School Board, City, pen statement of mutual commitment
to strengthen San Francisco public schools
By Elizabeth Daley, Bay City News Service
April 13, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
joined San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Gwen
Chan and School Board President Mark Sanchez in signing a statement
to indicate mutual commitment to utilizing a variety of city and
community resources to strengthen San Francisco's public schools.
San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Gwen Chan
Mayor Gavin Newsom
Sanchez said the "Partnership of Achievement" pact
creates a formal forum for discussion between city and school
district officials about how to best use community and city resources
to benefit school children and the general population.
San Francisco School Board President Mark Sanchez
For example, Sanchez said he would like to bolster utilization
of school sites that often remain vacant and lifeless during school
Sanchez said he hoped to make schools available to the local
community as community hubs when school is not in session. He
added that partnership with the Department of Public Health could
strengthen school health services.
Newsom called Federal and State efforts to fix public education
"patchwork efforts" and said the agreement signed Thursday
would show the city's vested interest and commitment to its public
Newsom said the city had to focus on overall child welfare and
health, not just education, recognizing the importance of combating
health problems such as obesity and asthma.
Earlier this morning, Sanchez led school board officials from
all over North America on a tour of Paul Revere Elementary in
School board members from Calgary, Alberta and Worcester, Mass.
expressed astonishment at the success of the middle school, citing
the many amenities the school had, such as a full-time librarian,
and full-time parent liaison.
They applauded SFUSD for allocating resources to the school when
they saw it was suffering.
However Sanchez, who used to teach at Paul Revere before its
improvements, said even today the school was "still not a
place middle class parents would want to send their kids to, which
seems to be the litmus test for public schools these days."
Sanchez said over 30 percent of school-aged children in San Francisco
attend private school, which is the highest percentage of any
city in the nation, though San Francisco has a remarkably low
population of school-aged children, at only 14 percent.
"50 percent of African American students dropout and the
Latino rate isn't far behind," Sanchez said.
Newsom said San Francisco has had the top performing schools
in California for over five years in a row.
"We need more, we aren't at the point to solve everything,"
All parties said the agreement could help prevent adversarial
bureaucratic relationships that impede the education and well
being of the city's youth.
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