This was my first SF Chronicle Op-ed published 5/30/2017
Need a job? The San Francisco Unified School District is hiring.
The challenges San Francisco — and the entire state of California — has had in recruiting classroom teachers are well documented. As of today, we have about 150 classroom vacancies. There are also more than 300 vacant entry-level nonteaching positions. Of the vacancies, 130 are for school nutrition workers and 70 are for custodians. These jobs require only a high school degree and a few additional classes. Knowing that these positions are vacant in a city with a 12.1 percent unemployment rate in its African American community is particularly upsetting.
The good news is that by creating additional educational opportunities, building a strong collaboration between the district’s human resources department and community partners, I believe we can fill these vacancies by the end of 2017.
It is my hope that we can educate unemployed members of families with kids in our public schools about these jobs and how to get them. The civil service hiring process prevents the district from giving explicit preference to students’ parents. That being said, I believe that there are particular benefits to including parents as we seek to fill these vacancies. Creating stable sources of income in more children’s homes would be a huge benefit to our children and our city.
When we hire parents to support our children, we hire committed stakeholders and further empower parents to play an active role in the success of our school communities. It’s good for their child and for all our students to interact with caring adults.
I understand that a job alone will not solve the persistent challenges and stresses that a family experiencing poverty faces, but a job and consistent income does put families on a path to create more stability in the home. SFUSD is one of the largest employers in the city; we can put our new employees on a path to higher income as people continue their education and move within the organization.
Finally, I must make absolutely clear that I am not involved in hiring decisions (other than of the superintendent). As your commissioner, I am committed to doing everything I can to make sure you get the information you need and to ensure that our children have access to all of the staff and resources available. But I can’t get you a job.
If you are looking for work or know someone who is, the first step is to visit our website at edjoin.org. If you have questions about the hiring process or would like an overview of the criminal charges that may disqualify an applicant, feel free to contact our human resources department. As always, feel free to contact me directly.