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Is there a law preventing a public high school from selecting students based on ranking them by GPA/CST scores?

Long Beach, CA |

In Long Beach we have open enrollment for all high schools and students apply to various small learning communities. When too many applicants apply for a program the district selects solely based on GPA/CST scores even for programs that are not focused on high academics (i.e. community service, arts based, etc.). This seems unfair and puts all the top kids in certain popular programs, leaving the other programs known for "stupid" kids. Is there any law that prevents this type of selection process?

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Attorney answers 3


There are very likely some sound disparate impact issues that can be raised and even proved, but that is an expensive and lengthy course. Community involvement in the system and exercise of the political process might be a much better strategy here.

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I would need to know more about your particular child and their situation. Are they a minority? Do they have a disability? Other factors come into play. I would suggest that you meet with an attorney in person to disucss this.


If the district is selecting solely on those characteristics then there are some serious issues with bias. You would need to review the standards with an educational lawyer to determine all of the selection criteria before you can ascertain if their selection process is biased. You could file a complaint with the Department of Education and ask for an investigation, which would be the least expensive approach.
There are a number of minority advocacy groups including the ACLU who may be able to assist you.
All the best.

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