Thomas Jefferson High School Sued Over Minority Admissions

A lawsuit has been filed against what many consider to be the nation’s top public high school, The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, Virginia. Coalition of The Silence, an advocacy group led by former county School Board member Tina Hone, and the Fairfax chapter of the NAACP have filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging that the admissions process at Thomas Jefferson has resulted in too few minority students.

For full disclosure, my children are in the Fairfax public school system and have been part of the gifted and talented program — though I doubt they will apply to Thomas Jefferson.

The 17-page complaint points to a disproportionately low number of black and Latino students admitted to the school. They insist that the programs arise early in the failure to put minority students in the gifted and talented program on the elementary level.

While the school has been trying to boost minority participation, it does not have numerical goals for enrollment. Some parents have argued against the reliance on test scores as opposed to more flexible standard that rely more on essays and background.

Hone has not suggested any specific remedies and says that “there has to be a fix to the pipeline that feeds into the process.”

As someone familiar with the gifted and talented program, I am skeptical of the challenge. While the low minority participation numbers are a legitimate concern, TJ remains the premiere public school for math and science in the nation. While the country as a whole continues to fall behind other nations in math and science, TJ is one of the few exceptions — attracting brilliant students who are given highly advanced training. Math and science are fields given to objective testing and scoring. Students should be assured that they will be measured on their objective scores and rewarded for the hard work necessary to achieve admission.

There is no suggestion that TJ is actively trying to keep out minority students. Indeed, the school has been trying to recruit minority applicants. However, this school is the goal of thousands of students who want to go into math and science careers. The final selection should be based as much as possible on their objective performance on math and science tests. My concern is that we have a school that is an exception to the declining scores nationally — a school that has achieved international recognition due to its demand of top performance on these tests. It is a success that remains a point of pride for Fairfax — even those of us without kids at the school.

I do not believe that lower minority admission numbers are enough to justify the Administration ordering changes for the TJ admissions process. Indeed, there appears to be a higher representation of other minority such as Asian and Indian students. TJ is a system that focuses on demonstrated ability — primarily through objective math and science tests. That seems to me to be a fair emphasis for this type of school. What do you think?

Source: Washington Post

55 thoughts on “Thomas Jefferson High School Sued Over Minority Admissions

  1. The complaint may be more about the district not preparing minority students better in the lower grades so that they can gain entrance in TJ. The difficulty will be in overcoming the larger percentage of minority kids suffering from the impact of poverty. Its hard to excel at education when you your parents couldn’t afford the early start, often work multiple jobs with uneven hours, can’t be sure where you will be living next month & often don’t have enough to eat let alone books or trips to the museum.

    Those are not the school districts problems but thats where they will show up and then everyone expects the school to fix all that.

  2. Some children are born on third base because of the education and economic means of their parents. They attend topnotch elementary and middle schools. They are provided with plenty of enrichment through their parents and at school–as well as tutors and test prep if they need them. Other children–many from poor and/or minority families–may have overwhelming obstacles to overcome in order to qualify for entrance into prestigious public high schools. They rarely attend the best public schools with small class sizes or get the same kind of enrichment. They often start school ten steps behind children who come from families of means. The deck is stacked against them.

    *****

    Here’s an excerpt from an interesting article written by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz:

    Joseph Stiglitz: What are Your Chances of Economic Success?
    The American Dream can be restored, but not while inequality continues to undermine our values and identity.
    June 13, 2012
    http://www.alternet.org/story/155856/joseph_stiglitz%3A_what_are_your_chances_of_economic_success

    Excerpt:
    NEW YORK – America likes to think of itself as a land of opportunity, and others view it in much the same light. But, while we can all think of examples of Americans who rose to the top on their own, what really matters are the statistics: to what extent do an individual’s life chances depend on the income and education of his or her parents?

    Nowadays, these numbers show that the American dream is a myth. There is less equality of opportunity in the United States today than there is in Europe – or, indeed, in any advanced industrial country for which there are data.

