We Won! Coalition for TJ Won Against Racism.

by Asra Q. Nomani

My hands are trembling as I share this news. We won! Two years of moral courage by parents from around the world with names like Suparna, Harry, Yuyan, Glenn, Marissa, Helen, Hemang. We won today. The American Dream won today. You won today.

PRESS RELEASE
Pacific Legal Foundation
Kate A. Pomeroy
Coalition for TJ
Asra Nomani

Alexandria, Virginia; February 25, 2022: Today, a federal judge ruled that Fairfax County school officials violated the law by changing admissions requirements at the nation’s top public school to deliberately reduce the number of Asian-American students enrolled.

Last March, a coalition of parents, students, alumni, and community members filed a lawsuit challenging admissions changes at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ).

Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Erin Wilcox said:

“This is a monumental win for parents and students here in Fairfax County, but also for equal treatment in education across the country,” said “We hope this ruling sends the message that government cannot choose who receives the opportunity to attend public schools based on race or ethnicity.”

Asra Nomani, cofounder of Coalition for TJ and an alumni parent of a TJ student who graduated in the Class of 2021, said:

“Coalition for TJ is thrilled by Judge Claude Hilton’s clear renunciation of racism and discrimination and his powerful defense of equality. For almost two years, our courageous families have battled an incalcitrant and racist school board and superintendent intent on using ‘social justice,’ ‘equity’ and ‘anti-racism’ to perpetuate racism and discrimination against Asian students and families. Today’s decision is a victory for all students, all families and the United States of America. It is a victory for equality under the law, merit education and the American Dream. We are so grateful to the team at Pacific Legal Foundation for being relentless defenders of justice. May all parents, citizens and students have the moral courage and willpower of our families to stand up for their values and beliefs, as our amazing families have done.”

Suparna Dutta, a former TJ mother and cofounder of Coalition for TJ, said:

“This is a huge victory. This is like the little guy winning against the ‘equity’ machine.”

Until last year, admission to TJ was race-blind and merit-based; requirements included a standardized test, grade-point average, completion of certain math classes, and teacher recommendations. Last year, the Fairfax County Public Schools’ board and superintendent adopted an admissions policy aimed at balancing the racial groups at TJ by eliminating the admissions test, guaranteeing seats for 1.5 percent of each middle school’s eighth grade class, and awarding bonus points for various factors such as attendance at a middle school previously underrepresented at TJ. The intended result: dramatically reducing the number of Asian-American students admitted to TJ.

Pacific Legal Foundation represents the Coalition for TJ free of charge. Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division. Judge Hilton granted the Coalition’s motion for summary judgment, giving them a win in the case.

This column has been republished with permission from Asra Investigates.


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Comments

14 responses to “We Won! Coalition for TJ Won Against Racism.”

  1. JonathanSwifter Avatar
    JonathanSwifter

    Fun Thomas Jefferson tours at:

    https://www.meetup.com/Washarea-Discovery-Hikes/

  2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    Congratulations! Hold fast. This will be a long fight.

  3. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    Anti-racism is just…..racism.

    Sadly, this legal recognition of that may not change much. Expect the battle to continue. As I said in earlier discussions, fighting over admissions to the elite high schools is a waste of effort that should be focused on beefing up the academic rigor and gifted programs in the earlier grades, and making sure students who might not go down that road do, and do so early.

    1. Agree, the coalition should now focus its efforts along the lines that you spell out. That is if they really want to help all students and not just their own. They could start by helping some of the freshmen now at TJ that were willing to accept the challenge posed by attending there and desire to better themselves.

      1. John Harvie Avatar
        John Harvie

        It HAS to start somewhere.

        It is never a wasted effort when you do the right thing for the right reason.

        Willing to bet you and Steve have no family member impacted by the previous unfair policies?

        1. Stephen Haner Avatar
          Stephen Haner

          Which previous “unfair” policy? The one from before or the one just struck down? “Unfair” is a word you define. 🙂

        2. Previous is a little unclear as the revised policy is in effect for this school year. Thus, the previous would be the so called color blind testing regime which was felt to be unfair to those families that could not afford the expense of years of tutoring and test prep. My biracial grandson does live in the area and who is to say what the policy will be when he comes of high school age.

          1. tmtfairfax Avatar

            Why do you continue to ignore the fact that FCPS offered additional help to low income students interested in applying to TJ?

      2. tmtfairfax Avatar

        This statement reminds of what comes from the Washington Post, or, better yet, what doesn’t come from the Post. Fairfax County Public Schools. FCPS offered additional help (say tutoring) for middle school students considering application to TJ under the old rules. But recognizing that fact weakens the narrative of the woke. So you continue to write as if the help was not available.

        The new admissions plan would have likely passed muster but for the racist internal emails and the removal of the qualification test. Then granting admission to a specific number of students from every middle school who had passed the admissions test.

        1. I was speaking about the “coalition” pitching in with things such as peer tutoring or mentoring. Those parents could also lobby the district aggressively for added assistance for low income middle school students. I do not recall saying that FCPS was not providing some degree of prep help. That must have been your woke determination.

    2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      Readiness for challenging courses will bear fruit in just a couple of years. I can’t believe the politicians haven’t grabbed a hold of this concept. This is something voters and parents can understand and unite around.

      1. You would think so. Then there’s the politicized fate of the SCHEV-supported Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative. https://www.virginiamercury.com/2022/02/25/youngkin-administration-ends-equity-initiatives-at-the-virginia-department-of-education/

  4. It is a wonderful day when equality triumphs over brain dead Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DIE).

    Do our schools need to do a far better job of preparing all students, absolutely! But the fight over merit based admissions to schools like TJ is far from a “waste of effort” as Stephen argues above.

    The old adage “When you are in a hole the first thing you need to do is to stop digging” describes the fight in Fairfax. The judge’s ruling has forced Fairfax to stop digging. That is a major victory. That gives Fairfax both the opportunity and incentive to prepare all students better rather than to push less qualified students into an environment where they will struggle and be less successful than their better prepared peers in service to the false god of “equity” (DEI).

    “Equity” falsely denies the reality of differing achievement clearly shown by measures of individual performance and replaces it with race based discrimination. Race based discrimination is every bit as wrong when used today to discriminate against asian and white kids as it was many decades ago when it was used to discriminate against black kids. Our civil rights laws are clear, discrimination on the basis of race, gender or national origin is illegal.

    A victory over racism is not a “waste of effort”. Congratulations to the Coalition for TJ and thanks to the Pacific Legal Foundation. You have achieved a victory for the people of Fairfax and provided a model for the country to follow as it struggles to recover from the disease of “equity” based racism.

  5. Blind Merit-based admission 1
    Racist-centric Lottery 0

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