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October 9, 2012
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Board of Education Candidates Forum
When: Wednesday October 10th 5pm to 8pm
Where: College Track 4301 3rd St. San Francisco
What: Come join us and hear from the candidates running for the Board of Education. Learn where they stand and what they will do for your community!

More than a dozen community organizations representing diverse low-income communities of color will convene a Board of Education Candidates Forum at College Track in the Bayview District of San Francisco tomorrow. Students and parents, supported by Spanish and Chinese translators, will question candidates directly about their plans and priorities if elected. It is a competitive race with twelve candidates hoping to grab one of four open spots.

The two central issues in this year’s election –  the SFUSD racial achievement gap and the education budget crisis – are problems that most directly impact low income students and parents of color in neighborhoods, like the Bayview, Excelsior, Mission and others, with the most under-resourced schools. SFUSD is both one of the highest achieving urban public school systems in California and the school district with the widest achievement gap, with some of the lowest rates of success in the state for its African American and Latino students. According to recently released SFUSD data, 76% of African American students and 69% of Latino students are “off track” to graduate, meaning that they have an “F” in at least one course required for graduation. The vast majority of failing and severely ‘underperforming’ schools in the school district are in the city’s Southeast, where tens of thousands of children of color are attending schools not currently designed to support their success.

“We organized this Forum so young people and parents from Southeast neighborhoods have a chance to talk directly with the candidates”, said Tina Sataraka , a Coleman Advocates youth leader and junior at Balboa High School in the Excelsior District. “All students deserve an equal opportunity to succeed but the reality is that young people in our neighborhoods are being left behind. I want to hear from these candidates what they plan to do about this and how they plan to work with us to fix the problems in our schools." 

The Candidate Forum is a collaborative effort of more than a dozen organizations that work directly with students and parents in low-income communities: Coleman Advocates, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Mission Graduates, College Track, 100% College Prep, Filipino Community Center, POWER, Chinese Progressive Association, HOMEY, Student Advisory Council, LYRIC, CHALK, and JCYC Education Programs.  All of the organizations are actively commitment to improving educational outcomes for low-income students of color in San Francisco. 

“Even in schools that are generally not low-performing, Latino and African American students are still struggling and we know that, as parents, we have a unique perspective on the challenges that our children face,” said Liseth Garcia, parent at Daniel Webster Elementary School. “We are excited about the opportunity to share it with the candidates at this forum and learn about their plans for engaging with us in the future if they are elected.”    

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