The most expensive new public school in San Francisco history failed

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Daniel Duane’s daughter was assigned to the most expensive new public school in San Francisco history, Willie Brown Middle School:

It cost $54 million to build and equip, and opened less than two years earlier. It was located less than a mile from my house, in the city’s Bayview district, where a lot of the city’s public housing sits and 20 percent of residents live below the federal poverty level. This new school was to be focused on science, technology, engineering, and math — STEM, for short. There were laboratories for robotics and digital media, Apple TVs for every classroom, and Google Chromebooks for students. A “cafetorium” offered sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay, flatscreen menu displays, and free breakfast and lunch. An on-campus wellness center was to provide free dentistry, optometry, and medical care to all students. Publicity materials promised that “every student will begin the sixth grade enrolled in a STEM lab that will teach him or her coding, robotics, graphic/website design, and foundations of mechanical engineering.” The district had created a rigorous new curriculum around what it called “design thinking” and a “one-to-one tech model,” with 80-minute class periods that would allow for immersion in complex subjects.

The money for Brown came from a voter-approved bond, as well as local philanthropists. District fund-raising materials proudly announced that, through their foundation, Twitter cofounder Evan Williams and his wife, Sara, had given a total of $400,000 for “STEM-focus” and “health and wellness.” (The foundation says that figure is incorrect.), the philanthropic arm of Marc Benioff’s company Salesforce, has given nearly $35 million to Bay Area public schools in the past five years alone; each year the organization also gives $100,000 to every middle school principal in San Francisco and Oakland. The Summit Public Schools network, an organization that runs charter schools in California and Washington state and has a board of directors filled with current and former tech heavy hitters (including Meg Whitman), made a $500,000 in-kind donation of its personalized learning platform, according to those fund-raising materials. That online tool, built to help students learn at their own pace and track their progress, was created in partnership with Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg’s funding organization.

As the school’s first principal, the district hired a charismatic man named Demetrius Hobson who was educated at Morehouse and Harvard and had been a principal in Chicago’s public schools. Students from four of the Bayview’s elementary schools, where more than 75 percent of kids are socio­economically disadvantaged, were given preference to enter Willie Brown Middle. To ensure that the place would also be diverse, the district lured families from other parts of town with a “golden ticket” that would make it easier for graduates from Brown to attend their first choice of public high school.

The message worked. Parents from all over the city — as well as parents from the Bayview who would otherwise have sent their kids to school elsewhere — put their kids’ names in for spots at the new school. Shawn Whalen, who was then the chief of staff at San Francisco State University, and Xander Shapiro, the chief marketing officer for a startup, had children in public elementary schools that fed into well-regarded middle schools. But, liking what they heard, both listed Brown as a top choice in the lottery. Kandace ­Landake — a Bayview resident and Uber driver who wanted her children to have a better education than she’d received, and whose children were in good public schools outside the neighborhood — likewise took a chance on Brown. One third-­generation Bayview resident, whom I’ll call Lisa Green, works at a large biotech company and had been sending her daughter to private school. But she too was so enticed that she marked Brown as her first choice in the lottery, and her daughter got in.

On opening day in August of 2015, around two dozen staff members greeted the very first class. That’s when the story took an alarming turn. Newspapers reported chaos on campus. Landake was later quoted in the San Francisco Examiner: “The first day of school there were, like, multiple incidents of physical violence.”



  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    It’s astonishing that there are still whites who believe that they can turn blacks white with resources and care.

    It’s heartbreaking for the whites when they find out the truth, but it must be enraging for the blacks that the whole premise of programs like this — that being black is bad so you have to turn white to be good — denies their identity. Sad.

  2. Bob Sykes says:

    Total denial of human biodiversity. Total delusion.

  3. Kirk says:

    Read the article. The truth is closer to “incompetent bureaucracy” than issues relating to human biodiversity. To my eye, that school failed way before those issues ever became relevant.

    I think there is something to the idea that there are actual differences between human populations, differences which should be taken into account when designing pedagogy. For example, the idea that you are going to be successful in teaching boys by locking them down at desks doing fussy little worksheets, the way girls love to do things…? Insane. You need to get boys up on their feet, doing things. Physical things, things they can relate to. Which we don’t do, and then wonder at how boys are doing poorly in education at all levels.

