The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an article, entitled “Latino kids now majority in state’s public schools,” describing the unsurprising news that the Latino kids are now officially more than 50% of all the children in our public schools. The article goes on to discuss the real and potential impact of demographic changes on the political landscape, both local and statewide.
But for me the real news—which may not be news for many—was when I saw the demographics for the more than 55,000 San Francisco Unified School District students:
There’s nothing wrong with these numbers—except for the fact that, while whites make up a little more than 50% of San Francisco’s population, white kids are only 10.7% of the total number in public schools. A little more looking reveals that there are about 75,000 school age kids in San Francisco and 20,000 of them are not in public schools.
These numbers suggest to me that 20,000 white kids—75% of all the white kids in San Francisco—are going to private schools. If I’m misunderstanding these numbers, or if I’m missing some important piece of information, I’d like to know. Really. Please tell me. I’d like believe that white people aren’t deliberately and at great cost to their personal finances creating an unequal and unjust educational system and, therefore, an unequal and unjust society. I’d like to believe that white parents aren’t taking their kids out of schools with children of color in them, thereby depriving all kids the chance to get to know children from other communities and backgrounds.I’d like to believe that there’s a very good reason for the numbers. Please explain.
But if you can’t explain, then let’s start talking about the racism we are perpetuating and what we’re going to do about it. I think we could start by leaving our kids in public schools and by working and paying together to make those schools the best they can be.