Welcome back, Chuck!

Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius announced today that he’s moved back to San Francisco (District Six) after 20 years in the suburbs. That news isn’t remarkable (other than the fact that it deprives the Bay Guardian of part of their favorite nickname for Mr. Nevius — “suburban twit“), but this passage was:

The next act of the script was the same for many of us. We met a life partner and started a family. A baby arrived, so instead of meeting people while walking the dog, you talked to other parents pushing a stroller.

And then the game-changer – the factor that probably drives more young couples out of the city than anything else. It’s not panhandlers, the crime, or noise, or traffic. It is the curse of the third bedroom.

It isn’t actually true that units with three bedrooms don’t exist. That’s just how it seems. The prices are shocking, the selection is minimal, and the schools are an enigma. And it finally dawns on you that for less than what you are paying in San Francisco, you could live in the suburbs and not only have a third bedroom, but a yard, private parking and warm summer days.

The next thing you know you’re eating at Applebee’s and reminiscing about that great little pasta place in the city where the owner remembered your name.

The schools are an enigma.” I’ll accept that, especially since I’ve read worse so many times in the past (often in the Chronicle!). I’m sure Mr. Nevius will eventually write something about the schools that I’ll take issue with, but today, I want to thank him for forgoing the cheap shot. Merriam-Webster lists one of the defintitions of enigma as “something hard to understand or explain.”  I actually think that’s a reasonable way of describing our school system here in San Francisco:  there are many places where our kids are getting a good and even great education, and I’ll also grant that quality is uneven and our enrollment process is complex and difficult to understand.

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4 responses to “Welcome back, Chuck!

  1. Gotta say, I’ve flipped on the neighborhood school issue, partly for the reason Rachel noted. I was more pro-school choice and thought the new system was too much in the direction of neighborhood schools, but reading Diane Ravich’s book on the Rise and Fall of American Education has made me think that the time is right to go back to neighborhood schools and the new system strikes the right balance.

  2. My co-worker recently described the schools in the City as dicey which I almost took offense to, but dicey is defined as “unpredictable; risky; uncertain.” That pretty much sums up SFUSD.

  3. I noticed and appreciated this:
    “But better are the families who are determined to make it work.”

    I feel there are countless parents I know that do INDEED stay and not only make it (the City) “work” but stay and make things better for all kids and families.

    As we well know, it isn’t easy sometimes! But I’m glad our family stayed put and that my kids are experiencing the best SF has to offer.

  4. CarolineSF

    I was waiting for him to rip apart SFUSD schools, and I had the same reaction. Chuck has told some wrong and unfair stories in his day about our schools (and I did love the time he specifically described the SFUSD school site at Jackson and Fillmore streets as “inner-city,” because that fit the inaccurate story he was telling at the moment), but all is forgiven, maybe…