If you walked by the baseball field at Golden Gate Park on March 29, you might have seen a curious sight: A circle of high schoolers focused intently on tangles of colorful Christmas lights, wires, batteries and switches.
It was the first Monday of spring break — shouldn’t these kids be lounging at home? Instead, they had opted to learn about circuits with Andrew Libson, a long-time Mission High School physics teacher with a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Afterward, they played Jenga and ate pizza.
And now, Libson might be in trouble for it: He’s under investigation by the school district’s human resources department and is awaiting a verdict that he fears could be anything from a slap on the wrist to a suspension.
It’s unclear what rules Libson may have violated to prompt an investigation. To his knowledge, he didn’t — and took care not to — violate any district rules, emphasizing to students that the event was entirely optional, and not a class. He also required students to get the consent of their parents before attending, with colleagues available to translate and field questions about the event in Spanish and Chinese. In the end, about 10 of 120 students opted in.
“We did more in an hour and a half than we could do in two weeks online,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience, revitalizing.”
Libson’s outdoor event is yet another example of how public school parents, students and educators are taking learning into their own hands as negotiations to reopen the city’s schools drag on. Though some younger students returned to classrooms this week, the district still lacks a plan to bring the majority of middle- and high- school students back this academic year.
When online school resumed on April 5, after spring break, kids were abuzz about the circuit-making event, telling their peers and teachers, Libson said. That’s likely how the news quickly made it up the grapevine to Principal Pirette McKamey.
By noon, an email from McKamey landed in Libson’s inbox, asking whether he had held an “outdoor class” during spring break. On Thursday, he and a union representative met with McKamey, where he fielded questions about the event and his motivations for hosting it.
By the end of the meeting, he said McKamey told him she was escalating the incident to the district’s human resources department, as she was out of her depth. Libson added that he got the sense McKamey was not on board with the outdoor learning session.
“I could find out tomorrow that they looked into it and decided not to do anything,” he said. “I could also find out that I’m suspended without pay.”
McKamey did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Daniel Menezes, SFUSD’s chief human resources officer, wrote in an email that the district does not comment on individual personnel matters, including investigations. He also declined to comment on broader questions about how long investigations take to conclude and what rules may govern how teachers interact with students during the pandemic or with students outside the classroom.
“We do review any allegation of misconduct by SFUSD staff, and in instances where misconduct occurs, consequences and discipline are determined by our collective bargaining agreements and Board Policy,” he wrote.
Union president Susan Solomon also declined to comment on what rules may be at play in an investigation, citing the union’s general practice of leaving the explanation of the school district’s rules to the district.
The whole incident has been disappointing for Libson, who is worried about how schools have stayed online. In addition to concerns he has about the impact of online education on students’ mental health and ability to learn, he’s worried the pandemic has been testing grounds for a permanent shift to remote learning.
“This story shows the backwardness of how we’re approaching education right now,” he said. “We’re totally open to keeping kids separate, and we censure them when they do something different.”
Two parents whose children attended the event confirmed that the activity had been presented as entirely optional and had given informed consent to let their children participate. Both also confirmed that the event had been held with safety protocols enforced, including masks, social distance, hand sanitizer and wipes.
Dalia Montoya, whose two children attended the activity, emphasized that the event was not a class — she recalled seeing another mother and five-year-old partake in the activity, as well as her daughter, Danai, who is not in Libson’s class. “That’s not a class, to me,” Montoya said.
Danai, who is in 10th grade, added that she had fun that day and didn’t believe the event warranted an investigation.
“It was the first time that I actually felt like I enjoyed learning again,” she said. “I just joined and he was okay with it because it wasn’t a part of school. He was letting us have a time where we can enjoy ourselves again.”
One of the parents, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions against his daughter, said his daughter had loved the event: She wants to be an engineer, and physics is a hard subject to learn from a book.
