Elite High School's Bid to End Merit-Based Admissions Ends in Disaster

Elite High School's Bid to End Merit-Based Admissions Ends in Disaster

One of our country’s founding principles is that all persons were created equal and thus, should be treated equally, but in recent years, the Democrat left has twisted that concept into meaning equality of outcomes. While we didn’t live up to that principle in the beginning, through various constitutional amendments and statutes Americans through the generations rectified that shortcoming.

That said, guaranteed equal outcomes were never part of the equation, at our founding and since. And yet, the left has honed in on that concept as a means of allegedly ‘fixing’ what they claim is “systemic racism” inherent throughout our society, even at the most liberal institutions in the country.

Nowhere is the practice more prevalent than at the most prestigious institutions of learning and higher education. But the practice is having disastrous results, as The Daily Caller notes:

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…

Almost one-quarter of Lowell High’s 620 freshmen students were given D’s or F’s in the fall 2021 semester, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Meanwhile, just 7.9 percent of freshmen in the fall of 2020 and 7.7 percent of them in the fall of 2019 got those low grades.

But of course, the liberals running the formerly elite school have a range of excuses.

Lowell High principal Joe Ryan Dominguez said the high number of failures was due to a wide variety of variables rather than the admissions process alone, the paper reported.

“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 told the paper. “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.”

Sure — let’s not “insinuate a cause” or do anything to point out that ditching the merit-based admissions in favor of ‘adding diversity’ to the student body was an abject failure, if in fact that is the problem. That’s not ‘racism’ by the way, that is accepting reality and responsibly owning a bad decision, which is what Dominguez should be doing if he is at all interested in keeping Lowell High School an elite institution.

Thankfully, some people familiar with the situation are pointing out the obvious:

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.

Elite institutions become elite by only admitting the best-qualified applicants, period. That’s equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome because again, as the grades demonstrate, equality of outcome isn’t even guaranteed.

But generally, if the issue is a ‘lack of diversity,’ maybe the solution is fixing poorly performing San Fran schools so that a wider group of students came become better-performing applicants. Being among the best is earned, not given.


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