EXCLUSIVE: SFUSD committee chair steps down, cites lack of planning to address learning loss

Stephanie Sierra Image
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: SFUSD committee chair steps down, criticizes district
EMBED <>More Videos

A high-ranking committee chair for the San Francisco Unified School District stepped down Tuesday, citing concerns the district isn't doing enough to address learning loss.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A high-ranking committee chair for the San Francisco Unified School District stepped down Tuesday, citing concerns the district isn't doing enough to address learning loss.

"I had to make a decision that was right for my son," said Naomi Laguana, the chair of the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) that gives feedback to the district's Board of Education.

RELATED: SFUSD approves unexpectedly high number of medical exemptions from staff, teachers

Laguana says she's stepping down from her position in order to take her son out of the district and enroll him in private school. According to SFUSD, it's a requirement for PAC members to have a student enrolled in the district.

"He had a lust for learning and as soon as we went into distance learning, it just started to go down," Laguana said.

The school district's assessment showed her son was on track, but an independent education specialist showed her son was actually underperforming at grade level in both writing and math. Laguana brought this to the school principal, but says he couldn't give any information on how learning loss would be assessed or addressed moving forward.

"That wasn't good enough," she said. "We need to figure this out now, not in August."

VIDEO: SF files lawsuit against its own school district to force classrooms to reopen

Disappointed with what she says is the district's lack of preparation, Laguana plans to enroll her son into private school.

"What makes me so upset is I had the means to take him out and put him somewhere else, but there are thousands of students that don't have that privilege," she added.

ABC7 reached out to SFUSD to see if there are any specific plans underway to help address learning loss for the upcoming school year. We received the following statement that didn't answer our question: "We respect whatever decision works best for each child and their family."

RELATED: Here's what's changed in SFUSD culture, curriculum since murder of George Floyd

The San Francisco School Board released this statement in response to the decision:

"The board is so thankful for the work the Parent Advisory Committee has been doing since its inception and Naomi Laguana is a strong addition to that. Although it is disheartening to see our PAC chair go, I understand the change and am hopeful for their new journey."

This isn't the first time the PAC was involved with a controversial decision by the board. Back in February, the board rejected appointing Seth Brenzel, a gay parent volunteer to the PAC because he was white.

"I've heard that kids are doing well in distance learning, but that's not the case for all kids and I suspect that's not the case for most kids," Laguana said.

Laguana's decision to step down highlights a broader issue of declining enrollment.

According to a report filed by the district earlier this month, nearly double the number of students transferred out of K-12 this school year compared to the number of students transferring in.

"There's such a disparity in San Francisco and the pandemic has just widened that even more."

A report released from the district earlier this month also highlighted concerns over enrollment and its impact towards the upcoming budget. The report indicated if enrollment figures don't improve there could be a sizable decrease in next year's budget.