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Pacific Legal Foundation Files Lawsuits Around The U.S. Against K-12 Schools Putting In Place "Unconstitutional" Admissions Processes Based On Race
Pacific Legal Foundation is challenging school admissions systems around the country where K-12 schools are upending their admissions policies and putting in place new criteria altering how students are able to attend selective schools. The foundation has three ongoing lawsuits with another soon to follow. The cases are based in New York City, Fairfax County, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland, and all are challenges to admissions policies in K-12 selective schools that offer advanced curriculum. Students must apply and be chosen to attend the schools.
   Thomas Jefferson High School For Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia   
Throughout the US school members are making racist rants about the previously rational decision-making processes of k-12 schools based upon merit, and parents are angry. For example: if a school selects the students who get into their program based on the students' academic abilities to succeed, and there are more white students than any other race, the selection process instantly becomes discriminatory, racially motivated, etc. The issue is, does a school have the "right" to select students that would "fit in" with their selective criteria?

We believe that they do. If a selective school does not 'fit' your child, look elsewhere. No successful school should be forced to change because a student's parents want their child to go there, and the child does not meet the criteria. If you try to fit a round peg into a square hole, you can see that it just is not possible, and it's not good for the peg or the hole.

Betsy Combier

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Attorney Discusses Lawsuits Against New ‘Unconstitutional’ K-12 School Admissions Processes
By Charlotte Pence Bond
Feb 18, 2022


Pacific Legal Foundation ( is challenging school admissions systems around the country where K-12 schools are upending their admissions policies and putting in place new criteria altering how students are able to attend selective schools.

The foundation has three ongoing lawsuits with another soon to follow. The cases are based in New York City, Fairfax county, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland, and all are challenges to admissions policies in K-12 selective schools that offer advanced curriculum. Students must apply and be chosen to attend the schools.

One of the schools involved is Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax county. The group filing the lawsuit is called Coalition for TJ.(

On their website, they state the concerns of the group made up of parents, students, alumni, staff, and community members of the school. They note, “School district leaders eliminated the merit-based, race-blind admissions test to the school and replaced it with a race-based admissions process that targeted Asian students with discrimination.”

They add, “The percentage of Asian students offered admissions to TJ plummeted from 73 percent last year to 54 percent this year. Asians were the only demographic group whose numbers decreased from last year to this year, while the number of white students in this TJ class increased a whopping 43 percent to 123 students accepted this year from 86 last year.”

As The New York Times reported, “(t)he percentage of Black students increased to 7 percent from no more than 2 percent. Hispanic students increased to 11 percent from 3 percent. White students increased to 22 percent from 18 percent.”

“Overall in the Fairfax County school system, about 37 percent of students are white, 27 percent are Hispanic, 20 percent are Asian and 10 percent are Black,” the outlet added.

Erin Wilcox, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, and lead attorney for the Thomas Jefferson case and additional merit-based admissions cases, spoke to The Daily Wire about the challenges.

Wilcox explained, “School administrators have decided that they don’t like the racial makeup of these schools, and so they’ve set about changing their admissions policies to figure out ways to change the racial makeup of the school.”

She added, “That is unconstitutional. Public school officials can’t pick students who can get into public schools based on their race in the K-12 sphere.”

Wilcox said that K-12 school administrators are aware that they can’t have an overt racial quota. “So what they’ve done instead are … using these racial proxies, so using something else that will achieve the same effect as having a racial quota, but that doesn’t say race … on the face of the policy,” she noted.

Thomas Jefferson has put a 1.5% “cap” on every middle school in the feeder pattern to TJ and said that only the top 1.5% of each middle school can get into Thomas Jefferson.

She added, “The problem with that is Fairfax County Public Schools operate several middle schools that have advanced programming for kids who are very likely to go to TJ,” meaning that a middle school might have previously had 80 kids get into TJ, but now not as many kids are allowed to attend.

She added, “A lot of Asian American kids go to these gifted middle schools. A lot of them apply to TJ and that cap just completely cut off many of their opportunities to get into TJ.”

