Soon after months of discussion, Fairfax County college officers are proposing remaining possibilities for reforming admissions at Thomas Jefferson Higher University for Science and Technological know-how — possibly switching to a lottery program or adopting a “holistic assessment,” revisions intended to strengthen variety at the flagship STEM magnet college.
Below the recommended lottery program, the 100 “highest-evaluated” candidates would get paid sites at the college, though the remaining 450 seats would be loaded by means of a random lottery of all certified eighth-graders. Less than the “holistic review” proposal, all 550 students would be admitted as a result of the analysis course of action.
The Fairfax County Faculty Board is slated to vote and pick an solution afterwards this month.
The Washington Post’s Hannah Natanson addresses K-12 universities in Virginia and answered a handful of queries about the reforms.
Q: What is behind the reforms at Thomas Jefferson High Faculty in Fairfax? Who’s criticizing the existing admissions process?
A: Thomas Jefferson, regarded as TJ, is nationally acknowledged for failing to enroll Black and Hispanic college students: Given that its founding in 1985, the university has enrolled single-digit percentages of Black and Hispanic children. Community issue and anger has been simmering for a prolonged time, but it rose to a boiling place this summer time next nationwide protests of the demise of George Floyd — and immediately after Fairfax County Public Faculties introduced knowledge demonstrating that TJ’s Class of 2024 bundled much less than 10 Black pupils. Alumni, parents and college students have due to the fact banded together to demand from customers that TJ alter its admissions method to make it extra equitable, and the university extra assorted.
Q: Has anyone shared what they feel of the proposed reforms?
A: The proposed reforms have divided the community. Learners, dad and mom and TJ graduates in favor argue that, whilst imperfect, the reforms stand for the ideal opportunity to enact real adjust — just after far more than a 10 years of former, unsuccessful tries to increase variety — at a instant when there is momentum and will amid top administrators to do so. But people towards argue that it is a inadequate notion to alter the admissions method so abruptly and radically, without having thoroughly greedy the probable repercussions. They are specifically incensed by the thought of the proposed “merit-based lottery” method of admissions, which they argue will deprive tricky-doing the job and gifted college students of their spots at the prestigious university, pressure unqualified young children into an academic environment significantly much too demanding for them and finally generate down TJ’s stellar ranking.
Q: Could the reforms at Thomas Jefferson lead to adjustments somewhere else in Fairfax or Virginia? Or, is the magnet university a distinctive example?
A: So much, the TJ reforms have not right led to adjustments elsewhere in the point out. But it is noteworthy that, in late November, the Virginia Legal professional General’s Place of work identified that the Academies of Loudoun — an elite STEM magnet college in neighboring Loudoun County — discriminates in opposition to Black and Hispanic college students in its admissions course of action.