San Francisco's school board voted 6-1 on Tuesday to accept a committee's recommendation to rename 44 public schools that honor historical figures like Presidents Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. A school named for current Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein will be retitled as well.
"It's a message to our families, our students and our community," said board member Mark Sanchez, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's not just symbolic. It's a moral message."
The board had been considering this move for some time, despite opposition from Mayor London Breed, a Democrat, who rightly objected to the timing.
"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," said Breed in October.
"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."
Offensive, indeed. The renaming process is likely to cost schools millions of dollars at a time when the district is already facing a significant budget deficit; the Chronicle estimates it will be $75 million by next year. San Francisco schools don't have a single dollar to waste on new signs: Every cent must go toward protective equipment, ventilation, and whatever else is needed to get kids back in their desks. Whether a school is named Abraham Lincoln Elementary or George Washington High or School McSchoolface is really not important right now. (And what's wrong with Lincoln, anyway? He freed the slaves!)
That the school board is wasting time with this speaks volumes about the competency of its members.