    Similarly, the differences between what we identify as races are also ignored. Take two little boys–Moishe, who comes from a genetic and cultural background that has valued and revered Talmudic scholarship for literally thousands of years, and Tshombe, whose genetics and culture haven’t any similar selection pressure…? And, you’re gonna try to use similar techniques of pedagogy…? You are going to expect similar results for Tshombe, when you design and teach for Moishe? Are you insane, or just fucking stupid?

    But, that is precisely what we do, and then take the failure of kids like Tshombe as indicators that they are “racially inferior”. No, they are not–They are simply ill-adapted to the environment we create in our schools and culture.

  4. Candide III says:

    No, they are not–They are simply ill-adapted to the environment we create in our schools and culture.

    The trouble with this sentiment is, there is no evidence whatsoever that the environment and culture they are adapted to is capable of supporting a complex society and a technological civilization. Not saying these latter are better or more valuable, here.

  5. TweetWivMe says:

    “kids were throwing things at teachers. Teachers couldn’t leave their rooms and had nobody to call, or if they did nobody was coming.”

    In my entire history of schooling I never saw a kid throw anything at a teacher. I never saw a teacher escalate anywhere, either.

  6. Jim says:

    Kirk and Candide III,

    Yes, terms such as “racially inferior” are meaningless. On the other hand, different populations create different cultures, which match their genetics. This is what is called “gene-culture coevolution”. Complex and technologically advanced cultures have been created by Europeans and Northeast Asians. Sub-Saharan Africans are poorly adapted to such cultures. Of course, one can say that it is “unfair” for US blacks to live in a culture to which they are poorly adapted. Just as it would be “unfair” for whites to have to live in say the Congo.

  7. Lucklucky says:

    Africa and Africans have been improving.

    Now you don’t expect they would be improving so fast in US when the American Democratic party and its Media armed force needs for electoral proposes they are permanent victims or gunrunners for hire in staged riots.

  8. Lu An Li says:

    “kids were throwing things at teachers. Teachers couldn’t leave their rooms and had nobody to call, or if they did nobody was coming.”


  9. Kirk says:

    Candide III & Jim,

    The points you make are follow-on to my own; the implications of the (perhaps) inherent ill-adaption to modern civilized life are things we need to acknowledge and deal with forthrightly–Which ain’t happening, and probably won’t.

    My own thoughts are that we should acknowledge these issues, address them meaningfully, and then go from there. I strongly suspect that the form of pedagogy we’re subjecting a lot of these kids to is not fit for purpose, in any way, shape, or form. What would be? I have no idea, but I can identify failure and the antecedents to it in what we’re doing, so let us figure out a better, more suitable approach, rather than writing off an entire segment of the population and dooming them to being an underclass forever.

    Having worked with a lot of American blacks in the military, I’m very dubious of the proposition that there is some form of inherent racial inferiority going on, here. What the problems stem from are issues of framing and approach–I can tell you that different people respond to different forms of training, and you can make some race-based inferences from practical observations made over years of time.

    I trained a lot of guys in a lot of tasks of varying complexity, over the years I was in the service. What I found was that you could take a class of mostly white European-ancestry guys, and do classroom training out of a book, and they’d manage to soak up enough theory to make things work out in the field. Do the same with a mostly black training group? You’re gonna have a hard time, relying on classical classroom instruction. In a lot of cases, where I’d have problems standing up in front of people and talking at them, I’d find a lot more success shifting technique and getting them out on the ground doing the task, rather than trying to teach theory first. As well, most blacks I dealt with who had problems with “advanced subjects” weren’t stupid or unintelligent; they were, to the contrary, some very smart dudes. Just not about books, or things you could learn from them…

    It’s not that blacks or other minorities are inherently stupid or inferior; it’s that we’re trying to teach them things using the same techniques that work with Ashkenazic Jews, Confucian Chinese, and European types who’ve been subjected to the game of civilization for thousands of years. I strongly suspect that were you to go back and look, you’d find a lot of the same issues with the fringe European populations during their experience of “initial civilization” that we have with a lot of Africans and other groups.

