FCPS Statement on Fairfax Circuit Court Denial of Preliminary Injunction Request Against Admissions Process at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

February 03, 2021

Yesterday, a Fairfax Circuit Court judge denied a request to require mandatory standardized testing in the admissions process for the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST).

Last October, the Fairfax County School Board voted to eliminate the standardized admission test for the school and the $100 application fee, and voted to expand the freshman class to 550. This was a critical part of an effort to remove barriers and inequities historically faced by students from culturally and ethnically diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, while ensuring that TJHSST maintains its top-tier academic standards. The Board also raised the minimum grade-point average and the course requirements (honors) for admission.

In a lawsuit filed in November, parents of 17 middle-school students sought to overturn the School Board’s decision. They argued that state education regulations require Governor’s schools in Virginia to use standardized testing in their admission process and asked the court to order the Board to revert to standardized testing.

In his preliminary injunction ruling yesterday, Circuit Judge John M. Tran disagreed. He found no legal requirement to use standardized tests. “The debate over standardized testing belongs to educational professionals on the national, statewide, and local levels, and should not be decided by the courts,” Tran said in his ruling.

“We are extremely pleased with the court’s ruling,” said School Board Chair Ricardy Anderson. “We firmly believe the Board’s decision is authorized by law. But, more importantly, access to TJ will now be available to a broader and more diverse student population which is long overdue.”

Applications for admission to TJHSST for the 2021-22 school year are now available on the school’s Admissions Office webpage. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 26.

Established in 1985, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is a Governor’s school offering a comprehensive college prep.