Parents have accused America’s top high school of a ‘purge’ after slashing its intake of Asian American students by 20 percent because ‘they are the wrong minority.’
Anti-Critical Race Theory campaigner Asra Nomani, whose child graduated from the school this year, claims Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) in Virginia is making race a factor in the admissions criteria and discriminating against Asian children.
She said TJ, which ranked the number one school nationwide in the US News Best High Schools report in April and as a public school has no tuition fees, has ‘systematically set out to reduce’ the number of Asian students joining.
Admissions data shows the class of 2025 has become increasingly diverse with black students making up 7 percent of the year group, up from just 1 percent for the class of 2021.
The proportion of Hispanic students increased from 3 percent to 11 percent while white students climbed from 18 percent to 22 percent.
Asian students continue to make up the majority at 54 percent of the class.
However, this marks a major decrease from 73 percent of the class of 2021 – a decline Nomani said is down to ‘new racist standards’ in the admissions process.
America’s top high school has slashed the number of Asian American students by 20 percent as parents accused educators of making race a factor in the admissions criteria. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) above
In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, co-authored by Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Erin Wilcox, Nomani said the school’s updated admissions criteria was aimed at ‘dramatically reducing the number of qualified Asian American students admitted to TJ.’
They claimed that the school’s majority Asian school body was the ‘wrong kind of minority’ in the eyes of the school.
‘Over the past year, TJ and Fairfax County Public Schools officials have systematically set out to reduce the number of Asian American students at the highly regarded high school — and based on the most recent admissions data, their purge is succeeding,’ they wrote.
‘This past year, school leaders bemoaned a lack of ‘diversity’ at TJ and launched a crusade to change admissions.
‘The student body is about 80 percent minority, but the wrong kind of minority for school officials, with about 70 percent Asian and about 10 percent of the minority students black, Hispanic and multiracial.’
The so-called ‘purge’ that begun with this year’s admissions is not due to Asian students being less qualified but because race is now a factor in the decisions, they said.
‘When we describe this as a purge against Asian American students by leaders at TJ and Fairfax County Public Schools, that is not rhetorical excess. It’s an accurate interpretation of what’s happening based on the hard dat,’ they wrote.
‘The number of Asian American students isn’t dropping because they’re less qualified; it’s dropping because the school has rejiggered the process to make race a factor in the decisions.’
TJ revised its admissions process last year at a time when the nation was demanding racial justice and equality following George Floyd’s murder.
Changes included scrapping the admissions test and the $100 application fee in an effort to remove some of the barriers to access for some students including special education students, students eligible for free and/or reduced-price meals, and English Learners.
Parent and anti-Critical Race Theory campaigner Asra Nomani (pictured) claimed Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) in Virginia is ‘purging’ Asian students from its future class intakes
The school also raised the minimum grade point average (GPA) with the average GPA for 2025 applicants at 3.9 – higher than every other year over the last five years.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Scott Brabrand called the system a ‘merit lottery’ but the move sparked protests from some unhappy parents.
Nomani and Wilcox claimed the changes amount to the tossing out of the school’s ‘merit-based, race-blind admissions exam and other rigorous standards.’
‘District leaders set out to change that by re-engineering the school’s famously strict and competitive admission standards,’ they wrote.
‘Tossing the merit-based, race-blind admissions exam and other rigorous standards, they instituted a ‘holistic’ admissions process with quotas and subjective criteria, such as ‘experience factors,’ that would allow them to achieve a more ‘equitable’ and desirable racial balance at TJ.
‘It was clear that the new standards were aimed at a particular result: dramatically reducing the number of qualified Asian American students admitted to TJ.’
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Scott Brabrand called the system a ‘merit lottery’ but the move sparked protests from some unhappy parents in September
Parents are suing over the ‘unconstitutional’ changes to the admissions process at the top school
They slammed the ‘new racist standards’ which ‘actively discriminate’ against Asian students and ‘water[ing] down’ the school’s focus on merit.
‘We warned that the slippery new standards were not only designed to actively discriminate against Asian American students, but would also end up watering down the school’s long-standing commitment to achievement through hard work and merit,’ they wrote.
Nomani and Wilcox pointed to the data which shows the percentage of Asian students was ‘slashed’ while ‘the percentage of blacks and Hispanics increased — as it did for white students.’
Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Erin Wilcox (pictured) is representing the parents in a suit against the school board
As well as being a parent of a 2021 TJ graduate, Nomani is the cofounder of Coalition for TJ, a group of parents campaigning against the admissions changes at the school.
The group, represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, filed a federal lawsuit in March against the Fairfax County School Board over the ‘unconstitutional’ changes to the admissions process.
The suit claims the new admission standards violate the constitutional right of Asian children to equal protection by discriminating against them based on their race.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the school for comment on the accusations.
Despite the changes to the admissions process, the school’s website insists it is still ‘merit based and race blind.’
‘The new admissions process continues to be merit based and is race blind,’ it says.
‘Students are allocated a number by which to be identified during the process.
‘Admissions evaluators do not know the race, ethnicity, or gender of any applicant.’
TJ has been named the top US school for the last three years in the US News Best High Schools and counts New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, novelist Ian Caldwell and journalist Lisa Desjardins among its alumni.
The clash between parents and the school and school board comes amid a similar debate surrounding the admission of students at Harvard University (above)
The clash between parents and the school and school board comes amid a similar debate surrounding the admission of students at Harvard University.
Harvard is being sued by a group that claims it imposes a ‘racial penalty’ on Asian American applicants by systematically scoring them lower in some categories than other applicants and awarding ‘massive preferences’ to black and Hispanic applicants.
Harvard denies that it discriminates against Asian American applicants and says its consideration of race is limited.
Lower courts sided with the university but the plaintiffs, a group called Students for Fair Admissions and anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum, appealed the decision.
Last month, the Supreme Court asked the Biden administration to give its views on whether the justices should hear the challenge.