    Hell, look at the difference in educational attainments between Asians–Your average Hmong kid ain’t generally burning up the math classes and so forth the way your Han Chinese kids are. From this, I infer that the experience of living under the rules and general environment of a civilization like Imperial China probably has an effect on the behavioral genes, via selection or perhaps methylation. Confucian scholarship requirements for success in Imperial China probably created similar selection pressures as Talmudic scholarship did for Ashkenazic Jews. Absent those pressures, the “natural human” ain’t going to adapt well or succeed in civilizations set up by and for those sorts of people…

    I think we need to acknowledge these issues, attempt to overcome them through changes to what we’re doing in the schools, and if that doesn’t work…? Well, we can always do what the Romans did about the Picts: Build an ‘effing great big wall, and keep them behind it.

  10. Jim says:


    Blacks admitted to the US military must pass a qualification test which is essentially a disguised IQ test which filters out those below a certain IQ. Also blacks in the US military will be discharged if they cannot perform their duties. The psychometric data on US blacks consists of hundreds of IQ studies going back a hundred years and they consistently show about a one standard deviation difference in average IQ between whites and blacks.

    Now note this certainly doesn’t mean that there are not intelligent blacks. Assuming an average black IQ of 85 and a standard deviation of IQ of 15 and about 40 million US blacks one can estimate that there are about 5 million US blacks with IQ’s above the average US white.

    The Hmong population you refer to is genetically very different from Han Chinese. Also Confucius had very little influence on Japan yet the Japanese show an average IQ of about 107. The Japanese population is much closer genetically to the Han than are Hmong. Of course only an infinitesimal part of the population of China in its history were Confucian scholars. The number of exam takers was far too insignificant a part of the huge Chinese population to have any significant genetic effect.

    All over the world where individuals from Northeast Asia have emigrated they have risen over time to the top of the social-economic hierarchy. In Jamaica about a thousand illiterate Hakka peasants arrived in the late 19th century to work as indentured laborers in the sugar plantations. They arrived with the clothes on their backs and the sum total of their other worldly property in a cloth sack.

    By the time of the anti-Chinese riots (around 1960 I think) their descendants (still a tiny percentage of the Jamaican population) controlled more than 90% of the retail establishments in Jamaican. Their level of education was higher even that that of Jamaican whites. But I doubt that they knew anything more about Confucius than white Jamaicans.

    This same pattern repeats all over the world. Several years ago I recall reading that about a third of the graduate students at Sao Paulo University (the Harvard of Brazil) were Japanese-Brazilians. The Chinese minority in Indonesia which has repeatedly endured violent persecution (100,000 killed in one such episode) owns about three quarters of the wealth of Indonesia.

    On the contrary all over the world wherever there are significant populations of individuals of Sub-Saharan African descent these populations are usually at the bottom of the social-economic hierarchy.

  11. Candide III says:

    attempt to overcome them through changes to what we’re doing in the schools

    Good heavens, what a radical new idea. In case you haven’t noticed, this horse has been beaten into a pulp for the last forty or fifty years. Ask Education Realist for details.

  12. Kirk says:

    Candide III…

    Have you ever looked at what the hell those so-called “education experts” are actually, y’know… Doing?

    None of it is what any semi-experienced military trainer would be doing in those classrooms. Most of those jackasses can’t even maintain normal discipline in those “learning areas”; is it any wonder that the kids don’t learn?

    You want to see what works with a lot of black kids, don’t look at what BS comes out of the theorist’s mouths–Look at what works, and what gets practical results. Many of my black peers as NCOs in the Army were excellent trainers, but they emphatically did not follow the “rules” as laid out by the educational theorists infesting our educational systems. Those guys were strict no-nonsense disciplinarians who occasionally resorted to physical intervention to gain control over their students–And, they got excellent results.

    One of those guys I’m thinking of retired, and went into teaching for a few years. What I learned from talking to him was that the whole program that the schools where he’d worked was geared towards coddling and excusing the bad behavior of the black students; he himself got into trouble for being “too strict”, and his take on the root issues were that the schools needed to be run like boot camp or a prison, when dealing with young black males who had poor or no socialization. What worked for us, getting results from those kids in the Army, was not allowed in the schools–With predictable results.

