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Purging Asian-Americans from Top Virginia Schools to End

By Kerry Dougherty, originally published in Bacon’s Rebellion and republished here by permission. 

It’s dangerous to deal in ethnic stereotypes. There’s always a risk of being called racist.

But if we can agree that the Irish are great raconteurs and the Canadians are relentlessly polite, can we not also say that many Asian-Americans place a high value on education?

How else to explain the large number of Asians in America’s most elite colleges, universities and in the best high school in the nation: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County?

TJ was established in 1985 as a magnet school for students “gifted” in science, technology engineering and math.

That’s slightly inaccurate. “Gifted” suggests these students have more natural gifts than their counterparts. They don’t. What TJ’s high-achieving students do have is the drive to make the most of their gifts through hard work and studying.

TJ fundamentally changed when race hustlers on that county’s leftie school board decided to purge Asians from TJ’s rolls who made up 72.0% of the student body. Whites accounted for 18.3%  blacks 1.8%, Hispanics were 3,1% and “other” were 4.9% percent.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, admissions at TJ became “holistic,” which involved squishy entrance standards. TJ’s tough admissions test was scrapped and instead family income, disabilities and English-speaking proficiency came into the mix. The end result would be that fewer Asian students would be enrolled and more white, Hispanic and black students would find places there.

The board wanted the school to look more like Fairfax County, which is, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 50.0% white, 20.1% Asian, 10.6% black and 16.5% Hispanic, and the rest “other.”

And what was the result of the more equitable admissions process? Asian enrollment dropped sharply, to 54%, and a large number of newly admitted TJ students needed math tutoring to keep up.

As James Bacon reported recently:

“Never in the history of TJ has the school needed to offer grade-wide free math tutoring,” says Marissa Fallon, a spokesperson for Parents Defending Education. “Free scheduled math tutoring is not being offered to any other students — just this freshman class.”

The dumbing down of Thomas Jefferson and other exclusive Virginia public schools may be over.

Last week a federal judge ruled the new admissions process was discriminatory and illegal.

(U.S District Court Judge Claude) Hilton wrote that “emails and text messages between Board members and high-ranking FCPS officials leave no material dispute that, at least in part, the purpose of the Board’s admissions overhaul was to change the racial makeup to TJ to the detriment of Asian-Americans.”

“The proper remedy for a legal provision enacted with discriminatory intent is invalidation,” Hilton wrote, before issuing a stark order: “Defendant Fairfax County School Board is enjoined from further use or enforcement of” its revised admissions system.

If that ruling isn’t enough to force a return to merit-based admissions at TJ, a bill that’s working its way through the General Assembly will. A measure that would ban this sort of sneaky discrimination at Virginia’s Governor’s schools managed to pass the predominately Democratic Senate Education and Health Committee Thursday after four Democrats voted with Republicans.

State Senator Chap Petersen was joined by fellow Democrats Richard Saslaw, George Barker and Lynwood Lewis.

This bill is part of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s education agenda that the Democratic leader of the Senate, Louise Lucas, bragged that she would stop with her “brick wall” majority.

Fortunately, that wall is beginning to look more like a rusty chain link fence.

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