Let’s pink-slip the school board

While the San Francisco school board’s decision to end the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program is regrettable, it will have been worthwhile if it rouses us to begin the process of pink-slipping the whole board.

Poised to reinstate a racially divisive integration plan that has already been ruled unlawful, the partially lame-duck board should all be sent packing.

The school board botched relations with former superintendent Arlene Ackerman.

It has taken insufficient steps to remedy a school crisis in which 1,000 students per year are exiting the public schools.

The recent decision to dismantle the popular JROTC program should be a clear sign to San Franciscans that the board is out of touch with what is best for our students.

We should no longer tolerate the board’s incompetence or arrogance. Mayor Gavin Newsom should explore a mayoral school takeover that will go further than the one Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has initiated in Los Angeles.

It would be easy to be lulled into complacency and falsely believe that our new slate of elected officials will finally begin to do what is best for our students.

Such optimism is misplaced. Cities such as Boston, New York, and Chicago have recognized that mayoral-run school districts will, in the long run, function more efficiently than districts held captive to fractionalized school boards. Holding a mayor and his appointed representative, the school superintendent, responsible for education — arguably a public official’s most important task — insures accountability.

The biggest barrier to removing the school board is apathy. We live in a city that has the lowest school-age population of any major city in the country. White San Franciscans, while still a plurality in The City, comprise less than 10 percent of the children enrolled in our public schools.

The dearth of students, coupled with an exodus of established and well-to-do families from our public schools, leaves an unsophisticated underclass that is unlikely to challenge an entrenched board.

Until we recognize that our public schools are the foundation for our future, we are unlikely to do much.

Those who can afford to put their children into private schools or move to the suburbs have little stake in public schooling.

But unless we are willing to relegate all our public school students to a second-class education presided over and kept stagnant by a supercilious board, we must grab the educational reins.

Mark Twain wrote, “In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.” Fortunately, the Almighty didn’t decree that we needto be saddled with school boards forever.

Patrick Mattimore teaches at a college preparatory school in San Francisco and taught in public schools for 10 years.

General OpinionOpinion

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

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a former school board member, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the school district did not yet have a plan to reopen. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisors demand SFUSD set a timeline for reopening

Pressure grows on district to resume in-person learning as The City’s COVID-19 case count goes down

“Tenet,” the new Christopher Nolan film starring John David Washington, is showing at the drive-in in Concord. (Courtesy Warner Bros.)
Drive-ins are popping up all over the Bay Area

By Amelia Williams Bay City News Foundation Anyone else catch the “Grease”… Continue reading

The San Francisco International Arts Festival will present performances this weekend outdoors at Fort Mason, including on the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF International Arts Festival wins health department approval for weekend performances

Rules allow no more than 50 people at outdoor Fort Mason performances

In this handout image provided by the California Department of Corrections, convicted murderer Scott Peterson poses for a mug shot March 17, 2005 in San Quentin, California. Judge Alfred A. Delucchi sentenced Peterson to death March 16 for murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn child. (California Department of Corrections via Getty Images/TNS)
Prosecutors to retry penalty phase of Scott Peterson trial

2003 discovery of Laci Peterson’s body led to sensational high-profile murder trial of husband

Most Read