San Francisco is on the verge of destroying the city's only merit-based public school
San Francisco's Lowell High School, founded in 1856, is the oldest public high school west of the Mississippi. In 1894, it was renamed after Lowell, Massachusetts. By the 20th century, Lowell admitted students, not by neighborhood, but by academic qualifications. These qualifications meant the school was disproportionately White; Jewish; and, for the last 50 years, Asian. Leftists have wanted to destroy it for decades. Thanks to BLM and the Wuhan virus, they are finally getting their chance.
When I attended Lowell in the late 1970s, admission was based on junior high school grades. At that time, the student body was roughly 50% Asian. The year I graduated, Lowell was ranked as one of the top ten public high schools in America.
In the 1980s, the NAACP sued the school because the academic requirements meant that few Black students made it to Lowell. The suit ended with a consent decree requiring a written test for admission and mandating that Asians score 62 out of 69 on the test, while White students could score 58, and Blacks could enter with a lower score (which articles about the school refuse to identify).
Asians pushed back in the 1990s and eventually forced a new consent decree that created a "diversity index" substituting socioeconomic factors, the mother's education level (missing fathers?), academic achievement, and language spoken at home. The school returned to being primarily Asian. Lowell always did have a huge infusion of Asian students who lived in abysmal poverty, with parents who spoke no English, but who emphasized education over everything, resulting in students with superior grades.
The San Francisco School District got its revenge on Lowell by sending it some of the worst teachers in an already lousy district. The theory was that, because the students were good, they didn't need good educators.
A virus from China, ironically, gave the school district the ammunition it needed to destroy a school that had, for generations, churned out intelligent, well educated students from all over the city. The first salvo was the district's decision that, because there was no in-person learning in 2020, the academic standards for admission would be put in temporary abeyance. Everyone could see where that was headed.
San Francisco has now lined up a death blow to Lowell. Several commissioners announced that the school is a center of "ongoing, pervasive, systemic racism." Why? Because relatively few minorities qualify for Lowell; "Black, Latinx, and Samoan Pacific Islander students" don't feel "physically, emotionally or culturally safe and valued at Lowell"; there were "microaggressions"; and Ibram X. Kendi says anything that shows that non-Whites and non-Asians don't do as well academically is inherently racist.
For those, and other race-hustler reasons, the commissioners resolved that Lowell should become a regular high school with a lottery admission beginning in the fall of 2021. Oh, and it will also be subject to a Maoist struggle session review "to address the exclusion and ongoing toxic racist abuse that students of color, specifically Black students, have experienced at Lowell High School since the school's creation."
Lowell is such an integral part of old San Francisco pride that even the editorial board of the hard-left San Francisco Chronicle was moved to protest, worried that the lottery "threatens to erode the school's ability to maintain its level of academic excellence[.]" Ya think?
Not only is Lowell on the verge of losing its unique academic cachet, but it's also losing its name. The San Francisco Board of Education went on a rampage last week, renaming 44 San Francisco schools, claiming that all the existing names are racist. I wrote here about the risible, historically ignorant reasons for renaming Lincoln High School.
It's not just Lincoln who's being erased. George Washington (slave-owner), Paul Revere (false claim that he helped conquer the Penobscot Indians), Teddy Roosevelt (imperialist), and Dianne Feinstein (allowed a Confederate flag to be flown and used to oppose same-sex marriage) are all being stricken. Lowell is getting a new name because of flawed Wikipedia research. Wikipedia said the school was named after famed abolitionist James Russell Lowell, who happened not to like Blacks much. The rush to rename is so insane that even leftist Mayor London Breed objected.
Frankly, if the school's just going to be another lousy San Francisco public high school, I'm glad that the name is being changed. That prestige that attached to the Lowell name shouldn't be dragged down. My suggestion for the school re-naming committee is that they call the proud institution that once was Lowell "Just Another Lousy Public School" or JALPS.
Oh, wait! I forgot. In the world of racial madness, acronyms are banned, too, as a symptom of "white cultural supremacy."
While it's dubious whether a majority of Americans voted for Biden, it's a dead certainty that a majority of San Franciscans voted for the school board. They wanted leftism, and now they're getting it good and hard.
Image: Lowell High School. Public Domain image.