A federal court has upheld an admissions policy to the nation’s top high school Tuesday striking down the lower court ruling that found the policy unconstitutional. At Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, Va, parents, students, alumni, and staff are protesting the schools merit based admissions policy. This coming as the second issue the school has seen in regard to merit for its students over the past year, following awards being withheld from students applying to colleges.
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What Is This Policy?
This policy moved to change the school’s admission requirements taking away standardized testing requirements, lowering GPA requirements, and eliminating teacher recommendations in an attempt at increasing diversity of the school. Since the policy took affect in 2021 its first class to be under the policy, the class of 2025, has seen a 20% drop from 70% to 50% in Asian American students within the class compared to previous years.
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What Happened In Court?
Parents, students, alumni, and staff making up the group Coalition for TJ sued the Fairfax County School Board back in 2021 after the policy was enacted.
They allege the changes were “specifically intended to reduce the percentage of Asian American students who enroll in TJ, with the ultimate goal of racially balancing the school,” according to the complaint.
Tuesday the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Coalition failed to demonstrate how the policy was motivated by what they called discriminatory intent. This higher court ruling mentioned that Asian American student’s might be down in application numbers only accounting for 48.59%, but those students who do apply account for 54.36% of all available spots offered in a class.
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What Is Going On With This School?
Labeled as the nation’s top high school you might not expect that they have found themselves in hot water multiple times this year. The same school was under fire back in January as they removed their merit-based awards, which many seniors look forward to showcasing in college applications.
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