Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears (R) has asked the state’s governor and attorney general to open a formal investigation into one of the state’s most prestigious public high schools. She is outraged that Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology failed to notify top students that they had received National Merit Scholar certificates for months.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation award is only given to students in the top 3% of all U.S. high school seniors.
Some of the parents of the affected students argue that the school’s withholding notification of the awards was driven by the obsession with the “woke” ideology’s demand for “equity.” The awards provide a substantial boost to successful students’ college applications.
This is reprehensible. I have reached out to the Governor and Attorney General and asked for an investigation.
Our children's education is not a zero-sum game. We cannot punish success in order to have "equal outcomes at all costs". https://t.co/eH2VFXwQ3Q
— Lt. Governor of Virginia – Winsome Earle-Sears (@WinsomeSears) December 30, 2022
Sears tweeted on Friday: “This is reprehensible. Our children’s education is not a zero-sum game. We cannot punish success to have “equal outcomes at all costs.”
Parents claim principal Ann Bonitatibus and director of student services Brandon Kosatka concealed the information about the certificates awarded to their students for several months. Then, when students were finally advised of their award, it was done by simply dropping their certificates off at their desks.
Parent Shawna Yashar said her son, who is in his senior year at the school, only learned he had received the award in mid-November, months after the principal had been notified he was an official recipient.
When her son finally learned he had been awarded the certificate, it was too late for him to list it on his college applications. Yashar said every school her son applied to required applications to be submitted by late October.
She said by the time her son had received the certificate, it was too late to mention it on his college applications which were due in late October.
When Yashar complained to the school, Kosatka told her that the decision to withhold notice of the awards for months before telling students as quietly as possible was made intentionally. She said Kostaka told her the school “wants to recognize students for who they are as individuals, not focus on their achievements.”
She said that refusing to tell students they won the award amounts to “theft by the state.”
The school’s decision to slow-walk issuing the awards coincides with its district awarding a nearly half-million dollar contract for “equity training.” The training sets out an “Equity-centered Strategic Plan” that demands “equal outcomes for every student, without exception.”