As is well known, San Francisco is perhaps the most leftwing major city in America, with nearly all of its endless political battles being fought between different factions of very “progressive” Democrats and too few local Republicans or conservatives to even notice.
Thus, during his SF Mayoral campaigns, powerful Willie Brown—the longtime nemesis of California Republicans whose political views are probably well to the left of those of Charlie Rangel or David Bonior—was generally regarded as the “center-right” candidate, even receiving the endorsement of the (minuscule) local Republican Party.
San Francisco also has a long history of political “independence,” i.e. simply choosing to ignore those statewide laws with which it disagrees. Soon after federal courts upheld Prop. 209, banning affirmative action preferences in California, San Francisco announced that it was increasing and expanding its minority preference programs.
Thus, it was hardly surprising that in 1998 San Francisco was the only California county to vote against Prop. 227 banning bilingual education or that after the measure passed overwhelmingly and was quickly upheld by the courts, San Francisco became the only one of 1000 California school districts to simply refuse to implement the measure. Around that same time, SFUSD also became the only school district to refuse to test all its students in English, as required by new state legislation.
Over the past couple of years, state pressure has been increasingly applied to SFUSD on the English testing issue, with threats of millions of dollars in fines and penalties. Furthermore, a powerful series of front-page stories by award-winning education reporter Julian Guthrie of the San Francisco Examiner has repeatedly exposed the fraudulent basis of San Francisco’s test scores and the self-serving nature of its educational obstructionism.
At long last, stubborn San Francisco has now surrendered, and agreed to test all of its students in English. This likely foreshadows a similar surrender on its resistance to implementing Prop. 227.
But if the very liberal and Democratic San Francisco of Mayor Willie Brown is now about to begin testing and teaching all of its immigrant students in English, the very conservative and Republican Texas of Gov. George W. Bush still appears firmly wedded to Spanish-only “bilingual education,” as the recent article below from the Dallas Morning News indicates. Although the result of these Texas policies is that half of immigrant children haven’t learned how to read or write English after five years in school—a national scandal—Democratic politicians for fairly obvious reasons have been too timid to highlight this educational disaster.
Apparently, chads or no chads, political cowardice trumps lust for political victory among most national Democrats.
- S.F. gives in, will test kids not fluent in English
San Francisco Examiner, Thursday, November 16, 2000, FRONT PAGE
- Schools Pass a Big Test, Editorial
San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, November 20, 2000
- Language ‘immersion’ not likely in Texas, officials say
Dallas Morning News, Thursday, November 16, 2000