In San Francisco, turmoil over reopening schools turns a city against itself (subscription)

By: | March 29, 2021

The pandemic has brought grinding frustrations for parents, educators and students across the country. But perhaps no place has matched San Francisco in its level of infighting, public outrage and halting efforts to reopen schools.

In February, the city sued its own school system, which has been entirely remote for a year, and board of education, charging they were violating state law by not resuming in-person instruction. Soon after, two parents infuriated by the school board’s decision to rename 44 schools, even as it kept them closed, launched a drive to recall three of the board members. Some 9,000 people have joined the campaign’s mailing list, and they are expected to begin collecting signatures soon.

Then critics of the board unearthed four-year-old tweets written by the board’s vice president in which she accused Asian-Americans of sidling up to white Americans to get ahead without confronting racism, comparing them to slaves who benefited from working inside a slave owner’s house. More than a third of the district’s students are Asian-American.

Tumult turned to all-out war.

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