Parent frustration with public school leadership and policies has become a force to reckon with at the ballot box. That frustration helped propel the GOP to a win in Virginia’s gubernatorial race last month, and in California, it could see the wholesale recall of members of the San Francisco school board:

School Board President Gabriela López and commissioners Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga will face recall elections in February. Supporters of the recall say that the board spent too much time on social justice issues during the Covid-19 pandemic and not enough on ending one of the nation’s longest suspensions of in-person learning.

Also driving the recall: the school board’s social justice warrior agenda…

SFUSD attracted nationwide scrutiny when it pushed an initiative to remove the names of historic figures including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Sen. Feinstein from buildings for alleged ties to white supremacy and oppression, even as those campuses remained closed.

The board set aside the renaming debate in February with the recall effort looming, saying it would focus solely on reopening schools.

Siva Raj, a recall organizer with children in fourth and 10th grades, said the renaming campaign is one of several social justice issues the board focused on while schools remained closed. Board members also changed the admission policies of an elite public high school in an attempt to diversify its student body and rejected a gay father seeking to join a volunteer parent advisory board because he did not qualify as a diverse member.

While it’s impossible to say whether the recalls will be successful, the frustration is one reason why more parents are exploring education alternatives – from home schooling to private schools.

And what’s this? A Pelosi criticizing a public school?

Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and mother to a seventh-grader in the district, said she is undecided on the recall but wants to hear the school board members acknowledge that they failed students.

“A lot of parents felt extremely unheard,” she said, “and to be told that our concerns are just because we’re not politically correct or that we’re being partisan or elitist does a disservice to what’s actually happening here.”

Kids suffer when school boards fail. Recalling them may be cathartic. But long term education reform – including more school choice – must be the goal.