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The GrowSF Report: California adopts SF's misguided math education guidelines
PLUS: Learn about SF's budget on July 26th
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of July 17, 2023:
- California adopts SF's misguided math education guidelines
- Speed cameras may be coming
- Free downtown concerts? Not if Supervisor Connie Chan has her way
- Waymo finds human drivers in SF speed 33% of the time
- Tunnel Tops park getting a big expansion
- 7 more reasons to Dump Dean Preston
- Garry Tan joins the GrowSF Board of Directors
California adopts SF's misguided math education guidelines
One of the most formative experiences I had in high school was the calculus class I took senior year. […] In the hours I spent on the material, I discovered that after years of being convinced that I wasn’t a “math person,” I in fact was. I was capable of understanding and solving complex mathematical problems — an empowering realization that filled me with confidence and joy.
Anyone can be good at math. All it takes is focus, effort, and a great teacher.
But San Francisco equity advocates have pushed a belief that math is too hard for most kids, and that slowing everyone down so they can’t take algebra until 9th grade would boost math performance. That’s been proven wrong, and San Franciscans are united in a chorus demanding that algebra be brought back to 8th grade.
Unfortunately, the state of California hasn’t heard the chorus or read the data and have adopted San Francisco’s totally misguided math framework for students statewide. Luckily, the framework isn’t binding on school districts, but it does lay out a terrible map.
Emily Hoeven writes about the new math framework and her personal journey with learning Calculus in the Chronicle this week. She deftly advocates for giving students more opportunities to learn math, not fewer.
In addition to generally de-emphasizing calculus, it also suggests that girls and students of color specifically might find more success in alternative math courses such as data science. Both principles are misguided practically and philosophically.
We strongly recommend giving her piece a read.
When you’re done with that, check out Armand Domalewski’s data-laden argument against this math framework. His piece is especially enlightening because he supported the changes years ago, only to change his mind after seeing the results.
Years ago, I supported San Francisco’s efforts to rework the curriculum based on that argument—I believed those who said it would improve educational outcomes for the kids struggling the most without hurting those who were already succeeding.
I was wrong. Not only did pushing out 8th grade Algebra hurt kids who were at the top of their class by forcing them to pay for private classes or other workarounds to get the credits they needed to apply for UCs, the claim that it would help outcomes for kids who were struggling turned out to be a bald faced lie.
— Armand Domalewski in “California needs real math education”
Speed cameras may be coming
About a decade ago, SF implemented “Vision Zero”, a plan to bring traffic-related deaths and injuries down to zero. Unfortunately, we are nowhere near our goal.
Collisions that occur at low speeds are less deadly. The risk of death at 30mph is 9%, and 50% at 40mph, so Vision Zero should focus on reducing vehicle speed on high-injury streets, and the easiest and most cost-effective way to do that is to use automatic speed cameras.
A bill introduced in the State Legislature, AB645, seeks to launch a five-year pilot program to automate speed enforcement in six cities, writes Isabel Funk for The Chronicle. It would allow automatic tickets to drivers who are driving more than 11 mph over the speed limit in areas monitored by the system, like school zones.
Some people oppose this on “equity” grounds, which is ridiculous. An automated, objective system that uses no data except for speed of a vehicle would be more objective and more fair than a human officer.
10 years of Vision Zero and pedestrians are less safe then they ever were. Let’s turn the page on this issue, and solve the problem.
Free downtown concerts? Not if Supervisor Connie Chan has her way
Who could be against free concerts? District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan, it turns out.
Given all of the negative news about San Francisco of late, one would think city leaders would welcome any opportunity for fun and to improve the city’s image. Unfortunately, Supervisor Chan is part of the anti-fun brigade putting these free concerts in jeopardy.
According to Rachel Swan at The Chronicle, Outside Lands producer Another Planet Entertainment (APE) wants to host a second, much smaller weekend for Outside Lands one week after the main event. In addition, they will put on series of free concerts downtown, brining foot traffic and business to areas in sore need of it.
Supervisor Chan is attempting to extract concessions from APE, and in doing so has put all of these concerts at risk. We cannot allow narrow interests, like those Supervisor Chan is beholden to, destroy the vibrancy (and fun) of SF.
Waymo finds human drivers in SF speed 33% of the time
Waymo’s self-driving cars collect a lot of data as part of their training, including the speed of the cars around them. What they’ve found is that fully a third of the cars around them are going above the posted speed limit, write Ricardo Cano for The Chronicle.
Human drivers are prone to accidents and distraction, contributing to the almost 50,000 thousand killed in auto accidents nationwide. Self-driving cars, like those from Waymo and Cruise, do not suffer from these same issues (and incidentally are limited from going above the posted speed limit). For safer streets, we need to embrace policy changes like traffic cameras and innovations like self-driving cars, which will allow both motorists and pedestrians to be safer as they go about their day.
Tunnel Tops park getting a big expansion
The hits keep coming with San Francisco parks!
