SF Green Party School Board Endorsement Questionnaire 2014
Candidate Name: Mark Murphy
Phone Number: 415-577-3095
Web site: www.mark4sfusd.com
Name of Campaign Manager: N/A
Signed voluntary spending limit: No
Campaign Manager: N/A
The Campaign is proud to be endorsed by the following Clubs and Organizations in addition to the follow Elected Officials:
San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee
Laborers' Local 261
San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council
Alice B Toklas LGBT Democratic Club - Sole Endorsement
CA State Senator Mark Leno
San Francisco Assessor/Recorder Carmen Chu
San Francisco School Board Member Rachel Norton
San Francisco School Board Member Jill Wynns
San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell
San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener
City College Trustee Rafael Mandelman
City College Trustee Steve Ngo
San Francisco DCCC Vice Chair Zoe Dunning
San Francisco DCCC Member Arlo Hale
San Francisco DCCC Member Meagan Levitan
San Francisco DCCC Member Rebecca Prozan
The Campaign is proud to be endorsed by the following Community Leaders (partial list): Stephen Adams - President, San Francisco Small Business Commission
Dr. Amy Bacharach - San Francisco Community Organizer
Keith Baraka - San Francisco Firefighter
Susan Christian -San Francisco Human Rights Commission
Todd David - President Friends of Noe Valley
Mark Dunlop - Treasure Island Development Authority
Jason Galisatus - Chairman Emeritus Bay Area Youth Summit
Tom Nolan - Chairman to the SFMTA Board of Directors
Michelle Parker - San Francisco Parent Leader
Michael Pappas - San Francisco Human Rights Commission
Mark Sanchez - SFUSD Principal
Andrea Shorter - Commission on the Status of Women
Gladys Soto - CA D17 Delegate California Democratic Party
Gary Virginia - SF Pride - President Board of Directors
= For identifications purposes only
Favorite Incumbent School Board Member: N/A
Least favorite: N/A
I don't believe collegiality, collaboration, and effective governance
can be achieved by choosing favorites. I have a strong working
relationship with all seven (7) current members of the Board of
Education based on my years of advocating for San Francisco children,
my two years serving on our San Francisco Public Education Enrichment
Fund (Prop H) Community Advisory Committee (currently Co-Chair), plus
taking part in 2013-14 both on the SFUSD Vision 2025 project and the
Mayor and Superintendant's "Our Children, Our City" initiative.
1. How are you currently involved in the SFUSD -- or how were you
involved in the past?
I am running for the San Francisco Unified School Board to continue advocating for the opportunity for greatness for all our San Francisco children. I believe they must be provided every public education opportunity supported by the entirety of San Francisco. They are all our children.
My years of advocating for San Francisco children include:
2012-now: San Francisco's Prop H (Public Education Enrichment Fund) Community Advisory Committee providing oversight and feedback on $50 million budget within SFUSD supporting 17 programs including Sports, Libraries, Arts, and Music, mentoring, Peer Resource, A-G credit recovery, STEM, and translation services and numerous other programs
2000-now: work with SFUSD school site PTO/PTAs
2013-14: Mayor and Superintendent's "Our Children Our City" Stakeholder Committee advocating for reauthorization of Proposition H (Public Education Enrichment Fund).
2013-14: SFUSD Vision 2025 Initiative
2007-2012: Served on Human Rights Commission's LGBT Advisory Committee focusing on LGBT youth (passing LGBTQ legislation with the San Francisco Board of Education)
I understand and appreciate our SFUSD from many aspects, including, my
husband of 19 years is a 16-year National Board Certified SFUSD
elementary school teacher.
Focusing on the educational success of children in the City and County
of San Francisco is a moral imperative, and one I believe demands the
greatest of attention and resources.
Established in 1851, our San Francisco Schools have only had two gay
men ever serve on the Board of Education. While our School Board has
been very supportive, ground breaking in many regards, of LGBTQ
students and their needs, I intend to serve as a role model and be the
leading voice continuing to work to bring forward the many challenges
that still exist for our LGBTQ students including the increased health
and safety issues.
