Public schools

San Francisco Won't Reopen Schools. But It Will Rename Them.

"To hear that the District is focusing energy and resources on renaming schools is offensive," says Mayor London Breed.

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The officials in charge of San Francisco's public schools are hard at work—not coming up with a plan to quickly reopen the schools, but to rename as many as 44 of them.

As parents, teachers, and principals deal with the frustrations of distance learning, the San Francisco Unified School District recently asked them to brainstorm replacements for schools that are "inappropriately" named after problematic historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.).

"I don't think there is ever going to be a time when people are ready for this," Mark Sanchez, president of the school board and a member of the committee that proposed the changes, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Predictably people are going to be upset no matter when we do this."

Maybe. But people are more upset right now, because San Francisco's public schools aren't even open and have no plans to reopen until probably January.

Many private schools in the city have successfully reopened. San Francisco, like D.C., New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, and many other large cities, has deemed it safe for privileged kids to go back to school. Yet families that rely on public education have been told they must wait, no matter the harmful consequences for their children.

Given the difficulties of virtual education, parents might expect school officials to be making every effort to reopen as soon as possible. But in San Francisco, reopening doesn't seem like nearly as high a priority as renaming buildings or covering up offensive art. The Chronicle's report on the renaming committee's deliberations borders on parody:

El Dorado Elementary came up next for discussion, with board members questioning whether the criteria should apply to a mythological place associated with settlers or colonists….

While some on the panel questioned whether an imaginary place filled with gold met the criteria for renaming.

"That's how we justified Mission and Presidio, as places of human rights abuses or environmental abuses," said Jeremiah Jeffries, saying it was similar to naming a school "Manifest Destiny."

El Dorado was added to the list for renaming….

"This is important work," he said. "We're in the middle of a reckoning as a country and a nation. We need to do our part."

That work includes a recommendation to change the name of Dianne Feinstein Elementary, a name given by the Board of Education in 2006 when the new school opened.

The school made the list because, as mayor in 1986, Feinstein reportedly replaced a vandalized Confederate flag, one of several historic flags flying in front of City Hall at the time.

Abraham Lincoln High is also on the list, based on the former president's treatment of American Indian and native peoples.

It would likely cost each school tens of thousands of dollars to replace their names, which is part of the reason that an alumni association is asking the committee to suspend its activities until school has actually resumed.

To her credit, San Francisco Mayor London Breed has issued a strongly worded rebuke to district officials.

"In the midst of this once in a century challenge, to hear that the District is focusing energy and resources on renaming schools—schools that they haven't even opened—is offensive," the Democratic mayor said. "It's offensive to parents who are juggling their children's daily at-home learning schedules with doing their own jobs and maintaining their sanity. It's offensive to me as someone who went to our public schools, who loves our public schools, and who knows how those years in the classroom are what lifted me out of poverty and into college. It's offensive to our kids who are staring at screens day after day instead of learning and growing with their classmates and friends."

Breed called on the district to focus on returning kids to their classrooms instead of debating the origins of the name El Dorado.

"We are in a pandemic right now that is forcing us all to prioritize what truly matters," she said. "Conversations around school names can be had once the critical work of educating our young people in person is underway."

It is nice to know that at least one person in a position of authority in San Francisco has not completely lost her mind.

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  1. Governments (especially at the local level) literally no longer know how to govern.

    Oh, and this ‘renaming the schools’ while Rome burns is evidence of the decline of our civilization.

    1. At this point, I think it would be fairer to say “their civilization”, since they want nothing to do with real civilization other than plunder.

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      2. Yes, but that’s still our (and their) civilization they are plundering and trying to erase. There are a lot of interesting parallels to the declining Roman empire going on.

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    2. Cry more, clingers.

      But save some tears for November, and save others for January.

      #13Justices
      #106Senators
      #635Representatives
      #738ElectoralVoters
      #NoFilibuster
      #NewVotingRightsAct
      #SinglePayer
      #OpenWiderClingers

      1. Open wide whitey! Bobos like you will be the first to go

      2. You can’t admit that you, our better, own this idiocy

      3. Well, we’ll see. If that comes to pass, smart people with options will leave. You’ll be stuck, I’m afraid.

      4. Oh, so you don’t give a shit about kids too?

        You keep showing who you are.

