Ann Hsu Laine Motamedi Lisa Weissman-Ward London Breed Board of Education
The joint website for mayorally appointed school board members Ann Hsu, Laine Motamedi and Lisa Weissman-Ward before it was abruptly taken off the Web. Multiple sources confirmed to Mission Local that the latter two board members have disassociated themselves with Hsu.

The “A.L.L in for SF Kids” website, pushing the candidacies of mayoral Board of Education appointees Ann Hsu, Lainie Motamedi, and Lisa Weissman-Ward — the A., L., and L. in this acronym — has gone dark. 

Multiple calls to all three school board members have not been returned. But multiple sources tell Mission Local that Motamedi and Weissman-Ward have distanced themselves from Hsu and split up the three-woman slate. 

Hsu ignited a firestorm when she recently filled out a questionnaire for San Francisco Parent Action, in which she stated that the “biggest challenges” facing Black and brown children are “the lack of family support for those students. Unstable family environments caused by housing and food insecurity along with lack of parental encouragement to focus on learning cause children to not be able to focus on or value learning.”  

These statements were taken as a slap in the face by members of San Francisco’s Black and brown communities. Instead of focusing on the district’s longstanding discrepancies and challenges, a sitting member of the Board of Education was fingering bad parenting as the major driver of poor outcomes for San Francisco’s disadvantaged children. 

In the past week, an increasing number of San Francisco political organizations and elected officials have called upon Hsu to resign. Following an in-person Friday meeting between Hsu and the local NAACP’s executive board, the organization this weekend voted 105-0 to call for her to step down. 

“She did apologize, but we didn’t feel her apology,” summed up Virginia Marshall, the chair of the local NAACP’s education committee. “Children do not control what their parents do. We want parental involvement, absolutely … but that should not be held against a child. This is not a ‘teachable moment.’ Our children’s lives are at stake. And not just any child — children at the bottom of the rung socially, academically, emotionally.”  

Hsu, Motamedi and Weissman-Ward were, in March, named to the Board of Education by Mayor London Breed to replace recalled board members Alison Collins, Gabriela López and Faauuga Moliga. Hsu was a key volunteer in that recall effort.

Collins’ behavior served as a catalyst to drive the recall; she refused to apologize or resign after old tweets of hers were unearthed in which she accused “many Asian Americans” of using “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’ … Being a house n****r is still being a n****r. You’re still considered ‘the help.’” 

The parallel of an African American school board member insulting Asians and the Asian school board member who led the charge to replace her insulting African Americans has been lost on few. 

“When you look at the Black community, there’s not enough of us to be a threat to anybody with our population in this city overall. My God. What’s happened to Black folks in this town?” 

Local NAACP president the rev. Amos Brown

Numerous calls to Hsu, Motamedi and Weissman-Ward have not been returned. But multiple sources close to the latter two Board of Education members confirmed that the two have pulled the plug on the three-person slate of mayoral appointees, though will likely continue to work in tandem. 

Our calls to the mayor’s office have also not yet been returned. But it is clear that Breed, at the very least, knows about this move, and has, apparently, offered no pushback. 

Hsu has not given any indication that she intends to resign or withdraw from running for a full four-year term on the school board in November. While Breed has chided Hsu’s remarks, she has not yet called upon her to step down or withdraw from the race. 

If Hsu opts to do so, she must hurry: The deadline for a candidate to declare for office for the Board of Education is Aug. 12. 

In apparently tacitly supporting her appointees Motamedi and Weissman-Ward’s desire to split from Hsu — yet not calling for Hsu to step down — Breed may be playing a delicate game. All three candidates may yet win. Hsu, a District 1 resident, is seen as a potential candidate for higher office. Her many supporters in the city’s Chinese community would not be alienated and, down the road, all fences could be mended. 

Members of the NAACP, meanwhile, lamented that the paltry number of African Americans in this city meant that Hsu’s comments were by no means a deal-breaker for advancement. 

“When you look at the Black community, there’s not enough of us to be a threat to anybody with our population in this city overall,” said the Rev. Amos Brown, the local chapter’s president. “My God. What’s happened to Black folks in this town?” 

Update, 3:10 p.m.: Motamedi sent Mission Local the following statement:

“I am campaigning as an individual candidate appointed by the Mayor. My focus — in partnership with a board that shares these values and respect for our diverse communities — continues to be ensuring all of our students are supported and successful in their learning, our district is run for the benefit of our students, and our finances reflect our student priorities.”