2. Why are you running for school board?
My vision for the School Board is to provide the necessary governance
and oversight of our District's programs and services including;
Continuing to provide a laser focus on improving outcomes for our
underachieving students Addressing larger communications challenges
with the District, Union, Parents, and city-at-large, and Engaging San
Francisco in a "whole child" conversation with both public and private
entities serving children, to ensure our children come to school
healthy and ready to learn (teeth, eyes, food?), are provided talent
and resources during the school day so richly available in San
Francisco, and seamlessly and effectively are served after school
hours further enriching our children's academic, social, physical, and
Specific components I look to address are:
Common Core implementation
Implementation of the Common Core Standards and Smarter Balance
Assessments, arguably the greatest standards and testing/assessments
change in a generation, effects every student, teacher, para
professional, administrator, parent, the entire education
community. SFUSD has begun implementing the new Standards, but
significant work remains:
Academic and language equity for all students
Technology parity at every school for every child
Greater levels of professional development and preparation time for all teachers and administrators
I will bring my unique expertise in project management implementation,
organizational communications, and change management to raise the
level of the conversation on these most important issues as the Common
Core is rolled out through the District.
Laser focus on the continued achievement gap
Education access and equity˙is paramount for a large number of San Francisco children.
In San Francisco, almost half the children enrolled in our schools live in poverty
Nearly one third begin school not speaking, reading or writing English
While funding and staffing changes within the District have improved
with the passing of Proposition 30, the state's continued economic
recovery, and the Local Control Funding Formula will help shore up
critical recent historic losses to the district's budget, the ongoing
conversation addressing the largest numbers of underachieving students
As a School Board member, my Co-Chair role of the PEEF CAC, providing
guidance on nearly $50M annual District program expenditures, many
addressing access and equity, will provide the unique background and
oversight experience to continue advocating for those children in the
San Francisco School District with less, so they can do more.
Leverage of the entirety of San Francisco's resources The success of
our San Francisco Unified School District children does not start when
the bell sounds in the morning nor does it end with the school bell in
the afternoon and definitely does not happen solely within the four
walls of our schools.
Ensuring our children come to school ready to learn having had a good
night's sleep, are fed, immunized, mentored, and cared for is a
particular 'whole child' focus I will bring to the School Board.
Within its 49 square miles, San Francisco is a City and County with
world renowned resources, from physical and natural beauty, to an arts
community rivaling the world's best, to myriad options of higher
academic opportunity, to envied LGBT leadership, to passionate civil
rights leadership, to ethnic diversity and over 100 languages, to
groundbreaking preventative and illness curing healthcare systems, and
so much more.
As a School Board member, I will remember the nearly one thousand
voices I heard during the 2013 "Our Children, Our City" community
meetings: Children are asking for help to reduce the barriers for
their success Parents are asking for improved communications CBOs are
asking for better program coordination
Also, taking part in the San Francisco Unified School District's
'Vision 2025' initiative, I experienced first hand how San Franciscans
from numerous aspects of our city are motivated to step forward and
raise the level of opportunity and success for our SFUSD school
Finally, my expertise in the areas of community facilitation and
coalition-based problem solving will continue the good work already
underway bringing together the entire City and County of San
Francisco's resources for our children, their future, their success.
3. How do you feel about the current school assignment system? Would
you make changes, and if so, which ones?
I support the proposed "CTIP Flip" as proposed by Commissioners Fewer
and Norton working to create both a stronger neighborhood system while
continuing to focus on the diversity of our San Francisco schools.
The redesigned school assignment system, as implemented, is not
meeting its stated objective, and therefore I strongly support the
"CTIP flip". Over the last three years, statistics have demonstrated
the desired school desegregation has not happened. Parents have told
me, either they, or those they know, have actually moved to a CTIP
area of San Francisco in order to get Kindergarten admission priority
to one of the "better" SFUSD schools.
