Supreme Court refuses to block elite high school’s new admissions policy

The Supreme Court rejected a local group’s request to stop one of the nation’s top high schools from utilizing a new admissions method that it claims discriminates against Asian Americans.

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The admissions method at Thomas Jefferson High School for Technology and Science in Fairfax County, VA, just outside of Washington, D.C., was modified two years ago with the proclaimed aim of expanding student diversity. The school no longer makes students take multiple standardized tests, write an essay, or acquire recommendations from teachers.

Applicants must have passed a challenging load of middle school classes with a good grade-point average under the new system. A “holistic evaluation” of a student’s past, including socioeconomic situation, is also conducted by the district. The new assessment procedure does not take into account an applicant’s race, per a report.

Asian American students make up at least 65 percent of accepted classes in the previous admissions process. When the new program was implemented, the figure fell to 54%. After a lawsuit by a group of parents, a federal court concluded that the new method was unlawful racial balancing.

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The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, at the request of the school district, placed the judge’s order on hold, enabling the high school to continue utilizing the new system while the case is being appealed.

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