h1

38 Teachers Needed

August 16, 2016

classroom2
Welcome back to school!  I hope the first day of school was a good one for your children and family.

As most students were settling into their freshly decorated classrooms yesterday, getting to know their fellow classmates and new teacher, students in almost 40 SFUSD classrooms were greeted by a temporary instructor. Unfortunately, the school district is scrambling to find long-term substitutes or permanent replacements for these students. But until that happens, these students will be in a state of limbo — not knowing what adult will be leading their class day to day.

The teacher shortage is nothing new, in fact, as the Chronicle reported yesterday, there are half as many people in teacher credentialing programs now versus in 2008. Our teacher supply is at a 12-year low. And the actions of the Board of Education in May did not help matters. Our school board decided to take another look at where we get our teachers and became focused on the district’s contract with Teach for America (TFA), which they decided not to renew for the 2016-2017 school year. TFA has been providing young, enthusiastic (and inexperienced) teachers predominantly to schools that serve underserved communities — and would have provided about 15 teachers this year. The Board of Education chose not to renew this contract — without having a full compliment of full-time teachers confirmed to be ready for the first day of school. This was a short sighted decision by the Board of Education that has negatively impacted hundreds of students.

The SF Parent PAC believes that our district leadership should have done everything in their power to make sure San Francisco’s public schools had permanent teachers in every classroom on the first day of school to greet our students and guide them through the rest of the year. If the Board of Education was not confident this could be accomplished, extending the TFA contract would have helped alleviate this problem.

We will be watching to see how this situation is handled by the district’s leadership, hoping that the resilience of our children carries them through the instability they may experience for a time until the right people are in front of their classrooms.

I wish you and your children a rich and engaging school year. You’ll hear from us again soon!

Michelle Parker, President

San Francisco Parent PAC

 

h1

SF Parent PAC Recommends Prop B and Scott Wiener on June 7, 2016

May 22, 2016

The SF Parent PAC felt it important to weigh in on two ballot items for June: Prop B (the measure ensuring funds for San Francisco’s parks and recreation programs) and the State Senate race. There is information about our position on Prop B in the last post, and below you will see why we support Supervisor Wiener as the next State Senator for San Francisco.

 

THE RATIONALE
1. Education – Scott has been a great ally in SF for the public schools, actively supporting them the entire time he has served on the BOS. For example, he has supported increased city funding toward SFUSD and supported parents when 8th grade algebra was eliminated (even when Superintendent Carranza suggested he stay out of it).

Scott also supports:
* Increase state funding for schools, and understands the need to protect Prop 98 and not treat it as a floor.
* Expand after-school programs (added support for kids is necessary, and supports working parents).
* Universal preschool and increased child care options.
* Support for STEM
* Long-time supporter of Safe Routes to School and pedestrian safety investments
* Support for more paraprofessional positions in schools, as well as all the critical support roles like nurses, counselors, etc.
* Supports a school assignment system that allows people to attend neighborhood schools.
* Support for bilingual and immersion programs, English-learning programs, and support for communities to maintain cultural traditions.

2. Children’s (and adult!) Health – Scott authored a resolution putting SF on record in support of SB277, which requires vaccinations for kids to go to public school. Scott also sponsored the soda tax in 2014, which would have dedicated nearly $20 million annually to school lunch, p.e. and parks programs. He also secured funding for water bottle filling stations at schools.

He also supports:
* Paid parental leave (SF recently passed his legislation allowing 6 weeks fully-paid)
* Increasing legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 (recently passed)
* More sugary beverage legislation, including labeling

3. Public Space – Scott has long supported our parks through helping pass the 2012 parks bond, helping make the Noe Valley Town Square a reality, and establishing uniform closing hours for the parks to reduce vandalism.

4. Housing – Scott has authored many smart policies to address the affordability issues here in SF, and understands the law of supply and demand. He believes in three approaches to address our housing needs: 1) Encouraging smart approaches to housing creation, 2) Building more affordable housing more quickly, and 3) Ensuring housing stability for existing residents.

Some of the things he’s done: make it easier to build BMR housing by exempting them from conditional use authorizations, incentivize more affordable housing by not making it count against unit density rates (when 20% of project is affordable), allowing new in-law units, enforce short-term rental oversight hearings, more housing along transit corridors, more student housing, helping displace tenants, allow more flexibility in kinds of housing we build (small and big), increasing supply of moderate income housing, and more!

