Friday, March 24, 2023
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Elite SF School Sees Spike in D’s, F’s After Ending Merit-Based Admission

'Enrolling students who aren't prepared for Lowell's advanced-placement classes will do them serious harm... '

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) San Francisco’s Lowell High School handed out significantly more failing grades in 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, oping for a lottery admission system in the fall of 2021, the Daily Caller reported.

Freshman of Lowell High admitted through the system received three times the amounts of Ds and Fs than the freshman classes of the previous two years.

Nearly 25% of the 620 freshman received a D or F in the fall of 2021 semester. Comparatively, only 7.9% of freshman of the fall 2020 and 7.7% freshman of Fall 2019 received failing grades.

Principal Joe Ryan Dominguez blamed the increased failures on a variety of topical variables, rather than just the admission process.

“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 and staff for COVID all explain this dip in performance,” Dominguez told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“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.”

However, the Lowell Alumni Association disagreed with this assessment.

Lowell Alumni Association president Kate Lazarus believes the shift to a lottery admissions process was not in the “best interest of the SFUSD students,” pointing to data collected by the school district.

There was not an increase in failing grades across the rest of the city. Lowell High is the only school in which this phenomena occurred, according to the Chronicle.

Lazarus and other alums support returning to a merit-based system as soon as the beginning of the next application cycle.

Many families, but particularly Asian ones, have been protesting the lottery system as well. Lowell high school has a high percentage of Asian students, and parents argued that the lottery system may not only take away their chance to succeed as students, but may affect their lives as a whole.

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