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Sunday, December 5, 2021
ArlingtonOpinionEditorial: TJ admissions revisions head to court

Editorial: TJ admissions revisions head to court

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Claiming it was doing so to serve the interests of “equity” – a phrase these days passed around more than a doobie at a seventh-grade slumber party – the Fairfax County School Board decided to rejigger the way admission to the prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology was awarded.

And now, unless the school system is able to convince some judge down the road that plaintiffs have no standing in the case because they have been yet to be harmed by the changes in the rules, school leaders are going to have to defend their policies, and the thinking that underpins them, in a court of law.

And that’s the way it should be.

Let’s not be purposely obtuse or naive: There is no plausible explanation for eliminating the merit-based exam in favor of a (wait for another overused buzzword in 3, 2, 1 …) holistic approach to admissions EXCEPT that school officials were unhappy that the student body at TJ was so heavily laden with high-achieving students of Asian descent. That, in the mind of leaders, had to change.

Yep, to serve “equity” the school system had to embark on a systemic, race-based cleansing of the student body. Kind of like “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” from back in the Vietnam era. Appalling in each case.

Were county school officials within their rights to change the way students from across Northern Virginia are admitted to the school? Did some of their comments during the decision-making prove this was an unconstitutional interposition of their viewpoint into what should be a color-blind process?

Guess we’ll all eventually find out together if the lawsuit plays out.

One thing we’re expecting to see – nay, relishing the opportunity to see – is school-system leadership on the stand, under oath, being tied into knots of self-serving self-righteousness by plaintiffs’ lawyers. Having seen Fairfax County School Board members and top administrators in action, we just don’t imagine them as being clever enough to withstand such incoming flak from a concerted barrage of inquisition, no matter the coaching they receive.

In any event, we feel parents have every right to challenge the school system’s decision-making. It might prove edifying to the county population writ large to learn the full story prior to the next round of School Board elections.

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