She said that if the Coalition for TJ parents win, it will be the first lawsuit of its kind where parents have challenged these racial proxies and where a judge would decide it is unconstitutional. She said that would be a “massive win,” especially because a lot of school districts around the nation are watching the case as they consider enacting these types of policies.

If they don’t win, Wilcox said they will appeal and believe it is an issue that the Supreme Court will ultimately need to rule on. Wilcox said that they want to see a judge make a definitive ruling saying the new process is unconstitutional; and generally in the cases, they want the schools to be made to go back to the previous systems they had in place before they took unconstitutional action.

“It’s incredible how parents are making their voices heard. It’s really amazing to watch, ” she said.

The lawsuits come as three members of the San Francisco School Board were recently recalled in an election led by parents who were in part frustrated by the school board’s vote to permanently change the admissions process at a high school from a merit-based to a lottery-based system. A court changed the board’s decision, but the board voted again to continue the lottery-based policy for 2022-2023 school year admissions because of timing. The recall was fueled by many Asian American voters as the admissions policy change negatively impacted Asian American students.

As The San Francisco Chronicle reported in December, “Students hoping to get into San Francisco’s prestigious Lowell High School next fall will face a lottery system again, after the city’s school board voted Thursday to extend the mostly random admission process for another year.”

“With the upcoming admission season already started, Superintendent Vince Matthews asked the board for a one-year extension of the temporary lottery process. The board must go through another public process to make the change permanent at the school, which serves nearly 3,000 students,” the outlet added.

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Thomas Jefferson High School For Science and Technology


Diversity in history: the issue with not learning a representative curriculum
Grace Sharma, Staff Writer

February 13, 2022

Look at the current decisions and legislation that has been passed within the past few weeks in Virginia and the United States. From changes that may affect you, a family member, a friend, or someone on the other side of the country, each law and choice being made by a person in the government has a huge impact on every single person living in this country and around the world.

In order to understand the choices in the world that are being made, it is imperative to learn and have a well-rounded understanding of history.

“Learning about history is important because it gives us perspective for our current time,” senior Micaela Wells said. “Knowing what happened in the past helps us to not repeat that, as a lot of people say, but also it helps to understand the trends that we face now and what we see happening in the world now.”

By studying history, a student better understands why the world works the way it does. History is completely interconnected, with actions happening in one place changing the way society functions in a country on the opposite side of the world.

“Once you start studying history, you realize—and I tell this to my students all the time—this idea of pulling threads,” Parie Kadir, a World History and Advance Placement (AP) U.S. Government teacher at Jefferson, said. “There’s no one thing in history that’s just a single event, it’s once-off, and it doesn’t connect to anything. It’s completely interconnected. Everything about history is about these threads that you pull on.”

However, the standard history curriculum in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) isn’t completely representative of what happened in the past. A textbook that closely follows the AP U.S. History curriculum, for example, only covers women in World War II for one paragraph before moving on, as Wells wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece.

“To a large extent, women and people of color, their history has been lost, or it’s not being told, even if it hasn’t been lost. That means we’re really only getting half the story, not even half the story,” Wells said. “If we don’t learn about [their history], then we’ll never be able to understand why what’s happening in our world now is happening and why it’s affecting people this way.”

Another direct effect of not teaching a representative curriculum in history classes is showing students that they don’t matter as much as another does.

“When you discount a group or someone from history, what ends up happening is you erase them from history,” Kadir said. “And oftentimes when you think about it, if you don’t bother telling someone’s story, then what does it say about them? What does it say about their experiences, what does it say about their history, what does it say about their contributions?”

One of the only things that exists in schools to try to reverse this lack of representation issue is highlighting the history of certain groups of people in certain days, weeks, or months.

“We’re in the middle of black history month and next month is women’s history month. And this idea that you can take the entire history of a group, put it in one month, and then just write off that group for the rest of the year is absolutely insane,” Kadir said. “I do think that they are so important and so vital to raise this awareness. What I hesitate in having it is that people think if you do this, then you don’t have to do anything else. And that’s where my issue comes in.”