“Mr. Libson, he’s one of the teachers that SFUSD needs,” the parent said. “He’s concerned about his students, he’s willing to go the extra mile for them. I’m concerned about what kind of penalty or punishment he could face.”
Thanks for this informative article.
Note to self: Don’t accept a job at a school with this principal !
Thank you to the journalist for being willing to cover these long overdue topics of bullied teaches in SFUSD. Thank you to Andy for being brave enough to share this reality. The retaliation in SFUSD is no joke.
First, I want to thank Kate Selig and Mission Local for reaching out to me and writing this article. I also appreciate that work done to get a response from the UESF, my principal and SFUSD. I also REALLY appreciate the willingness of parents who got involved to support me in this moment. They signed up for a simple lesson in the park, not this, but I will be forever grateful that all of the parents I contacted were willing to support me in some way. There is a myth out there that parents and teachers interests diverge at this moment. It is completely untrue. We BOTH benefit from a return to TRUE in person education and will need to band together to preserve it. I do believe online, remote education will be becoming an ever increasing part of the students experience unless we fight the Silicon Valley, Wall Street agenda to do away with brick and mortar schools and ‘reimagine’ education as labor is being ‘reimagined’. Isolated. Remote. Deeply alienating and therefore, easily controlled. This future is not about greater freedom, but greater subjugation.
Despite the fact that UESF leadership said ‘no comment’ in the article, which was weak, because there are other teachers out there who are doing this in the shadows, and they need to know that their leadership will support them if targeted. I will say that I was privately called by a representative who told me that they would provide a lawyer if necessary. I do appreciate that.
To all my former students who have reached out and expressed support. I am forever grateful. This last year has helped me realize how much you have all given me by being willing to be honest and open with me while I essentially worked in a system that was about compliance and indoctrination. Your trust in my despite deep problems in our educational system is a major reason I still love being a teacher.
To my teacher colleagues, we better wake up. The longer we stay remote, the more we erode the confidence of parents and students in our offer of in-person education. If we do not return to our classroom and fight for an education system we believe in (which in my opinion means fighting the tech takeover of education), parents and students will RIGHTFULLY look elsewhere. We continue on this path at our own peril. What we are doing is very unsafe for all current and future workers in this county .
I had Mr.Libson as a teacher when I was in high school and he always demonstrated his passion for teaching and hearing about this upsets me because what he did was very creative and thoughtful! Especially in these times students need some form of interaction, online school is tuff! Students learn best by interacting and through experiences and Mr.Libsons lectures were always fun and engaging! The district should really stop this nonsense and instead focus on what’s best for the students education!
The SFSD has a VERY long history of being retaliatory against anyone a person just doesn’t like. The district has been racist, ageist and abully way too long. The powers that be sit atop their thrones in their ivory towers Nd randomly decree “Off with their heads” to remind themselves of their power and try to justify their paychecks. It is time for the people who actually pay for those paychecks to stand up and say enough is enough. The students come first
SFUSD needs to worry about getting schools open last October and nothing else.
Daniel Menezes is the person in SFUSD who is in charge of COVID management and HR. By all measures he is FAILED. Our district is an international joke and Daniel Menezes is benefiting from the fact that there are two very easy targets on the BOE. However it was Daniel Menezes and a few other people who kept schools closed and still have no plan for high schools to open this year. I’m so angry that they are picking on a teacher as a deflection for having failed so many students. Please Mission Local keep the public posted on how this turns out.
As a former parent of two Mission students I can attest to the great lengths the teachers go to in order to keep students engaged. I fully support Andrew Libson’s wonderfully inventive idea for teaching students outdoors. Shame on the district for not backing him.
Goodness I love Mission Local but this seems like a heavily biased and one sided article.
My initial reaction was that of excitement, kids getting true enrichment and connection in a safe space outside. Then I did some digging.
It wasn’t hard to find this teacher online and came across all public pages sharing his views. I would have hoped that Mission Local would have done the same.