    This is one of the reasons that America has the highest level of inequality of any of the advanced countries – and its gap with the rest has been widening. In the “recovery” of 2009-2010, the top 1% of US income earners captured 93% of the income growth. Other inequality indicators – like wealth, health, and life expectancy – are as bad or even worse. The clear trend is one of concentration of income and wealth at the top, the hollowing out of the middle, and increasing poverty at the bottom.

  3. I believe the purpose of the suit is to call attention to the facts that African American students are not getting the “equal education” due to the socio-economic issues that confront them, as suggested by Frankly. I don’t think they expect to win the suit, but the cause is worth addressing and getting it into the minds of the electorate and the administration of the school system.

  4. I’m chiming in on this and expect backlash….. But should standards be lowered based upon race? I think that there have been numerous lawsuits for law school admissions…… Bakke vs Berkley comes to mind…… I am not saying that schools should not admit based upon race….. But that academic admissions based test scores is race and gender nuteral…..

  5. I would bet that there is some form of hidden, disguised, and camouflaged discrimination going on in the Fairfax schools that results in this result. I believe this because I have yet to see a single agency of any sort in Fairfax that is not infected with corruption and that does not “talk a good game” and vomit words of great properness and perfection to cover up the dirty deals that form the basis of business as usual there.

    For this reason alone, the lawsuit is an important one; there needs to be as much challenge as possible to that snakepit’s deceitful operations policy (across all the boards and involving nearly everyone) to reach critical mass.

    Any who have the money and energy and legal fire power should be attacking their public presences from all angles. GOOD LUCK, KEEP ‘EM FLYING.

    Somebody needs to file RICO suits against most agencies and public entities in Fairfax. I would do it if I could…

  6. The supercounties eventually become like Fairfax. Rockland County, NY. Montgomery County, MD. Los Angeles County, CA. Cook County, IL. It is a seemingly inexorable progression from money to corruption.

  7. Bypassing reading of the comments lets me speak of only JTs post.

    I have no knowledge. Sometimes that helps, along with a worldview at times.

    We have previously and currently seen the rise of performance shown in USSR and China, albeit slanted to favor those with “connections”. Whether the stats from there speak of overall improvement of the populace is perhaps not debateable but should be debateable as the stats build on respective government figures.

    We in the USA, for some reason, have adopted the solution of putting elite resources at the disposal of elite students. Perhaps a good way to produce “spets” (top) competence, but unfortunately avoids the problem of what do we do with folks who can’t do the simple math for a normal life.
    It also puts its reliance on the systems capabiility to

    select top competent students early. Highly questionable capability. Again I lack knowledge, so fini for me on that.

    The japanese-american scientist, whose name I forget but you recall, made the unpleasant point that much of the American progress is due to “foreign” students who remain and do 50 percent (?) of the work in our sciences.

    I think that it was interesting that Asian students are demographically over represented, for which there are many esplanations, all valid.

    If TJ is to be model to other school systems, fine.
    Is that its purpose with respect to that need? Or does it take students from the whole nation, as our school of last hope to compete internationally?

    A little OT, but as a reward to those who have read so far:

    My young Iranian friend, 20, becoming journalist said in comparing Iranian school system and Swedish.

    “Iranian colleges are like an inverted funnel, hard to get in but easy to get out. Swedish colleges are easy to get in (for her, NB), but hard to get out of.”

    What is the American college system like?

    The article requires more than a little foreknowledge, and more that one reading. Rich indeed.

  8. How do we get our influence to trickle down?
    Joe Football and Henry Sophomore is not going to come to JT”s. Agreed?
    I see everybody has a site on Facebook, is on Youtube, Tweet, etc.
    Who is doing the cosmetic campaigns for our “good causes for he sake of the public” organizations?

    The net is there, the social media, but are “WE” there?

    And if not, why not?

  9. AY,

    Yes, there should be standards. There should also be more programs like Head Start for poor children. Lots of bright kids don’t have the same kinds of educational opportunities as professor Turley’s children because of their life circumstances. It’s much easier for the children of well-educated parents of means to excel in school and on standardized tests than it is for children who come from poor families.

