Jim Hartman: San Francisco schools ban the word ‘chief’

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

You can’t make this up: The San Francisco Unified School District is dropping the word “chief” from all job titles (“chief technology officer, “chief of staff,” etc. ) for its 10,000-employee workforce because – you guessed it – the word is associated with Native Americans.
According to spokesperson Gentle Blythe, “While there are many opinions on the matter, our leadership team agreed that, given that Native American members of our community have expressed concerns over use of the title, we are no longer going to use it.”
While the word “chief” can be used in connection with American Indian tribes, it also appears in many phrases that have no connection, including “chief of police,” “chief executive officer” and “sorry about that, chief.”
No substitute for the word has been determined, which suggests how little thought was put into the decision.
Blythe quickly noted dropping the word does not reflect “a downgrade in job status.”
The district didn’t indicate whether it advocates President Joe Biden be called something other than “commander in chief,” or whether John Roberts should renounce being “chief justice.”
What’s particularly amusing in this attempt at progressive sensitivity: While the English language has many words that can be traced to Native Americans, including “chipmunk,” “barbecue” and “hurricane,” they don’t include “chief.”
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “chief” has no connection to Native American languages. Instead it derives from the Old French word (chef ), meaning “leader” and originally from Latin (capus), meaning “captain.”
The San Francisco school district is still learning, apparently, even after the city’s liberal Democratic voters ousted three school board members in a special recall election in February.
The school district appears to be a parody on “woke” excesses of political correctness. Will they next ban books by Laurence Tribe?
Parents were outraged the school board kept schools shut through the entire 2020 school year based on teacher union demands even as San Francisco Mayor London Breed pressed them to reopen. High school students returned to school for a single day in May 2021 so the school district would qualify for $12 million in state aid.
Many parents had already voted against the board by removing their children from district schools. Enrollment declined by 3,500 during the pandemic.
School board members had also indulged their “woke” progressive obsession by seeking to rename 44 schools with allegedly sexist or racist designations, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The school board recall was a landslide, with Alison Collins (79%), Gabriela Lopez (75%) and Faauuga Moliga (72%) losing overwhelmingly. Successful recalls are rare. It takes real effort to lose by 3-1 margins.
The recall was a populist groundswell supported by fed-up parents and liberals, including Breed.
That’s San Francisco where Republicans are only 6% of the city’s registered voters and where 85% of voters supported Joe Biden in November 2020.
Breed noted “the school board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else.” Amen.
On June 7, San Francisco voters also sent a national message on crime by recalling the city’s far-left district attorney, Chesa Boudin, in another landslide (60%-40%).
Son of convicted felon Weather Underground domestic terrorist parents, Boudin was elected district attorney in 2019 advocating “decarceration” of jails and ending cash bail. He refused to enforce criminal laws, sharply reducing felony prosecutions.
Crime has taken off. In 2021 homicides in San Francisco were up 36% from 2019 and 222 people were killed by gun violence in the city compared to 137 in 2019. With shoplifting an epidemic, Walgreens closed 11 stores there since 2019.
Homelessness and drug use are rampant on San Francisco streets. There were 640 drug overdose deaths in 2021 — more than COVID deaths.
Recalling Boudin is a start in cleaning up crime in “The City.”
E-mail Jim Hartman at lawdocman1@aol.com.

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