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Federals Appeals Court is set to hear oral arguments on the TJ Admissions case in September


Thomas Jefferson had an admissions procedure that involved grades, standardized tests, teacher recommendations, and essays until October 2020. A new, "holistic" policy, however, that guaranteed seats for the best students at each public middle school was approved by the school board in the fall of 2020. As a result of the sharp decline in TJHSST offers to Asian American applicants last year (on a % basis), a group of parents and alumni challenged the plan as being unconstitutional. A federal district court banned the school board from using the policy after finding that it had been intended to discriminate against Asian American students. However, a federal appeals court suspended that decision.


On April 8, 2022, the Coalition for TJ petitioned the Supreme Court with the claim that the new admissions policy is against the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The school board argued that the decision was "unprecedented" and that there was no proof that the board intentionally targeted Asian Americans for discrimination. The admissions process, which supposedly aims to increase socioeconomic diversity, is instead "administered in a race-blind manner" and explicitly forbids taking race into account. The Supreme Court turned down a request this past spring to temporarily stop FCPS School Board from selecting students for the class of 2026 using its new admissions policy.


The case will now be sent back to the 4th Circuit Appeals Court, which will hear oral arguments there this September, for what happens to the admissions moving forward (after the class of 2026). Ultimately, though, the Supreme Court may get involved again.


Regardless of the final court ruling, the courses at TJTestPrep will be updated to match the chosen admissions format. Students who have already enrolled with us will not be required to re-enroll to get access to these changes. We will continue to keep a close eye on the situation.


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