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Posted at 6:44 PM ET, 11/16/2010

Boosting minority inclusion at Thomas Jefferson

By Robert E. Frye Sr., Springfield

Many thanks for the Nov. 12 editorial “A diversity deficit,” on the low number of minority students enrolled in this year’s freshman class at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. With only four African American and 13 Hispanic students in the class, it is clear that the Washington metropolitan area’s largest public school system (more than 170,000 students) should have been able to have more minority students qualify and attend. Of special note, however, is the fact that none of the four African American children selected were Fairfax County Public School students.

Surely, with 26 middle schools in the Fairfax County school system, at least one of their black students should have met TJHS’s selection standards. Rather than trying to explain away this embarrassing fact, everyone interested in improving the ability of our country to compete in the high-tech 21st century should encourage FCPS to do a better job of including gifted minority students in its nationally recognized programs.

The writer was chairman of the Fairfax County School Board from 1999 to 2000.

By Robert E. Frye Sr., Springfield  | November 16, 2010; 6:44 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax County, education, schools  
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Comments

Mr. Frye, thank you for letting the public know. Thank you for writing.

Posted by: BarneyURspecial | November 17, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

In a word, "asians". No offense to you, but have you been to our schools? When I went to James Madison, we had more Asian students, than African American and Hispanic students combined. Yes, very few black and hispanic students passed, but you left out how many asian students passed. When I tried to get into TJ, most of the asian students in my class got in and I failed. (ps I'm white) So you are picking and choosing which groups are "minorities". I think a better way for you to look at these findings would be by household income rather than creed. Unless of course, you think that asians just naturally would go for science and math without their parents backing. Thanks.

Posted by: pizzailike | November 17, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

thought we were supposed to judge people by their acheivments and character, not their color. why are we still tracking people by race. thats racist right.

Posted by: submarinerssn774 | November 17, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

How do we judge people? How should we judge for admissions?

Students in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) are screened for gifted and accelerated programs in 1st and 2nd grade, but only if they are selected for the testing. Many TJ students come from the gifted pool of students.

From the Fairfax County Association for the Gifted http://www.fcag.org/gtfcps.html
“Any student who is screened for the GT Center and is rejected (i.e., "found ineligible") can appeal this decision, by submitting new information. Frequently, families who wish to appeal an adverse decision pay for their child to take an individual intelligence test, such as the WISC or Stanford-Binet.” Such testing costs hundreds of dollars and can be over $1,000 if from a neuropsychologist.

So selection into TJHSST based on a system of economic advantage could begin at 6 years of age.
TJ students: 1.9% economically disadvantaged
10% from private schools

I think of the classic children’s story, Madeline.
In the middle of the night
Miss Clavel turned on her light
and said, "Something is not right!"
Perhaps administrators at TJ could have been more like Miss Clavel and had a sleepless night. It is their school. But instead, the “problem” solved was the addition of a $100,000 piece of equipment only a few in Virginia will ever see, let alone use. “Something is not right.”

Posted by: BarneyURspecial | November 18, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

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