San Francisco has recalled three members of the city's school board after a vote Tuesday showed that residents were overwhelmingly in favor of yanking the progressives from their posts. Asian-American voters turned out in large numbers to remove the school board members, who many saw as anti-Asian due to their changes in admissions standards and their public comments.
State Senator Melissa Melendez shared the results, which revealed that School Board Vice President Alison Collins, School Board President Gabriela Lopez, and Faauuga Moliga would all be removed from the school board, with those in favor comprising more than 70 percent of the vote in each of the three cases.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed issued a statement, saying that "The voters of this city have delivered a clear message that the school board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else." Breed had previously slammed the school board for being too concerned with "political agendas."
"San Francisco is a city that believes in the value of big ideas," she said, "but those ideas must be built on the foundation of a government that does essentials well." Breed is tasked with appointing replacement for Collins, Lopez and Moliga, who will serve until a November election gives San Franciscans a new opportunity to choose school board members.
Alison Collins, the now-recalled San Francisco School Board Vice President, called the concept of "angry parents" a "dog-whistle."
Collins came under fire in 2021 after tweets from 2016 surfaced in which she said that she was "looking to combat anti-black racism in the Asian community" at her daughters' "mostly Asian" school, adding that many Asians "won't engage in critical race convos unless they see how they are impacted by white supremacy." This was only the beginning of a lengthy, anti-Asian thread. She later said these tweets were "taken out of context."
Lopez was the youngest person ever elected to serve as School Board President. She called the recall "an extreme waste of time, energy and money on a useless/selfish election."
Following the recall, Lopez intends to attend a PhD program at Stanford in Race, inequality and Language Education.
The recall had been brewing since January 2021, when parents were finally fed up with the shuttering of San Francisco schools during the coronavirus pandemic and bemoaned the slow reopening efforts made by the board. The school board, at the time, was entrenched in symbolic gestures to rename schools in the name of equity, and destroying the academic standards at the city's prestigious Lowell High School.
The board sought to rename Abraham Lincoln High School because they claimed black lives did not matter to him. They sought to rename schools named for American's first president and legendary general George Washington, as well as long-serving California Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Parents brought suit against the school board after this, not due to concerns over erasing Lincoln's legacy, but because the money spent on rebranding a school was desperately needed elsewhere, for things such as reopening. The school board later reversed the renaming plans.
In response to the recall, Moliga thanked supporters, saying "it has truly been an honor." Moliga had tried to distance himself from Lopez and Collins, the other two baord members eligible for recall out of the seven members on the board.
He said in November 2021 "I constantly wanted schools to be open. I've constantly been working at addressing the budget deficit. And I can't speak for what Gabriela or Alison have done or what their interests have been around those things. I'm currently running the race to stop the recall of myself. I'm not running in tandem with Gabriela or Alison currently."
Many San Francisco-area Asian parents were already enraged by the school board's decision to end merit-based admissions for Lowell High School, which has a high enrollment of Asian-American students and a standard of academic excellence.
This led many Asian Americans to vote for the very first time in a municipal election. The Chinese/API Voter Outreach Task Force, formed by local mother Ann Hsu at the tail-end of 2021 because of the changes to Lowell admissions standards, reportedly registered more than 560 Asian American voters. "It is so blatantly discriminatory against Asians," Hsu said.