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Philadelphia School District Under Parental Fire For Diversity Lottery That Shuts Out Top Students

Philadelphia School District Under Parental Fire For Diversity Lottery That Shuts Out Top Students

“These kids – our kids – need a fair chance to get into our best high schools. Regrettably, this new process does not give them that chance.”

Philadelphia School District has changed its admissions policy in the name of diversity and equity. They lowered standards, did away with a standardized test, and discounted the importance of good grades.

They say this is for equity, but many students who worked hard, studied and got better grades are being left in the cold. Many parents are understandably upset.

We’ve seen similar things happen in New York, Boston, and Virginia.

CBS News in Philadelphia reports:

‘What Do I Do?’ Families Unhappy With Philadelphia School District’s Lottery Process Ahead Of Deadline

Time is dwindling down, with just one more day until students in the Philadelphia School District lottery must accept one of their waitlist offers. If not, that spot will go to another student.

The lottery is part of the district’s new admission policy for specialty schools, and a lot of families are unhappy with the process.

Families told CBS3 they are in favor of the plan to diversify these specialty schools, but they said the district is overlooking the hard work that got them into the lottery in the first place…

At the start of February, the Philadelphia School District delivered the news to thousands of families whether or not their child was placed at some of the most elite schools in the district.

It’s an initiative officials says they are hoping will provide more diversity at these specialty schools, giving priority placement to students who live in economically-challenged neighborhoods.

“It’s bittersweet he did get placed,” Tanya Folk said.

Tanya Folk held back tears instead of breathing a sigh of relief after her son Christopher was placed in his first choice, Carver High School of Engineering and Science.

Some parents are even asking for a redo.

Chalkbeat Philadelphia reports:

New Philly high school admissions process, meant to increase equity, leads to pleas for a redo

At 5 p.m. last Friday, thousands of Philadelphia eighth graders learned whether they were admitted to one of the city’s most selective high schools.

It’s an annual ritual, but this year, with a major difference: In October the district overhauled the process by putting the names of all qualifying students into a lottery instead of letting individual school leaders shape their incoming classes.

Now, several parent groups are asking for a redo, saying the new system – meant to remove bias in admissions decisions and increase diversity at the city’s most elite public schools – has unfairly left some high-achieving students wait-listed at all their choices and without any offers of admission. Each student could list up to five schools on their application.

This is so unfair to so many kids.

“I’m happy for other children to be given opportunities they were never given before,” said one parent who asked to remain anonymous and whose daughter – a straight-A student with a long list of middle school extracurriculars – was wait-listed at all of the five schools to which she applied. “But this is coming at the cost of other children.”

Saida Nhari said her daughter, an eighth grader at Masterman, did not get into either of her top choices, Central or Masterman.

“My daughter stressed herself out to get straight As and got up in the early morning to get to school on time,” said Nhari. “All that effort was in hopes to get into the high school. But two weeks before the applications opened, they decided to change everything.”

An opinion columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer named Sozi Pedro Tulante writes:

Philly’s elite high schools have an equity problem. A controversial new admissions policy makes it worse.

On Jan. 28, thousands of parents across the city learned which Philadelphia public high school their children will be attending this fall under the new selection criteria for special admissions programs.

Like many Philadelphians, I have been following the School District’s hastily arranged admissions policy with concern. I have a personal and professional interest in the district: My three children are in a district school and I am a proud alum of six district schools, where, more than three decades ago, I learned English after coming here from the Congo. I also spearheaded the complicated legal effort in 2017 that ended the reign of the state-run School Reform Commission and reinstated the current Philadelphia Board of Education…

We need to get this right. The old system was flawed and ceded too much unbridled discretion to the principals and the band of parents who helped them wield that authority, locking out kids from the same underserved neighborhoods that I come from.

These kids – our kids – need a fair chance to get into our best high schools. Regrettably, this new process does not give them that chance.

Progressive school board members and other education leaders are ignoring the wave of parental concern while charging ahead with their plans.

We need an education revolution in America.

Featured image via YouTube.


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This is a mixed bag.

Sounds like the lady at the bottom of the article really just wanted to have her minority child forced into a school, whether the merit got her there or not. It probably would have but she doesn’t seem to advocate for merit as much as intentional/manipulated diversity as opposed to the diversity lottery they put up now. Why does her child matter more than a white kid that got left out too?

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to healthguyfsu. | February 13, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    Short form, according to the standards used by the Philadelphia Public Schools, all whites regardless of grades, aptitude, success are outranked by anyone who is a “protected class”. It is what it is in a Democrat fiefdom.

    Subotai Bahadur

These guys have been around for three decades now. They’ve laid a lot of the groundwork. Maybe it’s time to lend them an ear.

“Families told CBS3 they are in favor of the plan to diversify these specialty schools, but they said the district is overlooking the hard work that got them into the lottery in the first place…”

Unfortunately, I feel like many of these people just aren’t paying close enough attention to these diversity and inclusion efforts nationwide. They don’t care about your kids, they care about advancing their own careers by fluffing their resumes and showing how not-racist they are. They already tortured your children for two years, they will gladly continue to make their education difficult. Time to stop being willfully ignorant about toxic equity policy and actively fight back.

    If you divert from what makes these schools “specialty schools,” then you no longer have a specialty school.

    Q. If you speak my name, I leave. Who am I?

    A. Silence.

      Massinsanity in reply to fscarn. | February 14, 2022 at 8:32 am

      ^^ This.

      These policy makers seem to think it’s the buildings that make these schools great when, obviously, it’s the students and families followed by the teachers that make the difference.

