Abraham Lincoln High School will open in San Francisco on January 27, 2021. The competitive San Francisco School Board stands ready to reverse a decision to rename 44 schools to avoid costly litigation and mitigate national criticism. In a meeting on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, the board will vote on a resolution to overturn a controversial decision made in January to rename schools and re-examine the matter after all students return full-time to face-to-face learning. (AP Photo / Haven Daley)
The San Francisco Schools Board stands ready to reverse a much-criticized decision to purge 44 schools of names allegedly linked to racism, sexism, or other injustices. timed activism.
A little over two months ago, the city’s elected school board voted to strip schools of personalities including Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Louis Stevenson and longtime California Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Parents, students and elected officials blew up the board over some of its goals – and timing. The decision was made in late January when all public classrooms in San Francisco were closed due to coronavirus restrictions. You still are. Mayor London Breed called it, among other things, “offensive and totally unacceptable” that the board focused on changing the names of the schools rather than bringing the children back into the classrooms.
Some of the city’s youngest students are expected to return to face-to-face teaching this month after more than a year of distance learning due to the pandemic. There is no return schedule for middle and high school students.
The renaming efforts have also been criticized for poor research and historical inaccuracies. A renaming advisory board falsely accused Paul Revere of wanting to colonize the Penobscot people. It also confused the Alamo Elementary School’s name with the Battle of Texas, rather than the Spanish word for “poplar tree.”
Amid the outcry, CEO Gabriela Lopez said in February that the process would be suspended until all the children were back in school. Lopez admitted in a statement that mistakes had been made in school selection and said when the board came back on the matter it would involve historians for a “more deliberate process”.
The board is expected to vote on a resolution to overturn its January decision on Tuesday and re-examine the matter after all students return to face-to-face learning full-time.
Since the renaming vote, the board has faced several lawsuits, including one from City Hall and the mayor to pressure the school district and board to reopen classrooms faster. Another motion was filed in March by San Francisco attorney Paul Scott, whose children are attending public schools. The school board’s renaming decision violated the California Open Congregation Act and did not involve the community.
San Francisco Supreme Court Justice Ethan Schulman issued a ruling asking the board to do what the lawsuit requires – overturn the vote and dissolve the renaming advisory committee – or show by April 16, why he shouldn’t be forced to do so.
The resolution, which will be examined Tuesday, does not respond to the criticism but denounces the lawsuit, saying it wants to “avoid the distraction and wasteful spending of public funds in frivolous litigation”.
In other recent controversies, the school board has received widespread criticism for planning to end merit admission to San Francisco’s premier public high school, Lowell, and to use the same lottery-based system that admitted students to other high schools.
Tuesday’s meeting will also be the first since the board decided last week to remove one of its members, Alison Collins, from her role as Vice President and other titles over her 2016 tweets about Asian Americans.
In the tweets, Collins said that Asian Americans are using “white supremacist” thinking to get ahead. She defied calls to resign and last week sued the school district and five of her six colleagues on charges of violating their freedom of speech. She is demanding $ 87 million in damages.