    Most of the crap that would actually, y’know, work? Outlawed and no longer possible in the schools. The techniques of teaching a lot of these kids, who have never been given structure or any kind of real discipline, would involve pulling them out of their entire dysfunctional environment, and then doing what they do in the military to inculcate new, productive behaviors. Basically, we’re talking about the necessity to destroy the existing behavioral complexes, and then build up new ones through total control of the environment. And, then, not let them back into the dysfunctional environment to relapse.

    There are ways to teach these kids, but the rest of society will not actually bother to do anything that might actually work, because that’s just insensitive and uncaring. Kinda the way it’s better to have the mentally deficient and dysfunctional dying of exposure on city streets, instead of institutionalizing them.

    One of these days, the proggies are going to have to pay the piper for all the bullshit they’ve foisted off on the rest of us, all these years. When that day comes? The “humanitarians” are going to be out there on hands and knees, cleaning human shit off the streets–Because, in the final analysis, they’re the reason it is there. Same with the inner-city blacks–The proggies have created the conditions, and they’re eventually going to be held accountable, by what few functional black communities there are left when the worm turns. ‘Twon’t be pretty, either.

  13. Kirk says:


    Take a look at a map, sometime, and examine the spread of “advanced civilization”. The last places that it’s hit in this world of ours have been the same places you’re naming–Sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, and the Asian hinterlands.

    Then, note precisely which populations have been successful, like the Jews and Chinese. Strangely enough, the most successful populations playing the game of civilization have been the ones doing it the longest… And, who had the the most complex versions of civilization. China, regardless of Confucianism, has always had to have a population conducive to long-term planning and cooperation, or the cultivation of rice wouldn’t have been as successful for them as it has been. Does it shock and surprise you that the people who built all those complex paddy systems came up with Confucian bureaucracy, and all the rest? Similarly, the Japanese–Look at the complexity of their rice cultivation, and everything else that affected in their culture. Confucianism may be just a symptom, but the key thing there is the complexity of the supporting civilization and the cooperation forced on it by the agricultural techniques they utilized.

    My point about adaptation remains; the last regions of the European continent to “get civilized”, in terms of complex technology and politics were the same people who were bywords for lawlessness and fecklessness for centuries. Take a long, hard look at how the Irish and Scots were viewed, and then speculate why that changed starting back in the 17th and 18th Century. The levels of interpersonal violence in the Scots-Irish populations that the English didn’t cull, and sent to the Americas? Oddly congruent with the levels we find today in black society here in the US. Why is this? Is it perhaps because there are similarities, in terms of exposure to civilization and/or the culling of the violent from the population?

    Something sure as hell changed–Scots-Irish groups had excessively high rates of violence, compared to other European ethnic groups. Then, starting about the 19th Century, that level of violence started going down, and now they are at pretty much the same level as the rest of Europe. Similar things can be observed in Eastern Europe–Notably surrounding the Baltic Sea. Finland, to this day, has a reputation for greater violence than the rest of Scandinavia, and… It has been exposed to the dubious benefits of civilization for the least amount of time. It’s almost like there is something… Civilizing, about civilization. How… Odd.

    A lot of our problems stem from a failure to enforce standards, and making excuses for these marginal populations. Were the culling process more certain, and rigorously enforced…? A lot of these violent young men would never have been born into a civilization they simply aren’t adapted to. But, our generous proggie overlords insist on being “humane” to individuals, creating cruelty for the rest of us who have to live in a world populated with their enabled predators. Until we tire of it, anyway…

  14. Lucklucky says:

    “But, our generous proggie overlords insist on being “humane” to individuals…”

    That is not what they do. They could care less for them. It is just building a clientele.

  15. Wang Wei Lin says:

    Magic schools fail like magic dirt.

  16. Kirk says:


    What good does it do to build a clientele among the class that they’re “doing good” for? It’s not like you can either tax them, or squeeze much money out of them in other ways.

