Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Norton’

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SF Parent PAC November 2016 School Board Endorsements

August 28, 2016

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We are happy to announce the San Francisco Parent PAC’s endorsements for school board and community college board for the November 2016 election.

Board of Education:
Matt Haney
Trevor McNeil
Rachel Norton
Jill Wynns

Community College Board:
Amy Bacharach
Rafael Mandelman
Alex Randolph

Board of Education
The SF Parent PAC does in-depth interviews and vetting to determine who the strongest school board candidates are each election cycle. This year we had an outstanding pool of candidates to choose from. We also decided to try something new in our research process. Instead of having candidates complete our regular dissertation – er – questionnaire, we recorded videos of them answering several questions. We will be posting these videos on Facebook, our new YouTube channel, and our website over the coming weeks. These will be posted for all candidates who interviewed with us, which we hope you find helpful in getting to know where they all stand on critical issues facing our district.

Although we don’t agree with any of the incumbents all of the time (see our post last week regarding the teacher shortage), we felt they have each demonstrated a willingness to listen, consider various points of view, and work hard. We feel confident that on last week’s issue, and on others, that they are the more than capable of identifying solutions to the challenges our students and school communities face, and being held accountable to the communities they serve. Matt Haney has been particularly good at incorporating the long underrepresented student voice in district decisions, leading efforts such as Safe and Supportive Schools. Rachel Norton has been an excellent communicator with parents through her regular blog, as well as a great advocate for students with special needs. Jill Wynns has a stellar record as an advocate at the state level for district needs and understands education finance better than almost anyone we know.

Trevor McNeil is a teacher – a voice we desperately need to see represented on the school board. He has some fresh ideas around teacher retention, and as a new parent and SF resident, is especially invested in making sure the district is a place he’ll feel confident sending his own daughter. You may remember his name; he ran two years ago and came very close to winning. Since then he has stayed engaged and aware of the issues.

The common threads throughout all our interviews this year, and issues we’d like these candidates to consider and do something to address are:

  • Include parents in the search for a new Superintendent in an authentic way. No window dressing here. We want to see the search committee finds ways to have parents weigh in on the qualities our next leader should have in order to effectively communicate with and partner with families, and help our children be successful.
  • Attract and retain middle class families in SFUSD. Economically diverse schools help all students. When we show all families that we care about their child’s success and that there is a place for them to thrive, everybody wins.
  • Academic excellence. This phrase isn’t heard often enough around here. Every child has the potential for greatness, and the supports and expectations should be set for all children to reach it. One thing we say often is, the one thing no parent wants is for the school district to be what stands between their child and success – no matter what success looks like for that child, be it trade school, an engineering degree, or a job right out of high school.

Community College Board
San Francisco has heard more about community college over the past four years than we heard for decades before that! The institution has been through a lot recently with regards to accreditation and financial issues, and the current board has done an outstanding job tackling these issues and working to strengthen the college’s ability to support current and future students. Amy Bacharach, Rafael Mandelman, and Alex Randolph have been part of the board during this challenging time and we need each of them to continue doing the good work for the next four years.

We respectfully ask you to consider voting for each of these candidates on November 8!

 

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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

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SF Parent PAC Makes Endorsements for November 2014

July 30, 2014

For Immediate Release:

 

July 29, 2014

Contact Tajel Shah, President, SF Parent PAC

Email:  tajelshah@yahoo.com

Phone: 415-987-7672

 

SF Parent PAC Endorses Emily Murase, Mark Murphy, and Shamann Walton for SF Board of Education and Other Updates

Last week the San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee (Parent PAC) proudly endorsed Emily Murase , Mark Murphy , and Shamann Walton  for Board of Education for the November 2014 election.  The Parent PAC was impressed with all three candidates’ extensive history of advocating for children and better public schools in all neighborhoods in San Francisco.

At the same meeting, the Parent PAC also endorsed Board of Education Commissioners’ Sandra Fewer and Rachel Norton’s resolution to change the “tie-breakers” in the public school assignment system.  The resolution calls for “flipping” the Census Tract Integration Preference (CTIP 1) and the “Neighborhood Preference” tie-breakers.  If this resolution is adopted by the school board, it will result in families having a higher probability of getting assigned to their “attendance area” school.  City-wide schools and programs (Immersion programs and K-8 schools) will be unaffected.  The Parent PAC hopes that this small change will give San Francisco’s families more predictability regarding where their child will attend kindergarten.  For more information, please read Jill Tucker’s article  about the proposed change.

Finally, the Parent PAC is pleased to announce that on Tuesday, July 22, the Soda Tax was officially placed on the November, 2014 ballot.  The Soda Tax is a $.02 per ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages.  Recent data indicates that if passed, the Soda Tax will reduce consumption of sugary beverages in San Francisco by up to 31% while simultaneously raising up to $54 million earmarked for nutrition, active recreation, and education.  This tax will take a 2/3 majority of San Francisco voters to pass.  You can find more information at www.choosehealthsf.com .  