    Today, as we see the number of children living in poverty increasing, it is ever more important to ensure that these children will have enough food to eat and have healthcare/dental services and early childhood education available to them.

  10. I agree with others here. The admissions processed based on test scores is probably the most objective. The real problem is the prep that some students don’t get starting in pre-school and continuing thru elementary and middle school.

    In my work at a large corporation I found that those who progressed most quickly were those who were seen in the most favorable light. That is, they were most like those doing the evaluations. Due to this bias, men were seen to have the potential to do the next level work but women had to actually find a way, on their own, to do the next level work without the promotion for some time before they were considered for the promotion. The evaluators were all men, white men. I can’t say they were biased about race (oh, yes I can!) b/c there were too few minorities for them to evaluate. (too few candidates that were easily turned down).

    Is it possible that this kind of bias exists in the schools? Do elementary children who “look right”, and “sound right” and have the “right parents” get more attention and opportunities?

  11. Elaine,

    I think we are in agreement…… Now, how to we get there from here….. Programs like this are not a priority…… Defense spending is the number one priority….. Tax breaks for the wealthy and corporation welfare seem to be more important than balancing the budget…… Education should be the goal…… Now…..how to we get there from here…. When the US Congress is set to take away benefits for the most needy…… And push that burden back on the states….. I kid you not….

  12. bettykath,

    While I can’t guarantee that no bias exists, I think it’s less about bias and more about one’s luck in being born into the “right” families. Children who reside in the “right” school districts because their parents can afford to buy houses in those districts have better educational opportunities because of their life circumstances/where they attend school.

  13. I suspect there are any number of minority students at TJ – African Americans, Asia-Americans, Americans of Indian descent, etc. What we’re really talking about is economic disadvantage versus economic advantage and opening the doors of elite institutions to those kids in a fair way.

    Most of us have been raised to value merit and achievement. Thus we value “objective” measurements like standard testing. But test scores are only neutral and valid if we assume all students start the test with roughly the same advantages: stable home life, an emphasis on education at home, and enough financial resources to support intellectual growth. Sadly, for many, those advantages are not present in any meaningful way and a permanent underclass is likely unless the situation is reversed. Thus, how to address the problem”?

    Conservatives rightly point out liberal hypocrisy in advocating affirmative action for others but not for their kids and their jobs. Liberals rightly decry conservatives for patent insensitivity to the needs and disadvantages of their fellow citizens. But cries of hypocrisy and insensitivity won’t fix the problem.

    The solution is broad based and requires targeted educational opportunities for those kids most at risk. We will never make every underprivileged kid a suitable candidate for elite institutions but we can raise those kids to a level of proficiency. This means intense tutoring after school and at nights. We can also give those disadvantaged kids who can do the work the chance to compete.This does not in my judgment, however, require placing unqualified applicants in situations where experience tells us that they are likely to fail.

    Perhaps just as importantly, the solution does not include denominating economically advantaged kids as “gifted” and according them easy entrance into those elite institutions as a matter of course. I’ve had my experience with that “gifted” process and I can tell you it’s as political as it is achievement based. Statistics tell us that 2-5% of the entire population of students is “gifted” in some areas of learning. How then do some schools show “gifted” students as 15-20% of their population? Something in the water maybe, or possibly pushy “economically gifted” parents who insist on such placement. When school administrators teachers accede to this pressure it’s nothing more than middle class affirmative action as a path to elite educational institutions.

    The solution is elevating the economically disadvantaged kids to levels of achievement beyond their foundational starting point by targeting their education and allowing those who can to blossom. At the same time, we have to make the economically advantaged fairly compete without the fawning assistance of mommy and daddy.

