Academic Opportunity and Equity

As an SFUSD parent and educator with twenty-five years of experience, Alison was elected to fight for equitable, inclusive, and safe schools, to ensure all students – not a select few – have access to quality education. Over the last three years, she has kept her promises to families.

Alison is committed to giving back to the public education system that helped her mother rise out of poverty, and helped her father become one of the first Black professors at UCLA. She is co-founder of the SF Families Union, a Parent advocacy organization committed to fighting for equitable, integrated, and inclusive schools. She is also the author of a blog, SF Public School Mom, focused on race, parenting, and education. She served as a founding member of the African American Parent Advisory Council in SFUSD.

She has conducted professional development for hundreds of educators across the Bay Area on topics such as bullying, anger management, and conflict resolution skills. She informed the development of an anti-bullying curriculum for Groundspark, and was a contributing author to the Peer Resources Peer Leader Training curriculum. She also co-authored the curriculum used by UC Berkeley’s TRIO programs to help low-income first-generation college-bound students access higher education. This curriculum has been in use for over ten years and has been used by thousands of educators nationwide.

During one of her very first Board of Education meetings, Commissioner Collins got a public commitment from the Superintendent to make Black History Month an explicit expectation for each and every SFUSD school. And she continues to advocate to establish Vietnamese and Arabic Language Pathways in SFUSD TK-12 grades

Arts Equity Resolution 

Lead author, Co-author Gabriela Lopez, Unanimously approved

(See discussion here starting at 4:00:42

When Alison’s daughter was in fourth grade and showed her that the district art department was excluding low-income and immigrant students from arts education by requiring families to rent instruments and violating state law, she didn’t just speak up, she did something about it. When she got on the Board of Education, she and President Gabriela López wrote the Arts Equity Resolution. It directed district staff to design a plan to provide quality arts instruction for all children. This also included ensuring students who are in middle school English Learner and Special Education programs (who are almost entirely excluded from participation in arts and music instruction due to scheduling) are included. (This is also education discrimination and a violation of the California State Education Code.)

In just one year the rental policy was eliminated and thousands of instruments were bought, and participation went up. Even during the pandemic, 4,500 recorders went home. This year  SFUSD purchased 2,552 violins, 110 ukuleles, 150 trumpets, 100 flutes, and 200 guitars. Year after year, more children participate in music education, and the type of music education was more culturally inclusive.

Read more:

What if every school had a full-time arts teacher?

Equity Studies Resolution 

Primary author, coauthors Mark Sanchez and Jenny Lam – unanimous approval

This resolution calls for decolonizing instruction Pre-K through 12 grade by teaching about historically underrepresented communities and cultures and commits to removing oppressive curriculum, books, activities, school celebrations, and other school practices.  This humanizing curriculum is based on the principles of Knowledge (and Love) of Self, Solidarity between communities and with the most marginalized, and Self-Determination. This resolution calls for mandatory professional development on anti-racist educational practices at all levels including central office leadership. It also established a permanent Equity Studies Team to identify the most effective practices in developing educator leader capacity to address the issues of race/ethnicity, language, culture, gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation, ability, and underserved populations as they impact instruction in the classroom. 

Commissioner Collins also worked with the SF Human Rights Commission to establish an Equity Studies Community Taskforce to ensure community input and accountability of this work. The task force includes representation from students, families, site-based educators, and community members. Cultural groups that are highlighted are Asian American, Black, Latinx, Native American, Arab, and other underrepresented cultural groups. This group is currently developing a district calendar and curriculum resource guides to highlight celebrations of all cultures PK – 12.

