Liberal school board gets a lesson in pandemic politics


the said The “parents’ rights” movement that is raising hopes for Republicans around the country has some influence even in liberal San Francisco, where a campaign to recall three school board members will be decided by voters on Tuesday. Check with CNN Politics for results Wednesday.

That doesn’t mean there will be a conservative swell in the hometown of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice Speaker Kamala Harris. But it means frustration over school closures could have unintended consequences.

What caused the backlash in San Francisco? CNN’s Gregory Krieg notes the storyline that formed: The San Francisco school board focused on changing the names of 44 public schools at one time during the coronavirus pandemic when children weren’t physically there. ‘school.

Then the city kept its schools closed longer than most other parts of the United States.

“Even as early as May 2021, not a single school was ready for reopening. These people are using it to improve their careers, rather than focusing on educating our children,” said Siva Raj, an organizer of recall, to CNN, referring to the school. board members.

Democrats divided. San Francisco Mayor London Breed, a Democrat who supported the City lawsuit against the Democratic school board to force schools to reopen – endorsed recall effort. Furthermore, it should be noted that Breed has also criticized the city’s progressive Democratic district attorney, Chesa Boudin, for focusing on helping criminals rather than victims.

If fundraising is any indication of a bottom line (it often is, but not always), all three board members should be concerned.

The recall effort has raised nearly $2 million, while those defending the board members have only raised $86,000, depending on San Francisco Chronicle.

What does San Francisco have to do with the rest of the country? It’s a valid question.

CNN’s Ronald Brownstein writes that schools divide Democrats and create openings for Republicans.

He sees a cocktail of three distinct things driving the recall effort:

  • Genuine grassroots dissatisfaction with prolonged school closures during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Growing division among Democrats over how to respond to the pandemic.
  • Massive funding for longtime critics of public education and some big supporters of Republican political campaigns, including an ally of Betsy DeVos, former President Donald Trump’s education secretary.

Writing behind the backlash. This frustration with Covid-19 restrictions is helping to fuel and perhaps mask something that could have a much wider effect, especially in red states.

Brownstein notes “an aggressive Republican drive to censor how public school teachers talk about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other sensitive topics.”

He likens the effort to state laws to evolutionary teaching in the 1920s and the rise of anti-Communist loyalty oaths for teachers in the Joe McCarthy era.

It’s kind of a bait and switch because while every parent is likely to have a very strong opinion on whether kids should be in school, this is a group smaller one that works specifically on the program.

Brownstein cites a recent national CNN poll that found education to be a key factor ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Education is a big subject. Curriculum content was the top education concern of only about 1 in 4 people who said education would be an important factor in their votes.

After observing the frustrations of school boards near my home in Virginia, I think Brownstein and the polls are correct that parents are more concerned with their children’s learning than curriculum content.

It should be noted that one of the main frustrations cited about San Francisco was the effort of the board, that he abandoned, to rename schools for social justice reasons during the pandemic. He considered changing the names of schools that honored everyone from Abraham Lincoln—even freeing American slaves apparently isn’t enough—to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

San Francisco is clearly its own special political universe, but there’s also the removal of Covid-19 restrictions in several blue states and Democratic-led cities to consider.

First, a lesson in the north. Proponents of vaccine requirements may look warily at Canada, where protest by a vocal minority of truck drivers drivers on these requirements for interstate travel has taken a new turn.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act on Monday. This is the first time in history that power has been applied.

More relaxed requirements in the United States. Meanwhile in the United States, Washington, DC, is among the latest places to drop a Covid-19 requirement. In DC’s case, it’s about waiving the requirement for proof of vaccination to enter businesses. The rule, which had only been in place since December, ended on Tuesday.

DC, along with several states, will lift its indoor mask requirement on March 1. Masks are still recommended inside the city and will still be required in schools.

Vermont recommends a end of mask requirements for schools with high vaccination rates.
To live with. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a moderate Republican leading a blue state, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday there was “almost universal bipartisan support” in the United States to begin easing Covid-19 restrictions. and “finding a way to live with” the virus.
Meanwhile, California has not committed to ending its mask requirement for schools and will maintain it at least until the end of February.
The Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson writes that general Covid-19 fatigue, alongside precipitously falling infection rates – rather than anger over masks – is driving the new policies in blue states.

“I don’t know if American political figures in the blue zone are canceling such mandates because their own constituents are More precisely requesting that these warrants be revoked. Rather, they may simply be responding to growing frustrations around the virus as a whole. »

She adds that people might just be ready to live alongside the disease.

“My poll still shows a large and growing number (of) people are still worried about getting COVID! It’s that maybe they don’t think more than we do can beat COVID,” she wrote.

It sounds a lot like what New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on CBS on Sunday, “…as far as we can tell right now, this thing is going from pandemic to endemic.”

Always slow. You won’t hear that kind of direct talk from the federal government, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the White House — at least not yet. This means that the country is moving faster than its government right now.

The potential recall of San Francisco school board members means leaders need to stay tuned during tough times.

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