When it comes to the investigation into the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) ordered by Virginia's Attorney General Jason Miyares, as urged by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media are certainly showing their true colors. This has perhaps been no more clearly evidenced than in a CNN segment from earlier on Tuesday.
DISINFORMATION: CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson tries to dismiss Youngkin's concerns about Fairfax County schools putting equity over merit as just his "maniacal focus on higher office" and isn't a real issue. pic.twitter.com/5eeh42ZaaV— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) January 17, 2023
To recap, it was recently revealed late last year that the principal of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), which is located in the FCPS system and has been ranked the best high school in the country, was withholding notification of merit based scholarships from students and families. Not long after, it was revealed that other schools in the district--the largest in Virginia and one of the largest in the country--had been doing the same. In fact, 25 percent of high schools in the district may have done so. This was supposedly in the name of "equity."
In a segment of "Inside Politics," as highlighted by Nicholas Fondacaro at NewsBusters, host John King informed viewers that Youngkin was "accusing education officials in the commonwealth’s largest county of choosing equity over merit." Although King claimed that correspondent Athena Jones would "sort the politics and the truth," her reporting that followed was not exactly that.
While Jones did accurately explain how students were missing out in that "those students are out of the running of the National Merit Scholarship competition," she went out of her way to make clear that concerns Miyares and Youngkin have raised are a matter of accusations rather than the truth. More importantly, it is clear she did not do her research.
For instance, Jones mentions that "at least three high schools failed to notify the students," when that number was at least seven as of last week. Earlier on Tuesday the Daily Mail reported that there are at least 11 schools in the district, in addition to at least two in nearby Prince William County. More recently on Tuesday, that number has grown to 16 in the commonwealth, according to local reports.
"What's really unclear here is who’s going around saying we want equal outcomes for everyone. That is something – a line we've heard from the governor and AG but it's unclear where they think that comes from," Jones claimed.
It's not unclear at all though. The district itself has said that. Fondacaro in his reporting points to evidence from Parents Defending Education. The group obtained an image from a FCPS strategic planning meeting that makes clear their goal is "Equitable access to resources and opportunities that guarantee fair, just, and affirming experiences and produce equal outcomes for every student, without exception." Such emphasis comes from the slide itself.
Fairfax County Parents Association also tweeted out a screenshot of the slide.
🚨Breaking: FCPS commits to Equal Outcomes over Academic Excellence🚨— Fairfax County Parents Association (@FFXParentsAssoc) December 3, 2022
At today's Strategic Planning Mtg, @FCPSSupt goes all in on providing "equal outcomes," an objective that will require lowering of standards, detracking, and penalizing high-achieving students for working hard pic.twitter.com/lgeRxlBSf8
In her reporting from last month, Leah also included a wealth of evidence about this equity push, including the tweet above and a short YouTube clip in which FCPS Superintendent Michelle Reid talks about "equal outcomes for every student, without exception." The clip was posted by Asra Nomani, an affected parent in the district.
Further, FCPS is not ashamed to put their push for equity out there for all to see, making CNN's lazy reporting all the more shameful and inexcusable. A simple Google search turns up tons of firsthand evidence within seconds. The FCPS.edu website, for instance, has a page on "Equity and Cultural Responsiveness." There's another page on "Equity Profile" that mentions four goals. There's also an Office of Chief Equity Officer, which, it just so happens, oversees the TJ admissions' office.
Less than a year ago, the FCPS system published a video to YouTube titled "Equity means opportunities for all students."
Another piece of evidence that Leah included was a page from the South County Middle School, which is within the district, on the "Purpose of Grading- A Philosophical Basis." Sure enough, there's a section on "Equity."
When it comes to framing the accusations as coming from the attorney general and the governor, it's not just them who Jones throws under the bus, but affected families as well. Jones described Miyrares and Youngkin as criticizing a "maniacal focus" on equity, going on to frame it as "this idea these schools were – and some of the parents say that they believe these schools failed to notify these students because they didn't want other students to feel badly that they haven’t receive these awards."
Jones also cheapened the issue by pointing out that "it's a bit about politics here because this is something that Glenn Youngkin ran on, the whole idea of education, these sort of culture war issues." For what it's worth, Youngkin not only ran on the issue of education, especially when it comes to empowering parents, but exit polls show he handily won on it as well.
King and senior political analyst Nia-Malika Henderson further inserted politics into the issue by claiming it was all part of potential future ambitions for Youngkin, in that he may chose to run for the U.S. Senate or for president in 2024. King did acknowledge Youngkin has "been quiet for some time," which is precisely the case as the governor maintains being focused on leading Virginia, a response he and his team consistently give as he has been asked over the course of several months.
Youngkin addressed this push for equity on Monday with local ABC affiliate WJLA, as Spencer covered at the time, in which the governor called out what he indeed sees as "maniacal equity" when it comes to a policy that would rob students of merit scholarships and is "hurting Virginia's children."
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin says Fairfax County Public schools has a “maniacal focus” on equal outcomes and he says that “is hurting Virginia’s children” including the children FCPS aspires to help.— Nick Minock (@NickMinock) January 16, 2023
Story: https://t.co/Riy1IBXYCp pic.twitter.com/vWkU49mV5F