After Just Two Years, San Francisco High School Ends Antiracist Admissions Scheme

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Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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A San Francisco high school is returning to a merit-based admission system after a 4-3 school board vote Wednesday.

Two years ago, Lowell High School announced a lottery based system for school admissions, rather than one based on merit, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. After low test scores and student achievement, the school is returning to using standardized test scores and grades to determine who is admitted to the school. (RELATED: Is Affirmative Action Next For SCOTUS? Here’s How It Could Happen)

Under the lottery system, freshman at Lowell High School received three times as many Ds and Fs as they did before the school scrapped its merit-based admission policy. School board members at the time cited what they called “pervasive systemic racism” in the school to justify their decision to change the admissions process.

Judge Ethan Schulman ruled that the school board’s decision to get rid of the merit-based admission process was “null and void” in November 2021, according to KTVU. Schulman said that the board failed to post a meeting agenda with full details of the resolution in violation of the Brown Act.

Schulman said that, “it doesn’t appear to me to be impossible, for them to renotice this matter and have the properly noticed, properly agendized public meeting that might end up having them take the very same action again.”

In spite of the court ruling, the school chose to continue its lottery admission policy into the next semester.

“It would be logistically impossible to establish and implement any selective admission criteria prior to the application of Feb. 4 so I am recommending we maintain our current admissions practice at Lowell for the upcoming year,” Superintendent Vince Matthews said, according to KTVU.