      5. Wait, 106 Senators? Puerto Rico, DC, and…?

          1. You can’t put two sensors in Guam! They’ll capsize.

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        2. For DC to become a state from the area outside the federal square, Maryland and Virginia would have to give up territory.

          That urban territory is what throws MD and VA into blue. Losing it would turn the remainder of MD and VA red.

          Net result, if that happened: we’d get four R and two D senators from what was once four D senators. Democrats would lose two senate seats, and because of loss of population, MD and VA would have less congressional Democrats in the house.

          Democrats want to push for DC to be a state, fine. They’ll gain a piece of garbage and lose representation.

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  2. I suggest as replacements, naming them after every Communist who was disappeared from official histories and phototographs. They can start with Trotsky and be sure to include Stalin.

    1. I’m with that. Name on Rev. Jim Jones Middle School. Kool-aid on the menu.

      1. Remember, he was the former head of the San Francisco Housing Authority.

        1. If you mention Jim Jones to Willie Brown, he suddenly find his presence needed elsewhere.

      2. The more I think of it, it’s not such a kooky idea.

        [Harvey] Milk wasn’t Jones’s only fan. Many powerful people—Governor Jerry Brown, columnist Herb Caen, and Vice President Walter Mondale, to name a few—sought Jones’s blessings and expressed admiration for his dedication to racial equality and a better world.

        1. He was even a guest at Carter’s White House.

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    2. Stalin did not disappear. Stalin did the disappearing.

      But yes, San Francisco needs a Trotsky Elementary School, along with a Beria Community Center.

      1. I’d suggest Emma Goldman, but she started to repudiate Stalinism towards the end… so…

      2. Eh, Khrushchev sort of disappeared Stalin.

      3. Lysenko Scientific Institute

        1. *golf clap*

      4. Molotov already got something named after him…

        1. Molotov Bartending Institute has a nice ring though.

          1. I took Contemporary Feminist Mixology Theory there, with Professor Ocasio-Cortez.

      5. Pol Pot Pre-K

        1. Khmer Rouge Kindergarten
          Pol Pot Polytechnic

        2. Mao Zedong Middle School

        3. Shining Path Secondary

    3. I was thinking they should rename them after gay or trans porn stars

    4. Manson spent a lot of time in SF before preparing for the coming race war. Manson Middle School?

      Ho Chi Minh High School
      Hugo Chavez Jr High
      Fidel Castro Preschool

      1. Idi Amin Intermediate

      2. Lessons from Fidel: Black Lives Matter and the Transition of El Comandante

        Black Lives Matter Global Network
        Nov 27, 2016

        We are feeling many things as we awaken to a world without Fidel Castro. There is an overwhelming sense of loss, complicated by fear and anxiety. Although no leader is without their flaws, we must push back against the rhetoric of the right and come to the defense of El Comandante. And there are lessons that we must revisit and heed as we pick up the mantle in changing our world, as we aspire to build a world rooted in a vision of freedom and the peace that only comes with justice. It is the lessons that we take from Fidel.

        From Fidel, we know that revolution is sparked by an idea, by radical imaginings, which sometimes take root first among just a few dozen people coming together in the mountains. It can be a tattered group of meager resources, like in Sierra Maestro in 1956 or St. Elmo Village in 2013.

        Revolution is continuous and is won first in the hearts and minds of the people and is continually shaped and reshaped by the collective. No single revolutionary ever wins or even begins the revolution. The revolution begins only when the whole is fully bought in and committed to it. And it is never over.

        Revolution transcends borders; the freedom of oppressed people and people of color is all bound up together wherever we are. In Cuba, South Africa, Palestine, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, Grenada, Venezuela, Haiti, African America, and North Dakota. We must not only root for each other but invest in each other’s struggles, lending our voices, bodies, and resources to liberation efforts which may seem distant from the immediacy of our daily existence.

        Revolution is rooted in the recognition that there are certain fundamentals to which every being has a right, just by virtue of one’s birth: healthy food, clean water, decent housing, safe communities, quality healthcare, mental health services, free and quality education, community spaces, art, democratic engagement, regular vacations, sports, and places for spiritual expression are not questions of resources, but questions of political will and they are requirements of any humane society.

        Revolution requires that the determination to create and preserve these things for our people takes precedent over individual drives for power, recognition, and enrichment.

