Elite High School Ended Merit-Based Admissions. It Was a Complete Disaster
Students at San Francisco’s Lowell High School received significantly more failing grades at the end of the fall 2021 semester following the school board’s decision to end merit-based admissions.
The San Francisco Board of Education voted to end merit-based admissions in February 2021 and switched to a lottery-based admission system at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. Lowell High freshmen admitted through the lottery program received three times the amount of Ds and Fs than those of the previous two years, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
Nearly 25% of Lowell High’s 620 freshmen students received a D or an F in the fall 2021 semester, according to The Chronicle. Only 7.9% of freshmen in Fall 2020 and 7.7% of freshmen in Fall 2019 received a D or an F.
Lowell High, one of the highest performing public schools in the U.S., is seen as a gateway to elite colleges and offers a greater number of advanced courses than other public schools in the city, according to The Chronicle.
NEW: Teachers at San Francisco’s Lowell High gave freshman students significantly more D and F grades this past fall, the first semester after the school board eliminated merit-based admissions.https://t.co/JUFJvBILMB
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) May 25, 2022
Lowell High principal Joe Ryan Dominguez attributed the number of failures to a wide variety of variables rather than the admissions process alone, according to The Chronicle.
“Over a year of distance learning, half of our student body new to in-person instruction at the high school level and absences among students/staff for COVID all explain this dip in performance,” Dominguez said, The Chronicle reported. “It is important not to insinuate a cause on such a sensitive topic at the risk of shaming our students and teachers who have worked very hard in a difficult year.”
The data shows that switching to a lottery admissions process was not in the “best interest of SFUSD students,” Lowell Alumni Association president Kate Lazarus said, according to The Chronicle. The Lowell Alumni Association is a proponent of replacing the lottery admission system at the beginning of the next application cycle.
Lowell High School did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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