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Managing Editor/Columnist. Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

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  1. She should resign. When people make comments like this it’s usually due to not associating with others outside their own race. She probably does not have black or brown professional friends. If she did, she’d see the commonality and that all people have the same wants needs and desires to be all they can be. She’s needs time to reflect on her wrong thinking. I knew this would happen. Sad…very said.😔

  2. Could Hsu be held to the same exacting standards that just lead to the recall of the last three? And those three weren’t recalled because of excesses of just one, rather of the whole Board, but only three were eligible for recall, and much of that outrage was down to staff and volunteer actions, and shallow research based on Wikipedia.
    Any school board is a target for ideologues try to put their foot in, from Birchers to LaRouchies to Q-Anon, and now I wonder about Falung Dafa in this.

  3. Shaman Walton was one of the first to demand that Ann Hsu be fired for her comments. How dare he point the finger at her after he called a Black cadet with the Sheriff’s Department a racist slur. See it is always the one screaming about race constantly that steps in it themselves. Walton and Hsu should team up and come up with solid solutions for this coming school year. Instead of the apology tours how about school campus tours. Meet at a cafe with some clipboards and get cracking together. Turn this mess around. School is starting soon.

  4. SF chronicle and others reported that Shaman Walton who is leading the call for Hsu to resign used the n word and made threat to an AfAm sheriff cadet during a security check. He was admonished but not punished, and retained his position. Principal Fong was punished when she said the word while teaching the students not to use the word again, and lost the position she held for 20 years.

  5. Am I the only one who thinks it’s actually kinda funny that mega-cringe chest pounding ALLISON COLLINS is demanding Hsu’s resignation? Does Collins have a memory problem or does she really think we forgot she was talking SHIT about asian parents AND used the N WORD? Did she do the honorable thing and resign? UH nO. She doubled down, turned herself into the victim and thennnnnn tried to sue for what 80 million dlls? The fact that she thinks she’s even relevant is laughable. I cringe whenever someone says “did you hear what that whack job Collins did NOW?”. AND YES it’s relevant, because you can’t get all hot n bothered over Hsu’s comments and ignore Collins’.

  6. oped in the sf chronicle

    As Black San Franciscans, it’s obvious to us that calls for Ann Hsu’s resignation are in bad faith

    chronicle dot com / opinion/openforum/articleComments/black-sf-residents-ann-hsu-17336491.php

  7. Forgot to add
    Many identified themselves as white, I heard it myself, checked the box as white Hispanic in their census form. Some Southeast Asians, also heard it myself, consider themselves brown and not Asian or ‘yellow’. A store owner from the middle east joked that he was not black nor brown but olive. I am not sure about the discussion on how the term black and brown is defined by some. Not saying it’s not legitimate but I see how confusing it is on the street level not sure how helpful it is.

  8. Then there is the case of Carol Fong, the principal of Ullola school who ended up getting transferred. A student used the n-word during a school fight, she held an assembly and repeated the word while telling the students not to use that word. Later at an administrative hearing she said the word again when asked by her superior what had happened. Then she was charged for saying the offensive word and was subsequently transferred.
    In this case there’s definitely no malice aforethought involved but someone who is trying to do her job to educate the children. Maybe she should have asked the parent group that complained about her how she could tell someone not to say a certain word without saying the word itself! Or these parents could be the ones to teach their children. A campaign in support of her has gotten almost 30, 000 letters.
    In both cases they had the intention to address a problem but somehow it ended up going awry. And in both cases they’re Asians. So maybe be careful of your words if you are from a certain group. Hsu’s statement is similar to many statements and studies including one I know about referred by one of the commentators below.
    Actually my initial reaction was that again it only focuses on helping black and brown students while there are other marginalized groups (as stated in the question), especially immigrants including Eastern Europeans, Middle Eastern, Asians, etc. who also face problems. How helpful is it If we only go by this color scheme of late. But perhaps this should be taken up separately.
    All these politics don’t benefit the students.
    And people are wondering why teachers are leaving the profession.

  9. Another London Breed mess. Quoting Rev Amos Brown the outspoken homophobic fanatic dumped by voters for hate speech at board shows you are naive or an imbecile

  10. For you to even quote Reverend Amos Brown who left office in San Francisco after his appointed position as supervisor ended after he on the record with the Bible in hand damned days and lesbians to hell for all eternity.
    He knows damn well where the black folks have gone Willie Brown and London Breed continues to do his work eradicating minority and low income communities with her sell out to the political machine of real Estate speculators

  11. The questionnaire revealed Hsu real mindset.
    She’s not backing down. How can Hsu be an effective school board member in the future?

