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Philadelphia Parents Object to Lottery System Meant to Diversify Top High Schools

Philadelphia Parents Object to Lottery System Meant to Diversify Top High Schools

“It just turned our whole family upside down”

This is exactly what lead to the school board recall election in San Francisco in 2022.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Parents Challenge Lottery Systems Used to Diversify Elite High Schools

When Philadelphia’s school district overhauled the admissions process at its most-elite public high schools to try to improve socioeconomic and racial diversity, the reaction from parents came quickly.

In surveys and at school-board meetings, parents called the shift to a lottery system demeaning, unfair, stressful and the opposite of equitable. Families shared stories of high-achieving children failing to win a seat in any of the district’s selective high schools, or being placed in a school too far away or one misaligned with student interests.

Some families sued.

“It just turned our whole family upside down,” said Liza Gonzalez, whose daughter enrolled at a Christian high school in the fall after not winning any lottery placements.

A parent group at the city’s top-ranked high school, Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, recently released a 51-page report contending that Masterman is being “systematically dismantled” by the new system.

The response mirrors pushback in San Francisco, New York, the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in recent years, as school districts seek to expand access to rigorous public high schools.

The school districts say that white and Asian students are often overrepresented at the schools and that a broader array of residents should have an opportunity to attend. Parents and some alumni groups have said the pipeline is what needs to be fixed, not the admissions systems.


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Antifundamentalist | March 12, 2023 at 11:16 am

If you aren’t capable or willing to do the work but take up a seat in those schools, the end result is that someone who is capable and willing to do the work is deprived of that seat AND the entire class is handicapped by the students who should not, by academic capablity, be there in the first place. It’s a lose-lose situation all the way around.

But I believe that’s the point. It’s not about having access to the best education that is most appropriate to each student’s ability, it’s about ensuring that each student is equally deprived of an appropriate education.

The Gentle Grizzly | March 12, 2023 at 2:25 pm

Just another case of diluting opportunity for the best students.

For the record, I was a dismal student.

Old Navy Doc | March 12, 2023 at 7:45 pm

Hmm. The lifeboat is sinking but the strongest person with the biggest bucket is forced to use a teacup in the name of equity.

“What a bunch of maroons” B. Bunny

George Carlin was right twenty years ago when he said American public education sucks, and will never get any better. The government “does not want critical thinkers”, he said. If you want to afford your kid the best chance at becoming both educated and skilled, look into homeschooling. There is a huge network of good people ready to help, and resources are cheap or free. We chose this path for our son and it has made all the difference. Ironically, he now teaches at an elite private school simply because he was the best choice. He’s also a concert pianist and speaks three languages (currently learning a fourth). He’s happy, well-adjusted and has plenty of friends. We have no worries about his future success, and his education incurred zero debt.

Masterman has always been the crown jewel of the Philadelphia public school system – a selective magnet school that required high test scores and recommendations for admission. The rest of the system is hot garbage. If Masterman kept its merit system, its entire student body would be made up off South Asians, new Chinese, Russian and Uzbek immigrants, and the remaining Jewish kids all in the stable, middle class Northeast section of the city.
The progressive forces decimated the once nationally renowned Central High School that was once all boys all features graduates such as Larry Fine, Noam Chomsky, Thomas Eakins, and many doctors and lawyers. The school went co-ed, lowered its standards and since then it’s a fairly run of the mill high school.
As bad as current Mayor Jim Kennedy has been for Philadelphia, the city, which has a collective IQ of about 60, will likely elect someone more to the left and a thousand times worse this year.

^ Jim Kenney that is. The hope for Philly is that it will re-elect former mayor Michael Nutter who is a highly intelligent, sensible moderate and almost downright conservative by Philadelphia politics standards.

Parents can thank Penn GSE for this “transformational change,” spearheaded by Dean Pam Grossman and all her woke professors and students who’ve been working to dismantle Philly schools for a while now.


    Thad Jarvis in reply to alohahola. | March 13, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    Guaranteed the overwhelming majority of Penn GSE professors with kids send them to the expensive private schools in the area like Chestnut Hill Academy, Haverford, and the numerous uber-woke Quaker schools. Maybe a couple send their kids to Masterman or Central, but very very few. Masterman and Central are also the only public high schools in the city that produce any students even slightly qualified to get into Penn on merit.

“Dumb down for Equity”

What makes those “elite” schools elite? If it’s academic rigor, shouldn’t the goal be to increase the academic rigor at the OTHER schools?

What will the result be of enabling students who are not academically capable of achieving those “elite” standards to attend those schools? Either the failure rate is going to rise, which harms the kids who failed there, but would have succeeded in a less rigorous school, or the standards will have to be reduced, which harms the higher achievers.

In either scenario, someone gets harmed. How is that a desirable outcome? I guess that’s desirable to the equity brigade, who’s goal is for everyone (with the notable exception of themselves, of course) to be equally miserable.