In San Francisco, the school board is shifting gears. Suddenly, the renaming of the public schools in the city by the bay is being put on hold in favor of actually reopening them.
It’s hard to miss just how much of a laughingstock the San Francisco school board has become. Schools reopening is THE single largest issue in the country right now. It is uniting parents from both sides of the aisle. Even left-wing sites like The Nation – seriously! – are calling out the West Coast states for their failure, by and large, to get schools opened back up. And in every single instance, San Francisco is mentioned.
The school board of the San Francisco Unified School District has taken the time during this shutdown to decide to rename 44 of their schools in order to remove their alleged ties to slavery, oppression, or racism. The names being removed? Abraham Lincoln. Paul Revere. Dianne Feinstein? Yes, even Dianne Feinstein is considered to be persona non grata by the school board.
The new namesakes must adhere to a set of guidelines, including that individuals proposed must not have been slave owners or abetted in slavery or genocide, violated human rights violations, or be “known racists and/or white supremacists.”
Feinstein, a U.S. senator from California since 1992, was added to the list because she replaced a vandalized Confederate flag as the city’s mayor.”
It was plainly obvious that the school board had rushed this entire renaming stunt. The Democrat mayor of the city, London Breed, called them out for focusing on this instead of opening up the schools. The investigation into the decision to rename these schools was found to be a historically tangled mess composed of people’s feelings, rather than actual facts. “Historians? We don’t need no stinkin’ historians!” the school board sneered as they sought to justify why this renaming process was more important than, say, actually getting the kids BACK in the school buildings. Even in a friendly interview situation with the New Yorker, school board commissioner Gabriela López came off looking… less than intelligent.
The reason I bring this up is that some of the historical reasoning behind these decisions has been contested—not so much how we should view the fact that George Washington was a founder of the country and a slave holder but, rather, factual things like Paul Revere’s name being removed for the Penobscot Expedition, which was not actually about the colonization of Native American lands. And so there were questions about whether historians should have been involved to check these things.”
(López:) I see what you’re saying. So, for me, I guess it’s just the criteria was created to show if there were ties to these specific themes, right? White supremacy, racism, colonization, ties to slavery, the killing of indigenous people, or any symbols that embodied that. And the committee shared that these are the names that have these ties. And so, for me, at this moment, I have the understanding we have to do the teaching, but also I do agree that we shouldn’t have these ties, and this is a way of showing it.”
I guess part of the problem is that the ties may not be what the committee said they were. That’s why I brought it up.”
(López:) So then you go into discrediting the work that they’re doing, and the process that they put together in order to create this list. So when we begin to have these conversations, and we’re pointing to that, and we’re given the reasoning and they’re sharing why they made this choice and why they’re putting it out there, I don’t want to get into a process where we then discredit the work that this group has done.”
But it seems like we should have some sense of whether what they did was historically correct or not. No?”
(López:) I’m open for that conversation.”
I think Lincoln gets more praise than the . . . how can I say this? Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t think that . . . Lincoln is not someone that I typically tend to admire or see as a hero, because of these specific instances where he has contributed to the pain of the decimation of people—that’s not something that I want to ignore. It’s something that I’m learning about and that I know it’s not often spoken about.”
And while the school board was navel gazing and screwing up history, the city took them to court to get them to reopen the schools.
The lawsuit has even been expanded now, and a court date is set for March 22nd. Perhaps that lawsuit, and the healthy helping of scorn and ridicule being heaped upon the school board, has finally caused them to change their tune about their priorities.
S.F. school board president @lopez4schools says renaming committee meetings will be canceled “for the time being,” and “reopening is our priority.”
Here’s the commentary: https://t.co/7z7DQn1Q23
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) February 22, 2021
There have been many distracting public debates as we’ve been working to reopen our schools. School renaming has been one of them. It was a process begun in 2018 with a timeline that didn’t anticipate a pandemic. I acknowledge and take responsibility that mistakes were made in the renaming process.”
We recognize we need to slow down. And we need to provide more opportunities for community input. We are working with educators at all levels to involve and educate our school communities about the renaming process. We are realizing, especially now, it will take time and energy to get that right.”
Oh, and now they need some historians.
— Madam President, Gabriela López (@lopez4schools) February 22, 2021
López has clearly come to the realization that the school board was out on a limb and that the lawsuit against them is no joke.
In the meantime, this is the last time I’ll comment publicly on renaming until schools are reopened. We will not be taking valuable time from our board agendas to further discuss this, as we need to prioritize reopening. Word choice matters, and in the midst of a heated crisis, I think that all of us acknowledge it can be easy to say the wrong thing. I want us to focus our time and actions where they matter most. On the safety of our children, and on safely getting them back into schools.”
The left has begun to turn against Democrat-supported institutions like teachers’ unions and school boards are getting sued. It is obvious that school reopenings should be the common ground where right and left should unite and fight, especially for the kids who are being left behind and can’t get out of the public school system.
It looks like the San Francisco school board has finally realized that being super-woke won’t save them if no students actually are in the school buildings they want to rename. And it’s about time that parents get angry and demand their taxpayer money’s worth – and that means getting on the case of the school board who purports to serve the kids in your community, and insist that they do their jobs and get kids back in schools.
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Author: Deanna Fisher
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