Due Date: Tuesday, Aug 18
Candidate Name: Jenny Lam
Phone Number: (415)669-5349
Web site: jennylam.org https://www.jennylam.org/
Name of Campaign Manager: Kevin You
How much do you expect to spend in this contest: About $25,000
I am proud to be endorsed by:
All my colleagues on the Board of Education who I admire and enjoy
Parents and families who attend our public schools who have felt the
impact of what we have done since I joined the Board of Education and
believe in the change and potential we bring going forward.
Dedicated staff and educators including the United Educators of San
Francisco who support and devote their time, energy, and effort into
providing a quality education for all of our students.
Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club
Chinese American Democratic Club
Coleman Action Fund
Latinx Young Democratic Club
Rose Pak Democratic Club
San Francisco Women's Political Committee
SF Building and Construction Trades Council
My other endorsements include:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Mayor London Breed
District 2 Catherine Stefanie
District 4 Gordon Mar
District 6 Matt Haney
District 8 Rafael Mandelman
District 9 Hillary Ronen
District 10 Shamann Walton
District 11 Ahsha Safa√≠
Mark Sanchez, President
Gabriela Lopez, Vice President
Alison Collins, Commissioner
Stevon Cook, Commissioner
Faauuga Moliga, Commissioner
Rachel Norton, Commissioner
Scott Wiener, State Senate
David Chiu, State Assembly
Phil Ting, State Assembly
Carmen Chu, Assessor
Paul Miyamoto, Sheriff
Janice Li, BART Board
Bevan Dufty, BART Board
Jane Kim, Former Supervisor
Hydra Mendoza, Former School Board Member
Shanell Williams - SF City College Board
Tom Temprano - SF City College Board
Incumbent Board Member whose votes most reflect your values:
Mark Sanchez, Alison Collins, Gabriela Lopez, Faauuga Moliga, Stevon Cook ,
Incumbent whose votes least reflect your values: None- The Board has often been unified. We work well and communicate well
with one another. Of those on when there is disagreement, I find myself
usually aligned with Mark Sanchez most and when there are disagreements
sometimes Rachel and I are on different sides.
1. What is your stance on resuming in-person classes in the time of
COVID? Would you prioritize particular grades or students? What
would be the main basis on which you make this decision? (e.g.,
would it be based on your gut feelings, or whose advice would
you listen to?)
The health and safety of our students, educators, and school staff is our
priority in any Fall 2020 planning. Educators, school site administrators,
UESF and SEIU 1021 members, as well as student, family, and community
concerns have been at the table to discuss the roadmap for the Fall.This is
why I voted to begin the school year with distance learning, as we know the
health risks posed by normal face to face instruction are far too severe at
this moment. In addition, I am advocating for continued inquiry into a
hybrid model that would offer face to face instructional options for our
students with special needs along with younger students from pre K to third
grade, and English Learners when it is deemed safe by the health officials.
Before considering when to go back to school, we will need to provide
health promotion training, materials, and resources for educators and all
school staff that support healthy buildings, classroom organization, and
I will continue to follow the direction and guidance of public health
officials in opening up schools in a safe manner for the health and safety
of all students, teachers, and staff. In the case that schools reopen, we
must also have plans to accommodate students, families, and educators who
decide to continue distance learning. In addition, we will need greater
clarity around how to balance statewide cuts to our district budget with
the need for flexible use of our facilities to promote the smaller class
sizes, social distancing, and any other health steps we have to take. We
will need systems for regular COVID testing, documentation, and contact
tracing systems for students and staff; adequate personal protective
equipment and cleaning supplies; clear guidance on maintaining social
distancing in classrooms and common areas; expanded access to high-speed
internet citywide, along with hardware and software for teachers and
As we did this Spring, we must work with our students and educators to
determine what effective distance teaching and learning looks like for this
upcoming year. We must also learn from our own experiences this spring, and
from emerging research, about best practices in providing high-quality
instruction through distance learning.
