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Judge declines to halt elite school’s admissions changes

February 3, 2021 GMT

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday refused to issue an injunction to stop an elite northern Virginia high school from changing its admissions policies.

Fairfax County Public Schools is overhauling the admissions process at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which has been ranked as the top public high school in the country.

The school board hopes the changes will increase diversity at the school, which has long failed to attract Black and Hispanic students. Standardized tests that have long been part of the admissions process have been scrapped in favor of a more holistic review.

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Supporters of the existing system sued, citing state regulations designating TJ as a school for the gifted and stating that giftedness should be measured by a standardized test.

Circuit Court Judge John Tran declined to issue an injunction that would immediately bar the changes from taking effect, but the lawsuit itself can still go forward.

A conservative legal group is also weighing a challenge based on racial discrimination against Asian Americans who currently make up a majority of the student body.