Less Than Half of San Francisco Students Are High-School Ready. More Than a Fourth Are Chronically Absent.

San Francisco's Abraham Lincoln High School / Getty Images
July 19, 2022

San Francisco Public Schools released data last month painting a bleak picture of academic achievement in the famously liberal city.

For the 2021-2022 school year, just 47 percent of eighth graders were deemed ready for high school. Twenty-eight percent of students in the San Francisco Unified School District are "chronically absent"—a proportion that has doubled since the 2019-2020 school year. Two-thirds of African-American students fall into that category.

Despite the declining academic performance, San Francisco city officials have debated whether or not to rename schools or remove murals dedicated to important figures in American history. Three progressive members of the San Francisco school board were recalled earlier this year after parents opposed the district's focus on social justice issues over education.

In English Language Arts, 42 percent of students in the district scored below proficient, with 72 percent of African Americans and 66 percent of "Latinx" at reading levels deemed unsatisfactory for their grade levels.

San Francisco schools in 2021 refused to disclose the percentage of students ready for college or a career after graduation. The district has yet to release data on the percentage of students on track to graduate and is withholding its 2022 report until the following year, according to the performance analysis report released in June.

Only Asian students in San Francisco are more likely than not to be prepared for high school. The proportion of students prepared has dropped 13 percent since 2021.