Voters Recall 3 Members of San Francisco School Board Who Prioritized Renaming Over Reopening

Frustrated parents had their revenge against Gabriela Lopez, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga.


On Tuesday, San Francisco voters participated in a special municipal election to recall three members of the school board: Gabriela Lopez, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga. As expected, the recall was successful, and now Democratic Mayor London Breed, who endorsed the recall, will appoint their successors.

The recall happened for one reason, and one reason only: The extremely progressive school board completely neglected the actual needs of working families, engendering a backlash among conservatives, liberals, moderates, independents—basically everyone to the right of Robin DiAngelo.

Of all the madness that Democratic controlled school boards and teachers union-beholden politicians have wrought during the pandemic, SFUSD's school closure policies stand head and shoulders above the rest. San Francisco schools remained closed for in-person learning until fall of 2021.

"Most of the city's 115 schools, which serve 50,0000 students, were closed for over a year, from March 2020 to August 2021, even as nearby districts eventually reopened classrooms and private schools across the city held in-person classes," noted local news channel KRCG.

Meanwhile, the school board was busy—not trying to reopen the schools, but renaming them. While parents and students were all dealing with the frustrations of virtual learning, district officials were working hard to change the names of 44 supposedly problematically named schools—buildings named for figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, even Abraham Lincoln and Diane Feinstein. The school board also came after El Dorado Elementary, which is named after the fictitious city of gold, and Alamo Elementary, which the board wrongly assumed was named for the Battle of the Alamo, but is actually named for the Spanish poplar tree.

The board also "cited incorrect history about Revolutionary War figure Paul Revere trying to steal land from the Penobscot people of Maine," according to NPR. "The 1779 Penobscot Expedition he took part in was actually an unsuccessful battle with the British who had landed in Penobscot territory and 'captured' it a month earlier."

Reason's Matt Welch has more reporting on the recall:

The local villains in San Francisco's school/COVID governance are almost too cartoonish to be believed. Collins, who deservedly led the field in voter rebuke (with 79 percent of the vote choosing to fire), has at various points euphemized COVID-era learning loss as "learning change," characterized Asian Americans who were insufficiently anti-Trump as "house n****s," and then, when rebuked by the SFUSD board for such racism, filed a bizarre $87 million lawsuit against her own Board of Education that was dismissed by an incredulous judge as lacking any supportive facts, though in the process it cost the very district she represents nearly $200,000 in legal fees.

Collins, a definitional elite (her husband is one of the city's most successful real estate developers; the two live in a Russian Hill complex valued in 2019 at $3.2 million), has refused at every step to apologize for her school-closing record. "I'm actually really proud of my work on the board," she said last month to the San Francisco Examiner, which (like the San Francisco Chronicle) enthusiastically endorsed her ouster.

"People want us to say we were wrong, we regret doing what we did, we're sorry," López said similarly on a recent Latina Latino Latinx News podcast. "That will never be something I will do."

It's hard to describe the school renaming drive as anything other than misplaced priorities fueled by sheer ignorance. If you're more interested in scrubbing George Washington's name from a public school building than figuring out how to get children the in-person learning they need, maybe being a member of the school board is not the right job for you.