by Steve Spiker
The investigation into Northern Virginia schools withholding notification that some students earned Merit Recognition, based on scoring in the top 3% of the country, started with just one school, the prestigious Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology. Since this issue was first uncovered a few weeks ago, there has been a steady drip of new schools where recognition was delayed: first other high schools in Fairfax; then Loudoun; then Prince William; and now even Stafford County has been impacted.
The response has been swift. Parents are outraged that notification of these awards was withheld, and for good reason: scoring in the top 3% of all national students can make a college application stand out, and can be the difference between receiving a scholarship or not, or in how much money they receive. For example, some universities like Liberty University offer a full scholarship to recipients.
For parents struggling with the high and rising costs of tuition, and students concerned about being saddled with crippling debt at the start of their careers, receiving a full or even partial scholarship can be a major, life-changing award. Yet systematically across Northern Virginia, some students didn’t receive notice of their Letter of Commendation until after deadlines for college applications passed.
Attorney General Jason Miyares has announced an investigation into the issue, supported by Governor Glenn Youngkin as well. This should be the minimum response: it is clear the excuse of an “administrative oversight” that has hurt hundreds of students across a dozen schools in multiple counties is not sufficient explanation.
Yet, Democrats are quick to dismiss parents’ concerns entirely.
At a Town Hall meeting with constituents, State Senator Scott Surovell (D) and Del. Mark Sickles (D) were asked about the issue, and their glib responses dismissing parents’ concerns echoes Terry McAuliffe’s infamous remarks that parents shouldn’t have a say in their kids’ education:
Surovell said: “Bottom line, I don’t see it as something we ought to investigate.” He added that he suspects many high schools across the Commonwealth don’t provide recognition to students ahead of college application deadlines, which isn’t the case against investigating he thinks it is. Continue reading