      Change the makeup of the student body and one gets just another average HS.

In the 90s many public universities went on a spree like this to bring in disadvantaged students. What they discovered is that these students were wholly unprepared for college-level courses and they needed to go through remedial courses before ever reaching the most basic acceptable level.

Courses were dumbed down, extensive tutoring was provided and, still, the vast majority dropped out within the first year. Many of these students also left with a pile of debt that no minimum wage job would ever pay back.

These elite high schools will go through the same process, if not worse. By the time they dumb down the curriculum, they won’t be elite anymore.

    Jack Klompus in reply to IneedAhaircut. | February 14, 2022 at 7:56 am

    I tutored math at a local college this past year. I had a student who couldn’t identify the characteristics of a rectangle. Another economics major in his senior year couldn’t explain what a demand curve was and didn’t know how to plot intercepts on a coordinate system.

    Massinsanity in reply to IneedAhaircut. | February 14, 2022 at 8:33 am

    Alternatively, the next step after watered down admissions is demands for “equity grading” because the newly admitted have no chance to succeed if the curriculum isn’t watered down.

This is what any blue area looks like unfortunately.

Equally has been a goal of Lefts since 1789, 230 years and still trying to achieve it.

The Gentle Grizzly | February 13, 2022 at 2:28 pm

Time for voters to de-fund or disband their school districts.

‘Equity’ in education is a race for mediocrity. Appearance is all that matters. Equity is the enemy of quality, and not the same thing as equality. Even equality is at odds with quality.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Whitewall. | February 13, 2022 at 3:55 pm

    I disagree that equality is at odds with quality. Equality of opportunity is integral to the success of a meritocracy. The more participants, the better the quality of the final product forged through fair and robust competition.


      Unfortunately, in the minds of many equality = quotas or worse, undeserved leg-ups based on skin color.
      In which case it is certainly at odds with quality,

      Whitewall in reply to healthguyfsu. | February 13, 2022 at 4:56 pm

      Only partly. The more participants does not equal better chance, necessarily. Just more numbers can still be mediocre. It takes a step above to produce the most superior result.

My children all went to “elite” Central High School in Phila.
Here is the problem those who are rejected face: most other neighborhood high schools here are zoos where you will be lucky not to become a crime statistic, much less be in any kind of learning environment.
Therefore, caring parents have to get their kids out of the system which means uprooting their families and their lives.
Not a pleasant prospect for lottery losers.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to mochajava. | February 13, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    That school will become a zoo as well. That’s intentional.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to mochajava. | February 14, 2022 at 7:04 am

    Another comment addressing your post: time was, the troublemakers were expelled. This was before the oh-so-concerned blame-society types got control.

    I had a teacher in high school. We were having a last-day talk with him; he had been elevated to principal for another school. He was from Spain, and Franco was in power when he left.

    There had been a VERY RARE incident involving knives at my high school, and w were discussing it. He said kids like that were tossed out of Spanish schools without recourse, or a “second chance”.

    “Someone must sweep the streets, scrub the toilets, clean the grease traps, pick the crops.”

    Jack Klompus in reply to mochajava. | February 14, 2022 at 7:54 am

    Everyone in my neighborhood went to Lincoln HS. When it came time for high school the conversation with my parents began with, “Well, you’re not going to Lincoln, so let’s think about visiting…” My parents who grew up in Kensington scraped and sacrificed to make sure I got a good Catholic private school education. My provisions included a bag lunch and Septa tokens.

The left’s war on merit will claim more and more casualties until people say, at the ballot box, “enough.”

I’m sure Penn GSE policymaking flakes are involved.

These whining parents are overwhelmingly progressive Democrats. They voted for this. They support this.

Well, until it hits home, but they absolutely deserve to have their hard working little darlings assigned to schools in the hood. Deep in the hood.

For diversity.

    “”They voted for this.””

    What’s more, they’ll vote for it again and again. Most of them never learn.

    Jack Klompus in reply to mbecker908. | February 14, 2022 at 7:52 am

    They’ll all move to the suburbs or put their kids into private schools before they’ll allow their kids to go to a run of the mill Philadelphia high school. They’re dangerous and teach students practically nothing.

Philadelphia public schools, with a few exceptions, are mediocre at best, and downright useless and dangerous at worst. The public elementary schools that have experiences a bit of a renaissance have been in immigrant-heavy neighborhoods in the Northeast where many of the families are from cultures that values education, mainly Asian. Elementary and high schools in poor areas of West and North Philadelphia are flat out garbage. Rotting buildings, overworked inexperienced teachers, and overcrowded classes of feral, ill mannered, out of control children with little if any social skills or discipline, Teachers are cursed out and spoken to with crude sexual innuendos from third graders who steal everything that isn’t nailed down. It’s a nightmare system that reflects the ignorant, illiterate, useless societal dregs that populate much of Philadelphia and have other skill except to mate like bunnies and produce more useless Philadelphians.
Central High School and Masterman have been the crown jewels of the system, and admission was always based on merit in the past. The so-called “magnet” schools are barely a step above the regular high school warehouses with little of what used to distinguish them. If Central and Masterman give up their merit based system you will see a lot of once proudly “progressive” urban parents from the nice parts of Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, and Center City heading for the Main Line to get their kids into the nice suburban districts faster than you can read the “Hate Has No Home Here” on their lawn signs.

Today’s Democrats – Equity not Merit – whether it be education or crime. It looks like, at 3 million illegals per year, they are working hard to keep public school enrollment dollars up.