Elite High School Ended Merit-Based Admissions. It Was A Complete Disaster

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Bryan Babb Contributor
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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.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 17: San Francisco Mayor London Breed speaks during a news conference outside of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with essential workers to mark the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdown on March 17, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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.” (RELATED: Acronyms Are Part Of ‘White Supremacy Culture,’ According To San Francisco School District)

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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