    1. I cannot say I know her mindset because I cannot read people’s mind. I don’t know her and never had any discussion with her. As I said before people can have their interpretation of her words on paper. I recall other officials, maybe even Obama, making similar assessments but didn’t cause this much outrage as far as I know. (I worked as an educator and did research)
      One problem I have with her statement is that she didn’t include other marginalized groups, – Asian Pacific Islanders for one, and other immigrants communities. The Asian students do well because their culture value education. Teachers are highly regarded in Asia. But still, many in these groups have experienced difficulties.

  12. Matt gonzalez, the long time progressive public defender is supporting Hsu, as reported by SF Chron, the Chinese language press and others.
    Reactions to the article are mostly supportive of Hsu. But they may not live in San Francisco.
    I am more bothered by her apology, which seems grovel and forced, than her original statement. To me the statement is in response to a questionnaire that pointed out a problem that need to be addressed . This format is problematic and didn’t allow for any discussions in a wider context so it all comes down to semantics and interpretations. The way things are going, she will probably have to resign because you know there’s going to be disruptions that will make it impossible for her to continue. Then what? Breed will appoint someone else she likes in place.
    I’m also bothered by this latest narrative of Asian versus brown/black people pushed by certain people. Are people following Collins idea of Asians being white supremacists and ni***rs?

    1. For the millionth billionth time: Collins’s tweets said neither of the things you’ve charged her with saying.

      Collins didn’t call Asians “white supremacists”, she said that the anti-black attitudes and wholehearted belief in the model minority myth that she witnessed among *some* AA parents, students, and teachers amounted to “white supremacist thinking.” (Which it is: the whole point of the concept of being a model minority is conceiving of one’s identity in contrast to the outcomes suffered by minority groups lower down on the socioeconomic totem pole. IOW, if you’re espousing model minority stereotypes, you’re definitely engaging in the kind of thinking that perpetuates the system of white supremacy, as the anti-racist activist community thinks defines that term.)

      Collins’s tweets also did not cast Asians as “being” n**ers. That was a direct reference to Malcolm X’s parable of the house negro versus the field negro, in which Malcolm points out how being docile and compliant within a racist system to score trivial material rewards only furthers the perpetuation of the racist system. (See, e.g., “Message to the Grass Roots,” at the King Solomon Baptist Church, Detroit, 10 November 1963.)

      The whole idea that Malcolm is getting at, which is *obviously* the same idea that Collins is trying to express in the first line of that very same tweet (“do they think they won’t be deported? profiled? beaten?”) is that NOTHING a compliant person can do, as they struggle to prove that they are “better” than those in the underclass, will ACTUALLY prevent them from eventually being lumped in by others as basically members of that same underclass. Collins isn’t “calling” Asians n***ers, she is saying that that is how **a racist system** will still view them no matter how hard they strive to separate themselves from the conditions suffered by black people, and that the only way out is to shatter that system via solidarity.

      1. I am not sure if I comprehend your lengthy interpretation of her semantics.
        But her/your own words:
        “….amounted to white supremacists thinking…” seems like a disturbing comparison, if not accusation, to me. She ended up apologizing for her comments. She’s out of the picture for now, but I am more concerned with people who would escalate this divisive narrative. The ‘racist system view’ is one thing but personal responsibilities is necessary as well. She took responsibility and apologized, after much pressure, as did Hsu.
        She was not recalled solely because of these tweets. Two other board members were recalled as well. The other board members couldn’t be recalled because they have served less time than the rule stipulated.
        I was reluctant to reply and probably won’t in the future. Joe said something about he didn’t have time to go on and on with replies. I feel the same way. I’ve seen in some other postings that some people seem to have a lot of time on their hands. And it gets atrocious sometimes.
        Everyone is entitled to their interpretation & opinion.

        1. My “lengthy interpretation” is necessary because everyone just treats it as established fact that her tweets were racist and reflective of anti-Asian animus. They are either incapable of, or unwilling to, think on a level more sophisticated than OOOHHH SHE SAID A VERY BAD WORD. The canard is so pervasive that it requires unpacking.

