The SFUSD superintendent says there’s not enough time to implement a court order to re-vote on admissions changes at Lowell. That’s likely to further infuriate the alumni groups that sued the district to win that court order.
We mentioned yesterday that Lowell High appears to be sticking with its current lottery-based admissions for the 2022-23 school year, despite a lawsuit from angry parents and alumni, and a court order requiring them to re-do the public-input process that should precede such a major vote by the school board.
“It would be logistically impossible to establish and implement any selective admissions criteria prior to the application deadline of Feb. 4 so I am recommending we maintain our current admissions practice for Lowell for the upcoming school year,” superintendent Dr. Vincent Mathews said in a statement.
But you know that’s not going to be the end of it! After all, the Lowell Alumni Association is a particularly litigious bunch, having sued the district not once but twice in 2021 alone (with co-plaintiffs like the Friends of Lowell Foundation and the Asian American Legal Foundation). These groups are not likely to take kindly to a finger in the eye, particularly after they’ve won a court-ordered injunction — though the judge did leave open how the district could handle admissions going forward, pending a re-vote by the board.
Superintendent Mathews is only proposing a one-year delay on returning to Lowell’s old merit-based admissions, the district seems willing to go back that system for the 2023-24 school year. But since the alumni and their allies won a court decision saying the district violated state law about public notice of policy changes, Mathews’s move may spur, guess what, yet another lawsuit.
And one cannot separate this issue from the recall the school board movement, because many of the above-named plaintiffs are pretty vocal advocates of the recall. But the school board will have final say on this matter at their December 14 meeting, and however they vote, it is almost certain to throw more gasoline onto what is already a bonfire of discontent from certain very outspoken set of parents.
Coincidentally, today happens to be the theatrical release date of the Lowell High School documentary Try Harder! I haven’t seen it, I’ve only seen the trailer, but it sure looks like a big, sloppy kiss towards Lowell High. That is, the old Lowell High, the prestigious school with a frankly overwhelmingly Asian student body. Lowell High did become more racially diverse under the first year of lottery admissions. That may continue if Matthews’ plan to delay the return of merit admissions succeeds, but in all likelihood, alumni groups are just going to try harder to make sure Lowell keeps merit-based admissions.
Image Blackjack48 ♠t ♣c via Wikimedia Commons