5. Transportation – Scott authored Prop B to tie transportation funding to population growth in 2014. He has done much to improve pedestrian safety. And much more! (I’m getting tired of typing all the things he does – how does he have time to research and then do them?!)

Obviously, he has done much more than what is listed here, and has many more plans for Sacramento once he gets there. This is just a few quick points directly relating to kids and families.

Finally, Scott has been an incredible supporter of parents and our right to contribute our voice and influence to all conversations and decisions related to families. He is as relentless and hard-working as anyone we have ever seen. He is very good at finding shared issues with colleagues to work on together, even when that issue might be the only thing they have in common. His door is always open; he will listen to anything you have to say and have a reasonable conversation about it. He is also never afraid to stand up for the things he believes in.

It is because of all of these reasons that the Parent PAC believes Supervisor Scott Wiener will be effective in Sacramento, and a tremendous representative for San Francisco.

h1

San Francisco PTA unanimously supports Prop B

May 18, 2016

Yes on B

By a unanimous vote Monday night, the San Francisco PTA joined the San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee in endorsing Prop B–the Rec and Park funding measure on the June ballot.

The SFPTA expressly stated the support SF Rec and Parks provides for public school children via after school programs and summer camps.

Furthermore, the SFPTA pointed out the widespread support for Prop B from Nancy Pelosi, Jackie Speier, Mark Leno, David Chiu, Phil Ting, nine Board of Supervisors and the unanimous support of the Board of Education

If you are interested in learning more about Prop B, check out its website at protectsfparks.com

h1

San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee Endorses June 2016’s Prop B: Increasing Funding for San Francisco Parks, Playgrounds, and Open Space.

April 7, 2016

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Contact:
Michelle Parker, President, SF Parent PAC
(415)-260-8572
michdparker@gmail.com

San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee Endorses June 2016’s Prop B: Increasing Funding for San Francisco Parks, Playgrounds, and Open Space.

April 8, 2016 (San Francisco, CA) – The San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee (SF Parent PAC) is proud to announce its support of Proposition B, a charter amendment on the June 2016 ballot that provides new, sustainable funding for our parks, playgrounds and open space for the next 30 years.

“This measure attempts to right-size the long underfunded Recreation and Parks Department to both align with the intentions of the Open Space Fund that was established in in 2002, and to better serve the families and citizens of San Francisco,” said Michelle Parker, President of the SF Parent PAC. “Families all over the city rely on the parks and incredible programs our parks department provide every day of the year. Prop B will allow the department to focus on maintaining and improving those spaces and recreation centers, and allow the Department to more quickly address the backlog of deferred maintenance across the city’s park system.”

Prop B would provide new funds to the Recreation and Parks Department by gradually increasing the 2015-2016 established baseline allocation from San Francisco’s general fund, and continuing to increase the baseline over the next 10 years, without raising taxes. This will provide predictable and sustainable funding for the remaining 20 years of the fund’s duration.

Additionally, for the first time ever, the measure would require that the Recreation and Parks Department’s Strategic, Capital Expenditure, and Operational Plans include an equity analysis based on metrics comparing existing Recreation and Park services and resources in underserved communities with services and resources in the City as a whole. The plans would have to include strategies to address the findings of the analysis. These annual plans, including the equity report, would be presented to the Recreation and Parks Commission and Board of Supervisors. The SF Parent PAC encourages transparency and accountability measures such as these and looks forward to learning about the findings each year.

“As a father of three, I appreciate and applaud the Parent PAC’s tireless advocacy to make San Francisco a better place for all families and children. Proposition B will improve all parks in every neighborhood for all of San Francisco children and families – I am honored to have the Parent PAC’s support of Proposition B,” stated Supervisor Mark Farrell, sponsor of the measure.

 

About the San Francisco Parent PAC
Founded by and for San Francisco parents in 2010, San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee (PAC) is committed to giving parents a voice in the political process to positively impact the lives of all San Francisco families.  San Francisco Parent PAC supports and promotes city candidates, measures and policies that will most effectively:

  1. Ensure high quality education for every child in every neighborhood;
  2. Increase access to affordable youth programs that support working families and enrich the lives of our children; and
  3. Sustain healthy, safe and vibrant communities citywide.

