John Trasviña, Candidate for our SF School Board
My Commitment to Serve
I'm grateful for the quality education I received from our San Francisco public schools. My teachers at Commodore Sloat, Aptos and Lowell prepared me for Harvard University, Stanford Law School and a successful life in public service including service as an assistant cabinet secretary under President Obama and dean of the University of San Francisco School of Law.
But the same quality education that I had is unavailable for many students in our city today. We must do better and that is why I seek your support for the Board of Education.
Improving the State of our Public Schools
We are a public school nation and our democracy is founded on educated citizens. Today, the successes of the San Francisco Unified School District are not evenly distributed throughout the city. Far too many students score below grade level, are not sufficiently progressing in their language and math skills, or fail to graduate. Other students lack the support to reach their full potential.
Our school district has two vitally important tasks: it must continue to provide an excellent education to students ready to take advantage of the opportunities available to them and it must work strenuously to make those opportunities available to all students.
I can bring unmatched skills and experience to help our schools make the strides toward progress we so desperately need for all our students, especially those most underserved.
My Background and Qualifications
I served on the Board of Education as one of the first student representatives when I was a student at Lowell High School. Since then, I've gained the practical experience of running a school, USF’s School of Law. Leading USF’s law school confirmed for me that we must pay our closest attention to pre-K through grade 12 education, the starting line to higher education and success in life.
My parents, who came to San Francisco as immigrant children and learned English in our public schools, instilled in us the value of education, hard work and serving others. My mother was one of the city’s first junior high bilingual teachers and I walked with her on the first SF teachers’ picket line in 1968. My father successfully represented his NABET Union Local 61 in their strike against NBC. My sisters and brother-in- law have been teachers and counselors for decades in Bay Area public schools. I have also taught in the classroom and will bring our family history of education and activism to this post.
What I can do as your School Board Member
While board members don't run schools, they do help formulate policy to advance the mission of our schools and support the superintendent, teachers and staff to maximize their expertise for academic excellence. Serving as your voice on the Board of Education, I will ask the right questions and insist on the answers. I’ll be a bridge for parents, students, the community, the superintendent and district personnel.
I will use my policy, civil rights and budget expertise from being President Obama’s HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing, law school dean and President/General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to set the bar high for all children and ensure they have a way to succeed.
What we can do together
Parental engagement is critical to a child's successful educational experience. The stress and uncertainties of the current student assignment process turn parents who can afford it away from our schools and frustrate many who remain, in part, because they have no other options. We must do better for families of all backgrounds.
All parents of every background, native and newcomer alike, want the best future for their children, ideally in a school close to home so they can more easily visit and then reinforce at home what is taught at school. Connecting parents throughout their school years and actively involving all the major institutions of our city will invest everyone in the effort to educate our kids.
I base my style of leadership on listening first and then acting on what I have learned. By listening and working with vulnerable communities during my time in the Obama Administration, I helped produce the first federal discrimination protections for pregnant women seeking home loans and LGBT individuals and families to have equal access to HUD housing and programs. When I’ve fought for the rights of immigrants, listening to their hopes and dreams for their children kept me going.
I love San Francisco. We are a world-class city whose families deserve a world-class education for our children. The SF public schools gave that to me. In turn, I am committed to devoting my time and energies for all our children to obtain an education that prepares them for higher education and meaningful jobs after they graduate. Ultimately, our educational system must enable our kids to be successful 21st century citizens.
Asking for your help
Thank you for reading. I hope I can count on your vote and your support.
Please join me in this urgent effort to improve our schools and educate all of San Francisco's children.