for adventurers seeking enjoyment in nature

Most Read