That San Francisco voters just recalled three Leftist school board members is hardly surprising considering that, despite its wealth and high average IQ, San Francisco has strikingly terrible public schools. As I pointed out in my 2019 column “San Francisco vs. Frisco,” reviewing public school test scores from every school district in the country in the Stanford database:
For example, rich and leftist San Francisco (where Hillary won 84–10) combines big race divides (a white-black gap of 3.7 years [among 6th graders, compared to a 2.2 academic year white-black gap nationally]) with weak test scores.
Amusingly, San Francisco is the opposite of Frisco, Tex., a sprawling Dallas exurb … Ironically, while everybody in San Francisco hates when you call it by its unloved nickname “Frisco,” Republican-voting Frisco is much better at narrowing racial divides than is liberal San Francisco. Frisco has a white-black gap of only 1.4 years.
Frisco is San Francisco’s friendlier, less dysfunctional right-wing opposite. While San Francisco occupies perhaps the world’s most perfect spot for a city, Frisco is randomly plopped down on the prairie. San Francisco is an adult Disneyland with the lowest percentage of children of any city, while Frisco specializes in raising the next generation.
Frisco, which barely existed in 1990, now has 56,000 public school students, 48 percent white, 24 percent Asian, 14 percent Hispanic, and 11 percent black. This exurb 25 miles north of Dallas has, among school districts large enough to have reliable data, the nation’s highest black and Hispanic test scores.
… White San Francisco public school sixth graders score 0.5 grade levels above the white national average, which is unimpressive considering the white population’s stratospheric wealth. (Seventy-five billionaires live in San Francisco, the highest per capita rate of any city in the world.)
One reason for the extreme mediocrity of San Francisco’s public schools is that about 30 percent of all children in San Francisco attend private schools. But causation also runs in the opposite direction. More San Francisco parents would presumably avail themselves of public schools if they weren’t so bad. In contrast, about 94 percent of Frisco children attend public schools.
San Francisco’s white kids average 0.8 grade levels below Frisco’s. They also trail whites in Houston and New York City.
San Francisco’s Asians score 1.1 grade levels worse than the national Asian average, 3.6 grades worse than Palo Alto’s Asians, and 0.8 grades below the Asians in the oft-derided Los Angeles public schools.
Likewise, San Francisco’s Hispanics score 0.9 grades below the national Hispanic norm, worse than their peers even in Oakland, San Bernardino, and Cicero, Ill.
Finally, San Francisco’s blacks score 1.0 grade levels below the national black average, worse even than blacks in Baltimore, Oakland, St. Louis, Buffalo, Cleveland, and…Detroit. For black performance, San Francisco beats only Rochester, Milwaukee, and Syracuse.
When affluent white liberals live in a city with bad public schools, they typically bite the bullet and shell out for private schools. In contrast, Asian immigrants tend to see it as their God-given right as Americans to have the taxpayers furnish their children with good public schools, even if it means upsetting the racial amour propre of black activists.
So, Chinese parents in San Francisco were very mad when the far Left school board voted to no longer allow the one good public high school, Lowell, to choose students by exam, like Stuyvesant in NYC and Thomas Jefferson in the DC suburbs. Lowell is only 18% white, 61% Asian, 8% mixed (mostly Eurasian), 10% Hispanic, and 2% black, but as an op-ed in CNN explains, it’s all extremely complicated but basically about White Supremacy:
San Francisco school board recall sends a dangerous message
Opinion by Nicole Hemmer
Updated 9:48 AM ET, Thu February 17, 2022
Nicole Hemmer is an associate research scholar at Columbia University with the Obama Presidency Oral History Project and the author of “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics.” She co-hosts the history podcasts “Past Present” and “This Day in Esoteric Political History” and is co-producer of the podcast “Welcome To Your Fantasy.” The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author. View more opinion on CNN.
(CNN) After four years when all eyes were glued to the presidency, American politics have taken on a decidedly local bent. During last fall's elections in Virginia, national media latched on to events in Loudoun County, where both right-wing and mainstream outlets amplified local politics and growing panic over everything from critical race theory and trans students' bathroom access to mask policies and math courses. After Republican Glenn Youngkin won the governorship, commentators dissected the results to foretell the outcome of elections in 2022, 2024 and beyond.This week's recall election in San Francisco is following a similar pattern. Three school board members lost their seats in a recall effort fueled by so many different issues that observers could easily play pick-your-own-narrative.
There were extended pandemic school closures, a ham-handed effort to rename schools commemorating Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, among other figures, in the name of social justice, an attempt to move away from testing and GPA requirements for admission into high-ranking public schools, a growing achievement gap, an enormous budget deficit and, in the case of one [African-American] school board member, the use of a racial slur in an anti-Asian rant. All that makes trying to sum up the lessons of the recall a tall order.
In other words, those are a whole bunch of effects of the Racial Reckoning. Even keeping the schools closed is rationalized in part by the Sacred Exhaustion of Black Women, who Need to Take Mental Health Days for Self-Care at the Spa.
An editorial from the San Francisco Chronicle:
Editorial: No, San Francisco’s school board recall wasn’t a rejection of progressive politics
Chronicle Editorial Board
Feb. 16, 2022
Despite the best efforts of Twitter pundits and the national media to shoehorn a meta narrative onto San Francisco’s school board recall, Tuesday’s vote was not, in fact, a broader referendum on progressive politics or mask mandates or the ills of a hyper abundance of wokeness.
It was a plea for basic competence and for politicians to listen to the needs of their constituents.
It’s easy to drool over the story line that the most progressive city in America just ousted three progressive school board members. But disagreements over politics had little to do with San Francisco parents’ decision to push for the first local recall in 39 years. Many, in fact, agreed with the broader goals of the three ousted board members. There were disputes over methodology, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a recall supporter who didn’t speak openly about wanting to close the racial achievement gaps in academic performance that recalled Commissioners Alison Collins [black], Gabriela López [Latinx] and Faauuga Moliga [Samoan] said they prioritized. In their endorsement interview with The Chronicle, Yes on Recall organizers Siva Raj [Asian Indian] and Autumn Looijen [an Ice People name so Northern European Winter Olympics medalistish it sounds East Asian] even spoke about the benefits of school renamings when executed with care and thoughtfulness.
From the San Francisco Standard:
Raj and Looijen, a Tinder couple who began dating in July and have five children between them