  14. “I’ve had my experience with that “gifted” process and I can tell you it’s as political as it is achievement based. Statistics tell us that 2-5% of the entire population of students is “gifted” in some areas of learning. How then do some schools show “gifted” students as 15-20% of their population? Something in the water maybe, or possibly pushy “economically gifted” parents who insist on such placement. When school administrators teachers accede to this pressure it’s nothing more than middle class affirmative action as a path to elite educational institutions.” (mespo)

    There are many fine points made in the comments on this thread, but mespo’s, in my opinion, is the most blatantly truthful and it jibes with my own experiences and observations.

    Economically disadvantaged kids need advocates at all levels of the educational process. Good teachers and administrators try but without the support of the community as a whole their efforts are often shut down and or marginalized.

    Tina Hone, and the Fairfax chapter of the NAACP are advocating for these students. Hone is 100% correct in stating “there has to be a fix to the pipeline that feeds into the process.”

  15. BettyKath,

    Juat got here.

    You said:
    “Is it possible that this kind of bias exists in the schools? Do elementary children who “look right”, and “sound right” and have the “right parents” get more attention and opportunities?”
    ——————————–

    Agreed. At least from Sweden the socialist dream of equality nation. A society is not transformed in three generations here. If it ever will is not sure here.

    I am most alert to verbal cues, but tens of other types can be used to distinguish “elite zebras” from the other ones.
    Noam Chomsky said the principal purpose of elite schools like Harvard was ro put the finishing tooches on the recognition signals.
    http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199710–.htm

    Appreciate someone else recognizes this recognition system. It of course has its values materially.

    Competition on the basis of equal starts? Forget it.
    Can’t be done. But at least the plebes have the right to ask for a decent education and a decent job.

    And elite status means immunity against economic catastrophes, as well. Or suicide.

  16. Elaine,

    “While I can’t guarantee that no bias exists, I think it’s less about bias and more about one’s luck in being born into the “right” families. Children who reside in the “right” school districts because their parents can afford to buy houses in those districts have better educational opportunities because of their life circumstances/where they attend school.”

    Isn’t that the same thing as bias? I feel it is, IMHO.

    In addition, the wise teacher knows which child has which parent, the parent who can address the right ears to apply
    pressure on teachers who don’t know enough about favoring the right children.

    That is how it goes in the real world.
    In schools, in the banks, on main street, etc.

    Everywhere!

    An excuse? Maybe. But it also is reality, IMHO.

  17. idealist,

    I think you misunderstood my point. I was talking about a societal factor and not about a teacher’s or school administrator’s bias against a child/children. Wealthy communities have more money to invest in their schools. They usually have smaller class sizes and can provide all kinds of enrichment activities and programs for their students. I’d say the system is biased against children who come from families of little economic means.

  18. Here’s an idea for TJ. Go out into economically deprived middle schools and set up classes for underprivileged kids who want to learn. It’s a “Math/Science JV” and it will allow you to identify kids with potential.

    Just as an aside, take a look at the Fairfax County School Board charged with presiding over minority achievement in the county. Anyone notice anything?

    http://www.fcps.edu/schlbd/members/bdmembers.shtml

  19. Mespo, the Fairfax school board looks just like any photo of the typical tea party meeting or Republican caucus. What could possibly be wrong with that?

  20. Mespo,

    What is the minority population in Fairfax County….. Are the school board members appointed or elected…… If elected, are the by precinct or at large…. Looks like a nice family portrait……. White that is…..

  21. ElaineM,

    Apoligies. I misunderstood which factors you were referring to. However with a financing and school system on a county basis, these factors of resources should even out.

    How it actually works for the folks in Wake County,NC is not clear. What is clear from the latest fiercely fought (by Koch money, no less,) election is that some hate having their kids go to school with blacks due to the bussing system.
    It is codeworded as preferring “neighborhood schools” by the Republicans.

    The libs regained a one vote majority in the school board.

    We had rich and poor neighborhoods in my youth. We have rich and poor communities now.

    Why a county led school system? To insure that equally good resources to all students regardless of community and family resources.

  22. Messpo72,

    Excellent idea for TJ.

