SF Green Party School Board Endorsement Questionnaire 2022
Due Date: Saturday, September 3

Candidate Name: Alida Fisher
Phone Number: 415-279-3382
Web site: www.alidafisher.com
E-mail: alida@alidafisher.com
Name of Campaign Manager: Brandon Sullivan
How much do you expect to spend in this contest: $50,000-$75,000
Major Endorsements:I am honored to be endorsed by UESF, the DCCC, the Labor Council, SMART Local 1741, the SF Women's Political Committee, SF Latinx Dems, the SF Berniecrats, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, and the SF League
of Pissed Off Voters. I am also endorsed by Assemblymember Haney;
Supervisors Connie Chan, Gordon Mar, Myrna Melgar, Dean Preston, Hillary
Ronen, and President Shamann Walton; BART Director Bevan Dufty and
Member Janice Li; Public Defender Mano Raju; former Supervisors John
Avalos, David Campos, and Jane Kim; and DCCC Members Honey Mahogany,
Keith Baraka, Gloria Berry, Anabel Ibanez, Li Miao Lovett, Faauuga
Moliga, Carolina Morales, AJ Thomas, Shanell Williams, and Han Zou. As
additional endorsements are available, I will announce them on my
website, www.alidafisher.com

Incumbent Board Member whose votes most reflect your values: Incumbent whose votes least reflect your values: I respect all of our current board members. Now is a particularly
divisive time for our school board. I align with each commissioner on
various issues.

1. What is your stance on COVID safety in the schools? Under what
circumstances might you support instating a mask or vaccine mandate,
or canceling in-person classes: 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?)

COVID still exists in our community. Schools must be prepared to
provide hand sanitizer, masks, and COVID tests (both rapid antigen and
PCR) for students and staff in order to prevent school-based
outbreaks. For a subset of SFUSD students, distance learning was
actually an ideal learning environment. SFUSD has many medically
fragile and immunocompromised students who have not yet returned to
school. The Online Learning Program and On Demand Learning Programs
were both very popular this past school year. Many immunocompromised
students, students with anxiety, slower processing speeds, and
students who experienced bullying reported more success in distance
learning. I have talked to families who appreciated that their
children could learn at their own pace during distance learning. For
example, my oldest daughter has very severe ADHD. She continued to
take virtual classes at City College once in person learning resumed.
She liked being able to pause, take breaks as necessary, and review
concepts multiple times.The proposed Virtual Learning Academy, modeled
on the OLP, OLDP, and Independence High School, was an ideal way to
support these students. Independence's hybrid model of online and in
person instruction and support has been very successful for many
students who have struggled at our traditional comprehensive high
schools. I would like to reconsider adding more online programs into
our repertoire of schools to ensure we are meeting the needs of all

2. Why are you running for school board?

I am running for Board of Education because I'm a former foster
parent, now adoptive parent. In the past 17 years my children have
attended 8 different SFUSD schools, I've been an active parent at each
one. My mom and grandmother were teachers. I loved school, school was
fun for me! However, it was my journey into identifying my children's
disabilities and learning differences that transformed me from active
parent into parent activist, and made me realize that our schools
aren't set up to help all students succeed. As a mother of African
American children, all of whom have learning differences, the issues
of social justice and equity are personal to me. My goal is to create
a public education system that meets the needs of all students and
prepares all San Francisco students for our 21st century city.
Schools should be a learning of institutions that closes the equity
gap; too often, our segregated schools widen it instead. I am running
because I'm a special education advocate. Day after day, meeting after
meeting, I fight alongside families to get supports and services to
help children succeed in school. I see how our society marginalizes
people who think and learn differently. I know what needs to be done
to provide a more inclusive education for all SFUSD students. I am a
policy wonk and data nerd who has more than a decade of experience on
District-level committees. As the past Chair of the SFUSD Community
Advisory Committee for Special Education, and member of many other
advisory boards, committees, and working groups, I have been a
collaborative partner and coalition builder. I work with our teachers,
our district administrators, and our city leaders to increase funding
for our schools and improve outcomes for our students. Now more than
ever, we need school board commissioners with a proven track record of
collaboration on behalf of our most marginalized students.

3. How are you currently involved in the SFUSD -- or how were you involved in the past?

As a parent, I've participated in school site governance (PTAs, SSCs,
PTA boards) for 17 years and District-level oversight (African
American Parent Advisory Committee, Charter School Oversight
Committee, Equity Studies Task Force, LCAP Task Force, and part Chair
of the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education) for more
than a decade. As a special education advocate, I spend my days in
school meetings, fighting alongside families to get the supports and
services to help students succeed in school. I work with school staff
to ensure our schools provide an inclusive education for all SFUSD
students.I collaborate with district leaders, CBO partners, and
families to improve outcomes for students. I am an outside-the-box
thinker who brings creative thinking to difficult problems. I have
worked with SFUSD to increase Tier 2 and 3 reading interventions at

4. How do you feel about the current school assignment system (including at Lowell)? Would you make changes, and if so, which ones?

