Stand up for our public schools – SF Examiner
Alison Collins and Arienne Adamcikova / Sun April 29, 2018
Right-wing billionaires and Silicon Valley technology investors have helped fund advocacy groups like Innovate, a San Jose group that pushes the charter agenda and denigrates public schools. (Courtesy photo)
Alison Collins co-authors this piece about why we need to push back on charters and fight for our public schools in an Op Ed in the SF Examiner:
Have you noticed an uptick in news articles about the “achievement gap” in San Francisco’s public schools? The reports from “an independent nonprofit” disparaging those schools and attacking the district? The Facebook and Twitter ads telling you that public schools are bad for black and Latinx kids?
You might even have seen attacks on individual schools that don’t exist. (Ever heard of West Portal Middle School?)
It’s not a coincidence.
The escalating coverage of the so-called “state of emergency” in our district comes at a time when charter school chains from other states and cities are trying to increase their foothold in San Francisco. They want to open new charter schools, siphoning off funds that would otherwise go to public schools. They’ve started a public relations war aimed at sowing discontent among parents and convincing them to enroll their children in charters.
Think about how many times you’ve heard our public schools are “failing.” In fact, data shows our schools are doing better than 20 years ago: more graduates, higher standards, more inclusive classrooms, more culturally responsive instruction. And yet the drumbeat rolls on: “failing schools,” “uncaring teachers,” “achievement gap.”
Of course, there are challenges. Like many underfunded districts, San Francisco has a chronic shortage of teachers and other staff members. It grapples with the legacies of residential segregation and the abandonment of public schools by affluent families. Yet, our schools have a mission to serve all students, no matter what socioeconomic level they come from, special needs they may have or language they speak.