The history of many groups of typically underrepresented people have designated months to learning them, also including Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May and National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. And while many FCPS history teachers attempt to focus slightly more on teaching the history of these groups during their designated month, it can be difficult because they are employed by FCPS and still have to follow the set guidelines.

“As employees of the county, [teachers] are people who are teaching the county’s curriculum. I don’t know how much movement you get from advocacy there,” Kadir said. “But I think from parents and students, absolutely. That is where you are going to see the most shift and movement in curriculum.”

If you are looking for ways to diversify your history knowledge, there are many things that you could do.

“We have libraries—we can go to the library and we can check out books. And we have the internet—we can go online and learn about all of these amazing women throughout history—but I think what really needs to happen is it needs to not be optional,” Wells said. “It shouldn’t be an elective if I’m interested in it. It should be something that’s mandatory to learn about because we’re excluding over half of our population from what their history is.”

That change to history curriculums in FCPS schools and across the board entirely is necessary to accurately teach history to students of all grade levels, but there are things to keep in mind before trying to invoke change.

“I think the first step is understanding what the current curriculum is,” Kadir said. “A lot of people immediately start talking about change without knowing where we are. So I think the first step is, ‘Well what is the current curriculum? What are we learning?’ and then taking a hard look and saying, ‘Well, what do I want to see that’s different’ and mapping that out. Then saying, ‘These are the changes I would like to see or this is what I would like to see and this is what I would like it to look like.’”

After curating specific things you wish to include in history curriculums at FCPS, look to providing resources and ideas for FCPS officials to look through and implement. Also make sure to do research and study different points of view for any event in history.

“It’s not just from one group or another group, but look at their perspective and look at what was happening to these individuals at certain points in history,” Kadir said. “And then [get] engaged with the different levels from the school to the county to the school boards and talking with them, ‘These are things we are interested in. We understand how it works, we understand how these changes can be implemented, and here’s our suggestions.’”

Another possibility includes participating in the Historical Marker Project, a joint project by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and FCPS. The Historical Marker Project is currently focusing on African American history but has plans to expand to other underrepresented stories within the next few years. Any student from grade four through twelve can submit untold stories of local historical figures and submissions will be accepted from Feb. 1 to Mar. 31. Applications are accepted here.

Women for Education, Advocacy, and Rights (WEAR) is an organization created by junior Pradisha Padmanabhan that focuses on including more women in the history curriculums taught at FCPS.

“(If interested), definitely go to our website and there’s a registration and members button,” Padmanabhan said. “You can also email us at We love [getting] in touch with people and [getting] them involved if they want to.”

Ultimately, understanding the full history behind how we came to be the people and nations we are today is necessary to making informed decisions and fully understanding what is going on in the world.

“I turn 18 this year and I get to vote in nine months,” Wells said. “I get to make decisions now and I need to learn and I need to know what implications my decisions are going to have. It’s going to be our world, we’re going to be the people in power, and we need to understand how our decisions are going to affect people. Learning [everyone’s] history will give us a much broader perspective and a much better foundation to make those decisions for.”
San Francisco recalls 3 members of city’s school board

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – San Francisco residents have recalled three members of the city’s school board for what critics called misplaced priorities and putting progressive politics over the needs of children during the pandemic.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the recall Tuesday night, according to tallies by the San Francisco Department of Elections.

The special election was the first recall in San Francisco since 1983, since a failed attempt to remove then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

Parents in the politically liberal city launched the recall effort in January 2021 out of frustration over the slow reopening of district schools, while the board pursued the renaming of 44 school sites and the elimination of competitive admissions at the elite Lowell High School.

The school board has seven members, all Democrats, but only three were eligible to be recalled: school board President Gabriela López, Vice President Faauuga Moliga and Commissioner Alison Collins.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

A new chapter opened in the saga of San Francisco’s scandal-plagued school board Tuesday as voters appeared to back the recall of three members after a year of controversy that captured national attention.

