Friday, February 25, 2011

SFGate: Should the mayor have kids in public schools?

This from SFGate:
For the first time in recent history, every serious declared candidate for mayor of San Francisco is a parent. Four of the seven have school-age children, and two are currently going through the nail-biting process of applying for kindergarten.

It has parents of children in the city's public schools buzzing, with sightings of former Supervisor Bevan Dufty or Assessor Phil Ting touring schools reported like hot gossip.

It also has many parents of children in public schools debating whether they would vote for a candidate who sent his or her children to a private school, as several have. While the mayor has no direct control over the public schools other than filling vacant seats on the school board, the symbolism of choosing one for his or her own family matters to some parents.

"If they have some skin in the game, so to speak, I think it gives them more weight when they talk about education issues," said Deborah Kwan, a public relations consultant who lives in the Excelsior and has two children at Alice Fong Yu Elementary.

"I want to know that they aren't just talking about public education, that they aren't mouthing platitudes," said Kwan, the president of the school's Parent Teacher Association.
Read the full story


  1. Absolutely. It sets a horrible example if you believe you should simply fix education for your child, not for San Francisco as a whole. I won't vote for anyone for Mayor who sends their kids to private school. Whatever rationale one might have, you must remember many families don't have that option, so there shouldn't be one option for the rich that is unavailable for the poor. Private schools are the reason our schools are so segregated and people who do this really damage the poor, as well as people who stay here till their kids turn 5 or 6 then white flight out of here claiming they can't afford it but not considering a house in a nonwhite area of the City. There's a lot of racism in 2011 in this so called liberal City. If you want to be Mayor, I want you on the front lines fighting to make our public schools better, embattled with all of us, believing we are a community. Many of our public schools outperform private ones, but many parents don't feel comfortable with the diversity there and this is the main reason for segregation over 50 years after Brown v. Topeka. You deprive the schools of the people who have power and would make the schools better, be in the PTA, donate, and have their kids set a good example. You are helping your kids at the expense of the poor. Also, the people who do this say we pay taxes. That does nothing. No one votes for higher taxes for schools because the rich can opt out, which is cheaper than paying a higher rate. San Francsico, with 5 tax dollars per pupil vs. 1 for Fresno, spends the same per pupil as Fresno, because the inside power elite in San Francisco don't care, they opt out and create a separate world for theirs.

    No one for Mayor should be a part of this evil. We are a liberal City and I will only vote for a Mayor who, like Jimmy Carter, sets the example that we are all in this together and are one community. There shouldn't be two San Franciscos. There should be one. We should work to make our schools better and all of us should work towards that goal, including the rich and powerful.

    Michaela Alioto says she has to use Catholic School because her kids are Catholic. It's well known the Catholic Schools are half or less Catholic, many atheist, protestant, Jewish, etc. What they are is only white with token minorities who will be kicked out with one mistake or are rich. Michaela Alioto would never send her kids to a school in the Mission which is 90% Catholic and public, because they are poor Latino kids and she wants a school of elite white kids. This is morally wrong. Jesus was about helping the poor, not avoiding and isolating them. Shame on Michaela Alioto and all those who follow in her wake. We should only elect a Mayor who sets a good example and believes in our public schools. A true liberal, not a limousine liberal with a hidden racist agenda.

  2. My view is that the default expectation should be that public officials send their kids to public school, but that every family has the right to make the choice that best meets their kids' and family's needs.

    Just having public school as the default expectation would be pretty radical, though.

  3. Floyd,

    It doesn't seem to matter what the question is - you always have the same answer.

    The act of going to a private school is not an act of racism in itself. People have all sorts of reasons for going to schools, whether it is religious, close to home, family tradition, etc.

    I'm sure you are correct that some people send their kids to private school to avoid diversity. But not everyone who does so is intent on avoiding diversity. And many of the wealthiest whose children attend elite private institutions contribute for scholarships that contribute to diversity. I think you underestimate the diversity in private schools for that matter.

    As for the mayor, I'm not casting my vote based upon where their kids go to school. I'd be more interested in where my child's teacher's kids attend school because if those teachers don't have faith in the public education system why would I want them teaching mine?

    In any case, the mayor has little to do with education in our fair city (no pun intended).

  4. I agree but it sets a good example. Most private school parents if they visited public schools with an open mind would end up at one and realize they can save a lot for the same quality of education. However there's a snob thing going on. Some have a snobby attitude and don't even feel open to it. Some don't care how much their actions hurt the poor and minorities, and to my mind you can't be a liberal if you blithely damage poor and minorities to benefit the very priveleged, which any kid with parents with this much extra money is very priveleged. If a Mayor goes public, it sets a good example for the ruling class and will get more wealthy into the public schools, which will improve education for all and unity, and will help the poor as well as the middle class. That's why I will vote that way, consider it a litmus test, as will Parents for Public Schools, the Bay Guradian, and several other interest groups, including the Union. I agree it's awful when teachers do this too. But it is a litmust test for about 20% of voters so hopefully we'll end up with a Mayor who believes in fixing education for all.