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Recalled School Board President Gabriela López, and Commissioners Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga. Photos courtesy SFUSD

After liberal San Francisco ousts 3 liberal school board members, movement grows

Parents continue to show their displeasure with out-of-touch school policies, even in liberal San Francisco. After voters recently overwhelmingly recalled three school board members, expressing their frustration with the board’s strict leftist policies, other school boards took notice.

The city, known as a bastion of liberal values, turned out in force over what many saw as woke culture gone too far. Karen Tumulty, opinion page editor at the Washington Post stated, “California, one of the bluest states in the country, is sending a flashing warning signal to Democrats. They would do well to pay attention.”

Alison Collins, Gabriela Lopez and Faauuga Moliga were all recalled, with results showing at least 72 percent of voters opted to oust each one. Lopez, the board’s president, Moliga, the board’s vice president, and Collins supported harsh measures during the pandemic. They stoked anger when they didn’t move to reopen schools and spent time on matters deemed frivolous, such as renaming school buildings. More importantly, however, their push to expand CRT drew the ire of the city’s Asian community who found themselves targets of the school board.

Tumulty wrote, “The board members also faced criticism for focusing their energies on uber-woke causes, such as changing the names of a third of the district’s schools (including, embarrassingly, ones honoring George Washington and Abraham Lincoln) and ending merit-based admissions at elite Lowell High School, one of the best schools in the country, citing “pervasive systemic racism” at a campus where more than half the student body is Asian American.”

But it may have been the school board’s covid measures, implemented while some on the school board and even teachers were shown on vacation or maskless in public, angered the community.

“The impetus to it was really seeing that the school board seemed to deprioritize reopening, deprioritize a lot of things that mattered to students and parents, and instead was focused on doing a lot of things that were symbolic, that was more about politics and really not about anything to do with educating our kids,” said Siva Raj, who helped lead the recall campaign.

After the early results came in, Moliga said “we fought hard and ran a great campaign,” thanking supporters and promising that there “are many more fights ahead of us.” Lopez said she will run for a board seat in November.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, a Democrat who clashed with the board over school reopening, said in a statement that voters “have delivered a clear message that the school board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else.”

Breed pushed for schools to reopen in early 2021, but the board resisted. Schools finally reopened in-person in August 2021. Other prominent Democrats, including former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, backed the recall effort. Breed will pick the replacement for the three ousted members.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice