spacer
Donate Image

Your Donations Count Donate Graphicat the Westside Observer!

Carol Kocivar / ON EDUCATION

studious

SFUSD High School Task Force:

Color Me Disappointed

• • • • • • • • October 4, 2023 • • • • • • • •

The final report of the San Francisco High School Task Force on high school admissions leaves me profoundly disappointed.

The controversy over selective admissions at Lowell High school is one of the longest and most emotional debates in the history of SFUSD. It has all the elements of an ongoing tv series: race, diversity, equity, rich, poor, entitled, privileged. You name it and someone will share a point of view.
Without even holding a task force meeting, anyone engaged in school politics would know that there are really three different approaches:

  1. Maintain the existing selective admission policy and implement the outreach requirements to underrepresented communities. This outreach requirement has been ignored by the SFUSD for years.
  2. Tweak the existing policy with hopes that the changes will create more diversity.
  3. Abandon the commitment to meeting the needs of high performing students and introduce a lottery.
quotes

...the soft bigotry of low expectations. The Task Force recommendation ignores whether the student is proficient based on state standards and just wants to look at grades from multiple teachers who use many different grading criteria.”

What was the Task Force asked to do?

The Task Force shall examine admissions policies for both selective admissions and comprehensive high schools. The Task Force’s recommendations shall take into account the District’s failure to close persistent achievement gaps and advise how the District can elevate the quality of education and improve outcomes for all students.

What did the task force recommend? The soft bigotry of low expectations.

The Task Force gave the superintendent two choices:

  1. A lottery
  2. A tweak to the admission policy that essentially disregards whether a student is high school ready and proficient.

I will repeat that second alternative because it reeks of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Right now, Lowell admits students based on grades and grade level proficiency based on the statewide CAASPP tests. The Task Force recommendation ignores whether the student is proficient based on state standards and just wants to look at grades from multiple teachers who use many different grading criteria.

This is a sad commentary. Task Force members know that many of these students fail to meet proficiency standards. Well then, let’s throw out the test. Diversity is more important than competence. Forget that ignoring proficiency means non-proficient students will get more D’s and F’s.

SFUSD data per SF Chronicle.

Ds &amph; Fs

Absent from the Task Force recommendation is the choice that most people want: Keep and implement the selective admission policy.

All school response
Percentage of respondents from all schools other than Lowell High School supporting the continued use of academic criteria for Lowell admissions
Lowell response
Percentage of respondents from Lowell High School supporting the continued use of academic criteria for Lowell admissions

HSTF - SFUSD Supplemental Survey Report.pdf

Look at the data!

If I had been on the Task Force, I would have demanded a deep dive into the data to see how well Lowell is serving its students.

How well is Lowell educating students?

Lowell is ranked as one of the highest performing public high schools in California and has been recognized 4 times as a National Blue Ribbon School, 8 times as a California Distinguished School, and one time as a Gold Ribbon School. Lowell has been consistently ranked #1 in the Western Region for the number of Advanced Placement Exams given.

How well has the selective admission policy created diversity?

Lowell’s diversity has dramatically increased using the present admission policy.

Diversity Increase

It is more diverse.

Diversity

Which ethnicities have the highest percentages of high school ready students admitted to Lowell?

Ethnicity

The controversy over selective admissions is driven by what the school board asked the Task Force to do:
The Task Force’s recommendations shall take into account the District’s failure to close persistent achievement gaps and advise how the District can elevate the quality of education and outcomes for all students.

No one should adopt recommendations crafted to accept that Black and Latinx students can't meet proficiency levels.

Carol Kocivar is a children’s advocate and lives in the Westside. Feedback: kocivar@westsideobserver.com

October 4, 2023


Have Your Say

More Trending Articles


Removing density controls in western and central SF?

Redevelopment

Mayor’s Upzoning Plan Endangers Our Neighborhoods

by Dennis Antenore

Demolitions, speculations, and displacement are in store if the city moves forward with Breed’s approach.

Check it out
Employee Disparagement

SFPUC’s Employee discontent under Herrera

by Dr. Derek Kerr

Herrera’s team has settled in. The disruptions from the FBI probe and COVID had abated. Employee satisfaction should have improved. It didn’t.

Check it out

Twin Peaks Aerial

Big Changes in Store for Twin Peaks

by Jonathan Farrell

“As it is right now...there is no plan to manage and care for Twin Peaks

Check it out

School Closed

SFUSD Considers School Closures

by Carol Kocivar

No one wants to close schools. Not the communities. Not the school boards. Not administrators and school district personnel..

Read More

Turf a GGP

Phil Ginsburg: Stop poisoning our world

by David Romano

Will Rec and Park be satisfied when every square foot of Golden Gate Park is concrete and artificial turf?

Check it out

Every five years, the EPA determines the success of superfund cleanups

Gantry Crane

New Shipyard Report Confirms: Unsafe for Habitation

by Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai

Take-home message: Cleanup efforts in 15 parcels and sites do not protect residents from hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants emanating from the dirty base

Check it out

© 2023 Westside San Francisco Media. No portion of the articles or artwork may be republished without expressed consent. Legal disclaimer.