by Asra Q. Nomani
On May 31, the public relations team at Fairfax County Public Schools scored a big “hit,” as it’s called in PR, getting the stories of four hand-selected students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology featured in a Washington Post article by education reporter Hannah Natanson, headlined: “Hear from four TJ freshmen admitted under controversial circumstances.”
In the article, Natanson disparaged a “a group of disgruntled parents” that filed a lawsuit
against new race-based admissions changes to the school, even though a federal judge, Claude Hilton, ruled earlier this year
that the changes are illegal, “patently unconstitutional” and anti-Asian. That would be like calling the Brown family in Brown v. Board of Education “disgruntled.”
Weaponizing innocent students for its PR, the school district used the article to try to vindicate the school board’s failed policies with America’s No. 1 high school
. School board chair Stella Pekarsky shared the article on Facebook with the hashtag: #studentvoices.
The next week, school board members posted photos and video from TJ’s Class of 2022 graduation with vice chair Rachna Sizemore Heizer posting a breathless message
about student “pride in your TJ family and community.”
‘Hi Math 4 Students’
But days later, parents, students and alumni are sharing a frank email — “Hi Math 4 Students” — which Math 4 TJ teachers sent to students this past Thursday, that keeps things real.
The teachers said that the average score for their final exam for Math 4 — equivalent to trigonometry — was “in the low 70s with a substantial minority scoring below 50%,” calling the results “the lowest scores we’ve ever seen,” even amid a “lowering of standards” at the school for the course. (It isn’t clear yet the identities of the teachers.)
The teachers wrote:
These scores are deeply disappointing, and are the lowest scores we’ve ever seen as Math 4 teachers on a Final Exam.
The math teachers noted that the final exam was “substantially easier” than final exams given to previous classes. The teachers said the students had “unprecedented supports provided to you this semester, including extra practice quizzes, bonus quizzes, practice worksheets, and a practice final exam, all things that were not given to previous students.”