    What I think “they” are doing is using them as a tool–Whether knowingly or not. Look at the long march through the institutions, which I have to include the mental health and law enforcement realms in, and tell me: Could they have done more damage, with a conspiratorial plan to make the rest of us suffer, dealing with the mentally deficient, crazed, and criminal?

    I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but when I look at the changes wrought by our oh-so-caring social elites since the WWII era, I really have to wonder. Nearly everything they’ve done has resulted in disaster–I’m paying taxes to build and maintain parks I can’t walk in during the day, let alone at night. I have the mentally ill defecating on city streets, littering the place with contaminated needles, and the homeless starting fires in their camps that nearly burn out my entire town. Tell me again, the wonders of the liberal worldview, and what it accomplishes…?

    The worm is going to turn, the pendulum will make a backswing, and my guess is that all these facially-tattooed freaks who won’t work to support themselves are going to find that the “rest of us” have quite lost patience with their shenanigans. Result? Probably pogroms, and mass graves filled with the social detritus created by the liberal policies we see falling apart around us.

    Chicago alone had over 50+ people shot this last weekend, and Monday ain’t even here, yet… How long are the “rest of us” going to put up with this shit?

  17. Big Bill says:

    Kirk: “I infer that the experience of living under the rules and general environment of a civilization like Imperial China probably has an effect on the behavioral genes, via selection or perhaps methylation.”

    Consider this Chinese “selection” pressure. Under the “Nine Familial Exterminations” for serious misbehavior the state would execute:

    1. The criminal’s parents
    2. The criminal’s grandparents
    3. The criminal’s children and their spouses
    4. The criminal’s grandchildren and their spouses
    5. The criminal’s siblings and siblings-in-law
    6. The criminal’s aunts and uncles and their spouses
    7. The criminal’s cousins
    8. The criminal’s spouse
    9. The criminal’s spouse’s parents
    10.The criminal himself

    That is some serious Chinese genetic pruning.

  18. Kirk says:

    Big Bill,

    And, they wonder why the Han Chinese are such conformists…

    I’m kinda wondering how the Chinese are going to do, colonizing Africa. I can see a whole lotta “‘nlightenment” coming to the dark continent, and a bunch of mass graves getting filled. Remains to be seen if the Chinese are any more successful than the Europeans–I strongly suspect that the Chinese are going to make the Belgians look like pikers, before it’s all over.

    Then again, the Chinese have never had to deal with the issues of Africa, either–One way or another, it’s gonna be entertaining. So long as you’re on another continent, and viewing the whole thing at a remove. I suspect that being up close and personal is gonna be rough.

    One does wonder how the Chinese are going to view the whole deal in South Africa, when it comes to appropriating the farms of the whites.

    If I were the Boers, right now? I’d be cozying up to the Chinese, and pointing out that the establishment of such a precedent can’t be good for their African plans.

    Of course, on the other hand, were the Boers of a similar mind to the Chinese, there probably wouldn’t have been any native Africans left to expropriate their lands from them in the 21st Century.

    One does wonder if the Africans in South Africa realize the lesson they’re teaching the colonizers of the future: “Don’t leave any residual populations to cause trouble, later on…”. Call it the “Lesson of the Boers”, and look to see the Chinese pay careful attention to it…

  19. Lucklucky says:

    “What I think ‘they’ are doing is using them as a tool”

    That is what I mean by clientele. Voting clientele. Money is extracted from other people via the clientele voting power, but even money is secondary.

    When you have a culture there is not any need for a conspiracy. Marxism drives on its own. There is no individual, only groups, split between oppressors and victims.

    “Tell me again, the wonders of the liberal worldview, and what it accomplishes…?”

    First of all, there is nothing liberal about them. No wonder most Americans can’t fight them. They don’t understand them, they can’t even name them.

    A Marxist couldn’t care less if things work or don’t work; it is secondary. What matters is the power they can get in society by constantly shifting where the fundamental oppressor-victim narrative complex lives on to be exploited. You could look at them as priests always finding new demons and necessary sacrifices.

    Power over others is what a Marxist wants. And they get it by being always on the stage. All others things are secondary.

    Example: they don’t care about poverty, the poor is, like you said, a tool to manufacture oppressors and extract power from them.

    This is the best text I’ve in US media about the Left.

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