The San Francisco Board of Education voted last Tuesday to renew Leadership High School’s charter through 2017.
Here are three reasons why it was a big deal.
1. The vote was unanimous. All seven commissioners warmly praised the school. Even Commissioner Jill Wynns, who usually opposes charter schools, voted for the measure.
2. The vote was in support of students of color and students who will be the first in their families to graduate from college. The Board recognized the school’s track record in preparing students for higher education. More than 80 percent of LHS students are African American or Latino, and more than 80 percent will be the first in their families to graduate from college. More than 90 percent of students go to college.
3. The vote championed the local democratic process. Instead of paying attention to the California Charter School Association’s misguided public call for the school’s closure, the commissioners did their own research and listened carefully to their constituents. Five out of seven Board members visited the school. It was clear that all of them read parent and student letters. In other words, the Board did not succumb to nasty politics and instead weighed the school’s charter proposal on its merits.
I am proud to teach in San Francisco. The Board did the right thing on Tuesday. With its unanimous vote, it sent a strong message that educating youth is more than just producing high test scores. It’s also about building character and preparing students to transform themselves and their communities.