Members of the San Francisco Board of Education came under fire last month after spending two hours debating whether or not the background of a gay, white father of a mixed-race daughter was diverse enough for him to join the volunteer Parent Advisory Council. Spoiler: It wasn’t.
They also spent an inordinate amount of time discussing what should be done about a city school whose stringent admission requirements had led to, according to critics, a disproportionate number of white and Asian-American students.
In January, this board voted to change the names of 44 city schools named after individuals who’d supposedly been linked to oppression.
According to The New Yorker, Abraham Lincoln High School had to be renamed because of the former president’s policies toward Native Americans and George Washington High School because he’d been a slaveowner. Even an elementary school named after Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein had to go because, during her tenure as San Francisco’s mayor in the 1980s, she made the decision to “replace a Confederate flag that was part of a Civic Center display and had been taken down by a protester,” the outlet reported.
In the meantime, the city’s schools remained closed.
That the board has spent so much time on this minutiae while schools remain closed “despite San Francisco having one of the lowest Covid-19 infection rates in the state, has some area parents up in arms,” according to Politico. And in deep-blue California, the majority of these parents are likely to be liberal.
Democratic strategist Brian Brokaw lamented that “We’ve become parodies of ourselves. … It’s counterproductive in so many ways.”
On Sunday, local media outlet KQED published video of the president of the Berkeley teachers union “dropping off his two-year-old daughter at an in-person preschool” which has obviously ruffled the feathers of many area parents.
Matt Meyer, president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, has fought for what he called the “gold standard” for the teachers he represents — saying Berkeley schools should only reopen to in-person learning when educators are vaccinated, among other criteria.
A tentative plan between the Berkeley Unified School District and Berkeley Federation of Teachers in mid-February would see preschoolers through second grade returning to class at the end of March and other grades staggering back to in-person learning through April, according to Berkeleyside.
But some Berkeley parents have claimed that the union is moving too slow and are pushing for earlier school reopenings. They have long argued — and the Center For Disease Control and Prevention has agreed — that schools are safe to reopen without vaccinations for all teachers.
Looking to prove a double-standard by the Berkeley Federation of Teachers union president, they followed Meyer and his 2-year-old daughter to her preschool, camera in hand. The footage they captured has ignited the ire of parents groups fighting teachers unions — and Meyer in particular.
Berkeley schools have already been closed for a year.
Even The New York Times says it’s safe for schools to reopen. They surveyed “175 experts — mostly pediatricians focused on public health,” in early February. The group “largely agreed that it was safe enough for schools to be open to elementary students for full-time and in-person instruction now.”
Children need socialization. In-school learning is not simply a good idea, it’s essential for a child’s healthy development and well-being. The sharp increases in rates of depression, anxiety, and even suicide among children are not a mystery.
In his CPAC speech on Sunday, former President Trump said this extended period of time without in-person learning will leave a scar on these children.
In the meantime, Democrats, beholden to the powerful teachers’ unions, drag their feet on reopening the schools.