Mayor London Breed says SFUSD needs to focus on reopening schools, not renaming

A war of words is pitting San Francisco’s mayor against the city’s unified school district. At issue: Should attention be focused on resuming in-person learning, or on renaming some school sites?
“I’ve been really frustrated about what I see happening with our children in San Francisco,” said Mayor London Breed as she attended a midday event in the city.
She reached the boiling point over the COVID-shuttered city schools.
Breed put pen to paper Friday, writing the unified school district, “Schools have been allowed to open under public health orders issued at the beginning of September,” she wrote. While private schools have moved forward with reopening the mayor said, "Our public schools still have not yet made a firm plan to open…The achievement gap is widening as our public school kids are falling further behind.”
Breed complained the San Francisco Unified School District is distracted with efforts to rename schools that haven’t opened.
“What is taking so long for the public schools to get their act together? We got kids who are struggling!," she said.
The SFUSD sent an email response to KTVU that read: “(The renaming) is a process being led by an advisory committee (to the Board of Education). The district appreciates that the advisory committee’s timing may be difficult for schools and has conveyed concerns. SFUSD is working to offer in-person learning options for our public school students.”
“I think the mayor has great credibility on COVID. And she’s definitely demonstrated local, state-wide, and national leadership,” said Dr. James Taylor, a University of San Francisco political scientist.
He says while Breed has a deep, grassroots understanding of the SFUSD, her question isn’t this or that – it’s this “and” that. Two tough issues face the electorate – safely moving from distance to in-person learning in the age of COVID while some educational environments also need to change.
“You have enough talent, you have enough of a brain trust in the school district to do both,” said Dr. Taylor. “The young people are on the front lines fighting both covid and racism. So that shouldn’t be a part of the question of either or. We’re doing both. But we need to hurry up giving our energy to getting our young people back.” Added Mayor Breed, “I’m am upset. I am mad. We need them to get their act together…We shouldn’t even be having a conversation about anything else. That’s where I stand.”
As the weekend comes to the fore, the mayor is wagering political capital this fight is worth pushing from the shadows into the light.