Hundreds, if not thousands of hours were spent over the course of two
years developing the current school assignment system. I don't believe
there is one perfect solution, but rather there is the well
articulated plan that was vetted and implemented, but a plan that we
must regularly and honestly, iterate, review, and alter as necessary.
4. How can we redistribute the more experienced and higher paid
teachers throughout the city? What do you think the school district
needs to do to attract and improve the retention of good teachers who
are willing to work in socially stressed schools?
Solving for the disparity of experienced teaching working at socially
stressed schools is a tremendous challenge. From my own personal
experience, my husband, now a 16-year veteran teacher struggles with
this issue, but as every year passes, the factors weighing against a
move include 1) established community, 2) personal nature of stability
vs unknown, and 3) having strong leadership at school site.
Ideas I have to support more experienced teachers to move mid or late
career to socially stressed schools include providing 1) strong
in-classroom support structures, 2) social/emotional support systems
throughout the socially stressed school, and 3) established
parent/guardian engagement plan.
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?
Again, a great challenge for our schools in San Francisco is the
inequity between certain schools with activated parent communities
financially able to donate time and money versus other schools who,
because of their student population, are unable to raise the
corresponding amounts of money supporting their school sites.
California state law does not allow for the money raised through
individual PTO/PTA groups to be pooled, so my approach to address this
situation is to build programs that work with individual school site
leaders to provide training and guidance, specifically on grant
writing, school/neighborhood community activation, and collaboration
with community based organizations to address providing similar school
support opportunities other schools, with more fundraising, are able
6. What is your position on JROTC in the public schools?
I support JROTC's program fundamentals and the numerous aspects of
growth and development students in JROTC receive. The current
challenge of instructors not be certificated, though using curriculum
in their program created by nationally recognized leaders, must
continue to be addressed.
7. Would you support district elections for school board members?
While a highly complex topic, one that would require tremendous
investigation to ensure equitable representation across the entire
city and county of San Francisco, I would be open to discussing the
benefits of district elections for the Board of Education.
8. What do you think of the public comment policy at school board
meetings? How (if at all) would you change it?
I believe the public comments portion of School Board meetings is
9. How would you expand the opportunity for staff development for
paraprofessionals? What do you think of the district's staff
All classified employees are tremendously valuable members of our
district and school communities and their development is no less
important than primary classroom instructors. I believe it is most
important to provide opportunities for professional development to all
district staff demonstrating the district's commitment to all
Additional funding within the district is allowing district leadership
to provide greater number of days of professional development across
the board, and I strongly support this action. One case in point is
the implementation of the Common Core. We must work very hard to
ensure our educators within SFUSD are appropriately trained to provide
instruction according to the new standards.
10. What is your stance on allowing noncitizen parents, guardians and
caretakers of students to vote in school board elections?
In 2010 I voted "YES" on Proposition D - Non-Citizen Voting for School
Board. I support extending voting rights to noncitizen
11. In what ways would you work to increase teacher input in
administrative decision-making? How would you work to increase the
voice of school site councils (parents, students and staff), in
As noted above, the increased participation and transparency of
communications between the district, parents, and educators is a main
goal of mine when I become of member of the Board of Education.
I believe in creating a partnership in which parents, students, and
staff are not just invited to the conversation but are considered a
I favor a model of decision-making that incorporates collaboration and
conversation with parents, while recognizing the Superintendent and
senior staff have the responsibility to run the school district.
I firmly believe in structured and regular communications both from
District leadership and from the School Board. Effective
implementation of a communications plan will go far in building a
greater trust between all parties who have an active interest in
As a governing School Board member, it will be my charge to ensure
impacted communities have the opportunity to share their thoughts and
ideas on potential decisions being made by district leadership. I will
bring my community facilitation, problem solving, and decision making
professional experience to the work as your School Board member.
12. Would you strengthen the voice of the elected student
representatives, so that they could introduce legislation and vote on
Serving on the Prop H Advisory Committee, with four (4) student
representatives, I understand first hand the tremendous value students
provide in shaping district policy, spending, and staffing
discussions. Having worked with the elected student representatives to
pass legislation at the School Board, I appreciate and respect the
power of the student voice.
