Opinion Your Views — 15 August 2013
T.C. will survive letting high-achieving students go to TJ

To the editor:

I am writing to comment on a recent article in the Alexandria Times by Julia Brouillette that details the issue of allowing the City of Alexandria’s students to attend the Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology (“From T.C. to TJ?” June 27).

This is not a new issue. The old Jefferson High School along Braddock Road in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County was converted into a magnet school for science and technology back in the mid- to late 1980s.

But over those many years, the Alexandria School Board — in its infinite wisdom — has steadfastly declined to allow Alexandrians the opportunity to attend Jefferson.
A few years ago, a school board subcommittee held a public hearing on this matter. Residents were allowed to express their views, and I spoke in favor of allowing Alexandrians to attend Jefferson.

Some speakers were adamantly opposed. One woman astutely observed that those opposed seemed more obsessed in preserving T.C. Williams’ institutional image than allowing individuals to do what’s in their best interest. She hit the nail on the head.

We have a lot of elitist, do-gooders here in Alexandria, who make-believe that our troubled public school system is a shining beacon of diversity and social engineering.

That is all well and good in a utopian view of the world. But in reality, individuals should have the opportunity to do what’s in their best interest. The City of Alexandria is part of the Northern Virginia region. Jefferson was set up to serve the entire Northern Virginia area.

If Alexandria’s students have the necessary qualifications and credentials, they should be allowed to compete for admission to Jefferson. We have to get over this misguided notion that T.C. Williams cannot spare a select few students to Jefferson. What about all the other high schools in Northern Virginia? They survive despite losing students to Jefferson.

I strongly urge the school board to allow Alexandria students to attend Jefferson. This should have been done years ago.

- Gregory Paspatis
Alexandria

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(1) Reader Comment

  1. Agreed. If a student will excel in an environment like TJ, what is the purpose of denying that student the opportunity? Should we not be in the business of giving each student the absolute best opportunity that we can? 49.8 other states would kill to have a TJ-like school in their backyard. Get over the parochialism and ego trips and do what is best for the gifted students.

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