Parents Demand the San Francisco Unified School District Use Merit-Based Admissions for Lowell High School for Fall 2022

A feasible merit-based admissions policy has been proposed to the SFUSD

A groundswell of San Francisco parents, educators and voters are demanding that the San Francisco Unified School District immediately reinstate merit-based admissions for the Fall 2022 school year, according to the Friends of Lowell Foundation. These demands follow the Nov. 18 Superior Court ruling that invalidated the San Francisco Board of Education plan to eliminate Lowell High School's merit-based admissions in response to the Foundation's lawsuit.

Ahead of a Dec. 16 Board vote on Fall 2022 Lowell admissions, Board members and San Francisco leaders received thousands of letters urging the SFUSD to implement a merit-based academic admissions policy for Lowell.

In its losing argument, the SFUSD asserted that it could not provide an academic admissions process for the coming school year because of inadequate time, an argument that Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman rejected in his Nov. 18 ruling, writing that "the District and the Board have only themselves to blame" for a lack of preparation.

The Board and SFUSD Superintendent Vincent Matthews have in fact received a proposal for an academic admissions policy that the SFUSD can implement now. The proposal uses student grades earned during in-person instruction and the recommendations of middle school principals. The proposal closely matches the prior academic admissions policy for Lowell, observes California state law, and acknowledges challenges created by the pandemic.

The proposal author is Carol Kocivar, who chaired the Lowell Admissions Task Force that developed an admissions program that was approved in federal court in 2001.

"This proposal puts the needs of children first. It meets the concerns of those who want merit-based admissions at Lowell, while also helping to diversify the school," Kocivar noted. "Lowell admissions must consider both excellence and equity."

"San Francisco is so lucky to have a world-class school, Lowell High," said San Francisco attorney and Friends of Lowell Foundation board member Christine Linnenbach. "Without merit-based admissions, Lowell will quickly lose its academic nature, to the great detriment of every San Franciscan. Thankfully, we now have a way forward for next year. All the Board of Education has to do is listen to its constituents and restore merit-based admissions. It's the right move for students and for all voters in our city."

The Board's actions regarding Lowell admissions continue to draw attention, including locally on the front page of the Sing Tao Daily newspaper and nationally in the Wall Street Journal.


The Friends of Lowell Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed to make academic merit-based public education available to as many children in San Francisco as possible. More information and donation opportunities can be found at and

Source: Friends of Lowell Foundation