Additionally, we are launching new learning hubs all across the city in
libraries, rec centers, and community centers to allow for up to 6,000
students to engage in safe spaces that allow for community and learning.
Opening these spaces is critical for our high-needs students and families.
By pioneering these hubs, our district is ensuring that parents who are
essential workers have adequate child support, that our special needs
students have access to the most effective instruction possible, and that
we are working for all of our families' needs. I am in full support of
expanding this program after reviewing its impact and safety to allow our
most vulnerable communities the option of in-person instruction.
2. Why are you running for school board?
I am running for re-election to continue fighting for the students and
families of SFUSD. I attend each board meeting, as well as committee
meetings. I am familiar with all of our school sites from campus visits and
meetings with educators, families, and students. My children have attended
SFUSD elementary, middle, and high schools.
I was first appointed to the Board of Education by Mayor London Breed in
2018, and elected in 2019 to serve as a Commissioner on the Board of
Education. I bring a student-first approach to my work that is informed by
being a public school parent, nonprofit leader and advocate.
I believe that all of our children have the right to a welcoming and safe
environment with access to the kind of quality education that leads to
successful outcomes. I want to ensure every student feels cared for and
supported in both academic and social-emotional growth. We must provide a
diversity of learning experiences that allow students to explore different
careers and interests and be challenged to develop their talents, discover
their voice and find purpose. Now more than ever, I have a commitment to
represent and voice the needs and concerns of our SFUSD families. I will
advocate for resources and necessary services to support and assist our
working class families during these ever changing times.
3. How are you currently involved in the SFUSD -- or how were you
involved in the past?
I serve on the SFUSD Board of Education, and chair the Budget and Business
I volunteer in my children's schools, and have previously served as
co-chair of two San Francisco Unified School District committees: the
Public Education & Enrichment Fund Committee and the Quality Teacher and
Education Act Committee.
A San Francisco Bay Area native and second-generation Chinese American, I
serve as Mayor London Breed's Education Advisor. There, I administer and
implement policies that advance strong partnerships between our public
education system (SFUSD and CCSF) and the City.
I am an experienced community organizer and education leader. I am the
former State Engagement Manager at Education Superhighway, where I brought
technology to schools statewide. As Director of Programs at Chinese for
Affirmative Action, I expanded civil and political rights for San
Francisco's immigrant youth and families. I also served as Executive
Director of GirlVentures and Deputy Director of Oakland Asian Students
4. How do you feel about the current school assignment system?
Would you make changes, and if so, which ones?
SFUSD school assignment is not transparent and is a stressful and anxiety
provoking experience for many parents. The uncertainty of selection, the
wide variability of school quality, customer service/accessibility and the
application process itself is the source of many of these concerns.
We also know the current system is not fulfilling its goal of diversifying
our schools. Over the past couple of decades, despite our efforts to
develop systems to address this, our schools have been increasingly
The criteria I will use to evaluate proposed school assignment
methodologies are: equity, diversity, and predictability for families. But
there are no easy answers here. While everyone wants access to a good
school, some families want neighborhood schools and others want choice. It
is not easy to design a system that allows families to meet their
individual needs while also ensuring equity and diversity for all. I am
grateful to the district staff, families, and students who provided
feedback in this process. I am committed to taking a critical look at our
current system and considering how it should be changed through this
5. Some of our schools receive significant funding from parent
fundraising. Are you concerned about the inequality in fundraising
between schools in rich and poor neighborhoods, and if so,
what ideas do you have to make things more equitable?
Inequities in school funding are an issue in communities across California
and the nation. While our state's funding formula has become more equitable
in recent years through the Local Control Funding Formula, inequities in
school-level parent funding remain. Within SFUSD, one elementary school PTA
may raise $400,000, while another may only raise $4,000. Other districts,
such as Albany, have centralized donations in an effort to combat these
inequities and ensure all schools can benefit from parent donations. A key
step to begin to consider solutions to addressing these inequities is to
track what funds are raised at each SFUSD school through private donations,
and what those funds pay for.
