For those of us who have weathered the last few boom-and-bust cycles in San Francisco, we know the drill, and it’s not pretty: when times are good, we worry about keeping the City affordable for families. And when times are bad, we worry about school funding, layoffs and keeping families in the City.
Are you noticing a pattern? Keeping San Francisco a place where families of all economic levels can thrive is something that is crucial to our quality of life, and strong public schools are a huge part of that goal.
San Francisco is changing rapidly, and even if the current tech boom ends soon, the overall rate of change will probably not slow down too much. The Association of Bay Area Governments predicts that San Francisco’s population will grow more than 30 percent to almost 1.1 million people by 2040, and we do not have enough schools to serve that population.
We also are at a crisis point in teacher recruitment and retention. California is facing a major teacher shortage, because it costs a lot to live here, teaching isn’t well-paid, and well, it’s a hard job (dedicated teachers love it, but it’s still a very hard job!).
San Francisco Unified needs to do a better job planning for the changes that are already impacting our students, our families and our educators. We can positively meet our capacity and staffing needs by doing the following:
- Committing to building new schools in rapidly-growing areas like Mission Bay and Hunters Point Shipyard
- Investing in teacher salary increases
- Expressly supporting teachers’ ability to live in San Francisco, either through new teacher housing stipends or building affordable teacher housing
- Investing in coaches and other supports for first- and second-year teachers.
In my third term, I commit to these approaches to improve our readiness to face a future that is both challenging, and full of opportunities.