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Letters: Don't blame the 'system.' Black parents must take some responsibility for their children's education – San Francisco Chronicle

Gregory Leong holds a sign in support of Board of Education Commissioner Ann Hsu during a special meeting at San Francisco Unified School District office last Tuesday, The board voted to admonish Hsu over remarks about “unstable family environments” and “lack of parental encouragement to focus on learning” for Black and brown students.
Regarding “Black, brown parents don’t fail kids — the system does” (Bay Area & Business, Aug. 7): The columnist Justin Phillips does not want to acknowledge that parents of Black students have at least some responsibility for their children’s performance in school and consequently their poor performance on academic tests.
According to Phillips, this performance lag is all the result of failures in a “system” that doesn’t provide adequate resources to Black students or to the long history of racism in our country. However, my wife taught for a number of years in an Oakland elementary school that was made up of nearly all Black students, and the school provided many reading specialists, tutors and support staff and more materials than staff could make use of, but these didn’t result in any significant improvement in test scores.
At least at this school, I don’t think the “system” can be made the culprit for poor students’ performance.
John O’Hare, Moraga

Regarding “Uncertain future for S.F. Slow Streets” (Bay Area & Business Aug. 7): Slow Streets in San Francisco are so well-used and appreciated that four of them won approval by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to become post-pandemic slow streets. But in this city, the loudest (and the richest) voice can change a decision on a dime.
Now, it seems that the mayor has decided to do away with the Slow Streets, but SFMTA continues to do this charade of conducting meetings to “gather community input” and for what? Politicians with no backbones and no convictions, we will vote you all out.
Ramon del Rosario, San Francisco

Regarding “Deadly streets but few citations” (Front Page, Aug. 7): Goodness! Cops not issuing traffic citations is news? This has been a hallmark of the San Francisco Police Department many years, and it is due to an abject failure of leadership, beginning at the top.
Our mayor (and her predecessors ) and the Board of Supervisors persist in wasting our money on silly whack-a-mole attempts to alter the behavior of inconsiderate and egotistical drivers. No amount of bulb-outs, bike lanes and roundabouts will deter jerks from blowing through lights and stop signs, speeding and texting. What we know is that enforcement works, and enforcement requires more cops on the street who prioritize traffic safety.
Any sentient observer can tell you that cops on city streets are a rare sight, and seeing someone pulled over for a traffic violation is extraordinary. Yet, even the safety advocates insist we don’t need more boots on the ground enforcement. Do they think there’s an app that will fix this?
Roger Drosd, San Francisco

Regarding “Legal profession needs updating” (Open Forum, Aug. 8): The author concludes that the legal profession is ossified. Making lawyers a scapegoat misses the point. The issue is broader, a societal sclerosis that affects all of it.
The Supreme Court is afflicted by mediocrity compounded by cultural conservatism. This result is traceable to factors as diverse as a lack of critical thinking education and the celebration of individualism as a primary value. Add the decline of civility and trust in our institutions and each other.
Anecdotal manifestations of this malaise are high-infant mortality, daily arguments that erupt into gun fights, road rage, homelessness, drug addiction, depression. We are not likely to connect these dysfunctions to our wholesale mistrust of government, education and expertise, but they are all elements of the torn fabric of our society.
Sheldon Greene, Berkeley


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