###

 

 

h1

San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee Supports Affordable Housing Measures on November 2015 Ballot

September 10, 2015

SFPPAC_LOGO_2inks-WorkingFile

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Contact: Michelle Parker, President, SF Parent PAC
(415)-260-8572
michdparker@gmail.com

San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee Supports Affordable Housing Measures on November 2015 Ballot

September 10, 2015 (San Francisco, CA) – The San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee has taken position on five November 2015 ballot measures critical to keeping families in San Francisco.

  • Prop A [Affordable Housing Bond] – YES
  • Prop B [Enhancement of Paid Parental Leave for City Employees] – YES
  • Prop D [Mission Rock Development] – YES
  • Prop F [Short-term Residential Rentals] – NO
  • Prop I [Mission Development Moratorium] – NO

The common theme here is affordable housing, which is the focus of four of the five measures and has also been an area of focus for the Parent PAC over the past year.

ABOUT THE HOUSING MEASURES
The YES Positions. Both of the housing measures are on the ballot because they must be by law; they will also positively affect the stock of affordable housing in San Francisco.

Prop A provides $310 million for affordable housing (building, acquisition, improvement, etc.) through a bond. Per California law, bond measures must go to the voters and be passed with 2/3 of the vote, so this is not an issue that can be handled by the Board of Supervisors.

Prop D is on the ballot as a result of the passage of Prop B in 2014, which restricts height limits on the Waterfront unless voters approve otherwise. This measure covers the area south of AT&T Park across from McCovey Cove and the plans were put together through a multi-year community engagement process. It has been met with broad support and would create open space, a parking garage, renovation to historical property, and more. Most importantly, 40% of these new units will be affordable housing.

The NO Positions. Both of these measures are the wrong approach to solving San Francisco’s affordability crisis and will not make it easier for families to stay in the city.

Prop F addresses the hot topic of short-term rentals, and while some of the concepts are good, this measure does not belong on the ballot. Any policies put in place to regulate short term rentals should be done legislatively. Passing this measure would make it impossible for our elected officials to respond to new circumstances or information as this new economy plays out. If Prop F passes, any amendments to the measure or new regulations on short-term rentals will not be permitted via legislation–but only through the passage of another ballot measure. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors has put in place recent policies and regulations that have had little time to take effect.

Prop I is playing to people’s emotions but is not good policy. Halting new building in the Mission just means more people will be displaced as the Mission will continue to be a popular destination for new residents of San Francisco to live. This area has seen high levels of displacement but has also had some of the lowest increases of new housing stock available of any neighborhood in San Francisco. Said Parent PAC President Michelle Parker, “Prop I is making people feel good, but in a few years if additional housing has not been added to the neighborhood, supporters of Prop I will realize the misguided nature of this proposition.”

Prop B expands paid parental leave for City employees in two important ways: (1) allowing new parents to retain accrued sick time rather than be required to use it all up before using parental leave; and (2) allowing City employees, who are part of a two-City employee household, each to take his or her allotted parental leave, rather than being limited to a maximum leave for both employees combined. We support these measures because they respect the needs of parents upon the birth or adoption of a child. New parents — maybe more than anyone — need sick time to take a child to the doctor or stay home when sick themselves. Eliminating the maximum household leave properly affords leave based on the service of individual employees, as would be the case in any other employment situation. These are modest but meaningful changes that make sense for parents.

About the San Francisco Parent PAC
Founded by and for San Francisco parents in 2010, San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee (PAC) is committed to giving parents a voice in the political process to positively impact the lives of all San Francisco families. San Francisco Parent PAC supports and promotes city candidates, measures and policies that will most effectively:

  • Ensure high quality education for every child in every neighborhood;
  • Increase access to affordable youth programs that support working families and enrich the lives of our children; and
  • Sustain healthy, safe and vibrant communities citywide.

###

h1

The first of the November 2015 General Election Endorsements is here!

September 2, 2015

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Contact:
Michelle Parker, President, SF Parent PAC
(415)-260-8572
michdparker@gmail.com

San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee Endorses Supervisor Julie Christensen and Community College Trustee Alex Randolph for November 2015 General Election.

September 1, 2015 (San Francisco, CA) – This morning, the San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee (Parent PAC) announced its enthusiastic support for Julie Christensen for District 3 Supervisor and for Alex Randolph as Community College Trustee.

