TJ’s admissions process deemed biased


Courtesy of Akhil Angajala

Nikhil Dev is unsure about his TJ future and if he will be accepted.

Some RCMS students are left unsure whether they will be accepted into Thomas Jefferson High School after its admissions process was deemed biased against Asian Americans by a federal judge in February.

“The situation of diversity at TJ is a concern that I believe FCPS tried to solve,” said Daniela Goldstein, an eighth-grade civics teacher on the Wolves team. “But as the U.S. district court judge stated, the decision says the choice is an illegal act of racial balancing.”

Federal judge Claude Hilton issued a multi-page ruling on Feb. 25 that said Fairfax County Public Schools had violated the law by changing admissions process requirements at Thomas Jefferson High School to purposefully reduce the number of Asian American students.

Up until the Class of 2025, TJ’s admissions process was strictly based on GPA, specific math courses, teacher recommendations, and a standardized test. The school was completely race-blind and merit-based.

The Class of 2025 was found to have more Black, Hispanic, and low income students, and when re-checked, a drop of Asian students from 70% to 50% would be brought to light. 

Those changes brought two lawsuits alleging racism against Asian Americans, the second lawsuit being Hilton’s ruling. The group who filed the lawsuit was a group of parents and alumni groups, which made the TJ Coalition.

This situation has brought a lot of doubt to TJ’s credibility and also has caused some dislike to the school.

“I think TJ should fix this because a biased system like this is not fair to the people who actually got into TJ,” said Raj Sonar, an eighth-grader on the Wolves team. 

The main issue is how the future Class of 2026 will be, as TJ is still using the same admissions process for the last time this year because of the recent stay passed. The stay, or suspension, essentially pauses the ruling given until a certain time. For TJ, they have postponed it until the end of the admissions of The Class of 2026.

“I worry about the current graduates of 2026 because the admissions process has already started and now FCPS has to change midway through,” says Ms. Goldstein. “I am concerned for students’ well being during this change.”

The ruling given has said that TJ must change their admissions process in order to comply with the law, but some feel they should be penalized a bit more than that.

“I believe whoever changed this admission process should be punished or fired so the admission processes go back to normal and people can have a fair chance to get in,” said Raj.

As people think about what will happen, everyone will now have a new view on TJ, whether it is good or bad.