    There is such a school, although not connected with a “better” school in the Bronx.

    Read about it in “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.

  23. Well mespo,

    From the demographics…. At least one should be black.
    .. 1.5 should be Asian….. And almost 1.75 should be Hispanic…..just saying…..

  24. idealist,

    In my area, schools are not financed on a county basis–but on a community basis. A wealthy school district may abut a poor school district. Real estate taxes in each community pay for schools, police and fire departments–as well as other community services like trash pickup and plowing–in their districts.

  25. I think it was New Hampshire that instituted a statewide school system. All school taxes went to the state which made the funds available to all schools on a per student basis. Everyone paid the same tax rate. The result was that the rich communities were upset: their tax rate went up. The poor communities were delighted, their tax rate went down and the quality of their schools went up. I think they dropped this. Rich people rule.

  26. Present day Golden Rule:
    He who has the gold makes the rules;
    Everybody else gets the shaft.

  27. HumpinDog here sitting in for FarkinDog. I have a suggestion. Make Math and Science a priority in all the kindergarten, grade schools, and so called middle and high schools. Instead of making kids qualify for a school, make the schools first qualify in their overall scores before they can indulge in sports and competitve sports. Fairfax would be a good place to set an example. End sports as they know it. Education is number one. We dont need to spend money on coaches who are poachers. We dont need to create a football star so he can get a football scholarship at some went in dumb university like State Penn. We are competing with China in Math and Science. They are laughing at us. How many doctors in your county of Fairfax did you have to import from overseas? How many of your high school football stars now on the streets, meaning out of school, are “on the streets” in terms of their employability? You can not make an illiterate ex football player a coach now can you? Oh, you do already. Sorry Fairfax, you are hopeless.

  28. Selling out public schools
    by David Sirota
    May 30, 2012
    http://www.salon.com/2012/05/30/selling_out_public_schools/singleton/

    Excerpt:
    1. Unequal Funding Formulas

    A half-century of social science research confirms that factors outside the school — and specifically, poverty — are far more determinative in student achievement than anything that happens inside the school. This is why, as both New York University’s Diane Ravitch and Dissent magazine’s Joanne Barkan note, public schools in America’s wealthiest enclaves consistently rank among the highest achieving in the world.

    Knowing that, it stands to reason that schools in the lowest-income areas should receive disproportionately more education funding than schools in high-income areas so that they can combat the systemic out-of-classroom factors that schools in wealthy neighborhoods don’t face. With this extra money, they might be able to fund the so-called “wraparound” services that even reformers like Geoffrey Canada admit are crucial to the success of public schools in high-poverty locales.

    Yet, it’s the other way around. As a 2011 U.S. Department of Education report documented, “many high-poverty schools receive less than their fair share of state and local funding” leaving “students in high-poverty schools with fewer resources than schools attended by their wealthier peers.” This inequity is further exacerbated by local property-tax-based education funding formulas that often generate far more resources for wealthy high-property-value school districts than for destitute low-property-value enclaves. Inequality also is intensified by devious new taxpayer-subsidized scholarship programs that, according to the New York Times, “have been twisted to benefit private schools at the expense of the neediest children” in traditional public schools.

    Policy-wise, changing such funding formulas to make sure schools in poor areas get more funding than schools in wealthy neighborhoods is fairly straightforward. But, then, the commonsense idea threatens the gated-community ethos of the wealthy and powerful who control our politics. It also fundamentally challenges the core principles of a nation that still likens spreading the wealth to confiscatory socialism. Thus, the idea remains off the table — and consequently the increasingly unequal funding of education now effectively subsidizes a system that is cementing inequality for the long haul.

    In practice, that means schools in low-income areas continue to receive comparatively less funding to recruit teachers, upgrade classrooms, reduce class sizes and sustain all the other basics of a good education.

