There is a magnet school in the northern virginia suburbs that has frequently ranked top in the nations called thomas jefferson high school of science and technology or tjhsst for short. It is less selective than stuyvesant in nyc (as measured by admission rates and the portion of the public school population that attend), however they achieve very good academic results by concentrating some of the best students in one school. In fact tjhsst (where about 3% of the students are on free or reduced lunch) frequently achieve better results than stuyvesant (where about 40% of the students are on free or reduced lunch), and I suspect that student incomes have something to do with that.
The racial break down of the much more affluent students at tjhsst are eerily similar to the racial breakdown of the relatively poorer students at stuyvesant, overwhelmingly asian (even more overwhelmingly immigrant or the children of immigrants).
This racial disparity has led to “reforms” in the past that were quietly set aside as they failed to achieve their objective. A prior “reform” featured more holistic admissions and more subjective criteria but absent explicit racial preferences, the entering class became richer (as wealthier students had better extracurricular activities), dumber (as the focus shifted away from academics towards non-academic criteria) and whiter (generally wealthier and more acclimated to holistic admission applications.
A new proposal is gaining steam in richmond (the capital of virginia) to change the admissions standards to eliminate everything but gpa and a lottery. Every student with a gpa above 3.5 (the original proposal had set the gpa requirement at 3.0) would be entered in a lottery and admitted on the basis of the lottery.
I don’t particularly object to this proposal as a matter of equity if we no longer care about the underlying mission behind schools like tjhsst. And indeed, the proponents of the plan seem to be in favor of getting rid of these specialized schools altogether.
Other proponents see the degradation of standards as a feature not a flaw. Noone who gets in can feel much of a sense of achievement by virtue of being one of 400 kids to be picked by lottery out of thousands in the lottery pool and noone who is rejected can feel bad by virtue of not being selected in a lottery.
White students are anticipated to be the largest beneficiaries of this proposal.
The proposed plan is projected to:
Increase black admissions by 25 students from 1.72% to 7% black (from 8 students to 33 students);
Increase hispanic admissions by 26 students from 2.6% to 8% (from 12 students to 38 students);
Increase white admissions by 33 students from 18% to 25% (from 85 students to 118 students):
Reduce asian admissions by 89 students from 73% to 54% (from 343 students to 254 students).
All of the schools in the area are good enough that tjhsst does not represent an oasis in a sea of horrible schools like nyc. However the state legislators are pushing this without much community feedback from people that oppose their plans, the ones most likely to be harmed by this proposal.
ISTM that at best this indicates an indifference to discrimination against asians.