1. Make every school good
The San Francisco school lottery system dictates where we send our students. For this system to achieve its goal of integrating all students, we must make sure that all schools are of the same quality. Disparities between schools are unacceptable.
2. Transportation ride sharing
San Francisco's current school bus system costs $27 million per year, or about $104 per student per day. (Source: Board of Education meeting 5/29/2019.) Buses work for some students but not for all. We need a pool of trusted, background-checked drivers in smaller vehicles who can function as an on-demand ride sharing service to bring students to school, home, or to after-school programs.
3. Increase PTA participation
I attended a California PTA meeting and it was almost all parents of students at Lowell High School. Lowell is a great school, but we need to encourage participation among parents from all schools. The PTA should also be fully-funded by the district. Reducing funds for transportation could yield additional funds for the PTA.
4. Protect after-school programs
After-school programs are an essential part of the school day in our district. Many parents cannot leave work to pick up their student at the end of the regular school day, so it is helpful if students have a productive after-school program to attend. Cuts to after-school programs directly hurt families.
5. Free substitute teachers
Teachers should never have to pay for their own substitute.
6. Become a gun-free city
San Francisco has not had any school gun violence in recent years, even though this is an epidemic in the United States. This is a great credit to our city. The school board should work with the city council to begin the process of making San Francisco the first completely gun-free city in the US, thus setting an example for the rest of the country.
7. Radiation in Hunters Point
We need to know if the Hunters Point area has a significant level of radiation due to the closed Navy shipyard there. Navy studies have said that the site is safe, but some aspects of their study have been disputed. We need a truly independent study to settle any remaining questions.
8. Put pressure on Revolution
The board made the right choice in renewing the contract with Revolution Foods. This company is the only one that can provide lunches to all schools in the district every day. To end the contract with no replacement would be to cut students off from what may be their only source of nutrition. The quality of the food has also improved in recent years. The district should continue to look for alternatives, either to find something better or to put pressure on Revolution to continue improvements.
9. All classrooms should have a permanent teacher from day 1.
There are classrooms in San Francisco that will cycle through several teachers throughout the school year. There are also some classrooms that do not even have a teacher on the first day of school. We must do everything we can to ensure this does not happen, including granting teachers salary bonuses so that they remain in the more challenging positions.