  29. Hi, I am Shuvam M. and I am currently a sophomore attending TJ.

    The best way to fix this is to fix the education system in low poverty areas, not by suing a school and lowering its prestige. I am a student at TJ and I experienced the admission process. There is no room for bias on race, it is fair competition. Now the disadvantage lies in the schools which may not be able to provide the education or inspiration for students to attend TJ. A major factor in the admission process is after-school activities and academic achievements ( many of which are done through after-school activities ) so if the school does not have enough funding to start or maintain these activities, it puts the students at a disadvantage during the second cut. So the problem here is not the admission process, but the middle schools (and even elementary schools) that failed to provide the students with the resources to be level with other competitors in the competition to TJ. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but in this case the Asian/Indian/Caucasian population at TJ tends to come from families with not wealthy backgrounds, but higher than the average household, usually above 100k per household, maybe even per parent. So these factors are what are hindering the students from representing themselves strongly to the admission officiers, not the school. Parents may be upset, but they should see what the students that made it to TJ did that their child may not have done. For me, I had to participate extensively in Model UN and E-Cybermission, both of which were a part of my SIS and they required quite a bit out of my family’s pocket. Luckily, Rocky Run Middles School (RRMS) had decent funding so was able to cut prices on our trips and equipment. So what these people need to do is fix the system, not just sue to please the parents of the people who weren’t able to make it in. This is just my opinion and I don’t mean to offend anyone.

  30. Shuvam:

    I appreciate your opinion and your perceptiveness. I don’t say that because it tracks my own thinking but because you understand that for one to pull himself up by his bootstraps some other person somewhere had to provide the boots in the first place. No one does anything alone and to ignore family resources in this process is simply scotoma. You sound like a kid who should be at TJ, but you might want to ask yourself: “If I were not so fortunate to have enough family financial resources would I be here?” And then ask yourself, “If I am qualified, why should my family’s resources matter in a public school in a democracy?” Maybe that is a question worth discussing at the Model UN?

    Regards,

    Mark

  31. Federal civil rights complaint filed over low numbers of black, Latino students at elite TJ High
    By Emma Brown
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-schools-insider/post/federal-civil-rights-complaint-filed-over-low-numbers-of-black-latino-students-at-elite-tj-high/2012/07/23/gJQA1sY04W_blog.html

    Excerpt:
    The under-representation of minority children for gifted programs is not a problem confined to Fairfax, said Gary Orfield, a professor who directs the Civil Rights Project at the University of California-Los Angeles.

    “It’s ubiquitous,” he said, “and it really does tell us something about the poverty of our concept of giftedness, because it’s so related to the concept of family income and privilege.”

    Fairfax has tried to address disparities in recent years by tinkering with the way gifted kids are identified. The hope was to capture students with extraordinary aptitude for learning — including those students from disadvantaged backgrounds who arrived in kindergarten with less preparation than their more affluent peers.

    The changes did succeed in identifying thousands more students, but some minorities remain underrepresented.

    For example, of the 12,044 elementary- and middle-school students who qualify for Level IV, 455 are black, according to the school system’s Web site. That means black students account for 3.8 percent of the gifted student population, although they are 10 percent of the student population overall.

    Meanwhile, Hispanic students account for 6.2 percent of gifted students but make up 22 percent of the entire student body.

    The net effect, according to the complaint, which echoes the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that desegregated public schools, is two “separate and unequal” school systems — one that funnels students through advanced programs to TJ, and one that does not.

    “To allow some students access to the richness of the bounty of TJ, without trying to level the playing field for all students, seems to violate the fundamental principle of equal opportunity for all,” the complaint says.

    The complaint also faults the TJ admissions process itself for putting some students at a disadvantage.

    One example, the complaint says, is the “student information sheet” used to assess a teen’s motivation and commitment to math and science education. A question asks students to “Describe in detail your most important out-of-school or after-school activity or interest.”

    “For many black and Latino students, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds,” the complaint says, “their most significant after school activity may well be babysitting their younger siblings while their parents work.”

    Hone said she and others decided to file the complaint in part because they think that the long-standing concerns about diversity at TJ have been drowned out in recent months by a new worry: that the admissions process is failing to identify the brightest math and science students.

