Failures up at school after merit-based admissions ended

Marcio Jose Sanchez

Back in March, John wrote about the prospects for Lowell High School in San Francisco. The (formerly) elite school had traditionally maintained one of the highest graduation and college acceptance rates in the state. It was also one of the most racially diverse schools around, with more than half of the student body being of Asian descent. And then the San Francisco School Board decided that the merit-based system of admissions for the gifted and talented student programs was “racist” (?) and they adopted a lottery system for admissions.

So how did that work out? There were already worrisome signs in March, but the end of the school year brought news of how far the school’s performance had slipped. The number of students with at least one failing grade on their report cards jumped significantly. The parents noticed, and this week they showed up at the SFUSD offices to protest. (PJ Media)

There was a rally at San Francisco Unified School District headquarters in San Francisco on Tuesday to protest the new admissions policy at the elite Lowell High School.

The rally was made up mostly of parents. And instead of protesting the fact that there weren’t enough blacks or Hispanics at the school, the parents were urging the district to return to merit-based admissions.

The parents held up signs saying “Merit is not racist” and “Gifted and driven students need a place.” They were responding to the news that more students were given failing grades at Lowell than before the admissions change.

So 24.4% of the students – nearly a quarter of the entire student body – had at least one D or F on their report cards. That is literally more than triple the number of students with failing grades in 2019. The elite universities that used to scoop up Lowell graduates in large numbers aren’t going to be banging on as many doors this year with those sorts of results.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported without any apparent irony that these results indicate that “the figures for that class at Lowell were closer to the numbers at other high schools in the city.” Was that intended as some sort of defense of the change to the lottery system?

This is seemingly the ultimate goal of socialist “equality” efforts. They apparently can’t improve the rest of the schools to bring them up to Lowell’s level of performance, so they’ll just drag Lowell down until it’s as mediocre as the rest of them. But at least everyone will be equal, right?

The teachers were learning some hard lessons about the changes as well. One freshman student that was clearly struggling badly had been lumped into a category of what the staff referred to as “reluctant learners.” But when he was brought in for counseling and testing, they discovered that he could only read at a third-grade level. They had wound up taking a child who would have struggled to keep up with a grade school class and dropped him into an advanced placement program geared toward college admissions. Is it any wonder he was failing?

As John previously pointed out, three members of the school board were recalled last year, largely because of the changes made to the admission policies at Lowell. But though some of the board members are gone, the lottery system remains in place. Some of the other board members should be eligible for recall attempts later this year. I won’t be shocked if that happens, given the current mood of many of the parents.