Virginia High School Admissions Changes That Severely Reduced Asian Student Enrollment Upheld By Appeals Court

Thomas Jefferson High School Coalition Virginia e1615600679833

by William A. Jacobson at

In what can only be described as a body-blow to the hopes and dreams of students of Asian descent, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, reversed a trial court ruling that struck down a scheme by Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (“TJ”) to reduce its Asian student percentages.

We have covered this story since the start:

That last post summarized the context of the case, and how it was part of a national trend from leftist education activists:

We have covered numerous schemes by admissions offices to lower Asian enrollment through various subterfuges centered on deemphasizing or eliminating the weight given to standardized testing. The schemes never come right out and admit what they are doing, they usually couch it in vague soft factors and gibberish about “equity”.

We’ve seen in in higher education with the Harvard case accepted for review by the Supreme Court, and in K-12 with the Boston “Zip Code Quota Plan” that so far has survived court challenge, and is on appeal.

We also covered the Lawsuit Alleging Anti-Asian Discrimination In Admissions Change At Top-Ranked Virginia High School,  Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (“TJ”) .

Here was the heart of the case, as described by Pacific Legal, which represented Coalition for TJ, the plaintiff umbrella group:

Until last year, admission to TJ was race-blind and merit-based; requirements included a standardized test, grade-point average, completion of certain math classes, and teacher recommendations. Last year, the Fairfax County Public Schools’ board and superintendent adopted an admissions policy aimed at balancing the racial groups at TJ by eliminating the admissions test, guaranteeing seats for 1.5 percent of each middle school’s eighth grade class, and awarding bonus points for various factors such as attendance at a middle school previously underrepresented at TJ. The intended result: dramatically reducing the number of Asian-American students admitted to TJ.


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