Julie Christensen
The Parent PAC is endorsing Julie Christensen based on her more than 20 years of advocacy for children and families in District 3. Julie organized the community groups that built the North Beach Library, Joe DiMaggio Playground, Helen Wills Playground, and Willie Woo Woo Wong Playground. Not surprisingly, she was a strong and vocal supporter of the 2012 Parks Bond Measure, as was the Parent PAC. Julie has demonstrated that she understands that families thrive when public spaces and institutions like parks and libraries are created, especially in densely populated neighborhoods like the ones that make up District 3. Martha Mahony, a District 3 parent, observed, “Julie is very much the kind of person who, above all, wants to do the work and make a difference for the families in our community.”

The Parent PAC was struck by the stark contrast between Julie and her opponent Aaron Peskin. Aaron has a long history of consistently opposing child and family friendly issues. Aaron voted against the Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF) in 2006, which brought desperately needed funding to San Francisco’s public schools and was renewed by the voters by a significant majority last November. Aaron also led the opposition to the 2012 Parks Bond Measure, which directly funded many of the park projects in D3 that Julie championed. Michelle Parker, President of the Parent PAC, said, “Julie Christensen is the only choice for San Francisco families in District 3. Unlike her opponent Aaron Peskin, Julie Christensen has been a consistent and strong advocate for children and families.”

Alex Randolph
The Parent PAC has also endorsed Alex Randolph for Community College Trustee.  Alex was recently appointed to be a Community College Trustee by Mayor Lee. Since his appointment, he has been praised as the hardest working member of the Board by many of his colleagues.

Alex was born in Germany; his mother is German and his father is African-American. Neither of his parents attended college. Alex came to the United States at age 16 speaking limited English. He eventually enrolled in a Community College in San Diego, and after two years, transferred to the University of California at Berkeley where he double majored in Political Science and Public Policy. He then went on to get an MPA in Public Budgeting & Management from San Francisco State University.

The Parent PAC feels strongly that Alex Randolph is the best candidate for Community College Trustee this November. The Parent PAC continues to be impressed with Alex’s work ethic, intelligence, and independent thinking.

###

h1

Common Core Math Implementation Update

April 16, 2015

CCSS Math

The San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee (The Parent PAC) has been following the Common Core Math Implementation debate very closely over the past couple of months – listening to parents’ concerns and speaking with SFUSD leadership.

At Tuesday night’s (4/14) Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Carranza announced that class sizes in 8th grade math will be reduced to an average of 22-24 students, down from the current average of 32-34 students. He also announced that math coaches would be placed in every middle school to work with teachers. Superintendent Carranza stated that these two changes will help facilitate an effective implementation of the Common Core math curriculum. Furthermore, the Superintendent announced the following benchmarks to hold the District accountable for this implementation plan:

  • By June 2018, SFUSD will have reduced the number of students needing to retake Algebra 1, Geometry, or Algebra 2 by 50% from numbers recorded for June 2013.  This goal will be true for the entire population of SFUSD students as well as each ethnicity with statistically significant numbers. And;

  • By June 2018, SFUSD will increase the number of students taking and passing 4th year math courses (post Algebra 2 courses) with a C or better by 10%. And;

  • By June 2018, SFUSD will increase the number of Latino and African American students who take and pass Advanced Placement math courses by 20%.

We believe these changes represent steps in the right direction and would like to specifically thank Commissioner Rachel Norton for advocating for smaller class sizes, math coaches, and accountability. We would also like to thank Commissioner Norton for embracing an open dialogue with Parent PAC leadership during this process.

While we applaud class size reduction, onsite coaches and accountability, we remain uneasy that over 500 8th grade students are prepared for acceleration in Math and that the District has chosen to  primarily use differentiation to meet these students’ academic needs. We are hopeful the District has made the right decision. Accordingly, we will be following the implementation closely

The Parent PAC would like to acknowledge all of the parents throughout San Francisco who have taken the time to share their opinions with SFUSD – parents like Lafayette Elementary’s Annette Hurst. Parent advocates got the attention of Supervisors Katy Tang and Scott Wiener who penned a joint letter to Superintendent Carranza asking him to continue to engage parents in discussions regarding the implementation of these new standards. You can read the letter from the Supervisors here. We appreciate the Supervisors’ support of parent advocacy.

Finally, throughout this discussion, the Parent PAC has reminded the District that parents are educational partners and should always be treated respectfully. At times, it did not feel that the District lived up to this expectation. However, District leadership has assured us that they do view parents as partners and are willing to work with the Parent PAC and other parent groups to better engage parents going forward. The Parent PAC plans to offer some ideas on how parent engagement can be improved, in the near future.

Sincerely,

The Steering Committee

SF Parent PAC