Parents and alumni at a top-ranked Virginia high school held a protest Sunday after the board of education changed how students are admitted.
The Fairfax County Board of Education eliminated the race-blind admission test for students wishing to go to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology during a meeting on Oct. 6.
Asra Nomani, a member of the Coalition for TJ and the mom of a senior at the school, was one of about 100 people who showed up outside of the building to oppose the decision aimed at increasing diversity.
“We stood up today in defense of the American Dream,” Nomani said. “We will lose the STEM in our STEM high school, we will lose the gifts in our gifted education.”
The board said it’s considering a lottery system for admissions but has yet to decide on the details. It said the move is to increase diversity.
Thomas Jefferson is ranked as the top high school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
The coalition claims that the change from an admission test to a lottery would actually decrease diversity. They said that through data analysis, the proposed lottery plan would decimate the representation of minorities at Thomas Jefferson, with the school soon becoming predominately white.
Assuming that all of the students who qualify for the lottery will apply for admissions to Thomas Jefferson, the percentage of Asian students gaining admission to will be decreased by more than half from 73% admitted in the Class of 2024 to 33.52%.
“The standard of academic excellence that TJ has required of its students will be watered down,” Nomani said.
Other groups pushing for the lottery system said that it will give more students opportunities to attend the school.