As a member of the Board of Education, I would actively, and
regularly, seek out the guidance, counsel, and feedback on
conversations taking place within the district, serving as their
partner, the student partner, recognizing it is the students we are
serving within SFUSD, advocating for their greatest success.
13. How do you see the role of the School Board in comparison to the
role of the superintendent?
I look forward to serving as a governing member of the San Francisco
Unified School District, overseeing the Superintendent and his running
of the San Francisco Unified School District. As a School Board
member, I welcome the opportunity to work with the Superintendent, his
senior staff, and also, "skip level" managers to ensure adequate
levels of program, school, staffing, financial, and administrative
The School Board has entrusted the Superintendent to run the school
district, but my role as a School Board member, elected by the
citizens of San Francisco, will be to bring their inquiries, insight,
and recommendations to the Superintendent and his staff.
I also believe, together with the Superintendent, we should serve as
the loudest and proudest communicators and promoters of the San
Francisco Unified School District. Coordinating and implementing an
overall communications strategy that addresses all San Franciscans,
and beyond, of the great work, success, challenges, and opportunities
within SFUSD will further demonstrate the district's efforts at
14. A portion of SFUSD income is from rental of various
properties. What changes should the district make to increase the
income from these properties?
As a member of the Board of Education, I would work to develop a
property management department within SFUSD to more actively manage
and plan for the use of SFUSD owned property throughout San Francisco.
15. What should the district do to make its schools more
I strongly support the numerous programs underway at many individual
schools sites including installation of PG&E solar panels, greening
projects on many many blacktop playgrounds, installation of America
SCORE soccer fields at school sites, and will advocate they all expand
Additionally, I am a strong supporter of recent efforts by
Commissioner Haney and Supervisor Mar to provide water refill stations
throughout SFUSD schools.
The one area I would address is garbage/recycling/composting at
individual school sites. While programs are in place, I believe there
is room for improvement.
16. What is your assessment of how adequate the School Board Sunshine
I support the current School Board Sunshine act. Having served on city
bodies governed by the Brown Act and Sunshine ordinances, I believe
SFUSD can and must continue to improve transparency throughout many
aspects of the district.
17. Should every high school have a functional, open, operating
library? If so, how could we make it happen?
As a member of the Prop H/PEEF Advisory Committee, I have seen the
TREMENDOUS improvement in our libraries usage at all grade levels
because of these funds. Libraries will continue to greatly improve
with PEEF funds, especially following the reauthorization via
Proposition C in this November's election.
Since the year prior to PEEF funding of libraries, overall book
circulation in SFUSD has increased from 6.7 books per student to 19.2
books per student in 2012-13. This is an indication that students are
Book/student circulation ratios increased in elementary schools (8.1
vs. 34.6 books per student) and K-8 schools (9.4 vs. 23 books per
student). The book/student circulation ratios at middle schools
increased only slightly (6.8 vs. 6.9) and it decreased at high
schools. It is possible that middle and high school students prefer to
utilize digital media rather than print media to read and conduct
academic research. For example, online database usage per student at
middle and high school levels in 2012-13 was much higher than at the
elementary school level, (4.3 and 3.4 sessions per student,
respectively, compared with just 1.8 sessions per elementary school
18. Would you ensure that all San Francisco students have access to a
public pre-K program? If so, how?
In my role this past year Co-Chairing the Prop H Community Advisory
Committee I worked extensively in collaboration with other community
advocates to ensure reauthorization of the Prop H funds will be on the
November 2014 ballot. The very best news is there will not be any
"Trigger" or "In Kind" language leading to greater sums of guaranteed
annual funds coming to the San Francisco School District for the next
26 years! Supporting the Early Childhood efforts led by Supervisor
Norman Yee, there will be a change to the current allocation for
universal preschool for 4 year-olds to an allocation for universal
early education for 3 to 5 year-olds, but still give priority to 4
year-olds. This early education portion of the Prop H funds could
also be used to develop services for children from birth to three
19. Did you support SB 1381, the proposal that raised the age
requirement for students entering kindergarten? How will you ensure
that Transitional Kindergarten is available to all students?
