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Conservatives challenge race- neutral admissions policy

A parent group is asking the US Supreme Court to look at the legality of a race-neutral admissions policy adopted at the elite Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia, Reuters is reporting.

The policy guarantees seats for top students at each middle school while eliminating standardized testing and limiting the number of students from each school.

Asian American groups such as the Hamkae Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC and Asian American Youth Leadership Empowerment and Development (AALEAD) joined Latino and Black civil rights groups in condemning the challenge.

“The admissions changes put in place to ensure all area students have a fair shot at the educational opportunities available at TJ include the elimination of a cost-prohibitive application fee, the introduction of a holistic review for qualified eighth graders from eligible locales, and the consideration of students’ socio-economic status, whether they have disabilities, and their degree of English language proficiency,” the civil rights groups said in a joint statement sent to AsAmNews.

They said the grade point average of admitted students rose to its highest level in five years after the change to a race-neutral admissions policy. They also said the number of applicants increased by 1,000.

After the change, the percentage of Asian American students in the admitted class decreased from 73% in its first year to 54%. Coalition for TJ says the change was made with a racially discriminatory purpose in mind.

The challenge comes two months after the US Supreme Court ruled against the use of race in the college admissions process and at a time the high court leans heavily conservative.

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