A prestigious Virginia high school at the center of a debate about diversity and inclusion announced Wednesday that it would significantly increase the number of black and Hispanic students granted admission despite pushback from some Asian American parents who argue that it unfairly punishes their children.
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology will usher in its most diverse class in the fall of 2021, increasing the number of black students to 7% from 1% and Hispanic freshmen to 11% from 3%. White students will also see a bump to 22% from 18%, while the number of Asian American students will decrease to 54% from 73%, according to demographic data released by Fairfax County of the 550 students offered a spot at the magnet school.
Thomas Jefferson is one of the top-performing high schools in the country, but its student body has always been less than diverse. In years past, black and Hispanic students have largely been edged out under the school’s admission system that put importance on standardized testing.
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The Fairfax County School Board, however, decided to overhaul the admissions process this year, tossing out standardized testing and application fees.
Several spots at Thomas Jefferson High were set aside for students at each of the county’s 23 middle schools.
While some applauded the decision, others, like Asra Nomani, did not.
“The numbers validate the argument that they’ve launched a targeted attack on Asian Americans,” Nomani, the mother of a Thomas Jefferson high school student, told the Associated Press.
Nomani is part of the parent group Coalition for TJ that filed a discrimination lawsuit. She claimed the drop in Asian American enrollment is a coordinated effort by the school board to push out certain students.
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“There are so many deserving students that were gerrymandered out of this school by geographic quotas and socioeconomic factors that were used as a proxy for race,” she said.
The situation at Thomas Jefferson isn’t a one-off. Similar battles are being fought in California and New York.
Calls to the Fairfax County School Board for comment by the Washington Examiner were not immediately returned.
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Tags: News, Education, High School, diversity, Race and Diversity, Virginia, New York, California, Asian Americans, Hispanics
Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty
Original Location: Prestigious Virginia school lowers number of incoming Asian Americans despite protests