When Jeannie C. Riley released “Harper Valley P.T.A.” in 1968, her hit single mocked a parent-teacher association for telling a school mom she was wearing her dresses way too high. Today the real-life sequel is playing out at the Virginia Parent Teacher Association and its chapter at a high-performing public school in Fairfax County. This time, however, parents are complaining about the PTA—that it’s in cahoots with those watering down entrance standards with the aim of reducing the school’s Asian-American population.
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is a school for gifted students ranked No. 1 among all public high schools nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. In December the county school board changed its admissions process, replacing a rigorous, race-blind entrance exam with a “holistic” (read: subjective) formula that includes grades but also puts caps on the number of students each middle school could send to TJ—a de facto limit on middle schools with high numbers of Asian-American students.
The desired result has been achieved. The percentage of Asian-Americans admitted to TJ dropped to 54% this year from 73% last year. Whites, blacks and Latinos all saw their numbers go up. No doubt this is only the beginning.
Read the full story from the Wall Street Journal here.