The NoSchoolBoardRecall effort is a broad, people powered campaign against the recall of school board members – you can see all our endorsers here! The co-chairs, Julie Roberts-Phung & Tara Ramos, are holding space for that broad community effort. They met several years ago in working on “Talking With Kids About Race” workshops as part of SURJ and Teachers For Social Justice, in partnership with the SF Public Library, Our Family Coalition and other community groups. In addition to being parents of SFUSD students, Julie has also been the coalition organizer for the Close the Gap coalition, which formed to pass Prop 30 and help equitably fund public schools. Tara is a teacher librarian and an elected UESF Executive Board Member.
Both have deep roots and a respected history of organizing both in support of SFUSD, and also in challenging the district to work harder to fulfill the promises made to Black, Brown, Indigenous, working class immigrants, and other historically marginalized students. At first, we tried to ignore the recall efforts, seeing that they weren’t getting traction. However, when the recall asked for and got money, volunteers and support from major Republican donors and billionaire charter school investors, it became clear that with enough money they would be able to buy a recall — or at least get it on the ballot.
More and more of our longtime friends clamored for someone to “do something” to oppose the recall, but with the vicious personal attacks that have been running on and off of social media, many of the most directly impacted families felt worried about the attacks that could bring. Tara and Julie finally realized that we were the ones we’re waiting for, and that we could hold space for a broad community effort — as you can see on our endorsement page.
We know that families and educators are already being hurt by these attacks on our school board and our public schools more broadly. We see that those promoting the recall can’t win an election in November with a full electorate, so instead, they are wasting $5-8 million of our students’ money trying to narrow the electorate into the smaller, whiter, and more affluent group who turn out in off-season elections. This strategy is being used by conservatives across the state & country and intentionally reduces the votes by families of color who are most served by SFUSD. We see the plans for recalls against the other 4 school board members, and the national trend of conservative forces creating toxic conditions & recalls at school boards in an effort to trigger special elections to suppress the votes of diverse communities — narrowing the electorate instead of broadening it. This is the only way they can push open a path for conservative candidates with higher political ambitions who could not otherwise win.
Our people powered effort centers SFUSD families and educators. As parents and teachers, our whole agenda is the health of our schools and students. We know that the strength of our public schools is that we are made up of – and aspire to meet the needs of – Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Asian, Middle Eastern, White and so many other diverse families. When we actually center the needs of families that have been historically marginalized in our schools, including students who are Black &/or Brown, working class immigrants, LGBTQ and students with disabilities, all of our students and families do better. As co-chairs of the NoSchoolBoardRecalls, we are proud to make space for a people powered campaign where we live these values and unite our city to say “NoSchoolBoardRecalls” and vote “NO” on the school board recalls before February 15th. Join us here!