Letter: It’s Income, Not Values

To the Editor:

I think the suggestions in recent letters to the editor that the imbalance in admissions at TJ is the result of differing cultural priorities are mistaken. The imbalance has much more to do with a family's income than its cultural values. The contest is unfairly rigged to favor those who have the money and the time to enroll and transport their kids to and from the SCAT and STB prep courses for elementary school students, ACT and PSAT practice sessions for middle schoolers, math and science tutors, summer enrichment programs and other such costly means of giving students a leg up in the competition to get admitted to TJ. Even the TJ Admissions Test Prep Seminar offered by the Fairfax County Public School System to rising eighth graders costs $581 this year and reduced tuition is not offered to students with limited means. The inherent economic bias against promising students from low income households all but guarantees that they will continue to be disproportionately under-represented at TJ.

William Shapiro