Parents of children in the San Francisco Unified School District held a rally Saturday to demand five full days of in-person school instruction, rather than the hybrid model that the teachers’ union and the district have accepted for school reopening.
Public education is a public right. reopen the public schools of San Francisco safely and now. It’s s shame that parents have now to organize protests for simply the rights of having a school for kids. @SFUnified @LondonBreed @myrnamelgar pic.twitter.com/lhZkhzqXYS
— Dr. Franck Marchis (@AllPlanets) March 13, 2021
The unions have held out against full-time reopening in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other large cities. After Governor Gavin Newsom and state Democratic Party leaders announced a $6.6 billion reopening plan on March 1, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) called it “structural racism,” arguing that minority communities were more vulnerable to the risks.
But many parents, of every background, are frustrated with the closures, and made their voices heard in San Francisco, a reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:
Hundreds of parents and kids marched from Alamo Square Park to Civic Center Plaza, where Mayor London Breed and a host of elected officials joined their rally. The event, organized by the group Decreasing the Distance, was the latest in a campaign to get the San Francisco Unified School District to develop a plan to fully reopen public schools.
San Francisco closed its public schools a year ago. Only last week, the school board approved plans to begin bringing back in-person learning for preschool through fifth-graders, special education students and vulnerable older groups starting April 12. The decision followed months of often-bitter debate between frustrated parents, the school board and the teachers union.
But parents and politicians said Saturday that the limited return to school, which does not include middle or high school students, falls short. They called for all public schools to offer in-person education for all interested students immediately and to guarantee, and start planning for, a full resumption of classes for the start of the next school year, in August.
In Los Angeles, parents also held protests — as the UTLA held a telephone town hall with handpicked participants who worried about the risks of reopening, as the Los Angeles Times reported:
Callers in a “town hall” sponsored by the union and its allies expressed anxiety about returning to campus, while putting forward questions that allowed the union president to further explain the reopening plan and the union’s role in shaping it.
No callers into the online town hall expressed views critical of the union, but there were questions that revealed anxiety and confusion, such as Juanita from the San Fernando Valley, who worried about sanitation given the shortages of soap and toilet paper that existed even before the pandemic.
The UTLA reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District to begin partial re-opening after spring break, in mid-April — but many parents are frustrated with a hybrid model, which critics say combines the “worst of both worlds” — the risks of infection, without the convenience and focus of full-day, in-person learning in a classroom environment.
Frustration at school closures is one of the main forces driving a campaign to recall Newsom, which has reached 2 million signatures as of last week — 500,000 more than required.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.