By Asra Q. Nomani
FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA. — Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge John Tran denied a request by 15 local parents to force Fairfax County Public Schools to reinstate race-blind, merit-based admissions tests to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, America’s No. 1 high school, but clearly stood on the side of the parents in their noble defense of gifted education and the value of merit-based admissions.
The decision is a blow to the future of the school as a place that nurtures the area’s top science, technology, engineering and math students, as local educrats replace the test with an essential popularity contest, complete with scoring for students who best match a subjective “Portrait of a Graduate,” complete with race-based quotas and biases for life “experiences.” But hundreds of local parents — most of them immigrant — scored a huge win for America in waging a months-long battle, complete with school board speeches, petitions, letters and direct action protests, in an effort that is not over. They overcame fear of retaliation and cultural traumas of coming from societies where speaking out is punishable by death.
Theirs is a victory for standing up for their belief in the American Dream. The judicial setback just proves that the war for America and its future will be a long one.
Since the killing of George Floyd last May, advocates of the ideology of critical race theory have exploited the tragedy to hijack school boards, school systems and schools themselves with divisive thinking that pits people against each other based on race and attacks the very idea of merit, leading to painful battles like the one that has embroiled the TJ community for months. To pursue a race-based agenda to increase the number of Black and Hispanic students at TJ by slashing the number of Asian students at the school, the local Fairfax County school board and its school officials actually argued that TJ was not a school for gifted students, who typically emerge in the top 2 percentile of peers in IQ and cognitive development.
For reasons of COVID-19 and bureaucracy, the judge, who came to the United States as boy from Vietnam, said race-blind tests to TJ couldn’t be reinstated. Importantly, however, in denying the injunction, Judge Tran declared in a heading in his order, “TJ, a Governor’s School, is a Program for Gifted Students.”
The judge didn’t buy the local school officials new script for TJ and said: “TJ is an Academic-Year Governor’s School Program that provides what Defendants credibly describe as an ‘alternate service option’ for gifted students. The debate over whether admission to TJ is restricted solely to students who have been identified as ‘gifted’ is misdirected.”