A direct quote from their most recent interview on Left Lockdown Skeptics on 3/18/2021 stated that his “desire (is) to get back immediately, with full in-person contact—no masks or 6 feet of separation, no mandated tests or vaccinations.”
The article goes on to share a plethora of theories, but as a parent, this is alarming to see (even more so coming from a science teacher) and while at the surface, I would be thrilled to have my child back in school, I can see why and expect a school to be held accountable when we send our child back.
There’s clearly more than is being shared in this article. Information gathering seems called for.
The meeting in the park was optional. If you are so “ concerned” about a teacher who has different political views than you , you could just hold your own kid out- that’s why kids have parents. But every child doesnt have to do or not do things because of your feigned “ concerns.”.
@ “ Concerned SF Parent”
I don’t believe you are actually a parent. SFUSD administrators are known to manufacture “ evidence” against teachers using anonymous “ parent concerns.” I believe that is the case with your post. In the 1 percent chance you really are a parent, I think if your going to do some” digging” into Dr. Libson’s political or religious beliefs , you will find that while he tends to swim upstream and I don’t happen to often agree with him, he is always professional and keeps the best interest of the students at the forefront. Perhaps, you have time to exercise your right to find out about teachers personal lives, but many of us are trying to stay afloat and navigate a school district that is hostile to both its students and classroom teachers. They have closed schools!!!!! I am going to spend whatever free time I have “digging” into to fixing that.
@Concerned SF Parent… Mission Local was highlighting an issue about an attack from the District to a teacher. Whatever Dr. Libson’s beliefs, stance, or political positions are we need rally around and support this teacher. This is BEYOND this teacher. Do you not see how this could set a precedent for ANY teacher seeing their students afterhours?? And should a District go after a teacher bc of their positions? So, ANY teacher that is religious, Republican, Socialist, or Muslim could possibly be in a precarious situation bc we don’t agree with them? You better be careful with your type of rhetoric. Your “digging” isn’t actually helpful. What you should be digging about is how Susan Solomon, UESF President, didn’t come to his defense as his union. As another person already said, the event was optional. Any parent could have their child attend or not attend.
@Don Eduardo Abarca
1) I’m sorry to hear but not surprised that Susan Solomon isn’t helping Andy:(
2) As a teacher and parent, I would be happy if the district made very clear and consistent rules about staff and students meeting outside school hours. I believe that the union and the district leave rules vague and nebulous so that they can discipline certain employees for behaviors while celebrating other employees for the same behavior.
3) In SFUSD, even a rumor that you don’t agree with 100% of the political leanings of UESF &SFUSD can get you bullied to the point that you leave.The mobbing in SFUSD is a big problem. As much as I don’t like the term “Cancel Culture”, I know that SFUSD &UESF were perfecting that art before it was an actual term.
1) I don’t believe even a little bit that the person pretending to be a concerned parent is actually a parent. I believe it to be one of the Sockpuppets for SFUSD or UESF or both.
2) I agree that Andy is a great teacher regardless of his political practices.
I have stopped doing out of class activities because of stuff like this. It’s not worth the risk of losing my job.
Yeah.Working SFUSD is hard if you aren’t a groupthinker. If an SFUSD principal is targeting you, then you can’t even look sideways without getting popped.If you participate in the principal’s groupthink, you can pretty much do anything and never get held accountable. Andy Libson is a great teacher, but he’s not a groupthinker, so he’s going to get targeted. He’s also not young, and about exactly 55, so they are going to start targeting him really hard to get him to go out before he is fully vested in his retirement pension. They have to save the money for the big pensions for the administrators and people at Central Office.
If he gets anything short of an award then the whole education system aught to be rethought in SF.
1. Who’s complaining? Certainly none of the parents whose child(ren) attended… So what interest does the school district claim they are investigating when there was no harm done?
2. What parent/caregiver wouldn’t entrust their child to: a passionate expert- a popular, dedicated master-teacher- a highly-qualified, credentialed, hard-to-fill STEM professional? Mr. Libson exemplifies the best kind of teacher; the kind who deserves a “Teacher of the Year Award” for going above- and beyond- the call of duty. People learn best from hands-on experiences through co-constructivist model and scientific investigations.
