Thursday night brought about a rather eventful Fairfax County School Board meeting, as a group of parents, many of them Asians and immigrants, charged that the school board was "racist" for vowing to appeal a federal judge's decision when it comes to reinstituting merit-based admissions to the Thomas Jefferson School For Science and Technology, as Luke Rosiak reported for The Daily Wire. The moms, which included Indian-born Asra Q. Nomani, who is also part of Parents Defending Education, brought with them copies of Rosiak's book released earlier this week, "Race to the Bottom: Uncovering the Secret Forces Destroying American Public Education."
Rosiak quoted Nomani as saying at the meeting that "For the last two years you have been trying to make us invisible, but a federal judge has ruled that in fact you are going to go down in history just like I told you you would, just like the school board in Brown v. Board," as she also told the board "you are the new face of racism."
Nomani's referencing of Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court which overturned 1896's Plessy v. Ferguson's separate but equal doctrine and made school segregation illegal, has merit to it, it turns out.
"The school board’s high-priced law firm, Hunton Andrews Kurth, is the successor to Hunton & Williams, which fought to preserve segregation in cases that ultimately became Brown vs. Board, the case in which the Supreme Court struck down school segregation," Rosiak mentioned.
Nomani also brought with her and passed out copies of "Race to the Bottom," to hand out to all of the school board members as she told them "you are all in this book." She went on to tell them "all of you have failed us. I have all of these books, I hope you read them from cover to cover and see yourself in the pages of history--as failures."
A security guard ultimately approached Nomani, who went back to her seat as other parents shouted "racist," and the school board chair declared a recess.
Nomani and other parents remained, with Nomani reading from a chapter of Rosiak's book about the school board, with one parent calling it "storytime."
Rosiak also tweeted footage of the school board meeting and a lengthy thread highlighting issues with the school board, including a back-and-forth over whether to have sexually explicit books available at the school library.
"You are the new face of racism. I have here a copy of a book for each of you: Race to the Bottom. You are all in this book... I hope you read them from cover to cover and see yourselves in the pages of history--as failures," she told the all-Democrat board as security encroached pic.twitter.com/4GjfWs0rcp— Luke Rosiak (@lukerosiak) March 11, 2022
Asian moms took over the vacated hall for what one called "story time," where they read from a chapter about the Fairfax board.— Luke Rosiak (@lukerosiak) March 11, 2022
“In this new era, school board members took their seats to pursue a variety of agendas, none of which had to do with education,” it begins. pic.twitter.com/v9fFurncFt
The book details the modern educational establishment's anti-Asian war on merit--in which supposed educators actually undermine top achievers -- including in NYC with Stuyvesant. Pretending getting the right answer in math isn't a real thing will have dangerous civic consequences— Luke Rosiak (@lukerosiak) March 11, 2022
The Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology has consistently been ranked the best high school in the country, but has also been in the news as of late after the school admitted students based on a lottery system rather than merit.
A lawsuit was brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of Coalition for TJ, which Nomani was part of, against the Fairfax County School Board.
As the Pacific Legal Foundation explained:
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology—commonly referred to as TJ—is the top-ranked public high school in the nation. The school was founded in 1985 to improve STEM education in Northern Virginia and draws around 1,800 students to its Alexandria campus. Most students live in Fairfax County, but a small number of students from three surrounding counties and Falls Church are also eligible for admission.
As one of Virginia’s 19 Governor’s Schools that serve gifted high school students, TJ receives funding add-ons from the state General Assembly. In 2020, the Virginia Secretary of Education said the Governor’s Schools must come up with ways to increase diversity among their enrollment in order to receive the additional funding and gave the schools until October to submit plans.
The state’s requirements were reasonable and straightforward, but amid growing angst over the issue of racial balancing at TJ, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) took the opportunity to completely revamp the school’s admissions process in a way that solely—and unlawfully—discriminates against Asian-American students.
Up until this year, admission to TJ was merit-based and race–blind; requirements included a standardized test, grade–point average, completion of certain math classes, and teacher recommendations. The school board and superintendent completely did away with the test, starting with the 2021-22 school year.
More problematic, however, is that the new admissions policy also caps the number of students allowed from each of the district’s 23 middle schools. The three middle schools that typically account for most of TJ’s admissions have higher numbers of Asian-American students than most other middle schools.
As a result, TJ’s Class of 2025 is projected to have 42 percent fewer Asian-American students, while no other racial group will lose seats. Mr. Verma crunched the numbers, using his data science background, and found white students will benefit the most from the changes.
School district officials have made no secret that their clear and unequivocal objective is to reduce the number of Asian-American students at TJ. There is no evidence the district considered any race-neutral alternatives, like creating additional STEM high schools or providing greater access to standardized testing prep without middle school quotas.
The case was decided last month by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton, who ruled that the admission changes did discriminate against Asian-Americans.
The decision was celebrated by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), who just recently took office in January.
Today’s decision reaffirms that TJ’s admissions should be based on merit. We thank the parents who stood up for their children. We will work everyday to ensure that every student across VA has a quality education so they can dream big dreams and be prepared for success in life.— Governor Glenn Youngkin (@GovernorVA) February 25, 2022
Thursday's interrupted meeting wasn't the only unpleasant dose of reality for the school board. Earlier on Friday, Judge Hilton denied the school board's request for a stay, as The Washington Post reported.