“the problem with all this talking is that it was happening as a lot of San Francisco parents were struggling”

Mary Harris:

What did that incident tell you about how the school board sees its job?

It demonstrated that the school board was very committed to these types of decisions at the expense of other types of decisions that typically school boards would make. A lot of things that they have taken up have been very directed toward the superintendent and very administrative tasks. At one point, the superintendent threatened to leave and then decided to stay if they stepped back and let him do his job.

So they were making trouble for everyone.

This is a board that likes to stir the pot.

This well-intentioned focus by the school board on more symbolic issues continued through the pandemic. In January, as more kids around the country began returning to classrooms, the San Francisco school board made headlines again—this time for an expensive push to rename schools within the district, all while parents waited impatiently for guidance on reopening.

For a while there have been some schools that the parents and the community and the teachers wanted renamed. And so they created this task force to come up with which schools should be renamed. The idea was any schools associated with a person connected to slavery or oppression would be renamed. The task force then went through every school name and reportedly did their own research to determine whether that person had a connection to slavery or colonization or other types of things. They went down through the list, and out of about 118 schools, they pulled 44 names.