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Calls for New SF School Board Member Ann Hsu to Resign Following Provocative Statement

Opponents ignore that Hsu’s predecessor did not resign after making far worse racial comments

By Evan Symon, July 25, 2022 12:19 pm

During the weekend,  San Francisco Board of Education member Ann Hsu faced mounting pressure to resign and not run in November after backlash continues from questionnaire comments she made about why black and brown students don’t perform as well as others last week.

Hsu has been a school board member since March, when Mayor London Breed picked her as one of three board member replacements following the successful recall of three school board members the week prior. Hsu, a Chinese-American entrepreneur, was one of the major figures leading the recall against the three board members. The new board members have also made major changes in the past few months. Spurred by fewer progressives on the board, the new board began reversing many changes and policies made by the previous board, often by narrow 4-3 votes.

However, the future of more changes suddenly came into question last week. When filling out a questionnaire for the San Francisco Parent Action group in preparation for 2022 school board member election, Hsu wrote in a controversial answer for a question asking about why black and brown students do not perform as well as others. Hsu wrote in multiple reasons, including “lack of family support,” “unstable family environments,” and “lack of parental encouragement to focus on or value learning.”

Her full quote was as follows: “From my very limited exposure in the past four months to the challenges of educating marginalized students especially in the black and brown community, I see one of the biggest challenges as being the lack of family support for those students. Unstable family environments caused by housing and food insecurity along with lack of parental encouragement to focus on learning cause children to not be able to focus on or value learning.”

Upon release, many city lawmakers, groups, and others were up in arms over the answer and immediately called for her resignation, calling her comments ‘racist’ and ‘out of touch.’ The San Francisco Teachers union, as well as city Supervisors Shamann Walton, Connie Chan, and Dean Preston, were amongst those, including the NAACP, asking her to resign in a 105-0 vote, with their announcement coming right after Hsu personally delivered an apology.

“Hsu has offered an apology and promised to ‘do better.’ While her apology is accepted, it is not enough to overcome the damage she has done,” said the NAACP on Monday. “The Black community in San Francisco cannot put its trust in her to be an advocate for the needs of Black students, especially access to all the educational opportunities available to other students.”

“Hsu told the (NAACP) board that she has very limited knowledge of Black people and that she is a scientist by profession, not a politician. These reasons not only ring hollow but are illogical on their face. Scientists gather empirical evidence to prove or disprove a theory before stating it as fact. Yet she chose to make shockingly false statements about Black students and families while having no meaningful knowledge about them.”

“The NAACP demands that Ann Hsu resign from her position immediately.”

Hsu defended, critics point out that previous board members did not resign over worse comments

However, despite the increased calls for her resignation this weekend, Hsu has also been given support or has been defended by many who have said that while the comments  were combative, it was still only one written word comment, Hsu hasn’t had a history of racially charged comments in the past, and that the comment could now be a ‘teachable moment.’

Mayor London Breed speaking to participants during the Open the Schools Rally, San Francisco, CA, Mar. 13, 2021. (Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/ Shutterstock)

“Hsu’s comments are disappointing and hurtful, but I don’t call for her resignation,” said Mayor Breed. “I’m hopeful we don’t just dismiss this and say, ‘Oh she needs to resign. It’s like, ‘How do we come together and make this a teaching moment? How do we prevent this from becoming politically divisive?’ Because she does, in fact, represent a constituency who feel that they want a representative on this Board of Education. So, I think that it’s important for her to be a better leader and to be a better bridge-builder.”

Others noted that Hsu still has strong support from many in the community.

“Hsu put a foot in her mouth on this one and obviously didn’t formulate a more concise response,” explained San Francisco-based policy advisor Sharon Burke to the Globe on Monday. “Hsu made a mistake, apologized for it like an adult, and said she would do better. To many, that’s a fair response and a reasonable way to handle it.

“It honestly just came at a difficult time for many progressives and liberals in the city. They’ve been losing major elections left and right, older policies regarding everything from drug arrests to schools switching back to grades being the main factor for admission. Things are not going their way, so when they see blood in the water, by someone who was appointed over a more progressive person who was removed no less, they strike. They want any victory they can get at this point.”

“And yeah, Hsu should have been better in her response and should have put more thought and research into her answer. But it was one comment in a questionnaire with no past incidents like this. One of her predecessors, Alison Collins, who is very progressive, said something much worse, and yet never resigned and had to be recalled earlier this year. Best course of action, at this point, would let the voters decide for themselves this November, just like with Collins.”

