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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

A vote for merit in San Francisco

San Francisco Mayor London Breed replaced the recalled school-board members with three parents (clockwise from top left): Lisa Weissman-Ward, Ann Hsu, and Lainie Motamedi. They voted to restore merit admissions at Lowell High School.

If you're too woke for San Franciso, you just might be too woke, writes Gary Kamiya in The Atlantic.

The new post-recall school board has restored merit admissions at Lowell High School, ending a "lottery introduced in the name of racial equity" by the old board, Kamiya writes.

The new board also abandoned a campaign to erase a WPA-era mural, "The Life of Washinton," at George Washington High School. Artist Victor Arnautoff, a Communist, intended the mural, with settlers stepping past a dead Indian and slaves picking cotton at Mount Vernon, to be "subversive," writes Kamiya. The old board saw it as insensitive.

"When you factor in the 2021 collapse of the infamous school-renaming campaign, it’s a trifecta," he writes. "Our deep-blue city seems to have grown weary of the more radical elements of the new racial-justice movement."

In February, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly voted to recall three progressive board members, letting Mayor London Breed name moderate replacements. In June, voters recalled the city’s progressive district attorney.

For decades, Lowell has been a heavily Asian (mostly Chinese American) school. Chinese parents see getting their kids into Lowell as a golden ticket . . . into the coveted UC college system. . . . But (Lowell) has also historically had very few Black students.

San Francisco’s Chinese community makes up about a third of the city's population, while 5 percent are Black. As I wrote for Education Next, a diverse coalition came together to recall three woke school board members. When two parents announced the recall on social media, the Chinese-American Democratic Club offered 100 volunteers to circulate petitions. The school board's arrogance, incompetence and woke rhetoric angered a wide spectrum of voters.

San Franciscans are very liberal, writes Kamiya. But "they grew weary of foolishly gestural racial politics, as manifested in the school renaming and anti-mural campaigns." It's not a revival of racism, he argues, but "a deep-seated belief in the color-blind philosophy of the old civil-rights movement. The modish demand for equity of outcome, as opposed to equality of opportunity, proved to be a bridge that many San Franciscans were unwilling to cross."

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