10/20/2011 06:28 pm ET Updated Dec 20, 2011

We Need Prop H, And a Mayor Who Supports It

It's a classic image: young children with new backpacks, parents just behind, walking excitedly to their first day of school. Parents talk to each other, visit with teachers outside, and wave goodbye to children from the front steps.

But for too many San Francisco families, that picture simply doesn't match reality, because our school assignment system has sent their kids to schools on the far side of town. Instead of a walk through the neighborhood, morning brings a long bus ride or car trip. Parents who might have more time to volunteer instead spend that time shuttling kids through the city. Neighbors who might be invested in a school instead have little or no contact with it, and children have no connection to the neighborhood outside school walls.

This simply isn't a good system, and we have a chance to change it this year. I'm voting yes on Proposition H, Quality Schools for All, and I hope you will too.

Prop H is a statement of policy that would require proximity to be a more significant factor in school assignments. Passing Prop H means schools will be better connected to their communities, children will spend less time in transit, and more families will be able to stay in San Francisco when their children reach school age.

The current school assignment system was instituted with admirable goals, no one disputes that. But the unintended consequences mean the system we have now does more harm than good. We need to improve all our schools, not just some. Passing the Neighborhood Schools Initiative is an important step.

We all know the mayor doesn't have control over the school system, but the mayor can be an advocate for education policies that make a difference for our kids. That's what I'll do as mayor, and a big reason I'm running. We need to pass Prop H, and we need a mayor who believes in it.