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AG Miyares coming to Annandale to discuss ‘anti-Asian discrimination in education’

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (courtesy Office of the Attorney General)

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares will be in Annandale today for a town hall that may address his ongoing civil rights investigation of Fairfax County Public Schools.

At the town hall, Miyares will “hear from members of northern Virginia’s Asian American community regarding allegations of anti-Asian discrimination in education,” the Office of the Attorney General said in a media advisory.

The event will take place at the Korean Community Center (6601 Little River Turnpike, Suite 200), starting at 6:30 p.m.

While the OAG didn’t share more details about the referenced allegations, the description of the town hall suggests it may be connected to the office’s scrutiny of FCPS for delays in notifying students who were commended by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) last fall.

At the urging of Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Miyares launched an investigation of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) on Jan. 4, alleging that the school had deliberately withheld the notifications until after early admissions deadlines for colleges to punish “some students…in the name of ‘equity.'”

After a review by FCPS found that more schools had failed to notify students, the attorney general expanded the investigation to the entire division, which has maintained that the delays were an oversight, rather than an intentional withholding of information.

“The School Board echoes and supports Superintendent [Michelle] Reid’s comments that FCPS understands and values every student’s hard work, achievements, and dedication,” the Fairfax County School Board said in a statement on Jan. 20, detailing Reid’s efforts to review FCPS’ protocols and request that the NMSC start notifying recognized students directly.

The National Merit Scholarship Program gives scholarships to the country’s top scorers on the preliminary SATs, though college admissions experts say a commendation doesn’t factor into their evaluations of student applications.

When announcing his initial investigation, Miyares tied his allegations of racism to the recent revisions of TJ’s admissions policies, which he argued “significantly decreased the amount of Asian American students enrolled in recent years.”

Since the new policies were approved in 2020 in an effort to diversify the magnet school, Asian students have gotten about 54% of the admission offers each year compared to 73% the year prior to the changes. As of the 2021-2022 school year, the student body was about two-thirds (66.6%) Asian.

A lawsuit challenging the admissions changes as discriminatory toward Asian students is pending in a federal appeals court.