Thousands of high school dropouts in San Francisco would like to return to the classroom, but for many, the short distance from home to an adult school might as well be a hundred miles given turf wars, gang ties or other safety concerns.
That’s the challenge described by local education leaders who, starting next month, will bring a classroom to those potential students in the unusual form of a revamped Muni bus stocked with computers, Internet access, and a teacher.
Currently, about 86,000 city residents have not finished high school, including 8,000 in Bayview-Hunters Point, according to Five Keys officials. They believe this is the first mobile school for adults in the country, and plan to expand the program to Oakland and Los Angeles if it is successful.
“We believe that everyone — and we mean everyone, especially those behind the eight ball, so to speak — deserves a dignified, effective and free education,” said Sunny Schwartz, co-founder of Five Keys, which opened its first school in 2003 inside San Francisco County Jail. “They’re our students. They’re our community.”