New documents covered in The Wall Street Journal show the ugliness of racial preferences in school admissions

January 11, 2022 | By KATHY HOEKSTRA

 In his piece “An Ugly Game of Race Preferences,” Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn describes the thrust of federal lawsuits challenging the admissions policies at Harvard University and at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia: 

“The allegation in both cases is the same: The schools want fewer Asian-Americans so they can make room for black, Latino and white applicants who are less qualified on the merits.”

The Fairfax County School Board implemented new, watered-down admissions standards at Thomas Jefferson (TJ) in 2021-22, purportedly to reframe, rather than eliminate, merit at the nation’s top-ranked high school. 

However, a trove of internal documents and texts made public during Pacific Legal Foundation’s litigation tells an entirely different story. Collected and published by Parents Defending Education, the so-called “TJ Papers,” writes McGurn, reveal that school board members knew the policy changes targeted Asian-American students: 

“In an undated text sometime in the fall of 2020, school board member Stella Pekarsky told fellow member Abrar Omeish that the new proposal ‘will whiten our schools and kick [out] Asians. How is that achieving the goal of diversity?’ 

“Later on Ms. Omeish says, ‘I mean there has been an anti asian feel underlying some of this, hate to say it lol!’ Ms. Pekarsky responds, ‘Of course it is.’”

Represented by PLF at no charge, the grassroots parent group Coalition for TJ is fighting the school district’s race-based discrimination in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. PLF has also filed a brief asking for Supreme Court review of Harvard University’s discriminatory admissions practices.