I first took office in the wake of the Great Recession, and watched the district’s unrestricted general fund shrink by about 25 percent between 2009 and 2012. Now, state funding for education has begun to recover. San Francisco has made new investments in teacher salaries, technology and Common Core implementation, but those investments aren’t enough to build the schools we all envision and deserve. And if the economy slows just as temporary sales taxes expire in 2018, the picture could quickly worsen. As the Board’s budget committee chair the last two school years, I’ve made sure the Board is focusing on funding the right priorities for our district.
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I also closely monitor our student assignment system and have pushed for changes to make it fairer and more effective. I’ve spent significant time monitoring our curriculum reforms such as Common Core implementation (particularly the controversial math sequence) and proposed improvements to address the concerns of constituents.
Finally, San Francisco is changing — it’s growing rapidly and income inequality is at a stunning high. Our school system has to get more nimble in adapting to change, and I’m focused on planning for the future. We need to get busy building new schools and developing a more robust recruitment pipeline for teachers and school leaders — and to do that, we must pay teachers more so that we can attract and keep our educators in San Francisco. We spend thousands of dollars per teacher on professional development each year, so every teacher we lose to a higher-paying district represents a lost investment.
Here are my positions and ideas on these key issues:
- Curriculum and Common Core
- Student Assignment
- Planning for the Future
- Budget Priorities
- Special Education