Fairfax County Public Schools push for change to elite magnet school admissions

Virginia

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s largest school system is proposing a radical overhaul of how it admits students to an elite magnet school in an effort to increase racial diversity.

The proposal touted Tuesday by Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand would eliminate a high-stakes admissions test used to judge applicants for the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

Instead, students who meet qualifications including a 3.5 grade-point average would be admitted on a lottery basis from multiple geographic regions within the county. Black and Hispanic students have been woefully underrepresented at the school, which is regularly ranked as among the nation’s best.

Opponents say the changes are an attack on meritocracy and would dilute the school’s quality.

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