San Francisco Mayor Says School Board ‘Neglected Primary Responsibility’ to Children

San Francisco Mayor Says School Board ‘Neglected Primary Responsibility’ to Children

San Francisco Mayor London Breed speaks during the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco, Calif., June 1, 2019. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Responding to the recall of three progressive members from her city’s school board, San Francisco mayor London Breed said the voter backlash shows the panel lost sight of its main priority: educating children.

“In this particular case, the board neglected their primary responsibility to focus on other things, other things that are important, but not as significant as what they were there to do and that is to educate children,” Breed said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Parents had grown frustrated with the board’s preoccupation with its political agenda over its students, such its push to rename 44 schools in the district to be more social justice friendly, while schools still remained closed to in-person learning. Schools only resumed classroom teaching full-time last August.

Breed said the trio’s ouster was an understandable reaction to what parents increasingly viewed as disregard for concerns about their children’s academic and social development. The results to vote out Alison Collins, Gabriela López and Faauuga Moliga were overwhelming at 79 percent, 75 percent, and 73 percent, respectively.

“We failed our children,” she acknowledged. “Parents were upset. The city as a whole was upset, and the decision to recall school board members was a result of that.”

Breed said parents demanding their children receive a quality education shouldn’t be divisive along partisan lines and is not “a Democratic-Republican issue.”

“My take is that it was really about the frustration of the Board of Education doing their fundamental job,” she said. “And that is to make sure that our children are getting educated, that they get back into the classroom. And that did not occur. They were focusing on other things that were clearly a distraction.”

Collins’ prospects of surviving the recall were increasingly low given her old comments from 2016 that expressed anti-Asian American sentiment. One tweet implied that this minority group uses “white supremacist thinking” to “get ahead.” Such surfaced statements likely drove many Asian American residents to the ballot box and to heightened civic engagement, CBS News reported.

Breed said she’d like to see new members to the school board that better represents the interests of students, who have particularly struggled during the pandemic.

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