Any enrollment system redesign must be paired with an equitable review
of school resources. Back in 2018, when Resolution 189-25A1 was
introduced, I raised questions that have still gone unanswered today:
How are we going to ensure the quality of the educational experience
in schools across the district? What is the plan to make sure all SF
public schools have the necessary resources to serve their students?
What is being done to renovate the existing under-enrolled and
under-requested schools? As Kevin Costner's character said in Field of
Dreams: ``if you build it, they will come.'' We have seen in the past
that when we provide the programming and resources that our families
have prioritized (language pathways, STEM programs, inclusion, etc) at
under-enrolled schools, families are more likely to consider these

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?

Absolutely, when there is a concentration of wealth it widens the
opportunity gap between schools. The practice of parent fundraising
fails to take into account the heritage of segregated schools. We need
to start talking about the inequities within San Francisco, including
the racial isolation in many neighborhoods. To create a more equitable
system, we should think outside the box. I would like to consider a
consolidated education fund, similar to the Palo Alto Partners in
Education . This is a concept where communities create a central fund
that is funneled into different schools based on need. When funding
initiatives are directed toward a specific group of students some
families believe that it will divert resources away from their
children, but education isn't a zero sum prospect. As John F. Kennedy
is quoted as saying, ``a rising tide lifts all boats.'' We have to
ensure that we are giving each and every student in SFUSD a high
quality public education.

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?

This was a landmark case filed against the State for SFUSD's failure
to provide basic necessities to public schools, and of those affected
schools it disproportionately impacted low income communities and
communities of color. I do not believe that all the schools in SFUSD
are in compliance with the Williams Act. I believe that the quarterly
reviews done by our compliance team look for open complaints but do
not take the much-needed step of assessing disparities in resources
and materials between schools. I think that there is still much more
work to be done. As mentioned in question 5, I still think that there
is a steep opportunity gap between schools that we have to address to
ensure each and every student reaches their full potential.

7. What is your position on JROTC in the public schools?

Neutral. I'm not a fan of our schools being used as recruiting
grounds for the military. Our children of color are
disproportionately targeted by recruiters and JROTC programs.

8. Would you support district elections for school board members?

No. The Board of Education creates policies that affect the entire
school district, and as such everyone should be able to weigh in on
who they believe would best serve SFUSD public schools. Enrollment
isn't dictated by district, so district elections could potentially
restrict our greatest accountability measure: holding our elected
officials accountable at the ballot box.

9. Did you support the 2016 Proposition A school bond? Do you think funds were spent wisely?

Yes, I was and still am in favor of Proposition A. There is much
inequity in how the funds were allocated. Many schools in the
southeast portion of San Francisco have still not undergone their
retrofits and renovations. There are parts of the bond program that
were underutilized. Green Schoolyards is an example. The program was
initially established in 2005 with Prop A Bond money, and was
available to school communities that remove asphalt, add plants, and
install outdoor classrooms.

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 subject?

I absolutely support non-citizen voting, and have stated so
publicly. All parents should have the opportunity to participate in
every aspect of their children's education, and holding elected
officials accountable is an important part of our democracy. I also
think it's important for undocumented families to understand the risks
involved in registering to vote. The Department of Elections could be
forced to provide the database of registered voters to other
governmental agencies, including federal agencies such as ICE. Parents
should consult with an immigration attorney or other knowledgeable
resource before registering.

11. What are your thoughts on the various non-profit organizations that partner and/or contract with SFUSD?

I think these partnerships are invaluable in helping provide
wraparound supports to students and families in need. I know first
hand the impact non-profit organizations and SFUSD collaborations can
have to improve student outcomes. I am a special education advocate
with CASE, the Community Alliance for Special Education. We are a San
Francisco nonprofit that supports families of students receiving
special education services advocate for their children, regardless of
income level. Our rates are based on a sliding scale, and the majority
of our clients do not pay for our services. The goal of our work is to
ensure that students have access to appropriate supports and services,
regardless of family income. Right now, it is paramount that we
collaborate with local community partners to ensure that our students
are getting the support they need. Family Resource Centers, the Human
Rights Commission's Everybody Reads program, the San Francisco Public
Library's tutoring programs, and Support for Families of Children with
Disabilities' parent support groups are all examples of much-needed
family resources that should be used as models for expanding to
support more students. They are a cornerstone of a strong community

12. Would you strengthen the voice of the elected student
representatives, so that they could introduce legislation and vote on

Absolutely, they more than anyone should have a say in their
education. If we are serious about empowering students that means
giving them the platform to exercise their voice. These are the next
generation of leaders and we should be fostering and encouraging that
drive and passion to better their community.

13. How do you see the role of the School Board in comparison to the role of the superintendent?

The school board has one employee: the superintendent. The
superintendent in comparison is charged with overseeing the day-to-day
operations of SF's public schools. Good communication and
collaboration between the two entities is important for good school
district governance.I see the role of the school board as working
collaboratively with the superintendent to implement policy for SFUSD
and set educational goals. The board must approve the budget, which
should be focused on funding our priorities in a transparent and
equitable mannder. Budgets are value statements, and it's time we fund
our values.

14. Do you think that SFUSD currently serves the transportation needs of its students? Would you make changes to the current system?

