Some oppose SF Lowell High School's proposed admissions change

A proposal to change the admission policy at Lowell High School, an elite San Francisco school, is being criticized by some in the community. 

School officials are considering an admissions lottery instead of academic achievement.

The proposed change has prompted controversy among parents and students who support the idea that was announced Friday, Oct. 9, days before an San Francisco Unified School District meeting on Oct. 13.

"This is a vote that is supposed to happen in about a week and they haven't involved the community at all in the process," said Michelle Parker, parent of Lowell High School Student.

The reason for the change was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lowell High School students have been accepted based on a scoring system that takes into grades and tests results into consideration. But, when COVID forced schools to close, standardized tests were halted and the district switched to a pass/fail grade system.

Parker not only opposes the idea of using a lottery system as a form of admittance to the school for the next school year but also that the community was not involved with coming up with ideas for how to modify admission.

"Part of why Lowell is successful and a sought after place is because it's a space for a bunch of high-achieving students to have rigorous academic experience in an environment with a bunch of other students who want the same thing. That's why it works," Parker said before Tuesday's first meeting to discuss the plan.

Lowell High School senior Shavonne Hines Foster, 17, says she, too, isn't sure a lottery system is the best solution for acceptance into the school.

"I think an essay would probably work better," said Hines Fosters. "I know from my conversations with other students when they were filling out the application, they were way more confident with the essay portion."

Some opposed to the lottery system proposed during the board meeting that school officials use sixth, the first semester of seventh grade, or 8th grade as a temporary benchmark for admission.

The board is scheduled to vote on whether or not to move ahead with the lottery system next Tuesday, Oct. 20th.