Every year, high school students across the country will be exposed to scientific projects—chemical laboratories, robotics, and volcano models.
But a school outside of Washington, DC, Thomas Jefferson High School of Technology, was the first student Designed a satellite That was actually launched into space.
This is just an extraordinary example of this school. After all, it ranks among the top public high schools in U.S. News and World Report.
If you want to know, yes, this is a public school, not a private school with tuition as high as a university. As a public school, it should be open to all students in the area.
This is where the problem lies.
Not surprisingly, there are more students who want to go there than the school has places. A lot more. Of the approximately 3,000 applicants, approximately 500 freshmen are admitted by Thomas Jefferson each year. This means that for every 6 students who apply, only 1 gets a place.
So who can go?
For decades, this problem has been largely determined by testing. Special science and math tests developed specifically for schools.
This method may be in line with the most popular saying in American education that the best students can enter the best schools. This seems to make sense in this country for a long time.
But as far as Thomas Jefferson or TJ is concerned, this approach has critics-more and more critics.
That’s because the current admissions system excludes almost all black and Hispanic students in the area. Although approximately 27% of the school district is Hispanic and 10% are black, each group only accounts for 2% of TJ students.
After the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police a year ago, attempts to reform the school admissions process are gaining momentum, trying to make the process fairer and the student population more diverse.
Last fall, the Fairfax County Public Schools Board suggested A fundamental change in TJ’s admissions process: the admissions test is cancelled and replaced by a lottery drawing of students who meet the minimum academic standards.
This change triggered fierce struggles between parent and alumni groups, including protests and rallies, lawsuits, and heated debates at school board meetings.
If you think it sounds a bit like that podcast Beautiful white parents, You read it right. But there are some important differences. On the one hand, many of the most strongly opposed TJ admissions reforms are not white people. They are new immigrants, many from China and India.
In fact, the majority of the TJ student population is Asian American. They cited the founding fathers of the United States, arguing that those who enter the university are only those who study the hardest, and the current system is fair.
In this week’s EdSurge podcast, we will take you into the debate, focusing on the duel narrative of educational fairness that has emerged.This is the second episode of our series called Bootstraps: advantages, myths and education. We are co-creating this podcast series with friends from news non-profit organizations Open campus.
You will hear rocket launches, protests, and fierce school board debates. But we also sat down and had a longer conversation with two opposing parents, both of whom were immigrants with children in the school system.
The two aspects may sound far apart, so we tried to bring these two parents together for a moderate discussion. Although they have found some common ground, they have always disagreeed about which story about the American dream should be told when establishing a public education system.