          As for the take that Collins’s apology is somehow tantamount to an admission of guilt, it’s obvious that Collins initially didn’t want to give in to a mob that was coming for her mostly either in bad faith (they actually understood that the tweets were innocuous, but pretended otherwise because they were her political opponents and it was easy to whip up some hysteria when the n-word was involved) or out of ignorance (they didn’t actually have any clue what she was talking about and their outrage was misplaced). But eventually the browbeating from local media, politicians, and the public demanding a display of contrition from her was so bad that she made the calculation that it was smarter to throw them a bone and admit that what she had said resulted in hurt feelings even if it was badly misunderstood. That is why the crux of her apology contained the sentence “I acknowledge that right now, in this moment my words taken out of context can be causing more pain for those who are already suffering.”

          Collins deserved to be recalled for other reasons, but it is time to stop repeating the lie that these anti-racist tweets were racist.

          1. The most stunning irony of all this is that Ann Hsu proved Allison Collins right:

            >“many Asian Americans” of using “white supremacist thining to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’ … Being a house n****r is still being a n****r. You’re still considered ‘the help.’”

            Except it happened in the opposite direction. Right leaning used her for the recall, so she could get a seat. Now she shows her true ambition and literally does a racial stereotype.

            Instead of taking half a decade for people to dig Twitter for Collins when she was pointing out a truth, she just took a few months on the job to prove Collins was right!

            Seriously, this is absolutely hysterical and entirely predictable.

    2. >Matt gonzalez, the long time progressive public defender is supporting Hsu, as reported by SF Chron, the Chinese language press and others.

      Can I have a link?

      Because I do not see his name anywhere near this currently.

  13. I don’t care if our political representatives say things unartfully or offensive. I care if they DO things that are helpful in specific, tangible ways. The School Board does not appear to be helping SF kids by any metric (enrollment, standardized tests, college enrollment, math and reading assessments , wellbeing, etc.). They also appear to have serious financial and infrastructure problems. Anyone able to improve any of these problems should be supported. I am incandescently angry and resentful at the board for keeping schools closed for a year and a half, harming SF kids and their family’s lives unconscionably and, perhaps, permanently. And, of course, our poorest and neediest folks suffered disproportionally. The recall, while understandable and a just expression of voter’s anger over many bad decisions, was a luxury we couldn’t really afford if our goals were to improve the lives of our kids. So much time and effort put into an extra election and now we are into the next election cycle and its relationship to the mayoral election, etc. The house is burning, and we are focused on what the firemen/women said or tweeted or wrote yesterday or 10 years ago while our kids are inside the house choking on smoke. Not sure who to blame for any of that but it could all go away if we would all focus on improving the lives of our kids and their families in tangible ways. I never thought the first one of those things would be “don’t close schools” but, apparently, we have to start there in San Francisco.

  14. I will vote for Anne Hsu. We need leaders who can speak the truth. As this story shows, it takes more courage now than ever.

    When did we become a city where public debate is impossible?

  15. I am agreeing with Follicle on this topic. How can we ever move forward if we are constantly talking about race. The students of San Francisco deserve better. Stop all the finger pointing and let these people do their jobs. The SFUSD had our children sent home at the start of the pandemic with No Plan to finish their year out. They drug their feet to get the students back in the classroom. Then to make things worse they applied for Covid19 relief funds for getting students back in school only a few days. The whole debacle made my head spin and my stomach turn. Please let Ann Hsu attempt to get our students back into school and learning again. Put the race baiting aside for once and focus on what our children need. I do not need a school renamed if there are no students inside learning.

    1. She was promoted to the board because the former board members talked about race. This is the craziest argument.

  16. Millionaires like Alison Collins have no idea what most Black families are dealing with in this town. She’s justusing them. Maybe Hsu is using her constituents, too. At least Hsu apologized. Collins hung up the phone on Asian officials. All of these people need to focus on the work of the school district. Be better. Be better!

    1. The recall is over, Meg.

      Allison is gone.

      Using her as an example to make Hsu look good when caught doing the same thing isn’t exactly a silver lining.

      In fact, it makes it even more embarrassing.

  17. Lowell was always a pain point, and always the third rail wedging and representing a divide between Black/Brown and Asian communities spanning decades of SFUSD desegregation history.

    Almost always, there was a conflict between Asian and Black/Brown students transpiring into conflict, foreshadowing a win or loss game for either community.

    Yet, it remains bitter as neither can really yield to the fact on the representation and merit conflict for over 60 years over one damn high school perched on a high horse.

    The same goes for the entire district on that argument.

    Lowell created the last recall, alongside general incompetence, and so was an Asian leader leading the way on it.

    Then, by following the same vein of conflicts between Asian and Black/Brown communities in the SFUSD community, Hsu would be a byproduct of that same conflict.

