One key group that has shaped the debate over overhauling the admissions policy at the prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology: The Fairfax County Association for the Gifted.
FCAG is a group of parents pushing for a system that would give more weight to math test scores in the admissions process and less to essay-writing — a general approach endorsed by the majority of board members Thursday night.
The heart of FCAG’s argument is that TJ shouldn’t be a school for kids who want to go to the best college-prep school in Fairfax. It should be a place for kids who are passionate at — and really really good at — math, science and technology.
The current admissions process doesn’t reflect that single-minded mission, said FCAG President Grace Chung Becker.
“TJ is not a school focusing on developing a well-rounded kid,” she said. “It’s focused on preparing kids in science, engineering, technology and math.”
Not every TJ parent agrees with that argument, but it resonated with at least several board members Thursday. The admissions process now, said board member Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield) is “not based on science, it’s not based on aptitude, it’s based on what they write — which is a liberal arts approach.”