As a district, we need to provide additional support for southeast schools.
Our Black, Brown, poor and special education students are at risk of
falling further behind other students because of social, economic, and
racial disparities in San Francisco, which have been exacerbated by
COVID-19, school closures, and the far-reaching economic and health impacts
of the pandemic. We not only need to provide academic resources for
students in the southeast, but also social and emotional resources. I
firmly believe many children are experiencing stress and trauma in their
young lives and we have an obligation to support them in their learning and
I support providing more resources and support to high-needs southeast
schools, which are often where our Black, Brown and sociologically
disadvantaged students attend. In addition, we need to provide more
resources and support to high need students wherever they are.
Specifically, this means more mental health support for students and
support for community schools across the district. This crisis has only
elevated the need for San Francisco public schools and the city to commit
to build out the Community Schools Model for all our schools. .
I will aim to address these inequalities by:
Committing to closing the digital divide so that all of our students can
access distance and blended learning as the pandemic rages on, and their
families can access much needed telehealth, employment, benefits, and other
services online. This will require continued partnership with the business
and philanthropic communities, given that tech is at the heart of our SF
economy and carries a particular moral obligation for businesses in the Bay
Providing expanded and extended learning opportunities for students,
which we know is so critical to supporting both students' academic and
social and emotional learning, and is critical to closing gaps. Our CBO,
after school, and nonprofit partners will be critical in this effort, and
we must work to blend and braid resources in this time of strained budgets
to ensure expanded‚Ä"rather than constrained‚Ä"opportunities are available to
children before and after school and during school breaks, and that these
opportunities are aligned with the instruction that students receive during
the academic day.
I will work with my fellow board members, the Mayor, colleagues in the
relevant city departments and with our labor partners to continue our loud
call for additional federal and state resources to support these efforts.
Federal CARES Act funding will help, but, at about $286 per student, it is
a drop in the bucket of what will be needed to address the inequities that
have been exacerbated by COVID-19. I will partner with my colleagues like
Commissioners Lopez, Sanchez, and Collins who have first-hand experience
teaching in public schools. I will partner with Commissioners Moliga who
has a strong background in advocating for the wellness of our students. I
will work with whomever is elected with me this November to ensure our
schools are supported.
6. Are you familiar with the case of Williams et al. v State of
California? Do you believe that all schools in the SFUSD are
currently in compliance with Williams?
Yes, I am aware of the Williams case, which raised important issues of equal
student access to instructional materials, safe and decent school
facilities, and qualified teachers. And I am aware of the Williams
settlement that imposed requirements on both the state and individual
districts. I believe that the District's Williams complaint policy and
practice, which allows complaints (and appeals) concerning the
insufficiency of textbooks or other instructional materials, teacher
vacancies or misassignments, the condition of school facilities, and
preschool health and safety issues, complies with the Williams settlement.
But I am well aware that our schools, like others, continue to face
significant challenges in achieving the equity to basic educational
resources that the Williams case sought to further, and we continue to work
every day to achieve that equity. The District's extensive spring and fall
distribution of devices to enable all students to access online learning is
a great example of both the challenges of these issues, and the serious
priority that the District places on them. While the district moved quickly
to provide all students with needs both devices and hot spots, the pandemic
has also shown us that equal access to both devices and high speed internet
is a fundamental for educational and economic parity, but this is a
responsibility that the district cannot bear on its own.
7. What is your position on JROTC in the public schools?
No I do not support JROTC a military recruitment program, I do however
support the students who participate and want to have a program that
promote youth leadership and offer students opportunity to build
community. I support the current SFUSD policy on JROTC as the program has
been positive for students who participate, so long as they are fiscally
responsible, non-discriminatory and the staff is qualified.
8. Would you support district elections for school board members?
No, I do not support district elections for school board members.