3. Create their own safety guidelines? I fail to see this as a concern at a time when schools are re-opening with indoor seating less than 4 ft apart.
4. Equity- access to the activity might be a legitimate cause for concern for younger children, but high schoolers (esp. those who attend this working-class, immigrant school population) are independent enough to navigate the city on their own.
***What would those of you who are concerned- suggest as an alternative?
Daniel Menezes was COVID manager for SFUSD. Maybe if Mr. Menezes had actually gotten his act together and opened schools then students wouldn’t have to meet in the park. So many people are blaming Alison Collins and Gabriela Lopez for closed schools, but it was Daniel Menezes who was supposed to put together a plan and he still has none for high schools. As long as parents sign a form, I think more teachers should start meeting in parks. Good job Andy!!!
The principal was in CYA mode and decided to kick the “incidence” up the chain of command. I heap kudos on this devoted educator for his extracurricular activity.
The 10 enlisted students were motivated to learn more on-hand field experience in physics.
The Educators’ Union must support this teacher against the ‘accusation’ of the principal, based on Principle!.
Sorry you know so little of the teaching world. Teaching grades K-12 has gone from a profession to a vocation. Many or even most teachers spend money and time above and beyond the call of duty.
I am sick and tired of equity being used to mean bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator rather than lift everyone up to the highest common factor. SF, SFUSD and SF BOE are poster children for liberal loonies running amok stalling everything. Enough to make a card carrying Democrat like me realize how bad the extreme left can be. F*ing incompetent nitwits!! Kafka has nothing on these morons. Boot them out and recall the board.
It isn’t just the BOE that needs to go. It’s also the top tier at the district on Franklin Street. Daniel Menezes is the poster child for this epic failure that is SFUSD’s handling of this entire pandemic. He is quite literally the actual person who failed and continues to fail to put together a viable plan to get High Schoolers back into schools.Right now the district is scrambling to find substitutes and count windows. It doesn’t take a PHD in operations, or a consultant to figure out these are things that should have been done months if not a year ago. The arrogance, entitlement and incompetence of Daniel Menezes and Dawn Kamalanathan is costing our city’s children every day. We need to fire the executives on Franklin Street and give the actual caring teachers a raise! If Daniel Menezes has the audacity to do anything but give this teacher pat on the back, he should expect to hear from parents whose kids go to other high schools – Correction – kids can’t even get into their high schools because of Daniel Menezes, kid log-on to other high schools.
As a physician and parent of public school children, this article is so disheartening for retaining quality STEM teachers. Here is an individual who clearly could have chosen a more lucrative path with his knowledge/education, and yet has chosen to teach STEM to the next generation in our public schools.
Re COVID risk, attached is a favorite lay person article I share with parents from back in February that covers studies from many of the US schools that chose to go ahead with in person school early (whether that was wise or not at the time), but have shown it is low risk with the basic CDC guidelines in place. Dr. Libson included those and was even outdoors: https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2021/2/15/22280763/kids-covid-vaccine-teachers-unions-schools-reopening-cdc
Re risk for predation (which should always be taken seriously), with social distancing and parents welcome and some attending, it seems quite a reach.
As far as equal opportunity/access to all, there will always be some degree of that wtih unique events because a geographic location/date/time has to be chosen, but this hardly seems to be the spirit of what took place.
So, I hope after the district takes a quick look at safety, the rest of the meeting is spent figuring out how to laud this teacher for his creativity in finding a way to safely teach STEM this year and inspire students. He did this during his own time off, and also connected with youth who may be struggling in other ways this year with remote learning.
The principal should think about whether she may have discouraged some budding STEM teachers with her actions. For Dr. Libson’s sake, I hope this isn’t a situation of ‘those who can’t teach, administrate’.