The Parent PAC was founded by and for San Francisco parents and is committed to giving parents a voice in the political process to positively impact the lives of all San Francisco families.  The 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 city-wide.  We can’t do this work alone, please consider contributing to the Parent PAC so we can make San Francisco a city where families can thrive! 

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SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO SUPPORT SUGARY BEVERAGE TAX PROPOSED BY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

January 15, 2014

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January 14, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Supervisor Scott Wiener, (415) 554-6968scott.wiener@sfgov.org

Supervisor Eric Mar, (415) 554-7410peter.lauterborn@sfgov.org

Supervisor Malia Cohen, (415) 554-4566malia.cohen@sfgov.org

Supervisor John Avalos, (415) 554-6975john.avalos@sfgov.org

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO SUPPORT SUGARY BEVERAGE TAX PROPOSED BY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

Proposal by San Francisco Supervisors Mar, Wiener, Cohen and Avalos will put a sugar-sweetened beverage tax on the ballot to fund nutrition, health, and physical activity programs

 

San Francisco, CA – Today the San Francisco Board of Education passed a resolution in support of the sugary beverage tax proposed by members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. This resolution – which was authored by Board of Education Commissioners Rachel Norton, Matt Haney, and Jill Wynns—gives the full endorsement of the San Francisco Unified School District to a two cent per ounce sugary beverage tax to be placed on the ballot as proposed by Supervisors Scott Wiener, Eric Mar, Malia Cohen and John Avalos.

“We are excited and proud to have the support of the San Francisco Board of Education,” the Supervisors said in a joint statement. “The Commissioners represent those most impacted by the consumption of sugary beverages—our children. By giving their endorsement to a tax on sugary beverages, the Board of Education joins a broad coalition of public health advocates, community leaders, parents, and San Francisco residents who recognize the negative health effects these beverages are having on our collective city health and the value of a tax on sugary beverages to lower consumption and fund programs to improve our health.”

“I’m thrilled to be able to put this important health policy issue on the school district’s radar,” said School Board Commissioner Rachel Norton. “Consumption of sugary beverages has been found to be very destructive to the health of children, and children who have serious health issues like diabetes or obesity are at an academic, social and physical disadvantage. The San Francisco Unified School District is charged with educating children and preparing them for successful, productive lives, and protecting their health is undoubtedly a part of that.”

The tax is estimated to generate up to $31 million annually and to significantly reduce consumption of sugary beverages. The Supervisors will be introducing a final, unified measure at the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks. Proceeds of the tax will be legally dedicated to funding physical activity and nutrition programs in San Francisco public schools (e.g., school lunch, physical education, and after-school programs), active recreation programs in San Francisco parks, food access, outreach and chronic disease prevention programs in the Department of Public Health, and grants to community-based organizations providing health, nutrition, and physical activity programs.

Under the terms of the legislation, disadvantaged/low-income communities, including those most impacted by the diabetes and obesity epidemics, will be prioritized in funding decisions. The tax is proposed for the November 2014 election for consideration by the voters. Because the tax proceeds will be legally restricted to nutrition, health, and physical activity programs, it will require a 2/3 affirmative vote. The measure is structured to require that funding be in addition to current funding levels and not utilized as replacement funding for existing programs.

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December 11, 2013

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For Immediate Release

December 11, 2013

Contact:

Tajel Shah

415.987.7672

sfparentpac@gmail.com

SAN FRANCISCO PARENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE ENDORSES THE SUGARY BEVERAGE TAX PROPOSALS HEADED FOR NOVEMBER 2014 BALLOT

San Francisco — Parent group joins call for sugary beverage tax to reduce consumption and fund important programs to improve children’s access to physical activity and nutrition.

On Tuesday, December 10th, the San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee (Parent PAC) voted to support sugary beverage tax proposals by Supervisor Scott Wiener and Supervisor Eric Mar and co-sponsored by Supervisors John Avalos and Malia Cohen. Their proposals would create a two-penny per ounce tax on sugary beverages, with the proceeds dedicated to nutrition, physical activity, and health programs in public schools and parks. Supervisors Wiener and Mar have introduced similar but separate legislative proposals and expect those to be merged into one piece of legislation for placement on the November 2014 ballot.

The tax is also supported by School Board President Rachel Norton and Commissioners Jill Wynns and Matt Haney.

“The Parent PAC supports this tax that will fund increased physical activity and healthy food access as well as reduce the consumption of sugary beverages that directly contribute to the diabetes and obesity epidemics impacting San Francisco’s children,” stated Parent PAC President Tajel Shah.

The Parent PAC is proud to join the grassroots effort that will be needed to pass this measure in the November 2014 election. In conjunction with the reauthorization of the Children’s Amendment and The Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF), the sugary beverage tax provides San Franciscans an historic opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the city’s children.