We all need to be equally responsible for all our schools and all our
children. We do not want a system that reflects only the deeply divided
incomes levels between neighborhoods and It is critical we are intentional
in developing and fostering leadership, particularly parents with
children in the School District across the city.
I served a total of 9 years between the Public Education Enrichment Fund
(PEEF) community advisory committee and the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee
for the School District. During this time, I learned more about the School
District as a public educational institution including budget, curriculum,
educational support programs, and experiences of school sites. Not only do
we need to encourage people of color across the city to run for public
office but provide ongoing coaching and peer support to ensure their
positive growth and success. It's imperative SFUSD personnel teachers,
administrators, program staff, school board reflect our student body who
chose schools across the CityI am committed to supporting diverse
candidates for School Board.
9. Did you support the 2016 Proposition A school bond? Do you think
funds were spent wisely?
I supported the 2016 Proposition A school bond to fund repairs and
maintenance to SFUSD facilities, as well as construction of new schools and
seismic upgrades to existing facilities. This includes, among other things,
expansion of the district's green schoolyards program and exploring the
development of affordable housing for teachers. The bond included
requirements for a citizen's oversight committee, which is part of the
district's continued commitment to voters who approved this bond.
10. What is your stance on allowing noncitizen parents, guardians and
caretakers of students to vote in school board elections? Did you
take a public position on previous ballot initiatives on the
I co-chaired Prop N Non-Citizen Voting in School Board Elections with two
other public school parents and the support of a diverse community
coalition. That measure failed in 2010, but was approved in 2016 and San
Francisco became the first city in California to allow noncitizens to vote
for School Board elections in 2018. Despite an incredibly hostile national
context that understandably discouraged immigrant participation, 59 out of
65 registered noncitizen voters voted - the highest voter turnout of any
demographic in that election.
To expand access, more resources are needed for community outreach and
education so people have the information they need to register and vote. We
must also make sure that non-citizens feel safe in casting their ballots
and making their voices heard.
With the partnership of Chinese for Affirmative Action, I have worked with
several founding coalition organizational members including the Central
American Resource Center (CARECEN), La Raza Community Resource Center
through SFILEN, and the San Francisco Immigrant and Legal Education Network
to provide these potential voters with legal and supportive services.
Furthermore, I support closely related efforts to encourage civic
engagement and more representative local government from Vote16 to SF City
Commissions for All (Prop. C this year). Our diversity makes our city
stronger and broader participation will improve local government and policy
11. What are your thoughts on the various non-profit organizations
that partner and/or contract with SFUSD?
I will continue to foster current and new relationships
<https://sfusdhealtheducation.org/yow-overview/> with CBOs such as LYRIC,
Huckleberry House, La Casa de las Madres, United Playaz, and so many more.
These partnerships are critical for students to engage directly with
organizations committed to youth development and the health and safety of
our communities. Instead of these partnerships acting as substituting for
unionized district labor, they work in unison to support all students and
families. One example of a successful partnership that should be replicated
is for social services and case management between SF International High
School, Instituto Familiar de la Raza, Jamestown, Mission Graduates,
Mission Promise, and CARECEN. I also support models of legal services
providers partnering directly with a school, such as the partnership
between SF International High School and Legal Services for Children.
SFUSD works hand-in-hand with CBO partners whose services are catered to
the unique needs of each school community. While I support CBO
partnerships, I do not support contracting out District work. Contracting
out is a mechanism that is often used to cut costs or to reduce public
responsibility, but we should take responsibility as a public employer to
have public sector workers delivering essential public services. It is very
important for our workers to have a voice through their labor unions. I
support workers' rights to organize and be represented in collective
12. Would you strengthen the voice of the elected student
representatives, so that they could introduce legislation and vote
Yes. I believe students who serve on SFUSD's board of education should have
the full right to vote on measures, just as student members on our
California State Board of Education do. Students are the people whom the
Board of Education exists to serve and represent. Including them as full
voting members of the Board is essential both to meet our democratic purpose
as well as to model for our students the democratic process in ways that
will foster civic engagement throughout their lives.
