by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Last week, the parents of San Francisco served notice on the educational establishment with its historic recall of Board of Education President Gabriella Lopez and members Faauuga Moliga and Allison Collins. The results were a landslide; around 70 percent of voters in this incredibly blue city chose to remove these three leftists from their positions of power.
Mayor London Breed is now in the awkward position of having to refill these seats at a time San Francisco schools are suffering from an enrollment crisis, which has provoked a budget crisis. If she chooses to side with concerned parents instead of the educrats, it will represent a seismic shift in the decades-old political alliance between the educational establishment and the Democratic Party.
It’s no secret that teachers’ unions and other education organizations are overwhelmingly leftist in both culture and politics. Less well-known, however, is the extent to which these organizations have financially supported their government allies and what they expect in return.
A recent report from the Government Accountability Institute reveals not only a dramatic increase in political spending from these groups, but also an increased radicalism on social and cultural issues. The report details how the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Administration (NEA) unions have abandoned any pretense of reasoned discourse to embrace their destiny as culture warriors.
As then NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia admitted in a 2020 interview, the new focus of her organization isn’t “advocating for our members and negotiating contracts, etc.” like many affiliates believe it should be, but supporting radical movements like Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ ideology.
The report makes a point of highlighting how the educational establishment sought to leverage its power during the pandemic in order to “reimagine education.”