We need more school buses and school bus routes! SFUSD is
interdependent on many other agencies to meet the transportation needs
of students. There is much work to be done to coordinate with SF MTA
in order to add additional routes and offer a more consistent
schedule. Ensuring that all students get to school on time would go a
long way in serving all of our SFUSD students.

15. Would you ensure that all San Francisco students have access to a public pre-K program? If so, how?

Absolutely, even the youngest learners need access to public
education. At one time, Early Education was considered an encroachment
on public education due to the lack of funding. Now, we recognize the
value and appreciate that early education can be a tool to close the
equity gap in San Francisco. Funding is still a challenge, as it is
not covered by Prop 98. But the need to expand early education beyond
the 4500 students currently enrolled is critical. Early education
classrooms are some of the most inclusive in the district, and are a
great benchmark for many of our elementary schools. Expanding the
toddler program at Early Education Centers to more sites and more
classrooms is an opportunity to engage more families SFUSD. Expanding
SFUSD's current model of balancing paid preschool enrollment with
students who qualify for reduced or no tuition programs can help
offset costs.

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 System?

While I have not read the book, I have to say I agree with the NAACP's
resolution that calls for a moratorium on charter school expansions as
well as additional oversight for existing charters. To be fair, there
are some San Francisco charter schools that do a great job of meeting
the needs of students who have been difficult to serve in traditional
classrooms. However, I find the lack of oversight and accountability
troubling. Parent and staff involvement in board governance is still
unregulated. I believe each charter school should have a mix of
current parents and educators on their board, and should be required
to hold board meetings in the municipality where the school
exists. Even though KIPP has multiple schools in San Francisco, they
announced that all board meetings will be held in San Jose, because
the largest percent of Bay Area students are located in Santa Clara
County. That creates parent engagement barriers for families who
attend KIPP schools here in the city. I would much rather see charter
school funders work collaboratively with SFUSD to improve outcomes at
our existing (and often under-enrolled) schools rather than look to
open new schools. Charter schools provide a layer of budgetary stress
for many districts, including many here in the Bay Area. The Public
Interest released a report in May titled, ``The Cost of Charter
Schools for Public School Districts.'' The report found that, in the
2016-2017 school year, charter schools cost Oakland Unified School
District $57.3 million. This reduction coupled with Prop 39, the state
law requiring districts to make classrooms available to charter
schools, has strained many school districts to the brink of
insolvency. We can't allow that to happen here in San Francisco, which
is exactly why I joined the Charter School Oversight Committee and am
working to hold charter schools accountable to the same standards as
traditional public schools. It's also important to recognize that
charter schools are attractive to many SF families because of the
inequitable resources available across SFUSD schools. All public
schools must have the necessary resources to serve their students and
attract new families.

17. What do you think of the current requirements that students take the SBAC test, and what are your thoughts on standardized testing in

I support the idea behind Common Core education standards. I
appreciate the shift away from rote memorization and rigidity to
problem solving, growth mindset, meaningful discourse, and engagement
with peers. Having national standards helps districts prepare
graduates with the skills they need to be successful in our 21st
century society. It's important to ensure that our students are ready
for college and the workforce. However, I am worried about the amount
of testing to which we subject our children; I am not a fan of the
annual SBAC assessment that students take each spring as it takes
valuable resources away from the teaching environment.

18. How can the public schools better address the needs of Special Education students and ESL students?

As a special education advocate and mother of four students with
disabilities and learning differences, I could write a full essay
here. 75% of students receiving special education services spend at
least half of their day in general education classrooms. That means
that every classroom in every school is affected by our ability to
provide appropriate resources for students with IEPs. All teachers
must have the skillset to support all learners. Every teacher should
understand Universal Design for Learning. Ability awareness and
de-escalation trainings should be mandatory. We should have more
school psychologists, and related service providers at all schools. We
should reduce teacher caseloads.To support English Learners, we need
more translation and interpretation services! We need to provide all
English Language Learners access to tutoring and after-school
programs. Many families rely on - or would benefit from - homework
support provided through an after-school program because navigating
English language materials is a barrier. All educators and
administrators must understand the reclassification process in detail.

Due Date: Sat, Sep 3, 11:59 pm.

Please submit by email to cc@sfgreens.org. For more information, call
Barry Hermanson at 415-255-9494. Please return your answers in plain
text (not HTML, PDF, or Word format), so that we can post all
candidates' answers in the same format.

The SF Green Party will invite all candidates who return completed
questionnaires on time to speak and answer questions at our candidate

forum and endorsement meeting (scheduled for Wed, Sep 7 from 6:30 - 9 pm). Please note the earlier start time. We hope to finish all
candidate interviews by around 8. If you need to schedule a
particular time slot, or if you are unable to make the meeting, please
be in touch with us at cc@sfgreens.org. Otherwise, we'll interview
candidates as you arrive. This will be a hybrid meeting, so you may
also talk to us via Zoom if you prefer. Our forum and endorsement
meeting will take place at the Redstone Building, on the third floor
(room TBA). The Redstone is located at 2940 16th Street (between
Mission and South Van Ness, 1 block from 16th St BART).

Completed questionnaires will be posted on our website,