SFUSD & Board Updates
In just over a week, a new superintendent, Dr. Matt Wayne, will take the helm of our district. What will he need to get up to speed on? What should you know right now, as an important SFUSD family advocate? Here’s what’s been happening this month at SFUSD:
New attention to SFUSD’s entire portfolio of high school offerings, Lowell High School included
Last night (Thursday, 6/22), the SFUSD Board of Education (“BOE”) landed another historic vote on Lowell High School, this time reversing the lottery admissions decision back to merit-based. The meeting was not boring. With passionate arguments on both sides, there was no way for the Board to satisfy everyone advocating on Lowell admissions policy. With a 4-3 vote supported by Lam, Motamedi, Hsu, and Weissman-Ward, Lowell’s admissions returned to the three-band merit system for the 2023-24 school year.
The BOE also unanimously approved an important resolution to create a task force that will consider community-informed recommendations to improve SFUSD’s entire portfolio of high schools. The task force will “examine admissions policies for both selective admissions and comprehensive high schools with a focus on how to best elevate the quality of education and improve outcomes for all students.” We’re not sure why it took so long for this sensible resolution to be put forward, but as we remember too well, the previous Board of Education was focused on, well, other things.
A focus on “student-outcomes governance” moved forward by President Lam
Could it be possible that our School Board is truly moving into hyper-good-governance mode? This month, President Jenny Lam introduced a resolution to temporarily pause committee meetings while the board gets re-focused on it’s #1 job: educating kids. Will parents miss the extra meetings? Probably not. Though some families have expressed concerns about how this limits the opportunity for community input, the intent of this resolution is positive and we’re and eager to keep a close watch on if it helps achieve its goal, allowing the Board to devote more of its “time and attention to creating the conditions to improve student outcomes.” A School Board focused on student outcomes sounds pretty good to us.
Budget Explainer from SFParents: “Pink Slips”
Earlier this spring, parents across the city were horrified to learn that over 400 teachers and administrators received “pink slips,” or, potential layoff notices. SFUSD provided an update on the situation in May: the vast majority of our teachers and staff did not receive final layoff notices. Phew! But why does this happen and is there anything we can do to prevent it?
>> Read our SFParents Explainer on “pink slips”
What’s going on with MATH and our students?!
At this month’s curriculum committee we got an update from the district on student outcomes in math, and it wasn’t great news. For example, not only is the number of SFUSD students taking AP calculus declining, but so is the pass rate– across all racial/ethnic student groups. Could it be time to revert to the old math ways? We’re not math experts, but these STEM professors think so.
Graph above: Reformatted SFUSD data for clarity, produced by SFUSD parent, Elizabeth Kelly @BethKellySF on Twitter. Illustrates a decline in tests taken and tests passed by our SFUSD students, across racial/ethnic groups, since the controversial change in math curriculum: