Monday, November 13, 2006

Unfinished Business for the SF Board of Education - Superintendent Seach, Countering Re-sesegregation, Replacing the JROTC with Better Alternatives

Photo from HBO's WALKOUT.
Now that the November 7th election is behind us, our Board of Education has some serious decisions to make. Tonight I meet with our Superintendent Search Task Force. Outgoing Commissioners Dan Kelly and Sarah Lipson are also on the committee along former Mayor Art Agnos and longtime non-profit leader Jan Masaoka and others. Tonight we are setting out a process and goals to select a community-friendly search firm to assist us in our search for a new superintendent by the end of the academic year.

Tomorrow night we also face some tough decisions on everything from the proposed 'merger' of Burton High School with Leadership High School [which I oppose], to adding race as one of several factors in our student assignment/desegregation/equity plan for our district [which I support], and a proposal to phase out the district's JROTC program [which I support] and use the $1 million we currently spend on it for replacement programs to provide better alternatives for the 1600 high schoolers on 7 campuses who are currently in the program.

The "Equality for All" photo above is symbolic of the Chicano/Latino movement for equality and democracy in Los Angeles and throughout the Southwest US. I like the photo because it represents the easiest part of serving on the school board - supporting the demands for an equal education and equity in school district decision-making from low income communities of color. The hardest part though is managing our budget with huge enrollment declines [1000 this past year] in an era of defunding of public education. Also very difficult often is striving to do my best to listen to diverse communities/points of view during our board deliberations while also doing what I think is in the best interest of social jusitice and equity for all our communities. Tuesday night 11/14 will be one of those difficult evenings.
The meeting begins at 7pm at 555 Franklin, Board Meeting Room, San Francisco, but often folks have to arrive very early [6pm] in order to get a seat, unless you don't mind sitting in the overflow room with an inability to see what is going on at the meeting.
Call 415-241-6493 during the day to get on the speaker's list if you would like to speak at the meeting.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Mar,

The current(which is the substitute)resolution does not have any plans to replace JROTC, it only phases out the program. To vote for the current resolution means the School Board has effectively gotten rid of the JROTC program with no hope of find a new one to take its place. In addition, the $1 million dollars that will be "saved" from cutting JROTC plus even more money will be all spent on new teachers to teach and new areas to house the P.E. classes. If there was a proposed task force to find a replacement for JROTC (and again, this resolution does not have plans for one), there will be no money to fund this task force, nor will there be money to fund a program.

I know you read the blog, as I've seen you comment there many times. I want you to take a quote from there to heart: "There is no alternative program lined up to take its place, only fantasies about possible future programs. If you would stipulate that JROTC must be replaced and not abolished then your answer should be no to the proposed ban." ( 10/22/06)

I hope you take all of this into account before you vote tonight to cut a program that is so valuable and so important to the students, families, and the community.

Belle Yan

Quncy Yu said...

Mr. Mar speaks about using the $1 million for replacement programs. This is disingenuous as the Board's budget committee has already stated that there are no funds for replacement programs, during or after school, other than for the required PE teachers that will be needed because JROTC students will now be required to take PE. Mr. Mar voted down an amendment to the resolution to continue to the JROTC program until the Board could propose one or more replacement programs. Mr. Mar voted down an amendment to continue JROTC for just 1 school year until one or more replacement programs could be proposed. Mr. Mar voted for a resolution that has not provied for any replacement program or programs. This contradicts his statement that he wishes to replace what is being taken away from 1600 students citywide. If he did, he would have voted for one of the amendments.

susi said...

How do you think PPS is serving the re-segregation of this city? What about inequitable fundraising issues and access? These are the real issues to tackle regarding equity. I have been working on this issue (although as a finish grad school am taking a break) for ten years and have only seen organizations like PPS make things worse. Better for some but worse for others and most people are too afraid to speak the truth. All the best, Susi Levi-Sanchez