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Public Schools Become Political Battleground

The recent political debate over education arrived in San Francisco as voters in this famously progressive city overwhelmingly recalled three members of the city’s school board. Analysts attribute the recall to unpopular initiatives and for putting politics over the needs of children.

Particularly unpopular were the board’s effort to rename a third of the schools in the system and the change to the admissions process at the prestigious Lowell High School. Furthermore, the recall election demonstrated the voting strength of Asian Americans in the “City by the Bay.”

Which high school named after a former San Francisco mayor was set to be renamed?

INSTRUCTORS: click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.


News Articles:

San Francisco recalls 3 school board members amid debate about pandemic priorities


ABC News


In Landslide, San Francisco Forces Out 3 Board of Education Members


New York Times


San Francisco voters recall three school board members after year of intense controversy

CBS News



Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says teaching of critical race theory should be grounds for firing at Texas universities, wants to end tenure for professors




News Article (Analyses):

New critical race theory laws have teachers scared, confused and self-censoring

Washington Post



Book bans and anti-critical race theory laws won’t stop these educators from teaching Black History Month




Two students and ACLU sue Missouri school district over removing 8 books from libraries




Censorship & Fear Forcing Educators to Pull Books From Florida School Libraries

Yahoo News




Writing: Explain how the San Francisco board alienated constituents who are predisposed to agree with them. Which decision by the board ultimately cost three members their jobs?

Debate: How should race and racism be taught in the absence of frameworks like critical race theory?

Poll: Should parents be the ultimate arbiters of what content is taught to their children?

Short Answer: Describe how the debate over critical race theory has affected the way teachers do their jobs?


What did Regan Killackey do after teachers in Edmond, Oklahoma received a slide show saying they should avoid using the terms “diversity” and “white privilege”?

  1. he announced his candidacy for governor
  2. he resigned immediately
  3. he called the ACLU and sued the district
  4. he was fired for insubordination


Which school name did some San Francisco board members want to change?

  1. Harvey Milk Elementary
  2. Joe Montana Middle School
  3. George Lucas High School for the Performing Arts
  4. Abraham Lincoln High School


Why were only three of the seven San Francisco board members recalled?

  1. only three members were eligible to be recalled
  2. the other four members resigned their posts
  3. the other four members opposed renaming schools or changing admission standards to Lowell High School
  4. the remaining four members were Republicans


The recall election in San Francisco that resulted in the removal of three board members was decided narrowly. (T/F)

A school district in Tennessee banned an award-winning graphic novel called “Maus” from its schools. (T/F)

Critical race theory has been controversial since the civil rights movement. (T/F)

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