The San Francisco Board of Education voted on Tuesday to replace its long-standing merit-based admission system with a random lottery, accusing the former of being racist, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
Included in the board’s jurisdiction is Lowell High School, which is widely considered one of the most prestigious public high schools in the nation. The resolution passed by the board claims, without evidence, that merit-based admission “perpetuates the culture of White supremacy and racial abuse towards black and Latinx students.” This is despite the fact that currently over 75 percent of Lowell’s students are already non-White students.
The resolution also demands that the district hold an audit of “racist incidents” and implement “antiracist” training programs for students. The move was widely criticized by parents and students within the district, some of whom spoke out during the board meeting’s public comment section on Tuesday night. Some suggested that instead of scrapping the high school-level admissions system altogether, the board could do more to improve outreach and education quality for non-White students at the middle and elementary school levels, although those suggestions fell on deaf ears.
One Lowell alum, Emil Guillermo, wrote an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle blasting the decision, saying that “if the board wants to fight racism…then simply put more resources into all the other high schools. Don’t lower the bar at Lowell.”
Prior to the vote, Lowell was the only high school in the San Francisco Unified School District that still retained merit-based admission. Other elite schools around the country have similarly abolished their merit-based admissions process, including the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, Virginia. The move also comes amidst over 40 other schools in the city of San Francisco voting to remove the names of iconic historical figures, including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, allegedly for being racist.