Initial returns from mailed-in ballots – about 24% of registered voters – showed voters overwhelmingly supporting the recall of the board president and two other members. However, it was too early to confirm the outcome.

For many parents, the special municipal election is a referendum on how the city’s school board managed the pandemic.

The recall effort stemmed from frustration felt by parents who say the board wasted its time on matters unrelated to the coronavirus instead of focusing on reopening public schools. But organizers and many residents say the effort also tapped into a wider feeling of discontent in San Francisco, where rising crime and attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic added to a perception of a city in turmoil.

“It seems to have catalyzed a broader general public awareness in San Francisco. Many people are seeing what’s happening in the school board as a reflection of a broader failure,” said Siva Raj, a father of two who helped launch the recall effort. “Here we are living in one of the wealthiest cities in the world and we are not getting the basics right.”

The special election comes at a time of national unrest in public education as once sleepy school board races turn into heated, partisan debates that have become a rallying issue for Republicans in the 2022 midterms. In November, voters weighed in on dozens of school board races across the country that were dominated by debates over masks, vaccines, race and history.

In famously liberal San Francisco, the situation has been less partisan but is still being closely watched by Republicans. Some conservative media have cast the race as a clash of “liberals vs. the far left.” While distance learning has been a national issue, the school board stumbled through self-inflicted controversies that were unique to San Francisco.

It drew national attention for an effort to rename 44 schools that was part of a racial reckoning critics said went too far. School board members said they focused on sites that honored public figures linked to racism, sexism and other injustices. On the list were names like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and trailblazing California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The renaming effort was criticized for historical inaccuracies and shoddy research but also for its timing in January 2021, when all city schools were shut down and students were struggling with online learning. The plan was ultimately scrapped.

Most of the city’s 115 schools, which serve 50,0000 students, were closed for over a year, from March 2020 to August 2021, even as nearby districts eventually reopened classrooms and private schools across the city held in-person classes.

“Sadly our school board’s priorities have often been severely misplaced,” Mayor London Breed said in her endorsement of the recall effort. “San Francisco’s public school parents aren’t just voicing normal, commonplace frustrations.”

After the renaming debacle, the board faced multiple lawsuits, including one from the city of San Francisco, which took the dramatic step of suing the school district and the board to pressure both to reopen classrooms more quickly.

Organizers say they would recall all seven board members if they could, but only three have served long enough to face a challenge: Board President Gabriela Lopez and two commissioners, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga.

Collins came under fire for comments made on Twitter that appeared to be anti-Asian. The tweets, which dated to 2016 before her election to office, said Asian Americans used “white supremacist” thinking to get ahead and were racist toward Black students. Their emergence prompted the board to revoke her title of vice president. Collins apologized for the tweets and said they were taken out of context. She dismissed calls to resign.

Many Asian parents were already angered by the board’s efforts to end merit-based admissions at the elite Lowell High School, where Asian students are the majority.

As a result, many Asian American residents have been motivated to vote for the first time in a municipal election. The grassroots Chinese/API Voter Outreach Task Force, which formed in mid-December, said it registered 560 new Asian American voters.

Ann Hsu, a mother of two who helped found the task force, said many Chinese voters saw the effort to change the Lowell admissions system as a direct attack.

“It is so blatantly discriminatory against Asians,” she said. In the city’s Chinese community, Lowell is viewed as a path children can take to success.

“It is ingrained in the culture: If you study hard and you do well academically, it doesn’t matter if you’re a new immigrant, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t speak English when you got here,” said Hsu. “If you just put in the work and you do well, you can build a new life here. When Lowell exists, it is recognition of that.”

If any of the three board members are recalled, Breed will appoint their interim replacements.

Critics say the recall effort is a waste of time and money, as the district faces a number of challenges including a $125 million budget deficit and the need to replace retiring Superintendent Vincent Matthews.

Half of Americans Don’t Think Schools Should Teach About Racism’s Impact Today
Education Week, Madelaine Will, February 7, 2022

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