    And there she was with her statements, plastering her personal opinion and literally labeling Black and Brown families effectively as a whole with parental neglect. Even after admitting “very limited exposure” when she had the backing of SFUSD staff and a massive load of community members to literally ensure to check her own bias. Not only was this incompetent for a school district leader meant to not divide communities as a literal spokesperson, but literally stereotyping them all, and that’s the Chronicle literally saying it.

    The greatest irony is that those who support her are either the Mayor who appointed her and the Chinese PAC, literally the ones that suffered nothing and their judgement is to give her a pass even though it isn’t their fucking call.

    San Francisco’s pipe dream of getting a competent school board won’t get solved if you don’t find a way to bridge the Asian and Black/Brown community, and that literally means fixing Lowell as a step one to be amenable to both communities.

    It also won’t if the mayor decides to add fuel to the fire by literally putting the most divisive figure onto the stand that isn’t competent enough for the entire district.

    If you don’t have the respect of a whole school district of parents, competence will never, ever come to SFUSD.

    The sheer moment Breed picked her, I saw it a mile away.

    At least, the other two, Lainie Motamedi, and Lisa Weissman-Ward aren’t incompetent at figuring out their duty and know how to do their jobs, and not being a hypocrite of encouraging competence like Hsu just did.

    1. While there’s been a lot of noise about what Hsu put on paper was racist, I haven’t seen anyone disagreeing with it.

      1. I disagree with it. All she really said is that statistically black kids tend to more often come from a broken home. That has a negative effect on their scores at school and so they may need more attention.

        How is that racist?

        1. What you don’t know is what “Black/Brown” means.

          That means literally Black and Latin people of our school district, and any ethnicity by that same color.

          >facing Black and brown children are “the lack of family support for those students.

          The rest is additional to her opinion, and this statement is standalone. That is not even subtle, it’s a literal racial sterotype.

      2. Well on California land, there are plenty of people disagreeing. This is a weird “I’m racist but so what” comment.

  18. Ann Hsu disagrees with you. Is this really the hill you want to die on?

    If everyone has coalesced around it being unacceptable, perhaps the responsibility is on you to look into why. Insisting others spend their time to educate you is itself a problem, and why so many of us are exhausted.

  19. > “biggest challenges” facing Black and brown children are “the lack of family support for those students. Unstable family environments caused by housing and food insecurity along with lack of parental encouragement to focus on learning cause children to not be able to focus on or value learning.”

    Please explain how this statement is racist when not removed from the sentence in which it appears, or from her complete response to the question from SFParents and then offer actual data showing it is not true.

    Question:

    How can SFUSD increase academic outcomes for the most marginalized
    students? How can SFUSD challenge and create learning opportunities for higher
    achieving students?

    Answer:

    From my very limited exposure in the past four months to the challenges of educating
    marginalized students especially in the black and brown community, I see one of the
    biggest challenges as being the lack of family support for those students. Unstable
    family environments caused by housing and food insecurity along with lack of parental encouragement to focus on learning cause children to not be able to focus on or value learning. That makes teachers’ work harder because they have to take care of emotional and behavioral issues of students before they can teach them. That is not fair to the teachers. We (SFUSD) need to work better with community organizations to take care of students’ needs outside of school hours so that teachers can focus on teaching inside of school hours. We can try to solve this problem through having more community schools.

    We can also learn from charter schools that are doing better than us in this aspect.
    For higher achieving students, we need to create more challenging curriculum so that
    we don’t kill their curiosity and thirst for learning by boring them to death. That means
    more AP and honors classes, not less. That also means more opportunities to connect with real world learning such as through our CTE programs. Academically advanced students should also be encouraged to do more extracurricular activities so that they can become well rounded members of society outside of school.

  20. You know the world has gone mad when pointing out that black kids are far more likely to have a single parent is somehow taken as a racial insult rather than a recognition of reality.

    But what is really happening here is that the school district is returning to form. It seems far happier discussing race than education. Maybe they should rename a school or cancel a founding father?

    1. Campers,

      I taught, drove, coached, janitored and on an on several generations of challenged adolescents and their worst problem is usually sitting at home in a recliner watching television.

      And, often modeling hate and violence.

      Cut and Run for Ten Large ??

      Go Niners !!

      h.

      1. If they can prove her statements false, then should step down, but I doubt I because I there was a CA Dept. of Education report that came out one to two years ago that basically said the same thing. Ignoring the truth doesn’t help and it only wastes resources on non-solutions.