San Francisco’s Proposition H cleverly disguises an elitist agenda as a policy “for the kids.” Yet the prop has potential to reintroduce class-informed boundaries into the local education system, and must not be voted into policy.
The proposition tries to make it official city policy to try to place kids in high school and below in the public school closest to where they live. Though placing children in nearby schools will not be written into law, the proposition is a movement toward making location a prime factor in where the district places students.
Presently, a majority of people have the opportunity to send their kids to one of the top schools if they wish. Though the current enrollment system employs a lottery, 80 percent of students get into one of the three schools that they wanted, according to the “San Francisco Educator,” a publication of the SFUSD teachers union. Since a variety of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds will be able to attend the same schools, resources and outreach get to schools in a more evenly-distributed way.
This proposition is penned and backed by Republicans, and has the entire school board and teachers union fighting it.
Though the proposition cites that local enrollment encourages community involvement in local schools, it is more likely that a neighborhood school will be limited to the resources of its constituents. This means that schools in areas with low-income households are going to be resource-crippled, while the schools with well-to-do parents living nearby will flourish.
Proposition H also plays into the traffic card, by predicting less road congestion with kids going to schools closer to home. While less traffic would certainly put everyone at ease, there are components of the proposition, like it taking immediate effect, which would place psychological and social hardship for the hundreds of kids who will face abrupt school changes in the current 2011-12 school year.
The recent Occupy movements exemplify the country’s grievances with the wealth chasm dividing the privileged and the 99 percent. Proposition H undermines those efforts, and is a backwards move that provides the potential for resources to be pigeon-holed into a few select schools, and limits resources for others.