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Mark Sanchez (politician)

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Mark Sánchez is an American politician in San Francisco, California. He is currently the President of the San Francisco Board of Education and is a candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in District 9.

Biography & political career Edit

Mark Sánchez was a long-time teacher in San Francisco. He founded Teachers for Change and Teachers for Social Justice before running for the Board of Education in 2000 at the urging on long-time City Supervisor Tom Ammiano. Despite a tiny campaign fund, Sanchez surprised many observers by winning the third of four open seats. He became the first Green Party member and the second openly-gay Commissioner on the Board of Education.

Sánchez represented the opposition to then-Superintendent Arlene Ackerman alongside fellow Commissioner Eric Mar.[1] Sanchez helped build a progressive majority on the Board of Education, supporting victorious Green Party candidates Sarah Lipson (in 2002) and Jane Kim (2006, along with progressive Democrat Kim-Shree Maufas (2006).[2]

However, the San Francisco Chronicle blamed Sanchez in part for the tense relationship the Board had with former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman:

What (Ackerman) doesn't need is sniping and second-guessing from elected officials whose job is to set broad policies, not micromanage the superintendent's daily conduct. Tensions between school board members and superintendents come with the territory. But in San Francisco, those tensions had gone far beyond the limits of acceptability. Three board members in particular—Eric Mar, Sarah Lipson and Mark Sanchez—need to start working with Ackerman, not fighting with her virtually on a daily basis.[3]

At a September 2003 meeting of the Board of Education, Sanchez was among "three board members with whom Ackerman has locked horns said they remain steadfast in their objections to her management of the district, which they characterize as autocratic and unyielding to differing views."[4] Ackerman resigned in 2005. Reported the San Francisco Chronicle, "Mayor Newsom said he was saddened but not surprised by Ackerman's resignation considering the ongoing bickering that has gone on between her and a faction of the school board. He said it was a shame to be losing the architect of the improvements within city schools."[5]

In January, 2007, Mark Sánchez was unanimously elected as the President of the Board of Education. His tenure as President has included the hiring of new SFUSD Superintendent Carlos Garcia, the shortening of the Board of Education's regular meetings (which were notorious for late-night debates), the debate over San Francisco's popular JROTC program and a resolution for Lennar Corporation to halt construction in Hunters Point Naval Shipyard because of health concerns.[6]

Sánchez's votes against JROTC follow his history of advocating for peace in the SFUSD's curriculum. In 2003, commissioners Sánchez and Mar sponsored an anti-war resolution. "The original resolution called for promoting a districtwide anti-war rally and creating a curriculum culled from the resources of anti-war groups to be used from kindergarten on up."[7] However, other board members objected to the resolution, calling it one-sided and for taking students out of school to participate in the rally. "The proposal failed but a watered-down version that passed the board called for a day of on-campus public discussion about the possibility of a war in Iraq.".[8]

The elimination of JROTC was originally decided upon in November 2006 in a 4-2 vote under board President Dan Kelly, whose tenure preceded Sánchez's. Commissioners Sánchez, Mar, Kelly, and Lipson voted to eliminate the program, with Commissioners Jill Wynns and Norman Yee voting against them. Commissioner Eddie Chin was absent.[9] "Opponents said the armed forces should have no place in public schools, and the military's discriminatory stance on gays makes the presence of JROTC unacceptable."[10] One supporter of the program argued that the program is the only place the kids feel safe[10] AsianWeek magazine criticized the schoolboard for closing down the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps in San Francisco high schools: "Supporters of JROTC acknowledge problems with the U.S. military and gays, but say Mar and (Norman) Yee are discounting the tremendous benefit JROTC has provided to minorities and low-income students."[11]

In December 2007, during Sánchez' presidency, the Board voted 5-2 to postpone the elimination of JROTC due to the fact that a replacement program had not been created. Sánchez and Mar were the only commissioners to vote for immediate elimination.[12] In June, 2008 the board discontinued the awarding of physical education credit due to the threat of a lawsuit.[13]

Campaign for Supervisor Edit

In October 2007, Mark Sánchez announced his candidacy for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He is running in District 9, where long-time Supervisor Tom Ammiano is termed out. He is opposed by Democrats David Campos and Eric Quezada.

External linksEdit

References Edit

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