Read more:

Finally, we are moving equity to mainstream curriculum

In Response to Ongoing, Pervasive Systemic Racism at Lowell High School Resolution

Primary author with Commissioner Gabriela Lopez and Matt Alexander, in partnership with the Lowell Black Student Union, BLADE alumni association, African American Parent Advisory Council (AAPAC) and  SF Naacp – approved 5 (Collins, Lopez, Alexander, Sanchez, Moliga) – 2 (Lam, Boggess)

The resolution, which was authored in response to calls for action from the community, initiates a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the SFUSD and the Education and Civil Rights Initiative (CRI) of the University of Kentucky College of Education, Lexington KY, in collaboration with the SF NAACP, California NAACP, and National NAACP to facilitate the creation of an Equity Audit Taskforce. This community task force is charged with defining and overseeing a district-wide equity audit and the resulting action plan to “address the exclusion and ongoing toxic racist abuse that students of color, and specifically Black students” across SFUSD with a specific focus at Lowell High School.

It also eliminates selective enrollment based on standardized test scores and grades which has led to the underrepresentation of Black, Latinx, Samoan Pacific Islander students as well as students in Special Education and English Language Learner programs, many of whom are Asian-American newcomer students.

Watch the video about this.

Read the resolution here.

Read about the Equity Audit & Action Planning Committee.

Read more:

Native American / Native Alaskan Resolution

Coauthored with Mark Sanchez in collaboration with the American Indian Parent Advisory Council – unanimous approval

For the first time, San Francisco Board of Education formally apologized to Native American families for the pain and trauma caused by racist imagery, textbooks, and mascots in district schools. SFUSD acknowledged consistent erasure of American Indian and Indigenous students by omission in data collection and demographics reporting and committed to removing stereotypes and misinformation about American Indian, Alaskan Native, and all Indigenous people from school walls, celebrations, and textbooks, including the current United States History textbooks. This resolution was notable in that it was written with not for the community it is meant to uplift.

Read the resolution here.

SFUSD’s Expanded Early College Interns program for high school and transitional age youth 

Collaborated with Supervisor Gordon Mar and Matt Haney to author a Board of Supervisors Resolution – unanimous approval from Board of Supervisors

With support from Commissioner Alison M. Collins, Supervisors Gordon Mar and Matt Haney connected with SFUSD staff, including Linda Jordan, to explore opportunities for expanded high school learning. Before this resolution was introduced, funding for expanded learning programs at the high school level had been excluded from city budget conversations and faced severe cuts. This resolution called for city funding of SFUSD’s Expanded Early College Interns program in the summer of 2021. Supervisors Mar and Haney successfully advocated for $2.7 million in funding to bolster this program which provided for 800 internships in July and August 2021, ranging from 35 to 150 hours.

Read more here.

Other policies Alison has supported:

Resolution In Support of the Achievement and Success of All Latinx Students in the San Francisco Unified School District (Lopez/Sanchez).SFUSD will prioritize Latinx student achievement and opportunity to access high-quality academic opportunities and socioeconomic and social-emotional supports. Read the full resolution here.

Resolution Providing SFUSD Schools the Means to Close the Opportunity Gap. Authored by Commissioners Gabriela Lopez, Faauuga Moliga, and Mark Sanchez. This resolution updated and expanded Weighted Student Formula to include students who are residing in public housing, students who are homeless or in transitional housing, students with incarcerated parents/guardians and students in foster care, and holding schools harmless following the 10-day count. Read the full resolution here

Resolution In Support of Creating a K-12 Black Studies Curriculum that Honors Black Lives, Fully Represents the Contributions of Black People in Global Society and Advances the Ideology of Black Liberation for Black Scholars in the San Francisco Unified School District. Introduced by Commissioner Stevon Cook with a focus on addressing the academic disparities amongst Samoan students through a PreK-14 pathway rooted in Samoa Aganuu indigenous practices, authored by Commissioner Moliga-Puletasi.

In Support of the September 16, 2019 “Free Our Children” Day of Action. This resolution was written to protest the encaging of our children, migrant family, and friends. We are in crisis with what is occurring at the border, and at detention centers housing young children and adults in inhumane conditions! CLOSE the CAMPS! FREE the Children! Amnesty Now!

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