Group Forms 45% Of Freshmen at Thomas Jefferson
Asian American students will outnumber white classmates for the first time in the freshman class at the region's most prestigious public magnet school this fall, a milestone reached as the number of African Americans and Hispanics has remained low and the Fairfax County School Board prepares to review the school's admission policy.
At Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in the Alexandria area this year, more than 2,500 applicants vied for 485 seats. Asian American students got 219, or 45 percent of the total, while white students got 205, or 42 percent. About 38 percent of the school's students were Asian American in the past school year.
T.J., as the school is known, draws students from several Northern Virginia jurisdictions. It ranks among the nation's top public schools in some surveys because of its rigorous curriculum and high-achieving students. Its average combined SAT score in 2007 was 2155, compared with 1639 countywide. More than 150 of its students that year were semifinalists for National Merit scholarships.
A plurality of Asian American students in a high school class would be an anomaly in the Washington region, where fewer than one in 10 residents is Asian American. In Fairfax, which supplies most of the school's students, people of Asian descent account for 16 percent of the population, census data show. That percentage has doubled since 1990 and is the highest in the area....