The new, and very popular, Tunnel Tops park is getting an expansion, according to Tessa McLean at SFGate. Tunnel Tops will get a new section called Outpost Meadow that will open in 2025. Asphalt will be torn up to provide more grills, bike parking, drinking fountains and picnic tables, an oft-made request.
We look forward to more space in this wonderful park, and more majestic views to enjoy!
7 more reasons to Dump Dean Preston
This week’s theme was bad governance, anti-growth choices, and NIMBYism.
Reason #15: Outdoor dining saved countless small businesses during Covid, but Dean tried to kill the program.
Reason #16: Dean killed a good-government reform that would have prevented NIMBY gadflies from stopping vital health and safety city projects.
Reason #17: Dean spent years fighting against new homes which would replace a gas station at 400 Divisadero. The project is now dead.
Reason #18: Remember when Dean fought the expansion of UCSF hospital during a global pandemic?
Reason #19: Oh yeah, Dean also fought nearly 2,000 low income homes at the same UCSF site!
Reason #20: Dean Preston supports the court injunction keeping people in tents
Reason #21: Dean Preston killed homeless housing in Japantown
Garry Tan joins the GrowSF Board of Directors
We couldn't be more thrilled to welcome YCombinator President, Garry Tan, to the GrowSF Board of Directors. Garry has used his prominent voice to be an outspoken advocate for great public school math education, public safety, and more housing. Bright days are ahead for SF!
Thank you, Garry, for joining us on our mission to fix San Francisco!
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Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Show Me the Money: San Francisco City Budget Explainer
WHEN: Wednesday, July 26 at 6:30 PM
WHERE: Unity Center of San Francisco, 2690 Ocean Ave
San Francisco has a $14B annual budget. Where does all that money go?
The Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s office just finished negotiations for the SF city budget for fiscal year 2024 and 2025 and we have a lot of questions. What got funded? What got cut? Given all the news about a "doom loop" and businesses leaving the city, how did we balance the budget?
Sophia Kittler, Director of the Mayor's Office of Innovation, will be joining us to explain the big changes in this budget agreement and to answer your questions.
The Spirit of San Francisco
There’s a lot to love about our city and the Bay Area. Here’s what makes it great. Brought to you by The Bold Italic.
What we’re doing this week
Japantown’s “Bon Odori” street dance festival
This 92nd-annual day of festivities celebrates the Buddhist Church of San Francisco’s return of the spirits of their ancestors. The public is welcome to join in the dances on Octavia Street between Pine and Bush Streets.
WHEN: July 23, 2023 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
WHERE: 1881 Pine Street; on Octavia St. between Pine and Bush streets
La Tania Flamenco dancing
The world premiere of an immersive, multimedia flamenco experience, co-produced by the extraordinary flamenco artist La Tania and the Presidio Theatre. With dance and music intertwined with poetic visual imagery, this sensory journey evokes both personal and universal movement as related to hope, renewal, and impermanence.
WHEN: Today, July 22 at 7 p.m. and July 23 at 4 p.m.
WHERE: Presidio Theatre Performing Arts Center, 99 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco
What we’re writing about
I visited SF, and it’s not a hellscape to me
“If I believed everything I heard about San Francisco, I would have missed out on one of the best trips I’ve had in recent memory.
I drank coffee each morning in Michael’s Bernal Heights backyard, the perfect place to marvel at the tiny hummingbird nest perched in his apple tree. The afternoons were spent wandering the stacks at Green Apple and Dog Eared Books, scooping up cheap used copies of Natalia Ginzburg and Deborah Levy.” Lindsay Pugh describes her experience visiting SF for (almost) the first time.
Everything was bananas at the Hayes Valley Carnival
Between the hot dogs and San Francisco-made ice cream, a few carnival game booths and face painting, the atmosphere was excited and jubilant. And everyone who we talked to remarked about the importance of neighborhood events as a space and time to bring your kids, meet your neighbors and enjoy a sunny weekend afternoon.
Anchor Brewing’s closure reminds me that nothing lasts forever
“If there’s someplace you enjoy visiting that you haven’t been, go back. If there’s someone you love who you haven’t seen or called, reach out. Or make a point to get together with your friends in your favorite place. Because the place — and the friends — won’t always be there.” Cameron Weston writes about how the closure of Anchor Brewing, a San Francisco institution, has affected him.
Packed from day one: New Flour+Water Pizzeria hits North Beach
The newest Flour + Water Pizzeria just opened June 28, 2023, in North Beach in the former Rose Pistola space, an Italian favorite of so many San Francisco longtimers. It’s heartwarming to see life in the 4,000 square foot space again after six years, located on a prime block of Columbus Ave. And it’s already packed every night, even early on a Tuesday when we visited.
What we’re celebrating
Heather Knight leaves SF Chronicle for New York Times
We at The Bold Italic agree with others that longtime columnist Heather Knight is a gem to the local San Francisco media landscape. It’s great to see her career continue to climb as NYT’s next San Francisco bureau chief.
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