Opinion: Letter to the Editor: How to ‘Fix’ Disparities

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: How to ‘Fix’ Disparities

I did not compete in the Olympics, gain admission to Mensa, or play professional sports. Why? Because I didn’t qualify for any of those. I understand we cannot qualify for everything. However, Mary Kimm’s article, “What’s Wrong with This Picture?” (Connection, Jan. 24) presents the idea that non-inclusion in a program “needs to be fixed.”

Ms. Kimm indicates that the Fairfax County School System (FCPS) should “fix” its admission policies to its one magnet high school, Thomas Jefferson (TJ), due to “demographic disparities” and we should commend Sen. Scott Surovell for pushing for that change.

The problem with Ms. Kimm’s and Sen. Surovell’s ideas is they miss the mark on reality for many reasons, some of which are:

  • Forcing demographic balance at TJ for political correctness is as much nonsense as requiring Julliard to admit everyone.
  • Identifying that some minorities and low income students are not represented at TJ student population does not logically reflect a prejudice. It means they did not qualify, period.
  • Ignoring the total admission picture does not represent many non-minority students who apply and also do not achieve admission.
  • Disregarding the rigorous qualifications for TJ slants the presented view.

Do Ms. Kimm’s and Sen. Surovell’s ideas support qualified students being turned away just so non-qualified students be admitted, all for demographic balance? How would Ms. Kimm and Sen. Surovell feel if their jobs were replaced by non-qualified employees?

For improvements in demographic representation, Ms. Kimm and Sen. Surovell should explore reasons why some minorities are not represented. They probably would find, as many teachers know, emphasis on academic excellence begins at home. Therefore, a better solution to change demographic depiction in school programs is to start at the elementary, through all levels, helping all families make education a priority. That would achieve the overall attitude of striving for excellence, which aids all students in the long run.

Shannon Morgan