PPS-SF Recommends: Community Schools, SF Children, and More

posted Jan 31, 2017, 1:23 PM by Robin Dutton-Cookston
Our top three reads this week are all about San Francisco schools and making our city more attractive to families. 

To Read

The New York Times published a story over the weekend reporting that San Francisco has the lowest percentage of kids of any major U.S. city. The story titled "Where have all the Children Gone?" doesn't reveal anything any parent raising a city kid in the 21st century doesn't already know. Confronted with high-priced housing and a difficult-to-navigate education system, droves of new parents move from San Francisco to the suburbs to buy a home with a backyard and send their kids to a neighborhood public school.

In a compact studio apartment on the fringes of the Castro district here a young couple live with their demanding 7-year-old, whom they dote on and take everywhere: a Scottish terrier named Olive. Raising children is on the agenda for Daisy Yeung, a high school science teacher, and Slin Lee, a software engineer. But just not in San Francisco. “When we imagine having kids, we think of somewhere else,” Mr. Lee said. “It’s starting to feel like a no-kids type of city.” 

Two highways slice through the eastern half of San Francisco, stranding between them Potrero Hill. The north slope rapidly gentrifies while the south side of the hill continues to host the public housing projects where Danny Glover and O.J. Simpson lived as children. At the neighborhood’s heart sits Daniel Webster Elementary School, once described as a “dumping ground” but now part of a growing trend: groups of parents with the means to go private or move elsewhere instead making pacts to send their children to public schools together.

I’m a card-carrying member of three parent school associations. I write the weekly newsletter for the special-education parents’ group and help organize social events for disabled kids. But my involvement is minimal compared to the extraordinary efforts by others who raise money for schools in our town.

Delaine Eastin, the former state superintendent of public instruction, officially kicked off her campaign for governor of California on Thursday. Last November, Eastin indicated she intended to run for the post that Gov. Jerry Brown will vacate in 2018, but yesterday’s announcement made it official. Eastin was elected twice as schools chief, and served in the statewide position for eight years between 1994 and 2002. Her terms overlapped with the terms of Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican, and Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat. Eastin is the only woman to have served in the post.