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Race to the Bottom: High School Withholds Academic Awards for the Sake of 'Equity'

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It’s almost funny how when it comes to the American education system, leftist indoctrination and pandering has paved the way for “equity” to be a good trait or quality.

We all know that simply isn’t the case.

In fact, a recent story from Virginia has actually highlighted just how perilously accurate the following meme is:

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The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, has come under intense scrutiny and fire after it was revealed that the school had intentionally delayed notifying students of national academic honors in the name of “equity.”

A Fairfax County parent, Asra Nomani, joined “Fox and Friends First” to lament the award delays and the philosophy backing up such decision-making:

Nomani, who has appeared on both Fox News and CNN, did not mince words when it came to this bizarre decision.

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“This year the entire controversy just blew up because the kids got their certificate, weeks after early college application deadlines, just dropped on their desks as if it was just another piece of paper,” Nomani said.

So to briefly recap: In the name of “equity” (ensuring that every child is equally kneecapped), Thomas Jefferson High School decided that if one child can’t boost his/her college application chances with an academic award, then no students should be able to.

Nomani credited another mother for her keen-eyed sleuthing that unraveled this entire ordeal.

“And this amazing mom named Shawna Yashar started asking questions, just like every parent’s got to do,” Nomani said. “From issues of the drag queen story hours to indoctrination in the schools, this is another form of this race to the bottom that the schools are going through right now.”

Nomani distilled the nonsense from Thomas Jefferson High rather succinctly:

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“The school wanted to recognize students as individuals, not their achievements, as if the two had to be separated,” she said. Again, Nomani is on the money with this assessment.

What, pray tell, is up with the demonizing of individual accomplishment as a bad thing? It’s often said that necessity is the mother of all inventions. Well, competition is the mother of all innovations, and Thomas Jefferson High appears intent to eliminate all such innovations.

Fox News notes that the school has even implemented a “zero zeroes” policy, where the absolute worst grade a student can notch is 50 percent. In other words, a student is rewarded for merely showing up to class, a participation trophy in its rawest form.

Nomani has long since taken up this crusade against this “war on merit,” writing articles about it and even posting videos of the topic on her YouTube page.



“In April 2022, incoming Fairfax County Public Schools Supt. Michelle Reid spoke about her desire for ‘equal outcomes’ for all students. In fall 2022, it was learned that Ann Bonitatibus, principal at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, and Brandon Kosatka, director of student services, withheld from TJ students news that they had been awarded National Merit Commended Students. Is that a fair way to achieve ‘equal outcomes’ for all students?” the YouTube video description reads.

Nomani wanted to make sure that this specific incident didn’t just become about Virginia.

“It’s part of this agenda that’s that’s the dumbing down of America,” Nomani told Fox. “These kids are the ones that are going to be… scientists coming up with our solutions for the things that just make us pull our hair out. This is important not just for this group of kids in this school, but for all of America, because this war on merit is happening everywhere.”

Whether you think Nomani is a screeching harlot way overstepping her bounds or a thoughtful, concerned parent who sees the dark path that America’s education system is headed on, it’s hard to argue with the fundamental points of her argument.

Nobody is benefiting from Little Timmy not getting his academic reward. Little Timmy is the one getting hurt by not getting his academic achievement recognized before it becomes time to apply for college. Little Jimmy, on the other hand, was never getting a reward. Notice how Jimmy and Timmy are now conjoined in equal misery and failure (Timmy for not getting his achievement on time, Jimmy for not getting one, period), and yet the school presents this as a good thing.

If Jimmy was never getting a reward, why does Timmy have to suffer for it? It just doesn’t make sense.

“The role of these educators is to have children achieve their full potential, not limit their full potential. That’s what they’ve done,” Harry Jackson, a Thomas Jefferson parent, told WTTG. “They’ve betrayed the trust of our community. They cannot be trusted. I cannot trust them with my child.”

Fairfax County Public Schools did send WTTG a statement, saying that they are looking into the matter but also not offering anything resembling an apology.

“FCPS understands the hard work and dedication of each and every student who competes for college acceptance and scholarship opportunities,” the statement read. “Once the issue regarding the fall 2022 notifications was realized, counselors sent emails and made follow-up calls to each college where these students had applied and informed them of the National Merit Scholarship Commendations. We are continuing to look into this matter and will take any necessary steps to ensure consistency in appropriate and timely notification of National Merit recognitions going forward.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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