Critical race theory has sparked a civil war in education, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), the top-performing high school in the nation, has become a key battleground on the issue. Last year, the Fairfax County School Board eliminated TJ’s admissions test in a push for “equity,” and new policies have increased the numbers of blacks, Hispanics, and whites entering the school, at the expense of Asian students.
Outraged parents spoke up against CRT and won a majority in the Parent Teacher Student Association earlier this month. Harry Jackson, who became the parent group’s first black president-elect, ran on an anti-CRT platform. Yet the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of Virginia sent a letter telling Jackson and his fellow leaders that the state body intends to dissolve the TJ parent group.
The Virginia PTA claimed that the recently elected candidates skirted bylaws and created a “hostile environment” for members, The Washington Free Beacon reported. The Virginia PTA would circumvent the results of the referendum on Fairfax County Public Schools if it decided to eliminate TJ’s parent board.
Jackson called the Virginia PTA’s move “dictatorial.”
“This is how they welcome this new diverse class, by taking away their support,” Jackson told the Beacon. “This is the most diverse class in history, and Virginia PTA takes out their support structures. It’s dictatorial.”
Bonnie Quinn, the current president of the Parent Teacher Student Association, led a faction of pro-CRT parents in lobbying to allow TJ Principal Ann Bonitatibus, who backed the school’s equity push, to vote in parent association meetings. Bonitatibus’s involvement bucks TJ precedent — principals have historically refrained from voting in the parent group’s decisions — but it will bolster the pro-CRT side. Bonitatibus asked parents to check their “privileges” in an email.
The Virginia PTA said that if the parent group were to prohibit the principal from voting, the move would violate bylaws.
The Virginia PTA has the final authority in the decision to revoke the TJ parent group’s charter, although the timeline for doing so remains unclear.
The Coalition for Thomas Jefferson, a parent group that backed Jackson and other anti-CRT candidates, sued the Fairfax County School Board in March, claiming that the updated admissions process intentionally sought to lower Asian-American enrollment at TJ. In fact, the number of Asian students fell 16 percent for the incoming class, while the number of white students increased by 43 percent.
“Lots of gifted Asian students did not get in because they had limited opportunity,” Jackson lamented in comments to the Beacon. “I find it wrong to limit a child’s opportunity based on ethnicity.”
Asra Nomani, the mother of a 2021 TJ graduate and vice president for Parents Defending Education, claimed that the Virginia PTA’s letter is a clear attempt to “hijack” the school from parents.
“The actions by the Virginia PTA are an aggressive abuse of power to control the mostly immigrant, mostly minority parents at America’s number one high school … and hijack the school, while it sits in the middle of a national debate over how we protect merit in America,” Nomani told the Beacon. “It’s a clarion call on how important it is for parents to stand up and be engaged in schools.”
Critical race theory justifies blatant racism in the name of promoting “equity.” One of its architects has even supported racial discrimination to counter historic discrimination and has called for a totalitarian bureaucracy to enforce his vision of “equity.” This new racism masquerades as “anti-racist,” but it judges people according to the color of their skin, not the content of their character.
Marxist thinkers invented CRT in order to upend society by claiming that hidden racism pervades American institutions. CRT teaches people to seize on any racial disparity as ipso facto proof of racial discrimination, despite the clear prohibitions on racial discrimination in federal law. Advocates claim that the American status quo is racist — if not “white supremacist” — so extreme measures to reverse historic injustices are the only “anti-racist” option.
Since American society must be secretly racist, CRT advocates attribute various aspects of society to the nefarious impact of “whiteness.” The Smithsonian briefly published a “teaching tool” infographic on “whiteness.” That infographic claimed that the nuclear family, science, capitalism, the Judeo-Christian tradition, individualism, “objective, rational linear thinking,” and even values such as “be polite” are aspects of oppressive whiteness. The Smithsonian rightly removed the graphic after facing criticism, but this incident illustrates just how mainstream CRT has become.
While CRT often involves demonizing white people, many blacks (like Jackson) and Asians have spoken out against it, as well.
A Chinese American group in New York wrote a manifesto condemning critical race theory as “a hateful, divisive, manipulative fraud. One way or another, CRT wants to get rid of too many Asians in good schools. Asians are over-represented. CRT is today’s Chinese Exclusion Act. CRT is the real hate crime against Asians” (emphasis original).
Many black people also oppose critical race theory. A black father and his young daughter condemned CRT in a viral TikTok video. A black mother in Florida stood up to condemn CRT in a school board meeting.
“Telling my child or any child that they are in a permanent oppressed status in America because they are black is racist and saying that white people are automatically above me, my children, or any child, is racist,” the mother argued. “This is not something that we can stand for in our country.”
Parents are rightly standing up and fighting back against CRT in schools, but the Virginia PTA’s latest move shows that CRT advocates are not playing around. Some organizations would rather destroy parent groups than allow parents to speak out against CRT.
Yet it seems desperate moves like this will only further inspire parents to speak up. This “woke” assault on students appears likely to waken a sleeping giant. Dust-ups like the recent school board meeting in nearby Loudoun County and the parent election at TJ are likely just the beginning.