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

Education

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Fairfax County Public Schools is proposing a change to how it admits students into its selective magnet school to include more diversity.

Superintendent Scott Brabrand announces the proposal on September 15, saying that it would eliminate an admissions test use to select students to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, as well as the $100 application fee.

“An examination of the admissions process by staff members revealed that the current process places an overreliance on the admissions test, and that test scores reflect the socioeconomic background of test-takers more than the students’ academic potential. Additionally, private test preparation is not available to all families and provides an unfair advantage for some students. These factors contribute to discouraging potential candidates from applying or advancing to the pool of semifinalists.”

Fairfax County Public Schools

Instead, students who meet the requirements of a 3.5 GPA average with an algebra background would be admitted on a lottery system from other regions around the county.

“We have been working to understand why the talent at TJHSST does not reflect the talent in FCPS,” Brabrand said in a press release. “We believe there has been over-reliance upon the current admissions test, which tends to reflect upon the socioeconomic background of test takers or the ability for students to obtain private test preparation instead of students’ true academic potential. This can discourage potential candidates from applying or advancing to the pool of semifinalists.”

There will be a town hall regarding the proposed admissions policy changes on Wednesday, September 23, beginning at 7 p.m.


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