    That issue was the center of attention at a July 19 School Board work session on whether to overhaul the TJ admissions process. Hone said the solution that seemed to garner support from most school board members — increasing the weight of an applicant’s math test scores and decreasing the weight of essays — would not change outcomes for black and Latino kids.

    Orfield, the UCLA professor, said there’s no way to know whether the Fairfax complaint will spur a federal investigation. But he said he believes it merits attention.

    “It’s certainly a justifiable issue to look at closely,” he said. “Really great schools like TJ are huge assets for individuals and for communities, and they should be available fairly to everybody.”

  32. mespo:

    “The solution is broad based and requires targeted educational opportunities for those kids most at risk. We will never make every underprivileged kid a suitable candidate for elite institutions but we can raise those kids to a level of proficiency. ”

    And we wont make every middle class, upper middle class and rich kid suitable candidates for these institutions either.

    At a school like this you cannot relax admission standards for minorities, they end up not being able to do the work at the same level as their peers.

    I would be interested to know the socioeconomic level of the children of Asian and Indian descent at TJ, I will assume some are not at the top rungs of the economic ladder but their families value education and push their children. I think you will find Hispanic and African American families who value education and push their children to excel have capable children.

    The problem is not poverty as there are innumerable stories about people rising above poverty and going on to greatness in all fields, the problem is not valuing an education.

    The other part of the problem is that not everyone can do math and science. I was an ok student in high school and went into engineering, it was a bit harder than high school and there were many students who started out with me who were the valedictorians of their class, they could not do the work and dropped out. It was very damaging to their egos. They were literally shell shocked they could not do the work.

  33. Bron:

    “At a school like this you cannot relax admission standards for minorities, they end up not being able to do the work at the same level as their peers.”

    ***********************

    I think you missed the point of the article and that of Shuvan. Admission is based in substantial part on the ability to participate in after-school activities. If, by economic necessity, you are compelled to aid the family by babysitting or working, you simply cannot participate in those activities. That has nothing to do with mental dexterity in math or science. It is simply financial.

  34. Thomas Jefferson High School For Science And Technology Hit With Civil Rights, Discrimination Suit
    Jul 30, 2012 By Mildred Gaddis
    http://wchbnewsdetroit.com/2411094/thomas-jefferson-high-school-for-science-and-technology-hit-with-civil-rights-discrimination-suit/

    Excerpt:
    Critics argue that students are discriminated against long before they even apply to the school. Of the students admitted to Thomas Jefferson, 64 percent attended top-tier advanced academic middle schools — most of which are limited in diversity, according to the complaint. To correct the high school’s racial imbalance, the plaintiffs argue that the entire district’s pipeline must be reformed.

  35. Thanks, Elaine. Here’s more from the article at HuffPo:

    “Gary Orfield, a professor who directs the Civil Rights Project at the University of California-Los Angeles, tells the Washington Post that the underrepresentation of minority students in gifted programs is not unique to Fairfax.

    ‘It’s ubiquitous,’ he said. ‘And it really does tell us something about the poverty of our concept of giftedness, because it’s so related to the concept of family income and privilege.'”

  36. Shuvam M says “….There is no room for bias on race, ”

    I agree. The bias of the school system is economic.

    “it is fair competition.”

    Only if everyone has the same opportunity in preparation as Shuyam notes:

    “Now the disadvantage lies in the schools which may not be able to provide the education or inspiration for students to attend TJ.”

    Well stated.

    “A major factor in the admission process is after-school activities and academic achievements ( many of which are done through after-school activities ) so if the school does not have enough funding to start or maintain these activities, it puts the students at a disadvantage during the second cut.”

    I’ve long favored the approach of all school tax dollars going into a common fund where all schools get the same amount of money per student. Good schools benefit all of society, all of society should pay for them for everyone.