Learn more about the Parent PAC at sfparentpac.org

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July 25, 2013

Having a good summer? We hope it’s filled with lots of watermelon and laughs, with bee stings and sunburns at a minimum.

We want to let you know what the SF Parent PAC has been up to, to keep you in the loop. As a Political Action Committee for San Francisco’s parents, we’re busy trying to make our city a place where families can thrive.

This is what we worked on in the past year:

  • We helped re-elect Sandy Fewer, Rachel Norton, and Jill Wynns to the School Board, raising close to $45,000 and sending two mailers to some 50,000 households.
  • We supported a parks bond measure called Prop B, which ensures almost $200 million will be invested in our city’s park and recreation infrastructure. Most of the funding will go to traditionally underserved neighborhoods in the Southeastern part of the city.
  • We strongly supported building new soccer fields behind the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park, which were approved by the California Coastal Commission. The new fields will mean many more kids will get a chance to play in improved conditions.
  • We successfully lobbied City Hall to fully Fund the Public Education Enrichment Fund which will make sure every public elementary school will have a full time Physical Education teacher and librarian in the upcoming school year.
  • We helped pass Prop 30, which gives California’s public education system more funding.

These are our priorities going forward:

  • The reauthorization of the Public Education Enrichment Fund, which dedicates some City funds to ensure sports, arts, music and libraries in our public schools.
  • The reauthorization of the Children’s Fund, which sets aside some property tax funds for a wide array of children and youth programming, including parks and recreation, afterschool programming, athletics, academic enrichment, and more. . .
  • Analyzing the school district’s education reform application with the federal government.
  • Looking for outstanding candidates to run for School Board in 2014.

A special note on Afterschool Care:

  • Finding good and reliable afterschool care is difficult for all working parents. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you make. While some schools offer great programs for all students, too many don’t. We believe every school can be like Commodore Sloat and Jose Ortega, offering the same level of high quality afterschool programming for all. We are already talking to officials on the school board, at the school district, and City Hall to make “Afterschool for All” at every school a reality.

We can’t do this important work without your support. You can help us continue to communicate with families and elected officials about these important issues. Please consider a contribution. You can donate by credit card: https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=37691

Or by check: https://sfparentpac.com/by-check/

Have a wonderful rest of the summer!! 

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November 7, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2012

San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee
Contact: Tajel Shah, President
415-987-7672

SCHOOL BOARD INCUMBENTS RE-ELECTED DESPITE UNION OPPOSITION

Two Mailers Funded by San Francisco Parent PAC Provide Independent Support

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, San Francisco Parent PAC-endorsed candidates Sandra Lee Fewer, Jill Wynns, and Rachel Norton were re-elected to the San Francisco Board of Education, beating back a heavily-financed effort by United Educators of San Francisco (UESF), the district’s teachers’ union, to defeat them. Matt Haney was elected to the fourth seat.

The three incumbents were targeted by the union largely because all three of them voted in February 2012 to set aside seniority rights and protect 70 teachers in low-performing schools from layoffs. In a tense exchange at the February 28 vote, UESF President Dennis Kelly told the school board that their vote would “not be forgotten [nor] forgiven.” Four months later, the union leadership made good on its threat and recommended four political newcomers over the experienced incumbents, saying it was time for a “new school board.”

The San Francisco Parent PAC, a group of San Francisco parents seeking to support family-friendly policies and elected officials, disagreed, and was the first organization to endorse the three incumbents, undertaking an aggressive effort to educate elected officials, political organizations, educational leaders and parents about the importance of this School Board election.  The San Francisco Democratic Party, the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, and major San Francisco daily newspapers all followed suit.

“Commissioners Fewer, Norton, and Wynns are intelligent and independent elected officials that courageously supported smart public policy that placed interests of children before the narrow focus of UESF leadership,” said Tajel Shah, Parent PAC President and a public school parent.  “Sadly, that single vote over Superintendent Zones, a vote that protected District investment and resources flowing to our most troubled schools, earned them the ire of Union leadership – they became public enemies one, two, and three.”

“Early on, the Parent PAC knew it had mobilize to support the incumbents, and we did, promoting them at the important citywide organizations and to elected officials.  We raised approximately $40,000 to send out two pieces of mail, reaching almost 50,000 voters citywide.

Let’s be clear: the Parent PAC will support elected officials that support children, teachers and our schools first, even if threatened by special interests groups.  We will knock on doors, talk with parents, and raise money to support these candidates, period.”

THE SAN FRANCISCO PARENT PAC STORY:

In 2010, a group of involved public school parents met to discuss how parents—as key, yet relatively unrepresented stakeholders in our public schools—could play an influential role in the decisions that affect kids and families.

Today, San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee (PAC) is working hard to give parents a voice in the political process through community outreach, and by supporting candidates and ballot measures that will help our kids thrive.

Find out more at www.sfparentpac.com

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