I found the statistics in the April 13-15 edition [ďThomas Jefferson High admits 480 for Class of 2016Ē] quite interesting in regard to the diversity challenge for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
Something that was not touch upon was the Student Information Sheet. Semifinalist applicants must sign to verify they completed the form on their own. However, there is no oversight as to who wrote or edited it, nor to my knowledge is there any follow-up to determine if what was stated on the form was in fact valid. With rampant use of paid-for tutors and overzealous parents, should TJ be allowed to dismiss children on the basis of this form?
The Student Information Sheet should be competed in a supervised class setting to help level the playing field. I seriously doubt the 11.8 percent of students cited have the wherewithal to pay for expensive tutoring, or have easy-access to a computer in the home.
I admit I am one of those parents who think their minority daughter or son should have been accepted, and was surprised she was not. Please donít hold that against me.
My daughter is exactly what TJ is looking for in a student and a person: an Hispanic, all-A student since the first grade; president of the National Junior Honor Society; a pianist; actor/singer who has toured with a local production company; an artist whose work was selected for the sixth-grade class; and an athlete who was selected as the schoolís outstanding seventh-grade female athlete and who plays on Virginiaís top-ranked U-14 girls soccer team.
Itís too late for my daughter so this is not about her, but the comparison is noteworthy. Iíd not like another bright, talented young leader to receive an undeserved rejection notice.
I sent a letter to the chairperson of the Fairfax County Board of Education citing the Timesí article. Is active discrimination occurring, or are there only 13 Hispanics and seven blacks in Fairfax County, who applied to attend TJ, who were qualified?
Does the data suggest discrimination against the poor, and the black and Hispanic populations in Fairfax County? Would this be of interest to the NAACP or the American Civil Liberties Union? Or even first lady Michelle Obama, who continues to champion education? Would she allow her daughters to be discriminated against?
At a time when our country is trying to further all minorities, I find it interesting TJ might be doing the precise opposite. I donít believe this was the Virginia legislatureís intent in creating this magnet school.
Rob Mainor, Herndon