Selective Admissions Are Back at Lowell High After a Split Vote Reinstates the Controversial Policy

Maybe this can save the collapsing Lowell High School in San Fra.  It was once a national ranked elite government school.  Today it is a typical failed government school.  In the past enrollment was based on test scores and grades.  For the past couple of years, it was a KKK racist school—enrollment was based on skin color, not academic abilities.

“The decision lurches Lowell High back to its controversial admissions policy, which could open it up to a lawsuit. The district has maintained that state law does not allow comprehensive public high schools like Lowell to admit students based on academic performance.

Lowell’s selective admissions policy has been on a roller coaster of uncertainty since October 2020, when it was first—albeit temporarily—undone by pandemic-prompted limitations on the district’s ability to conduct special testing for the school. The move to lottery-based admissions was made permanent in January after demands for cultural change, then temporarily undone by a judge’s decision and then reinstated once more—until now. 

The bad part is that the return to sanity will not start till Fall, 2023.  By then even more bright students will leave the area.  This needs to start in Fall, 2022.

Selective Admissions Are Back at Lowell High After a Split Vote Reinstates the Controversial Policy

Written by Ida Mojadad, SF Standard,  6/22/   

In a striking turnaround, Lowell High School will return to selective admissions in fall 2023, the San Francisco Unified school board decided Wednesday. 

In a 4-3 decision marking a post-recall shift, the Board of Education voted against the superintendent’s plan to extend lottery admissions for Lowell while a task force assesses high schools and makes recommendations. The school will go back to using grades and test scores to determine eligibility.

Commissioners unanimously approved a separate proposal for a task force that will examine schools with selective admissions: Lowell and Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. 

President Jenny Lam joined commissioners Ann Hsu, Lainie Motamedi and Lisa Weissman-Ward—all four of whom were appointed by Mayor London Breed—in voting against keeping Lowell in lottery admissions. 

Vice President Kevine Boggess and Commissioners Mark Sanchez and Matt Alexander voted in favor of extending the lottery. 

“I believe in an academic magnet school,” said Lam, who cast the swing vote. “I support, at this time, criteria-based admissions. Lowell as a school is not perfect on its own, and neither is its admissions process. I’m fully committed in ensuring we move forward as a district.”

Protesters both for and against the lottery system rallied outside the district headquarters before the meeting, leading to complaints of shouting over Black leaders. 

The decision lurches Lowell High back to its controversial admissions policy, which could open it up to a lawsuit. The district has maintained that state law does not allow comprehensive public high schools like Lowell to admit students based on academic performance.

Lowell’s selective admissions policy has been on a roller coaster of uncertainty since October 2020, when it was first—albeit temporarily—undone by pandemic-prompted limitations on the district’s ability to conduct special testing for the school. The move to lottery-based admissions was made permanent in January after demands for cultural change, then temporarily undone by a judge’s decision and then reinstated once more—until now. 

The change in status quo fueled the recall of three commissioners who voted for the permanent end of academic-based admissions and were replaced by successors who favored it.

The change back will likely reverse the recent trend of admitting more Black and Latinx students, whose numbers have long been disproportionately low at the selective public high school, contributing to feelings of isolation and inferiority.

Lowell comprises 48.5% Asian students, 17.7% white students, 14.1% Latinx students, 2% Black students, and 5.4% Filipino students, according to district data. Its freshman class admitted through the lottery system is 43.6% Asian, 15.7% white, 21.6% Latinx, 4% Black, and 4.6% Filipino. 

Under the lottery, a higher number of low-income and special education students were also admitted. 

Reinstating the previous admissions policy will be a demanding logistical task, staff warned. It will take reestablishing procedures with families and many new middle school administrators, which would cost at least $40,000 in overtime work and purchasing tests. 

‘We Need to Stop Harming Children’

Wednesday’s vote came after immense pressure from the Lowell Alumni Association, Chinese Parent Advisory Council and recall proponents to restore selective admissions

Supporters of criteria-based admissions argued Lowell was not at fault for district failures at the elementary and middle school level to prepare students for a rigorous environment, one that better sets up high-achieving students for success.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

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