SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Students in one San Francisco neighborhood are suffering from a subtle form of discrimination when it comes to substitute teachers.
Many of the children in the historically black Bayview section of San Francisco are already dealing with poverty and violence in their neighborhoods.READ MORE: Gov. Newsom Signs Executive Order to Halt Pandemic Evictions Through June
Now, San Francisco Unified school district officials say the schools here are also struggling with finding enough substitute teachers.
“I don’t feel that it’s right,” said Bayview resident Carol Green. “I mean, if you want to teach the kids, then it shouldn’t matter where you teach them at.”
Over the last two years, substitute teachers have only been accepting daily job offers at public schools in the Bayview 81 percent of the time. That’s compared to 91 percent in the rest of the district.READ MORE: Armed Guards, Volunteers Join Police to Patrol Streets in Oakland's Chinatown
“These kids, they sense things. They sense when they’re being neglected,” said Bayview Curtis Lee. “When their schools is not like the other schools, they see the disparity.”
KPIX 5 talked to one substitute teacher off camera who said when she gets the call to sub in the Bayview, she turns it down. In her case, she says it’s because she doesn’t have a car.
But she says she has also heard other subs talking about concerns that it’s a high-crime neighborhood. There are also rumors about how there might be behavioral problems in schools with high teacher turnover.
The reality is that we have a perception that is unfair and a lot of ways untrue. That those schools are more challenging to teach in, and so they don’t tend to be the first choices, said SFUSD Board Member Rachel Powell Norton. Our substitutes get to choose the jobs that they accept. And so there are other schools that we see subs more willing to go to.MORE NEWS: Royals Week: Rare Archival Footage Of Princess Margaret's 1965 SF Visit Unearthed
The district says part of the solution could be incentive pay, which of course could help the larger problem of retaining even full-time teachers in all the schools in an economy that continues to push them out of the city.