Lowell HS before Prop 207: Chinese-Americans needed 66/69 to get in, whites and other Asians 59/69, blacks/Hispanics 56

A substantial number of Lowell students leave the school each year because they feel burned out or believe transferring elsewhere will bolster their grade-point averages and their college-admissions prospects. Because black and Hispanic students are the most likely to leave, and Chinese-Americans usually stay, the school's attrition patterns hinder its efforts to maintain diversity.

Michael Lombardo, whose parents were Italian and Mexican, and Debra, who is of mixed European descent, say they classified their daughter as Hispanic in her application to Lowell. Several other parents that night said they had a choice of ethnic designations for their children and picked the one that would give their child an advantage.

Because her husband is part Hawaiian, Yee could have identified her 4-year-old son as a Pacific Islander, giving him a better chance one day at getting into Lowell or another school of his choice. Instead, the Yees chose to move to a suburb 30 minutes away where she won't have to risk seeing her son kept out of a good public school for being Chinese. "I am very proud of being Chinese," she says. "I don't want my son to have to identify himself as something other than what he is."

Felton L. White has a son and daughter at Lowell and was one of the relatively few black parents at last month's open house. As he strolled through one of the school's courtyards, he scoffed at the suggestion that its black students had enjoyed an unfair advantage in applying. He points out that, unlike the members of other racial and ethnic groups, his forebears did not come to this nation voluntarily and have no common homeland with a common language and culture.

In determining which children should be given extra help, civil-rights lawyers, judges, and school officials may need to move beyond strictly race-based decisions and instead begin focusing more on the problems associated with concentrated poverty, Orfield suggests.

Guerrero traces the absence of Hispanic children from Lowell to the school system's many failures in educating them in the lower grades.

Espanola Jackson, an anti-busing activist from the city's predominantly black Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, notes that the average grade given to a black child in the San Francisco school system is a D and says the children "are not given the opportunities to utilize what they have."

"The solution is putting the same quality teachers and books in all of the schools in San Francisco, in every neighborhood," Jackson says. "Why do some areas have better schools than others when these are all of our children, all of our futures?"

The plan was more than a blueprint for busing, although busing is a major feature of district desegregation efforts. It took the unusual approach of calling for the overhaul of teaching and administrative staffs at schools with particularly dismal records.. But the overall academic benefits have been disappointing. The committee found that most black and Latino high school students still have low test scores and high dropout rates. In 1993, the dropout rate for blacks and Latinos was 24%, six points higher than the district average for all students and nine points higher than the state average.

“I was beaten up as a kid, referred to as a chink, a Chinaman. But in school I was taught that the laws will treat everyone the same, that discrimination was being eliminated. “Then my friends and I applied to public high school. We discovered that if you are Chinese, you have to do better than anyone else.” https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-07-13-mn-23543-story.html