I have supported the youth-led efforts to pass the Vote16 charter amendment
every time it has been on the ballot in San Francisco because it is an
early introduction for the political development of young citizens. In the
case of school district policy in particular, having upper division high
school students voting could increase their engagement with school district
policy making, which can only help our schools and the district overall.
Research in the US and other democracies has shown that engaging 16 and 17
year olds in civic debates and elections increases the civic participation
of entire families and that the younger a voter is when they first vote,
the more likely they are to keep voting as young adults. Allowing students
to have a direct voice through voting in local elections gives the youth
the responsibility to self-advocate for issues and policies that they would
like to support/not support. The point is that the choice for students and
youth to be engaged with politics from a young age extends their idea for
civic responsibilities and duties. Youth advocates recognize that
increasing engagement of all San Franciscans in school district governance
makes for more accountable elected officials and better policy making.
13. How do you see the role of the School Board in comparison to the
role of the superintendent?
There are a lot of misconceptions, even among people who work in education,
about the role of a school board member. School board members set district
policy and direction, hire a superintendent and hold him/her accountable
for policy implementation, and sign off on the budget. School district
employees report to the Superintendent, not to the Board. School board
members do not start the budgeting process from scratch. Rather, the
Superintendent solicits input from schools, departments, unions, and the
community in order to create a draft budget for the Board to consider.
14. Do you think that SFUSD currently serves the transportation needs
of its students? Would you make changes to the current system?
Yellow school bus transportation for General Education students has been on
the decline for decades and I do not support an increase in yellow school
buses and routes. Instead I will advocate for a new yellow bus contract
pushing for an all-electric, zero emission fleet, and to improve awareness
and new programs that will promote sustainable transportation options for
students and employees like public transit, carpool apps, biking, and
One issue I intend to address will be to work with the SFMTA to optimize
and coordinate the number and frequency of buses during school start and
release times. With 136 schools and 54,000 students this will be a complex
task, but I believe it is worth the effort as it would increase ridership
on Muni, and take school trip commuting cars off our already congested city
A fleet of zero emission school buses will help reduce pollution in our
most vulnerable impacted communities and an equitable school transit plan
should address accounting for environmental and transit justice. Equitable
transit means that students in the Mission and Southeastern neighborhoods
should have the same opportunities for programs and resources, including
hot breakfasts and after-school activities, as students from other parts of
15. Would you ensure that all San Francisco students have access to a
public pre-K program? If so, how?
I started my career as a community organizer advocating for quality and
affordable early care and education in San Francisco. As a parent I also
know first hand how important Early Education was for my own children. It
was an invaluable experience for them in laying a foundation for all their
future success in school and joy of learning. I will do everything within
my power as a member of the Board of Education, as a parent and as the
Mayor's Advisor on education to increase investments in our EED programs.
This crisis has further highlighted the need for quality Early Education
opportunities for the children of our essential workers. I supported Prop C
and will continue to prioritize early education and our EED programs
through new revenue and reprioritizing existing funding even during this
upcoming budget fight. More internally to SFUSD I support better staffing
ratios. I fully support SFUSD having a more developmentally appropriate
approach to TK including better ratios with additional para-educator
support for our TK teachers. I pushed for this on the board and will
continue to do so until it becomes a reality we can count on in all our TK
We must continue supporting measures like Prop C by even wider margins and
exceed legal challenges. One of the top priorities with early education is
to increase compensation for early education educators to stabilize the
workforce, to live and work in San Francisco and furthermore, be recognized
for their work. Furthermore, the vast majority of early care workers are
women who have experienced disproportionate pay for decades. Currently, the
greatest need for expansion is 0-3 years old.
How early education is funded at the state level also needs examination and
improvement. San Francisco is a leader with early education and it's a
critical time to engage with State leaders, including Governor Newsom as
he's identified early education to be a top priority of his administration.
