Bad Reporting By SF Chronicle

Today’s SF Chronicle includes a misleading article about San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) claiming that “California spends about $12,000 per student per year” but just last Friday, the governor released a proposed budget that on page 61 posts this chart:

The Chronicle also gets the explanation wrong, as one can see in the detailed State budget, and contains no reference to the huge share of SFUSD’s revenues being absorbed by retirement costs, as one can see at SFUSD’s Interim Reports. The article also fails to mention that additional money for SFUSD would have no impact on the rules under which SFUSD is governed, including tenure granted after just 18 months of teaching, which have turned CA’s public schools into regressive bastions more protective of employees than students, As Table 3 of this publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrates, it’s no wonder that state and local education employees have the lowest separation rates of any major industry.

For elected officials long on the receiving end of political support from public sector employees who are the biggest recipients of spending by state, local and school budgets, more money is always the answer to every problem. But if elected officials in San Francisco really want to improve SFUSD they should focus on the rules and expenditures that are stripping schoolchildren of their rights.