May 15, 2023
Media Contact: Meredith Dodson
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ON MONDAY MAY 15TH, SF PARENT COALITION LAUNCHED ‘SF KIDS CAN’T WAIT’ CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTING PERSISTENT INEQUITIES AND CALLING ON SAN FRANCISCO PARENTS, EDUCATORS, AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO TAKE ACTION FOR SAN FRANCISCO’S PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — On May 15, 2023, SF Parent Coalition launched a new student-focused campaign: San Francisco’s Kids Can’t Wait. Along with the campaign, the organization published an action brief reporting on student outcomes, describing persistent inequities at San Francisco Unified School District and the urgent need to take action for our students. The brief highlights 2022 state testing data on reading and math, and illustrates how student groups at SFUSD are doing compared to distract and state averages.
The action brief identifies a handful of “bright spot” schools where low-income Black and Latino/x students are outperforming their SFUSD peers, and recommends learning lessons from these schools on any special practices or approaches that are working. In addition to the bright spots, the action brief highlights how–overall–SFUSD does a poor job of educating our Black and Latino/x students, relative to other large districts across California. In 2022, only 18% of Black SFUSD students scored proficient in reading, compared to 30% of California’s Black students. And only 9% of Black SFUSD students were proficient in math versus 16% across the state. Out of the 200 largest districts in California for Black student proficiency in math and reading, SFUSD ranks 173rd in math and 186th in reading. For our low-income Latino/x students, we rank 169th in math and 188th in reading.
Gladys Soto, a Latina mom of two students who attended SFUSD, commented on the report: “As an SFUSD parent, my kids have thrived–my son is even going off to Berkeley next year and it’s because of the amazing support he got at Mission High School. But unfortunately, this data shows that too many of our Latino kids in San Francisco are not receiving the support they need. We have to do better, so that my son’s situation is the norm, not the exception. When we focus on our kids’ learning, they thrive.”
Chanel Blackwell, a Black mom of an SFUSD middle schooler and high schooler, also commented: “I’m so tired of the red tape; our kids are waiting too long.” Referring to recent Board of Education and district leadership changes recently, she added: “With all the adult transitions, someone promises one thing and then they leave and promises don’t get kept. Our kids need consistency. How long do the kids have to wait for us to figure out to support them to learn how to read and do math? We can’t wait on it. Parents are working hard but can’t do it without the district. We’re promised something but politics keep delaying things. Kids grow up so fast–they can’t wait for adults to take their time to figure this out. Make it work now– the kids are working hard, and we need to make sure to support them.”
SF Parent Coalition expects SFUSD to act with greater urgency and transparency in addressing these serious inequities in math and reading. Our students can’t wait years for SFUSD to figure out how to fix this: they must begin to make changes today.
By launching SF Kids Can’t Wait, the organization and grassroots network of public school parents are calling on every San Franciscan to take action with us. Join public school parents in calling for structural and systematic improvements to our public schools so that we can ensure every single child—no matter their background or abilities—receives an excellent public education and is supported to grade-level proficiency. No matter your relation to our public schools, as a citizen of our city it is all of our duty to support our children, especially our most vulnerable, to thrive.
SF Parent Coalition calls on San Francisco to join us in taking action for the improvements needed to ensure equitable, thriving schools.
Three things San Francisco residents can do this month to support the changes needed for public school students:
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Formed in 2020 during the education crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco Parent Coalition (formerly Decreasing The Distance), organized thousands of public school families in support of the safe reopening of schools. By continuing to lift up the voices of a broad and diverse network of parents and caregivers, the organization works tirelessly and unapologetically to advocate for student-centered policies at SFUSD. By launching this new campaign, the organization hopes to both celebrate the bright spots in our district, while making sure that families are informed about the realities of our increasing equity gaps, and call to action all San Franciscans to show their support for solving these inequities through greater urgency and action at the district-level.