Alexandria, Virginia (AP) — A federal judge ruled on Friday that the Virginia school system illegally discriminated against Asian Americans when it reviewed admission policies for elite public schools.
U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton’s ruling found that unacceptable “racial equilibrium” was at the heart of plans to overhaul admission to Thomas Jefferson Science and Technology High School, known as “TJ.” .. Schools are routinely ranked as one of the best or best public schools in the country, and school slots are very competitive.
In 2020, the Fairfax County Board of Education has significantly redesigned school admissions. The standardized test, which was the cornerstone of the admission process, has been abolished and a system has been adopted to ensure the same number of TJ slots at each junior high school in the county.
In his ruling, Hilton wrote that “the debate over admission changes was infectious from the beginning with the story of racial balance.”
Schools have enjoyed excellent academic reputation for decades, but black and Hispanic students have been badly underestimated in their bodies.
TJ’s current freshman class, first accepted under the new policy, reflects significant changes in racial composition. Asian representatives have decreased from 73% to 54%. The percentage of black students has increased from 1% last year to 7%. Hispanic representation increased from 3% to 11%.
The school system argued that the new admission policy was race-neutral. In particular, they said that the panelists who evaluate the application do not even know the race of the students they are evaluating.
The school system also argued that efforts to increase black and Hispanic representatives were legally permissible unless the school board expressed a desire to harm Asian Americans.
School system lawyer John Foster said the school board would consider appealing Hilton’s decision.
“The new process gives TJ seats to the most talented students in all middle schools, regardless of race, gender or country of origin,” Foster said in writing.
However, Hilton said that the background of the school board’s actions shows that racial considerations come to mind first and foremost. He said George Floyd’s death in May 2020 prompted a demand for racial justice across the country. He also urged Virginia’s Parliament and the Ministry of Education to develop plans for schools like TJ, known as the “Governor’s School” in Virginia, to quickly address the shortage of black and Hispanic students. He said he was.
“Through this process, board members and FCPS officials were dissatisfied with the racial composition of the school and expressed their desire to re-enroll at TJ,” Hilton wrote.
Coalition for TJ, A group of parents who objected to court admission procedures With the support of the Conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, he said in a statement, “I am excited about Judge Claude Hilton’s racism and the clear abandonment of discrimination and his strong defense of equality.” ..
Hilton’s decision will come about a month later. US Supreme Court agrees to hear A similar proceeding filed by an Asian-American family over Harvard’s admission policy.
Earlier versions of this story stated that the school system was fascinating. No final decision has been made on the appeal.