UESF San Francisco Public Education Pledge

Posted on April 17, 2024

Sign on to the public education pledge HERE

At a time of crisis in American democracy and continued attacks on public education, I pledge to prioritize and protect public education so SFUSD can be a place where ALL educators are supported to ensure that ALL students can achieve challenging academic goals and meet their highest potential — a district with the schools our students deserve. 

FIGHT FOR FULLY STAFFED SCHOOLS. The nationwide educator shortage is further exacerbated in San Francisco by the extremely high cost of housing. For example, in the 2023-24 school year, only 80% of classrooms had a full-time teacher on the first day of school. In 2023, UESF fought for and won the largest raise in SFUSD history, but there is still much more to be done to effectively recruit and retain educators.  

  • I pledge to support district budgets that prioritize the classroom and ensure fully staffed schools for all students.
  • I pledge to make SFUSD the highest paying school district in the Bay Area
  • I pledge to support affordable housing and other accessible housing measures, such as rent control, to allow SFUSD staff to live in San Francisco.

PROMOTE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE. In recent years, SFUSD has struggled to provide a high quality education to all students. There have been several success stories, such as John Muir Elementary’s math Lesson Study and Teaching Through Problem Solving. All too often these efforts have been ignored, undermined, or restricted by the central office. In 2022, the Board of Education set ambitious academic goals; now we need to build a system that centers students and the educators who serve them so all students can achieve those goals.

  • I pledge to meet with and listen to educators and support high-quality curriculum and pedagogy that are challenging and engaging, student-centered, culturally responsive, and differentiated to meet the academic needs of all students.
  • I pledge to support high quality professional development with dedicated time during the work day (such as Lesson Study and similar methods that center educators) so educators have the time, training, and tools they need to support students to meet SFUSD’s academic goals.

PRIORITIZE THE HIGHEST NEED STUDENTS. SFUSD has one of the largest opportunity gaps in California, with Black/African-American students, Pacific Islander students, English Learners, students with IEPs, and other marginalized groups getting left behind, despite the social justice rhetoric we sometimes hear from city leaders. Over 2,000 of our students are homeless because our city government has refused to provide housing for their families. If we do what’s necessary so our most marginalized students can achieve excellence, our entire city will benefit and we’ll truly be able to realize our San Francisco values.

  • I pledge to fight for equity in the use of City and SFUSD resources so those with more needs get more resources and we can achieve excellence for all.
  • I pledge to ensure that any school closures, co-locations, or mergers do not have a disproportionate impact on schools serving any marginalized student group.
  • I pledge to use my influence with the CIty and other entities to ensure that no SFUSD student ever experiences homelessness, and that families have access to truly affordable housing.

DEMAND A STREAMLINED AND RESPONSIVE CENTRAL OFFICE. Over the past two decades, SFUSD’s central office has become bloated and out of touch with the schools. Critical departments such as Human Resources and Business Services have been neglected, leading to the EmpowerSF payroll debacle and worsening educator shortages, while other departments such as LEAD and the Educational Placement Center have turned into jobs programs for ineffective bureaucrats. Every dollar funded for students should be going to serve students’ needs every day.

  • I pledge to bring SFUSD’s central office spending in line with peer districts and with our own past practices, as outlined in reports from UESF and the City Budget and Legislative Analyst.
  • I pledge to build systems for democratic decision making with students, families, and educators so all members of the SFUSD community have the opportunity to authentically engage in decisions that impact them.
  • I pledge to fight against any and all attempts to undermine our public schools through privatization, including expanding the number of charter schools in our city.  

CREATE A PREDICTABLE, EQUITABLE ENROLLMENT SYSTEM. SFUSD spends millions of dollars a year on an enrollment department and system that offers an illusion of choice while actually creating high levels of anxiety for students and families — and also producing segregated schools with declining enrollment. 

  • I pledge to prioritize creating a new enrollment system that increases student enrollment, assigns families to schools reasonably close to where they live, produces the socioeconomically diverse and racially integrated schools most San Franciscans want, and offers alternative options for students who need them — with a minimum of anxiety and stress.

SUPPORT COMMUNITY SCHOOLS SERVING THE WHOLE CHILD. The state of California has invested over $4 billion in Community Schools, which is a research-based approach where schools provide health care, mental health, and other social services integrated into the academic program, along with extended learning time and family and community engagement. In 2022, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly supported Prop G, the Student Success Fund, which provides $35-60 million annually for a similar program locally in SFUSD.

  • I pledge to ensure that SFUSD builds a network of robust community schools with social workers and other critical wraparound and academic services and interventions, with a priority on schools with the highest needs.

Sign on to the public education pledge HERE