Cheers to all the teachers out there who went above and beyond this year! Thank you!
Ah, sam (sic) Apparently your no-doubt home-schooling turned out to be an exercise in futility. Like so many low information types such as yourself, you make yet another feeble attempt to perpetuate the myth of the high-salaried teacher (Not in THIS country, partner. What do you think teachers are– athletes?!) and oh yes, the three-month vacation. (Were you remiss in not also noting that the temporary closing of schools was nothing more than political theatre and had no scientific basis?) To you I paraphrase Mark Twain: Lies, damned lies and… what Carl, J.F. and especially Lolo wrote. By the way, re Lolo’s entreaty: Be sure to use a condom– because I care. Thoughts and prayers. Go Giants!
You don’t think that’s a high salary? Especially compared to our brave grocery store workers, and waiters who had to go into work everyday? I’m actually a product of SFUSD public schools, I know there are great teachers. I also know there are many terrible teachers who in this pandemic showed their true colors. Why do you use so many parentheses? (All of your arguments seem disjointed and erratic). Go niners!
Mission Local commenters: The teachers are agents of an insidious commie agenda. This “equity” they have adopted as their mission is dangerous and only punishes those who deserve to be rewarded for merit.
Also Mission Local commenters: Shame on teachers for making more money than the amount that I, the socioeconomic commissar, deem is appropriate.
I’m not saying that teachers make too much money. I’m saying they should go do their job and help out our poor students. Especially when so many other people who make way less than them went to work everyday.
I have noticed that you continually place teachers in the same category as grocery workers. Educators have at least one degree minimum along with certifications. So yes, there will be a difference in compensation. I am thankful for all front line workers. Do your research regarding our summer break and that police, then teachers have the most stressful occupations. Maybe your educational experience was not so great and I will be the first to admit that some teachers should’ve chosen another profession but please show us the same respect and grace we extend to others. Also, even the worst teacher puts in no less 10 hours a day. Working from home is actually more strenuous than in person.
As to the main thrust of this article regarding the activity this man, and these children and their parents participated in, I fully support what occurred. It was not a sanctioned school activity, and despite the fact that it was a “teacher” and “school students” involved, it was not an unsanctioned “school” activity either. That it was an “educational” activity is relevant and undeniable. Giving and receiving education is not in the sole realm of school systems, whatever they may be. This is my opinion, but it is based on a lifetime of being around, and involved with, education.
Yes, we do want any student to be safe from unwanted and inappropriate behavior from any adult, or other student for that matter. In my many years of education, my children’s education, plus twenty-three years as a trustee on a County School Board in a Gold Country County, I have seen the very best, and the very worst, of things. Fortunately the good, better and best far exceeds the bad, worse or worst by a wide margin.
Ingenuity and thinking outside the box in education is a precious commodity that needs to be encouraged and praised. This reminded me exactly of something both my older son and younger daughter experienced in the middle-school aged years. The math teacher they both ultimately learned from, had a passion in astronomy. He managed to relate the subject to his students to a small degree in the classroom, but he did something that went beyond those walls and the school day. He invited students one night a year, to join him on the edge of the school grounds, that had a magnificent and open view of the heavens, for a star gazing event. It was, like this was, totally optional, with parents being fully appraised of the situation and invited to show up as well if they desired. He brought telescopes and encouraged the participants to bring what they might have had, and he shared his passion with the attendees. Always a memorable experience for all involved. Of course the school did know about it before hand, and implied approval had already been obtained. I tend to think that there may have already been more open-mindedness to this type of thing in existence, but I base that only on what I’ve known more intimately about that school district, and what I have heard quite regularly about the one in San Francisco.
The bottom line is that the true ultimate and necessary responsibility of a child’s education rests with the parents. I am not downplaying the important and relevant responsibility of the school systems when I say this. I am a strong supporter of the public school system of our nation, and the bonafide need for private educational providers as well. I also strongly support a well-administered home school system for those students who may fare better in that type of environment.
