After loosening up its admissions requirements in order to rebalance the demographic make-up of the student body, the Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, is dealing with a problem never experienced there before — many of its students now require math tutoring.
The image at left is a screenshot of an email disseminated by the TJ administration. The school is offering after-school algebra review sessions for up to 30 students to “remediate the pandemic learning gap.”
Thomas Jefferson is widely regarded as the best public school in the nation. This year, the school jettisoned its admissions system based on rigorous tests in favor of one designed to draw students from a wider cross-section of schools, especially where enrollment was dominated by underrepresented minorities. Applicants must be enrolled in honors math classes and have a Grade Point Average of 3.5. The problem is that academic standards and grades vary from school to school. Sadly, earning an A at some schools is no longer a guarantee that a student excels in a subject.
Although Fairfax County officials have maintained the pretense that the new admissions criteria do not discriminate on the basis of race, the new criteria had the effect that they clearly were intended to — driving down the percentage of Asian students from about 70% of the student body to roughly 50%, while admitting more Whites, Blacks and Hispanics.
“Never in the history of TJ has the school needed to offer grade-wide free math tutoring,” says Marissa Fallon, a spokesperson for Parents Defending Education. “Free scheduled math tutoring is not being offered to any other students — just this freshman class. All kids suffer pandemic learning gaps. only some are getting special tutoring sessions — up to 30 kids per session, 2x a week.”