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San Fran Residents Overwhelmingly Oust School Board Members Who Tried Renaming Abraham Lincoln HS

02-16-2022
FILE - A pedestrian walks below a sign for Dianne Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco on Dec. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
FILE - A pedestrian walks below a sign for Dianne Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco on Dec. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Parents in San Francisco have clearly not forgotten 2020.

This week, a recall effort two years in the making reached its conclusion when city residents voted overwhelmingly to recall three San Francisco school board members who led the abandoned charge to rename 44 public schools — including those named after Presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — amid government-induced closures that severely crippled children’s education.

Mayor London Breed (D), who endorsed the recall, praised the outcome, saying in a statement that parents, who launched the effort, “were fighting for what matters most — their children.”

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“The voters of this city have delivered a clear message that the school board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else,” she continued. “San Francisco is a city that believes in the value of big ideas, but those ideas must be built on the foundation of a government that does the essentials well.”

School board Commissioner Alison Collins, one of the most front-facing advocates for the renaming process, was recalled by a broad margin, with 78% voting “yes” and just 21% voting “no,” as CBN News reported.

See the breakdown:

While school board President Gabriela López and Vice President Faauuga Moliga were also resoundingly recalled, it is Collins who has drawn the most attention nationwide.

As Faithwire reported in February 2021, Collins, who drew ire last year for resurfaced derogatory tweets targeting black conservatives and Asian Americans, was instrumental in the ultimately successful effort to rid one of the most prestigious public schools in the U.S. of its merit-based admissions program, arguing at the time such a structure was fundamentally racist.

“Meritocracy based on standardized testing — I’m just gonna say it, in this day and age, we cannot mince words — those are racist systems,” said Collins. “If you’re gonna say that merit is, like, fair, it’s the antithesis of fair and it’s the antithesis of just.”

“You can’t use equity or you can’t, you know, talk about social justice and then say that you want to have a selective school that keeps certain kids out from the neighborhoods that you think are dangerous,” she continued. “Like, that’s all kind of Trumpian language.”

As Faithwire detailed at the time:

It’s worth noting the school, founded in 1856, is already diverse and fairly reflective of the district. Of the school’s 2,900 students, 51% are Asian, 18% are white, 12% are Latino, 6% are Filipino, and 2% are black. The district’s overall enrollment is, by comparison, 33% Asian, 28% Latino, 15% white, 6% black, and 4% Filipino. Black Americans make up 5.2% of the entire San Francisco population.

Nevertheless, the San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators “wholeheartedly” supports the effort to eliminate merit-based admissions.

“For more than 30 years,” teacher Virginia Marshall said during a special meeting Tuesday, “Lowell has brutalized mentally our African-American students.”

Several students in the SFUSD took issue with the shift toward a randomized admissions system.

As for the recall process, the Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton condemned the effort being pushed by “closet Republicans and most certainly folks with conservative values in San Francisco, even if they weren’t registered Republicans,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

That, though, is not how recall advocates feel. In fact, parents of the 100 or so supporters who showed up in the Mission District on Tuesday said the support is diverse.

“We wanted to show the diversity of the community behind this recall,” said David Thompson, a parent decked out in a rainbow drag-star outfit, calling his flamboyant persona, “Gaybraham Lincoln.” He went on to say, “I knew they were going to say, ‘Oh, isn’t it just a bunch of Republicans?’ And I’m like, ‘Do I look like a Republican?’”

Collins, for her part, is not backing down from her position.

“All of the parents and educators that are fighting the recall are volunteers,” she said. “We’re fighting … a well-funded machine of paid political consultants, who even if the recall doesn’t win … will be making hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

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