I needd to stress that educators in our pre-school to high school systems are very underpaid for what they do, and they too often pay for much of what can help the students in classrooms daily out of their own pockets. I for one, think that this is a national shame.
I hope this man is treated respectfully and appropriately for what he truly is, a thoughtful and caring individual, who did something that any parent or student should be proud and happy with. I believe he stands as a model to open-minded eduction, the kind that inspires students to enjoy their learning experience.
This is everything that’s wrong in San Francisco. “The rules” are getting more and more ridiculous by the minute. Only one parent at a time can watch their kids youth sports games, teachers can’t bring joy to their students at an informal meet up. But we have no issues with drugstore shelves being cleared out on the daily, open air drug use and public fornication on city sidewalks in the neighborhoods most densely packed with children and families. Our priorities are so whacked I have almost lost all hope for a change. That teacher should run to the nearest catholic or private school where they would embrace instead of punish his ingenuity and compassion.
If a teachers are lesbian/gay, or supporters of reproductive rights, or if they otherwise stray from other non-negotiables of the church’s dogma, Catholic schools (which are the majority of private schools) won’t welcome them. This is the dilemma faced by many teachers in SFUSD: we know we work for a corrupt, incompetent, disingenuous organization, but we don’t necessarily have other options. We shoulder on and do what we can do to help our students, but those of us who can’t afford an interruption of income do not take the kind of risk that this Mission teacher took. The risk he took — and I’ve seen this happen to many others — is this: he stepped outside the ordinary expectation of his role and did something that got students excited, that created a buzz. The district employs an enormous number of people responsible for sniffing out and stamping out that kind of excitement. They might leave you alone if it has something to do with anti-racism, but in general any stand-out excellence from an individual teacher will usually mean the long knives are coming out. The fact that this guy has a doctorate from a well-regarded university already meant he had a target painted on him — there’s really nothing an SFUSD administrator hates quite so much as an intelligent, educated person — and I can only assume he hasn’t worked in this district very long if he didn’t realize what he was likely to call down upon himself.
and why does SFUSD have such mean- spirited principals? there really is a systemic culture problem?
The good principals don’t last long. Board member Alison Collins, of “house ******” fame, got her kids’ school principal fired while she was PTA mom, presumably because they were competent.
Alison Collins did not get principal Theel fired. She may have made her life miserable, but a PTA president can’t get a person fired. It was the BOE (Matt Haney, Shamann Walton, Rachel Norton) and the people at central office who empowered Collins who at the was just a bully parent harassing educators with her library audits and then the unions turned around and endorsed her when they knew she had been a bully. Let us not forget the system that put Collins in power:
so much in SF about the 1 principal who got targeted by Collins and nothing about the many teachers who were so hurt by her being an instructional coach in Oakland.
“Getting someone fired” is not the same as “firing someone.” Twitter mobs have gotten people fired, but ultimately the firing is done by their employer.
You’re right that lots of politicians enabled Collins and many other sanctimonious and ineffective local tyrants.
I think we are saying the same or similar thing.
I just want it to be noted that SFUSD had a bully culture before Collins. The fertile ground for bullies was the reason she was able to thrive here.
Had this pandemic not happened Collins would still be very celebrated by UESF and politicians and she and others in SFUSD would be bullying vulnerable people like they always have.
The curtain came down during this pandemic and Collins is getting the blame when she only deserves a small part of it. If we keep pretending that SFUSD’s ineffective and retaliatory culture is because of Alison Collins then we are missing an opportunity to do better.
The top 20- 30 people directly under the superintendent are absolutely vile. They should all be replaced. Most of the principals in SFUSD fit right in with them. Personally, I think we are at the point that we need some sort of state take over.
Yes, gossip, yes we should especially when parents were also involved. 🙄
Kate, this is common practice at schools, especially large urban districts. There have been numerous instances of teachers meeting with students outside of class and taking advantage of them. I’m not saying this is what this teacher did. But this policy protects students from teachers who are predators.
