Opinion Your Views — 24 October 2013
The money needed to send students to TJ could be better used elsewhere

By Amoret Bell Bunn, Alexandria
(Photo/File Photo) 

To the editor:

Again, there is talk about Alexandria City Public Schools sending students to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. This means creating a proposed elite group of 14 students whose tuition — paid with city tax money — would cost thousands of dollars.

That money should only be used for the enrichment of all the students in our schools. There are advanced placement classes at T.C. Williams — about 25 in all — so our brightest have the same options as TJ students.

Alexandria’s schools have always been considered troubled, and I have lived here for 43 years. Through these years, many students have gone on to top universities for undergraduate and higher degrees, including my daughter, who has a Ph.D. in a science field without the benefit of attending TJ.

There are many factors in this “troubled” reputation. The major ones are social and economic. There are 80 languages spoken in the homes of our students, who hail from 128 countries of birth. Thus I urge the school board to continue to decline sending any students to TJ and use all their efforts and funds for all the children of our city.

 

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(2) Readers Comments

  1. Alexandria does indeed have its challenges, but that is no reason to deny our students access the best science high school in the United States, just three miles away. The payments ACPS would make to Fairfax County simply compensate the other school system for educating our children in their schools. That’s fair, and it’s a great value, actually.

    The benefit of TJ is not a Cadillac set of AP classes; we have that at TC Williams. The real benefit is access to a seriously advanced research curriculum, with cutting edge laboratories and highly skilled faculty that no typical high school — even of the highest quality — could duplicate.

    We do not benefit the many struggling students in our school system by ensuring that our jurisdiction is not attractive to high achieving families who want their children to be eligible for the science magnet school.

    Yes, TJ is elite in the sense that students there have to work like crazy. It’s NOT a country club. If our kids want to work that hard and pursue their passion for science, we should be cheering them on, not denying them opportunities just because their academic success wouldn’t be on Alexandria City property.

    Please come out to ACPS school board meetings and express your SUPPORT for participation in TJ! The board members need to hear from people who understand how important it is to give our students access to the highest possible achievement.

    Thank you.

  2. Alexandrian’s wouldn’t hesitate to pay any cost to send a young athletic prodigy to an Olympic development program, so why is there ANY hesitation to send our best students to the best academic high school in the US?

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