As my role as Education Advisor, I am actively working on early education
16. Have you read Diane Ravitch's book, The Death and Life of the
Great American School System? What lessons should the District
take from this work? Whether or not you've read the book, what
role do you see for charter schools in the public education
No, I have not read that book. I do not support the expansion of charter
schools. Public schools need to be public. I support a system of public
schools in our city that is designed to provide high quality options for
all children and their families. This means a system in which all families
have access to a great public school that meets their child's needs and
interests and a system in which all public schools are worth choosing. Most
of the time these needs can and should be met at traditional district
public schools, which offer a diverse mix of programs, from dual immersion,
to Montessori, newcomer, arts, career pathways, project-based learning,
etc. I am proud of the extensive school choices that SFUSD is able to offer
students and families, which are part of our regular school district
17. What do you think of the current requirements that students take
the SBAC test, and what are your thoughts on standardized testing
I do not support over testing or high stakes tests for students. Any test
should be part of a variety of assessments we offer educators to help guide
instructions and inform parents. While SFUSD must follow state law in
administering and reporting on student outcomes on state standardized
tests, including the Smarter Balanced Assessments in Math and English
Language Arts, the California Science Assessment, and the English Language
Proficiency Assessment for California. Our district is held accountable
under both federal and state law (including on the California School
Dashboard) for student outcomes and progress on these assessments as well
as other measures, as well as the participation rates of our students. All
assessments should be responsive to classroom needs and serve as strong
professional learning opportunities for teachers as well.
In general, I believe that end-of-year testing has a place among other
types of assessments and measures of school success. I support taking a
holistic view when assessing school success. In addition to test scores, we
must also measure school climate and culture, family engagement, and growth
in social and emotional learning. For all of these measures, we must pay
attention to which students and families are being best served, and which
groups need more resources and attention.
18. How can the public schools better address the needs of Special
Education students and ESL students?
This is a personal issue for me, as I was an English Learner myself. SFUSD
has learned a lot in recent years about how to best support strong outcomes
for our English learners, and research suggests that continued
prioritization of two-way dual immersion programs is a strategic investment
in their success.
A recent study by Stanford researchers of SFUSD's pathway programs for
English learners found that, while students in English immersion programs
perform better in the short term, over the long term students in classrooms
taught in two languages not only catch up to their English immersion
counterparts, but they eventually surpass them, both academically and
Given these strong outcomes, I will continue to prioritize investment in
two-way immersion programs in order to better serve the district's EL
students. For these programs to be successful, we also need to ensure an
adequate supply of qualified bilingual teachers to teach in these
programs. SFUSD's teacher residency program and Classified Staff Teacher
Training program is an important source of well-prepared bilingual
For Special Education students, the district can do a better job to foster
a culture of inclusion. We already have critical structures in place,
including blended learning for special needs students so they can have
access to general education coursework and their special education
coursework, strong paraprofessionals who fulfill students' needs, the SPIRE
reading program that's effective for students with dyslexia, the SOAR
program for students with emotional disturbances, and a Universal Design
for Learning (UDL) approach. We can continue to improve toward our UDL
vision for the district. UDL is a framework to improve and optimize
teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how
humans learn. UDL gives educators and school leaders a framework to answer
questions like: how do we assess learning? Our assessment should give
students the chance to show their knowledge and demonstrate they have
accessed their teaching. UDL has to be appropriately challenging. Finally,
we need more professional development for educators, in particular to
increase our successful co-teaching model where students receive the
support of two teachers working in tandem.
Additionally, I am advocating for the implementation and expansion of
learning hubs that have been approved for our highest-need students
(including SPED, ESL, foster youth, and homeless youth) to receive face to
face instruction. Before this, we will need to provide health promotion
training, materials, and resources for educators and all school staff that
support healthy buildings, classroom organization, and management
practices. This includes smaller class sizes, social distancing, regular
COVID testing, contact tracing, and the equipment to create safe learning
environments. We must also learn from our own experiences this spring, and
from emerging research, about best practices in providing high-quality
instruction through distance learning.