A mother of two with one child in private school on a scholarship and one in public school observes that there is a world of difference between what each child is experiencing this year. While her daughter in private school has support, resources and regular meetings with teachers and tutors, her son in public school is struggling, and calls for help have not been answered. Since this interview, the differences have become even sharper: the private school has reopened for in-person classes, and San Francisco’s public schools remain closed. 

Report Card is a Mission Local project supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Wallace House, where editor and reporter Sindya Bhanoo is a Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellow. The project utilizes illustration and audio to highlight the unseen hurdles that students in underserved communities are facing this year. All audio interviews are being done remotely due to COVID-19.

Hélène Goupil

Hélène Goupil is a former editor at Mission Local who now works independently as a videographer and editor. She's the co-author of "San Francisco: The Unknown City" (Arsenal Pulp Press).

Molly Oleson

Molly is a multimedia journalist, editor, photographer and illustrator. She has contributed to dozens of publications, and most recently, served as Editor of the Pacific Sun. To view more of her work,...

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6 Comments

  1. The question I walk away with is why this student isn’t receiving SPED services? Does he have an IEP or 504? Within the district the majority of students with IEPs come from homes with parents with the ability to cut through the red tape to get what their child needs. I can understand why this might be difficult for her family. Comparing a private school, that charges 35k per year vs a public school system that spends 12k per pupil is an unfair comparison. Money solves a lot of problems. Not all schools in the Mission have mismanaged online learning. Teh public school my child attends in the same community, has done a commendable job teaching online, all things considered. Daily teacher communication and follow up when issues arise. That being said, yes, some children with special education needs have suffered immeasurably during the pandemic. Fight to fully fund public schools.

    1. The school district wasted more than a billion dollars last year and there were no schools open. So much of the money is used on the salaries for the people who at Central Office who do nothing. SFUSD needs to be held accountable for the money they wasted. The facilities manager , Dawn KamalaNathan and the COVID manager , Daniel Menezes need to answer the public for what happened this past year. They make big salaries and they didn’t deliver when private schools did it on a lot less money per student. No more money until they are accountable for the money the get.

  2. Excellent production. Very glad that the daughter’s education is progressing, but sorry that the son is experiencing difficulties with acquirig his. Support from outside of his school is needed, and I hope Mom is successful in obtaining it. Wishing the whole family all the very best.

  3. Thank you for making a space for this mother’s voice. More like hers need to be heard throughout the country, especially here in the Bay Area with it’s striking disparities.

  4. It’s all on the weak will of Elected Officials , there was Zero reason not to get most kids back into schools , the only reason children are suffering has been because of the Greed of the Teachers Union , and Corruption of the Board of Education.

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