I agree with SB 1381. Similar to question #18, the access to
Transitional Kindergarten cannot be fully borne by local school
districts. In addition to advocating for the passage of Proposition C
on this November's ballot, I will strongly advocate for additional
funding from the state budget in order to more fully fund our state's
20. What do you think of the current rules regarding teacher tenure?
Regarding the Vergara lawsuit, As I have said publicly, the Vergara
lawsuit by itself is a "loss leader" and I condemn it. I expect to
follow the current due process protections in CA law as a member of
the School Board.
21. Do you think Prop 13 needs to be reformed? If so, in what ways?
How will you use your position on the Board to advocate for this?
As I have stated previously, I strongly(!) support any and all
efforts, local and statewide, addressing revisions to Proposition 13.
This was and continues to be the greatest scourge to education funding
in California. I have been excited at the prospect of Prop 13
reformation since then San Francisco Assessor/Recorder, now
Assemblyman, Phil Ting first started raising this issue locally. It is
my understanding there are current efforts underway, looking ahead to
the 2016 California ballot, in the vein of a split-roll, I believe the
most palatable change to voters in California. As a member of the San
Francisco Board of Education, I will lend my voice, my time, and my
energy to usher through any and all reforms to our existing Prop 13.
22. 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?
I do not favor privatizing or overly digitizing our public
schools. Public School is a right for all children that I strongly
support. As a school board member I will be interested in challenging
SFUSD staff to continue innovating and delivering new education
experiences for our children. When new Charter School applications are
submitted, I will have a very high threshold for approving, first
asking how the current SFUSD system might deliver the proposed Charter
School's objectives and why it is not. I will fairly scrutinize all
existing Charter Schools reauthorizations with objectivity.
23. What do you think of the District's and state's standards for
curriculum, and the federal Common Core mandate? How would you
increase student achievement levels?
Effective implementation of the Common Core, the greatest change in
academic standards in a generation, is an area of particular focus for
me. The changes coming for our students, teachers, administrators, and
parents/guardians over the next many years is not to be under
My first priority for effective implementation is to ensure
professional development/training for all SFUSD teachers,
paraprofessionals, staff, and administrators that prepares them not
just for day one, but for ongoing support and collaboration.
You, as parents/guardians, will find that communications during my
tenure as a School Board member will be a common thread for everything
I do. I believe in regular and structured communications strategies,
greater transparency, and know this is a challenge I am prepared to
24. How can the public schools better address the needs of Special
Education students and ESL students?
The complexities of serving Special Education students takes resources
and time, both which are at a premium. Recognizing the tremendously
wide spectrum of abilities for our children, from those who mainstream
easily to others who need either full-time support or nearly that, the
challenges of serving all our children are great.
One positive outcome in recent years is the significant reduction in
the number of African Americans placed in Special Education simply
because of behavior issues.
I believe we need to keep improving how we serve Special Education
students. As a School Board member I will work to hold district staff
Greater attention to the management, tracking, and implementation of
Individualized Education Plans
Classroom teacher support and their ability to provide a rich
educational experience with Para professional and Special Education
instructor support (subject matter knowledge, behavior management
25. Please describe how you make your political decisions. What is the
main basis for your decision making (e.g., consultation with your
constituents, political consultants, colleagues, unions, businesses,
donors, or your gut feelings)?
My leadership style is one of listening and learning, ultimately
bringing together disparate points of view to deliver collaborative
solutions. My effectiveness as a School Board member will come from
active and regular engagement with each member of the School Board
members both challenging the status quo and supporting the ongoing and
regular successes. As a member of the PEEF Community Advisory
Committee the past two years, I have a strong relationship with each
member of the existing School Board, across the entire spectrum of
interests. I want to be sure our leaders across the District are
working hard to always be thinking about delivering successful
programs and support for our students, and finally, how much SFUSD is
able to collaborate and coordinate with the numerous San Francisco
city departments that also have funding and initiatives targeted at
school aged children.