Maybe the boneheaded bureaucrats should consider using their discretion to apply this policy for pedophiles and not educators.
San Francisco teacher acting as a private citizen busted for teaching.
A Fox News headline coming soon.
And deservedly so for this is borderline insanity.
The stupidity index of the educational experts in charge of our schools seems to be on a steep upward trajectory.
Thank you Mission Local for this exposé although not sure how much more of the City’s idiocracy one can handle.
it’s horrible how the teacher is being already punish for taking the time to teach while the school district is taking their time to open up the high schools.
What public institutions from the city government would we classify as generally good? Are there some great things happening in the city gov that I’m not aware of or is it all marred by bureaucratic absurdities like this or corruption like public works?
He recruited students specifically from his school for this optional activity. His position at the school allowed him to organize this activity; it wasn’t organized through Nextdoor or another non-SFUSD organization. So that may be the issue: access to students for non-school-district sanctioned activities. It may also be an equity issue because not all students would have equal access to the activity. Even though it was “optional,” which students are most likely to participate?
Spoken like a true bureaucrat
There’s that word “equity” again… If any kids might miss out on the learning then we should have no learning? I commend Mr. Libson for going above and beyond for our students.
@Fred You ignore documented history of learning being structured in ways so particular kids will always miss out
Yes like closing schools so that the only kids getting an education are the ones whose parents are savvy enough to opt for charters or rich enough to afford private.
The situation of people wealthier than you having choices you don’t have doesn’t justify you being given choices people poorer than you don’t have. Envy of wealthier people having more than you is motivating you to emulate them.
The choices to deprive kids of an education are being made by the same people trying to persecute a teacher for providing an education. This isn’t a wealth matter — it’s the same bureaucrats setting priorities.
And… there you have it. If everybody can’t participate, nobody should participate. It’s a race to the bottom.
Hopefully Not a Native can convince every other country on the planet to be as woke as San Francisco, or else globalization is not going to be kind to our children.
As a parent of a SF high schooler, I’m glad this teacher is trying something new. But also he put himself in a position of establishing safety guidelines. He’s not a public health expert or epidemiologist. Should we trust all teachers to create their own safety guidelines?
He followed the precautions that we all know. What are you talking about!! After Solomon acting as one he knows more than scientists??? Even the church is more progressive that union teachers and the Board of Education…
Just more proof of the screwed up priorities , he should get an award not an investigation
The one teacher who wants to go above and beyond and actually inspire students is of course the one getting punished. Not the lazy teachers who just want to teach from home for a year for 2 hours a day at full pay and still take their insanely high salaries and 3 months vacation.
Sam – with all due respect: f you
Why? The average Public School Teacher salary in San Francisco, CA is $73,831. They decided to count their cash and stay at home while ruining the future education of predominately black and brown kids. Rich white kids in private school were in class months ago.
You think 74k is handsomely paid in SF? Wow.
Yes? You people are taking crazy pills. Especially for a teacher who gets the summer off. Especially compared to our brave grocery store and restaurant workers who make half that and still had to go into work everyday.
This is satire right? You do know teachers work through most evenings, weekends, and vacations? And ridiculous high salaries???? It is people like you who are causing teachers to leave the profession. Literally – you are the problem.
If this isn’t handsomely paid then, I don’t know what to tell you
If you don’t understand the concept of cost of living index, then I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe your teachers should have been higher-paid.
If you don’t understand that SF teachers make a ton of money compared to grocery store clerks and restaurant workers who actually did their job during the pandemic then I don’t know what to tell you.
Let me explain to you how this works: a friend of mine teaches at a poorer district in the Bay. One of her colleagues recently moved to a wealthy district on the peninsula which is paying her literally double what she was making; well over six figures. Why? Because good teachers are worth that amount, and the people on the peninsula know that. My friend would like to stay where she is, but it’s the difference between living in a 10×10 room with two roommates and actually having her own place: she’s interviewing at the richer school soon. Good teachers who stay in districts like SF are already sacrificing a ton of pay; if you want to retain good teachers you have to pay for them. Market economics 101.