        A final lesson is that to be a revolutionary, you must strive to live in integrity. As a Black network committed to transformation, we are particularly grateful to Fidel for holding Mama Assata Shakur, who continues to inspire us. We are thankful that he provided a home for Brother Michael Finney Ralph Goodwin, and Charles Hill, asylum to Brother Huey P. Newton, and sanctuary for so many other Black revolutionaries who were being persecuted by the American government during the Black Power era. We are indebted to Fidel for sending resources to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and attempting to support Black people in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina when our government left us to die on rooftops and in floodwaters. We are thankful that he provided a space where the traditional spiritual work of African people could flourish, regardless of his belief system.

        With Fidel’s passing there is one more lesson that stands paramount: when we are rooted in collective vision when we bind ourselves together around quests for infinite freedom of the body and the soul, we will be victorious. As Fidel ascends to the realm of the ancestors, we summon his guidance, strength, and power as we recommit ourselves to the struggle for universal freedom. Fidel Vive!

  3. Sure, go ahead and rename them for civil rights activists and identitarian figureheads. But I guarantee you I can come up nasty shit on each and every one of them.

    In your pursuit of absolute purity, make sure that such a goal is first achievable. Might make more sense to simple not name anything ever again. Fuck it, just ban language completely. When someone wants to know what government indoctrination center their child has been assigned to, just point.

    1. It’s not good enough to just not be racist.

    2. Pointing is racist, not to mention offensive to the blind – and to paralyzed veterans.

      You veteran-hating racist.

    3. Purity was never the goal. The goal always was, and remains, replacing all remnants of white American history with a new and glorious black future.

      1. This. Their revolution isn’t about fixing problems. It’s about erasing the past and altering the present, so that America will cease to exist.

    4. NYC might have the right idea with PS numbered schools, until you consider that numbers are used in math….

      1. Oh dear god you’re right!!

      2. The numbers aren’t used, except in spreadsheets and district maps. The schools have names to go with the numbers.

  4. I have an idea: stop naming buildings after people unless said person bought and paid for the damn building himself.

    It’s a building for kids to go learn stuff at. It’s not a chance for taxpayers to honor whoever the hell they think is popular at any given time.

    1. Let Stanford University show the way.

      Or are they renaming that one too, now that Leland is safely dead?

  5. “I don’t think there is ever going to be a time when people are ready for this,” Mark Sanchez, president of the school board and a member of the committee that proposed the changes, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Predictably people are going to be upset no matter when we do this.”

    Then maybe you shouldn’t do it. Ever consider that?
    Either accept that every historical figure has something wrong with them, or stop naming public schools after people.

    1. I am thinking the names should just be randomly generated shapes that have no pronunciation. For the children.

      1. The school formerly known as George Washington HS.

    2. Sometimes you discover some pretty egregious long after. For instance, Oklahoma University used to name its buildings after prominent professors, college presidents, etc. (Now they tend to be named after millionaire donors.) This caused a problem when it became public that Debarr Hall, named for the founder of the Chemistry was also named for a high official in the Ku Klux Klan. It was decided to rename it the Chemistry Building and put a plaque out front explaining the history. (DeBarr still had a street named after him until recently.)

  6. Democrat priorities folks. Actually this keeps you from paying attention to the really nasty shit they have planned for you. If Biden and Co gets elected you will find out just how horrible and real this gets.

    1. It seems perfectly rational to me. They need poorly educated people to vote for them in the future. Keeping the schools closed serves that purpose admirably.

      1. The rev would like a word with you about whom the “poorly educated” vote for.

        But he’s a joke. Haha.

  7. Why only 44?

    Why not all of them?

    Public Education Facility #1, 2, 3, etc.

    1. Putting them in numerical order implies that there’s some kind of ranking going on.

      Why should the little brats in School #1 lord it over the kids in School #44?

        1. Look out for number one and try not to step in number two.

          But Back to School aside, numbers are racist.

          1. Emojis are the only solution. Numbers are racist and words get put in alphabetical order, which is still a ranking.

            “Welcome back to the Eggplant-Peach-Winking Face High, Class of 2020”

            1. Emojis have been declared problematic…

      1. Name them after their founding date.

        1. Yeah, but what if a school is founded on April 20?

          1. Same as 03-51, right?

    2. You can’t use the number 44, that would be racist.

    3. It was good enough for us in New York. Then some years ago they started giving them names as well as numbers. The P.S. 108 I graduated from is now the Philip J. Abinante Public School.

