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‘Destroyed In The Name Of Wokeness’: SF Forces Top High School To Eliminate Merit-Based Admissions
Lowell HS
Bob Carey/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

On Tuesday evening, the San Francisco Board of Education voted to change the admissions process from a merit-based to a random lottery at what some say is San Francisco’s only nationally competitive public school, Lowell High School.

“The San Francisco Board of Education voted 5-2 to use the same lottery-based system to assign students to Lowell High as other district high schools instead of maintaining the previous system of test scores and grades,” the San Francisco Chronicle noted, adding, “Lowell, with nearly 2,900 students, currently enrolls less than 2% Black students compared with 8% districtwide and less than 12% Hispanic students compared with 32% in all schools. Asian American students represent 51% of enrollment at Lowell, compared to 29% districtwide.”

Last year, Lowell’s school board suspended its competitive admission policy because of a paucity of grades and test scores during distance learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic. California also canceled standardized tests.

“For decades, San Francisco’s academically competitive Lowell High School has been a point of pride for the city, consistently one of the top performing public schools in the country, luring straight-A students and churning out prominent figures in politics, entertainment, literature and science,” the Chronicle has noted.

“One school board commissioner, Alison Collins, has called merit-based admissions ‘racist,’” The Wall Street Journal editorial board opined. “The real problem progressives have with Lowell is that too many Asian-Americans are passing the entrance exam. But it’s perverse to penalize Asian-Americans because other children do less well on tests.”

“The underperformance of black and Latino children in so many American public schools should be a national scandal,” WSJ added. “Instead, the response from elite universities and New York City’s high-performing public schools has been to disguise the problem by setting de facto admissions quotas for Asian-American students no matter their superior qualifications.”

Political commentator James Lindsay blasted the decision, writing, “Today is the day Lowell HS was destroyed in the name of Wokeness. Soon the Woke will likely go after the University of California system and any other competitive schools in the US that have a disproportionate amount of Asian students, or Jews.”

A woman who teaches at a school for gifted children in Los Angeles, where she does her research, had been keeping a close eye on Lowell for months. She wrote of how hard some students had worked in the past to gain admission to the school:

6 hours of meeting culminated in this, the decision to gut the admissions protocol for San Francisco’s only nationally competitive public school. I’ve listened to a lot of the meetings leading up to this, so I’ve heard a lot of kids say they worked hard for a spot here. Gone. The basis for this decision was that Lowell’s merit-based admissions system was racist, despite the fact that the school is <17% white and majority Asian, representing many families that cannot afford private schooling.

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