We’re arguing different things. How about they actually do their job in person and help out kids then? Our society said that getting people food was important enough to have in person. Why didn’t teachers think that teaching in person was important enough? They wanted to chill at home and do 2 hours of zoom “class” instead.
regular teacher, total annual pay over $100k. retirement at age of 55 and full benefits, correct?
I’ve been teaching in SFUSD for nearly 19 years, and I plan on retiring in 13 more years at age 65. I might get around 65% of my salary as a pension, with no social security benefits despite paying into that system for 15 years before I started teaching. I’m not complaining; people need to know actual facts before they criticize.
Sam, the line for “low income” in San Francisco is $102k per year for an individual as defined by the US Deparment of Housing and Urban Development (https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il2021/2021summary.odn). Although 73-90k a year may seem like “counting cash” to you, it’s a piddly sum for San Francisco. I agree that it would be unfortunate for an active and engaged teacher to get thrown under the bus, but I categorically disagree that the teachers who aren’t going out of their way to teach an outdoor class are lazy.
I just feel that SF teachers make more than enough to go in person and teach these poor kids who come from families that are lucky to make half what a teacher makes. These teachers were content to make their piddly 90k and stay home for over a year while students were struggling. They were happy to take 3 months off in the summer.
Sam, as much as I completely agree that this teacher is amazing please do not snap judgment that other teachers are lazy and only work 2 hours a day at home because of the pandemic. My wife is a special ed and english high school teacher and literally has worked 7 days a week 10-15 hours a day all year in order to keep her students barely scratching by because of how the pandemic has impacted them. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs on the planet and to do it remotely with kids who may have never accessed a computer before covid has made it even more tiresome.
These teachers are handsomely paid.
Palo Alto Unified is not San Francisco Unified.
Here you go.
You can easily locate San Francisco Unified on the link.
Search “2019” and “Regular Classroom Teacher” for a basic idea.
You can even investigate how much Andrew Libson (the subject of this article), a long-time Mission High School physics teacher with a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, made in 2019.
For this town – ain’t much for someone with a Ph.D. and a long term teaching career within a demanding subject area.
Sorry, but this is not the only teacher who has been going above and beyond to support their students. I can show you a school full of other teachers who have been doing so for years.
I wish I had learned about circuits in high school – that’s awesome! That’s a great skill to have, so many things the kids could go on to do with that foundational knowledge. Fun jobs like designing guitar effects pedals, museum interactive displays, robotics, etc. etc.
We can’t have teachers teaching. It sets a bad example. What if students and parents start expecting things from SFUSD? I won’t be surprised if both the district and the union throw this guy under the bus.
Typical SF response – probably will sanction him for “equity” reasons. We should disband the school board instead of following their “progressive” policies to the bottom.
All but one principal that I’ve ever dealt with in SFUSD has been very, very high on performative output, and extremely low on actual management and day-to-day details tasks of running a school. Some of them do it to survive with the climate coming from central office, but many are wired that way themselves. I wouldn’t expect principal McKamey to be any different. I would guess that Principal McKame got some kudos for turning Andy Libson over to HR as that he has long been very outspoken for a clean, transparent union and against privatization of public schools.
Principal Pirette McKamey was honored by the SFUSD BOE on Tuesday night as Principal of the Year. This should serve as reminder that her judgement should never be questioned!
Other SFUSD recent winners of the prestigious award have been Sam Bass ( (2018 Winner SFUSD Principal of the Year)- the amazing human who discovered in 2020 that acronyms are racist but school closures are fine. Before Sam Bass there was just so much we didn’t know. We thought it was okay to let kids walk into a school called E.R. Taylor.
PS – Sorry for using acronyms. I wasn’t lucky enough to do my schooling in SFUSD so I am still in the process of confronting my own learning changes.