The War on Merit Comes to Suburbia

News & Politics

What happens when working hard to succeed doesn’t matter? Or when doing well in academics is actually considered wrong or bad?

The whole idea of a society where the best rise to the top is embedded in America’s founding. The notion of advancing based on who your parents were or whether they were “noble” or not gave way to a society based on merit and excellence. Who your parents were shouldn’t matter. Where you’re from shouldn’t matter.

Until now.

Radical educational bureaucrats are destroying the idea that some people are smarter than others, more capable than others, work harder than others, or are more naturally gifted at certain things than others. This is called “being human” and to deny it is to deny humanity itself. But what it means to be human doesn’t fit into the ever-narrowing liberal worldview that seeks to define people based on race.

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Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., is one of the finest secondary schools in the world. People from many countries send their children there because of its reputation for excellence.

But there’s something wrong with the school. It’s not “diverse” enough. Too many Asians, you see.

City Journal:

TJ is a testament to American meritocracy’s melting pot—but last week, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand announced a plan to reduce the number of Asian students at this selective high school. In a four-hour online “work session” alongside the district’s all-Democratic school board, Brabrand laid out an initiative to eliminate TJ’s race-blind, merit-based admissions test and replace it with a “merit lottery” open to all eighth-graders with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in order to increase “equity of opportunity.”

This goes to the heart of how the Left wants to redefine America.

The Left has redefined educational “equity” to mean not just lifting the bottom up but also tearing the top down. Two weeks ago, in a town hall with TJ students, Virginia Education secretary Atif Qarni compared students who study with private tutors to athletes who take illegal “performance enhancement drugs.” Last week’s TJ “work session” came on the heels of an afternoon session where [Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand] unveiled plans to implement an “anti-racism and anti-bias” curriculum in Fairfax County schools, including TJ. During the meeting on TJ admissions, Brabrand and school officials took repeated digs at TJ’s achievement-driven (and Asian-dominated) culture.

Despite the fact that 79 percent of TJ students are members of a racial minority, the reason there aren’t more black kids getting in is… you guessed it: white supremacy.

Brabrand lamented an “underside” to the school’s “reputation”—one that, he claimed, made “students of color” feel unwelcome. Yet TJ is nearly 80 percent nonwhite. Board member Melanie Meren blasted TJ’s “toxic” culture of “bullying” students, repeating the story of a black student who said that she felt she had to “bleach her skin” to be accepted at TJ. Yet the school’s students are largely of Indian descent. …

An increasingly powerful ideological minority in the in K-12 public education bureaucracy has absorbed the teachings of critical race theory, which teaches that racism is permanently embedded in American society and that “whiteness” is an evil that cannot be redeemed. Adherents of these views in Fairfax County see [Indian immigrant Suparna Dutta, mother of a TJ sophomore] and her peers—though nonwhite themselves—as benefiting from and perpetuating white supremacy. In a letter to a parent, Virginia Education secretary Qarni labeled the objections of the mostly Asian immigrant parents as “white supremacist” rhetoric.

By the time liberals are finished, the word “excellence” will be stricken from the English language as signifying white supremacy.

Somehow, you have to believe that the cream will still rise to the top. Exceptional people of all races tend to shine regardless of the obstacles placed in front of them.

The people who are hurt the most in this war on merit are those marginal students and workers who might show promise but are shouldered aside because they aren’t the right race or sex or because they are sexually attracted to the wrong sex.

Yes, but at least the student body will “look like America.”

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