More on the questionnaire incident is likely to come later this week.

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14 thoughts on “Calls for New SF School Board Member Ann Hsu to Resign Following Provocative Statement

  1. Ms. Hsu shouldn’t be punished for speaking the truth. Teachers are loathe to say it aloud, but privately will offer the same explanation for why some black and brown kids fail to achieve in school. Generational poverty that breeds chaotic living arrangements contribute. But cultural attitudes, parental apathy, and often a blatant resistance and hostility to learning create the biggest obstacles for these kids doing well in school.

  2. “Hsu told the (NAACP) board that she has very limited knowledge of Black people and that she is a scientist by profession, not a politician. These reasons not only ring hollow but are illogical on their face. Scientists gather empirical evidence to prove or disprove a theory before stating it as fact. Yet she chose to make shockingly false statements about Black students and families while having no meaningful knowledge about them.”

    Actually, there is nothing wrong or illogical in Ms. Hsu’s comments and she need not apologize. There have been numerous scientific studies done since the Coleman Report (Equality of Educational Opportunity), including several done by James Coleman himself, which show that family environment/support is a major factor in student success in school.

  3. In modern times speaking the truth based on facts gets you ostracized.
    I appreciate her stance. The truth hurts but can also heal all that ails us. If you can pinpoint the problem then you can come up with solutions, instead of made up pronouns.
    If we want to fix a broken system we must speak the truth and stand up to the bully unions and PACS.

  4. In modern times, speaking the truth, based on facts, gets you ostracized.
    I appreciate her stance. The truth hurts but it can also heal all that ails us. If you can pinpoint the problem then you can come up with solutions, instead of made up pronouns.
    If we want to fix a broken system we must speak the truth and stand up to the bully unions and PACS.

  5. “Upon release, many city lawmakers, groups, and others were up in arms over the answer and immediately called for her resignation, calling her comments ‘racist’ and ‘out of touch.’ The San Francisco Teachers union, as well as city Supervisors Shamann Walton, Connie Chan, and Dean Preston, were amongst those, including the NAACP, asking her to resign in a 105-0 vote, with their announcement coming right after Hsu personally delivered an apology.”

    I would say that Ms. Hsu should wear this vote 105-0 against her as a “badge of honor.” The people who are really responsible for the poor achievement of Black and Brown students in San Francisco are the very same people in the teacher’s union and NAACP who have helped decimate the high academic standards and discipline necessary for real achievement to take place. THEY are the REAL racists.

  6. she cites statistics that sometimes the black communities used themselves to also justify oppression and lack of educational opportunities due to unstable family life ( single mom), not placing culturally value on education. these people are being vindictive and these back and forth is not helping to find solutions

  7. Peer pressure “to not be white” is even more insidious than parents or home instability.

    Whites took to the massive self-esteem movement that was intended to combat peer pressure, but all we harvested was a generation of entitled, really bratty white kids. And it did nothing to move the needle on peer pressure to “not be white”*.

    (*AKA: study, work hard, be successful, be prepared, participate in class, impulse control, anger management)

    Peer to peer tutoring has shown surprising success – two fold – helps the struggling peer student relate to his/her own age group, and the peer tutor finds they actually like teaching.

  8. Why take responsibility for your own lot in life, when you can guilt and bully others into doing it for you

  9. I found nothing offensive in her statement as to why black and Latino student lag behind academically on average. Ms. Hsu spoke the truth and shouldn’t have to apologize. The home and community environments are key factors in shaping school performance. The wokeness of San Francisco is thicker than the fog.

  10. All I can say is “The truth hurts”. Ann Hsu comments for the most part are valid ones. She has the right to her opinions and I am sure she commented with the intent of not sounding “racist” or “out of touch”. She is a parent who cares about the education of not only her children but others as well. It is embarrassing to see her being attacked. All of the school boards in this state to beware that if parents do not think you are “educating” their children your board could be next. I can remember when California had one the the highest ratings for education in the nation. Now where are we 47th or 48th. Thank you.

  11. Her mistake was to apologize. She should have doubled down. There are volumes of statistics which support her statement. This is the problem with folks new to politics, they don’t know how savage the wokesters are. Apologies are like blood in the water to these lefty bottom feeders.

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