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|San Francisco County, CA||November 5, 2002 Election|
A Plan for San Francisco Public Schools
By Daniel GuilloryCandidate for Board of Education; County of San Francisco
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As noted by Superintendent Ackerman's "Excellence for All" report, there is a serious achievement gap in San Francisco schools, especially at the high school level. Although San Francisco has some excellent public schools, far too many kids still attend schools that are not meeting their needs. If we truly want to prepare all of our children for college, I believe we need to re-design our schools so that they can meet the needs of all kids. Here are some important elements of this process:1) Financial Management: The Board would work with the district to identify 5 to 10 key indicators of financial health that would also be reviewed regularly at public board meetings. This would ensure public understanding of SFUSD's finances, make the District's financial processes more transparent, and would begin to rebuild the public's trust in the Board's ability to manage money.
2) Developing quality schools: Most of our existing secondary schools are large institutions that do not provide students with individual attention or support. In high school, most kids take 6 classes a day with 6 different teachers and 6 different sets of classmates; there are few opportunities for students to be well-known by any adults. We need schools that are smaller and designed for personalization, so teachers see fewer students each day and have more time to give each student individual support. Research shows that smaller, personalized schools are safer and produce better academic results. The district is already planning to release a Request for Proposals that would allow for the creation of new small schools and the re-design of existing large schools. I support this process, and I will work to ensure that the new and redesigned schools that emerge are indeed more personalized rather than small versions of traditional schools.
3) Supporting Teachers and Administrators: In 2000-2001, San Francisco's teacher salaries ranking 94th out of the 100 largest cities in the country when adjusted for cost of living (source: F. Howard Nelson and Jewell C. Gould, Teacher Salaries, Expenditures, and Federal Revenue in School Districts Serving the Nation's Largest Cities, 1990-91 to 2000-01, American Federation of Teachers, October 2001). We cannot continue to attract and maintain excellent teachers in San Francisco if we do not pay them more. Since most education funding comes from the state level, this is not an issue the local board of education has direct control over. However, I will work with district staff and my colleagues on the board to encourage the state to provide education funding increases that would allow us to pay our teachers a decent wage. I will also work with the district to identify new ways to support our teachers and administrators--they are the key to our success.
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