      1. He was a judge and local bigwig, headed the Bronx Heights Improvement Association. Nobody before or since has known what area Bronx Heights consisted of, not familiar with that name. It seemed to be the northeast slope of the ridge Williamsbridge Road ran along, down to the landfilled area where the Jacobi-Van Etten hospital complex was built, including the “Indian Village” of streets with tribe names — Seminole, Chocktaw, Pawnee, Pinchot, Narragansett — carving out a distinctive part of Morris Park, and ripping off the name of nearby Westchester Heights to the north.

      2. The numbers aren’t used, except in spreadsheets and district maps. The schools have *always* had names to go with the numbers.

  8. Naming them after famous concentration camps is clearly what should happen here.

    1. “Where did you graduate from?”

      “Arkhangelsk High.”

  9. El Dorado Elementary came up next for discussion, with board members questioning whether the criteria should apply to a mythological place associated with settlers or colonists….

    Uh oh. Guess we have to rename California.

    I propose “State of Wokeness.”

    1. From your link,
      “California was the name of a mythical island populated only by black warrior women.”

      Maybe you don’t have to rename California after all. But where will the white Karens live?

  10. It is nice to know that at least one person in a position of authority in San Francisco has not completely lost her mind.

    I fully expect demands for her resignation due to her White Supremist views.

  11. the San Francisco Unified School District recently asked them to brainstorm replacements for schools that are “inappropriately” named after problematic historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.).

    Lincoln – Privileged white guy wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, like he knows what’s best for black people.

    George Washington – Defied a duly appointed monarchal government. Gun rights advocate.

    Thomas Jefferson – Owned slaves, not accurately reflected in the sit-com.

    Diane Feinstein – The most conservative person remaining in SF.

  12. There is something quite sinister about deliberately shutting down “Barack Obama the Greatest Hero in History” Elementary so soon after renaming it.

    #RacistAF

  13. Lot’s of renaming to do yet:
    Cable cars carry Rice A Roni ads… cultural appropriation.
    Golden Gate Bridge…gates evoke images of private property and privilege.
    Union Square…Lincoln saved the Union and we know what a shitlord he was.
    Nob Hill…sexist name.
    Fisherman’s Wharf…warves frequently serviced slave ships.
    Chinatown…racist name.

  14. So they’ll have BLM elementary, Jussie Smollet High and Kamala Harris middle school. In 20 years they’ll have to rename them again. How about PS 101, PS 102 etc. ?

  15. Feinstein is insufficiently doctrinaire, and will be sent to the figurative wall by those believing themselves Pure Progressives. Next the Pure Progressives will be found insufficiently doctrinaire by the Even Purer Progressives, and it’s off to the wall with them. Eventually, there will only be the one Purest Progressive left, and they will have doubts about their purity, and self-cancel.

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  17. “…”This is important work,” he said…”

    No, it is not, and you are a worthless snowflake for presuming it to be.
    It’s SJW run amuck.

  18. The tone-deafness is loud and clear.

    What we’ve done to kids since March is psychological abuse teetering on criminal. At least here we’re open but they’ve made going to school miserable. Bubbles and cages.

    High school drop rates is rising in a province with already a high drop out rate. Dumbasses run Canada.

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  20. Naming a school after Snoop Dog would be cool though. He is from California.

    1. Snoop Dog High School. That would be fitting.

  21. The Big One ™ can’t come soon enough.

    1. Sounds like the story line of a cheap porno.

  22. Am I the only one who on reading the headline, thought it meant they were going to call them something other than “schools”?

  23. In a year or two, after the BLM fad has passed, as it surely will, black children and other children of color will still be attending those same schools. Will the children be better off? Will they receive a better education? Will they be better prepared for a productive life?

    Or will they simply remain pawns in a feel-good exercise fueled by political correctness? The answer is obvious.

  24. Your tax dollars at work, friends.

  25. “The officials in charge of San Francisco’s public schools are hard at work—not coming up with a plan to quickly reopen the schools, but to rename as many as 44 of them.”

    And?

    That, and you don’t even get half a bonus point for the blatant Conservative lie that renaming schools takes any effort relevant to the effort required to foolishly, actually make that “the insane raving lunacy” to start in person classes in the midst of a raging pandemic.

    So how much time and resources were wasted by you spewing this blather, instead of you solving all of the world’s problems, or even just developing the vaccine for Covid-19, as you try to imply San Francisco should be doing when it comes to reopening schools?

    1. Do you agree with the various renaming recommendations?

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