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Tipsheet

Fairfax School Board Meeting Abruptly Recessed as Asian Mothers Come Armed with Books and Charges of 'Racist'

Luke Rosiak, Twitter

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."

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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."

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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.

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. 

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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 TJis 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 straightforwardbut 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 yearadmission to TJ was merit-based and raceblind; requirements included a standardized test, gradepoint 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.  

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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.

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

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