  37. Blacks and latinos not being able to do science or math is the only discrimination here. It is an enigma how the race card can be played when the objectivity of test scores is the deciding factor. Its always stated that blacks and latinos are at a disadvantage due to their culture and financial situation. This is rubbish. Majority of the Indians and Asians admitted to these programs come from no better if not worse economic backgrounds as the blacks or latinos. This bs is all around the U.S. but until these children drop the notion that the only important things in life are aspiring to be rappers or hoops players they will never measure up to par.

  38. Mootsman:

    ” Majority of the Indians and Asians admitted to these programs come from no better if not worse economic backgrounds as the blacks or latinos. This bs is all around the U.S. but until these children drop the notion that the only important things in life are aspiring to be rappers or hoops players they will never measure up to par.”

    ****************************

    Fairfax County, VA is the third wealthiest county in the nation but the median income numbers reflect the same disparity based on race as exists nationwide.

    Median Household income in Fairfax County, VA:

    White $114,626
    Asian $94,253
    Black $74,709
    Hispanic $70,421

    Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation
    http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/Rankings.aspx?state=VA&ind=6406

    I don’t see any evidence to support your hypothesis. I just see your own rather prejudiced personal feelings.

  39. The Core Knowledge Blog
    Report: U.S. Needs More “Exam Schools”
    by Robert Pondiscio
    July 31st, 2012
    http://blog.coreknowledge.org/2012/07/31/report-u-s-needs-more-exam-schools/

    Excerpt:
    Yes, but are they any good? By admitting high achieving students, exam schools are front loading high performance. Finn and Hockett are clear-eyed: “Much like private schools, which are more apt to trade on their reputations and college-placement records than on hard evidence of what students learn in their classrooms, the schools on our list generally don’t know—in any rigorous, formal sense—how much their students learn or how much difference the school itself makes,” they write. “As one puzzled principal put it, ‘Do the kids do well because of us or in spite of us? We’re not sure.’”

  40. “I think that it was interesting that Asian students are demographically over represented, for which there are many esplanations, all valid.”

    There’s exactly one valid explanation for why Asian students are overrepresented, and black and Hispanic students underrepresented: race differences in intelligence.

    The existence of those differences is not in dispute by serious scientists; indeed, it should be perfectly obvious to everyone. And those differences guarantee that in any large population (the school-age children of Fairfax County, for example), above any given threshold of intelligence (giftedness, for example, often defined as an IQ of 130), there will be proportionally more East Asians than whites, and more whites than either Hispanics or blacks. Which is exactly what we observe.

  41. Totally agree! Blacks are just crying baby. If they can meet the objective math and science admissions criteria, they will be admitted too. Otherwise, what’s the point of letting in a math & science retard and wasting a precious spot which should be filled by a more qualified candidate? From both fairness and investment points of view, this just doesn’t make sense. If you don’t have the stomach to digest the math & science milk, don’t cry baby!

  42. The selection process is lacking the true competition in search for a real talent. The students who are tutored to test are the ones who get to the school, while the school should focus on the students that prove their love for science and technology through reputable gifted and talents programs such as Johns Hopkins, summer enrichment camps, participating in county, state and national Olympiads. Does Fairfax County school system have Olympiads to identify the STEM talents?

  43. As a recent prospective applicant, I can say several of these barriers are no longer of issue. The TJ SIS has been altered to what I feel is a much better screen. Rather than as an available packet of questions prone to the effects of economic disadvantage, the most recent SIS was conducted in a timed test-like session with unknown questions. None of the questions gave overt attention to achievements largely related to available opportunities. The attention was delegated to student interests and passions as it should have been originally.

  44. And how these unknown questions could help to find a talent? What are these unknown question based on? I asked TJ admission office about the correlation of the math test results to the grading of the student in Algebra I or his/her preparedness for taking Algebra II honor classes in a Fairfax County High school. I was told that TJ test cannot be considered as a benchmark for choosing the High School math classes. Isn’t it a waist of money? So many students take the math test for TJ and they cannot utilize this test as a credit for advanced classes in a high school if they are not admitted to TJ.

Comments are closed.