Jay Mathews writes, logic cries

Brace yourself, all 4 of our readers (oh hai)…my post today will either be an Earnthis vanguard—or an epic failure.  It addresses neither movies/TV nor music, but if you make me, I’ll defend its popular culture relevance, and that’s listed in our tagline too.  Our source material today is a column from Washington Post writer Jay Mathews.  Mathews writes for the Education section of the Post, focusing particularly on high school, college admissions, and the like.

Jay’s latest piece addresses Thomas Jefferson High School in northern Virginia, the old stomping grounds for this site’s original editors (and my only reason to hope that Dan won’t delete this posting).  I very much believe that intelligent discussion of one of the country’s most prominent high schools is warranted.  This is not that.  (I gleefully lift my format from the peerless site firejoemorgan.com, except that my comments will be in bold and the author’s–verbatim–in standard font.)

Well, it's certainly a struggle.

My colleague Kevin Sieff reported last week that the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is not only the most selective public school in America, but one of the least diverse. After years of promising to reach out to the third of Northern Virginia students who are black or Hispanic, less than 4 percent of its students have that background, while ultra-selective colleges such as Harvard and MIT have about 20 percent.

First of all, as a former resident of NOVA and attendee of TJ, I can tell you that playing the race card for that school is such a tired story I can’t believe an editor allowed it.  But whatever.

Second of all, Jay, referencing 2 schools proves nothing.  Moreover, Harvard and MIT draw from, you know, the whole country, rather than a piece of one state that so happens to be one of the most wealthy—and concomitantly one of the least diverse—in said country.  Harvard and MIT have also been in the public eye as a ‘very selective school’ for much longer than TJ has, and thus have probably faced more pressure, for longer, to amend their admission’s criteria to ensure sufficient minority representation.  I hate when people assume two things to be comparable without taking into account the substantial differences that render said analogy moot.

That said, there may be a minor point to be made here.  But he doesn’t make it.

When you create a school based more on sorting than teaching,

What?  What in the world does that mean?

as Fairfax County did with Jefferson in 1985, it is hard to break the habit of picking applicants by their accomplishments and test scores at age 13, rather than their potential to benefit from Jefferson’s great teachers.

A) You went from “based more on sorting than teaching” to “great teachers” in like 40 words.  Just how good are these teachers, in your eyes?

B) Then what, pray tell, should we use to evaluate applicants, if not their accomplishments and test scores at the time of their application?

Don’t worry.  He’ll get to that point later.  I’m all of a flutter.

Four percent underserved minorities is not good enough. Public schools have to follow court guidelines on admission, but U-Va., also public, manages to have 13 percent black or Hispanic students.

Here’s another lazy analogy.  UVA by itself doesn’t come close to countering the notion that ‘public schools have to follow guidelines on admission.’ (Is it just me, or could one of the words “follow court” in that sentence be cut?) And, once again, UVA draws students from California to Texas to New Jersey, not just Tysons Corner.

Furthermore, he hasn’t told us what percentage of minorities he wants—though 4% is clearly too low—but his apparently-acceptable number has dropped from 20 to 13%.  Well that was easy, eh?  Let’s find a public school that’s 9% and pimp that one.  Nothing like having incredibly vague criteria that allows you to mold facts to fit theories, rather than the other way around.

Jefferson still rejects many qualified blacks and Hispanics.

And many qualified Whites.  And probably some qualified Tiger Woods-esque Cablinasians.  And maybe my cat.  Meaningless statement.

Last year, the school says, 52 Hispanics and 29 blacks reached the semifinal round of admissions, based on their academic records. But only 13 Hispanics and four blacks were enrolled.

First of all…enrolled does not mean admitted.  Thanks for skewing your data.  And I personally think ¼ of Hispanics going from the second round to enrollment isn’t a terrible number.  Roughly half of all students go from that stage to admittance, and since there were likely more than 13 admitted, that’s not heinous.  The numbers for Blacks are worse, yes, which gets at what I was saying earlier—that he might have been able to squeeze a small point out of this piece—but the sample size is ridiculously small; why not go back farther to have a larger sample?

The ability to benefit from the school’s imaginative teaching

I attended, and I’m glad I did.  But there is little to no imaginative teaching.

is not the main criterion for the admission people, I suspect.

As well it shouldn’t be.  Hmm, let’s see, what should we examine in consideration for admission—one’s tangible ability and achievements, as reflected in such meaningless dross as test scores, teacher recommendations, essays, and grades—or some vague ability, which everyone would define differently, to “benefit from [supposed, speculative] imaginative teaching”?

Like the rest of us, they are impressed by test scores. I have seen the Ivy League admissions process at close range.

If he would actually explicitly state how ‘close’ he’s been to said process, I doubt most people would interpret his proximity as positively as he does.

Applicants in the 95th percentile on standardized tests are not seriously considered because there are so many in the 99th percentile above them. Those colleges will, however, take a second look if you are a talented flautist or a ranked squash player or black or an alumni child or Hispanic or related to the family that just funded the new science center.

Finally, he gets to the meat of the piece, and it’s the most befuddling part.  Is he really defending the practice of admitting a lesser-qualified candidate because he happens to play squash or be related to a wealthy alumnus?  Is this what TJ is supposed to do?  These are better criteria than test scores and recommendations?  This is how you judge the intangibles of which he’s so fond?  Really?

Jefferson teachers tell me their admission committee is more handicapped by the fact that many bright eighth-graders, of all ethnicities, don’t want to attend their school or any like it.  Here is a relevant demographic fact: at many of our most selective public schools, students of Asian ancestry are the largest ethnic group. This is true of Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and Hunter College in New York City, and Lowell and Whitney in California, all of whom draw from areas where Asians are a minority. At 46 percent, Asians are also the largest ethnic group at Jefferson.

With no transition or paragraph break after the first sentence here, the continuity makes no sense.  ‘Many students, of all ethnicities, don’t want to attend.’  ‘Lots of Asians attend.’  Um…?

Maybe if he’d said, “Because many talented students don’t want to attend [although this is speculative, anecdotal information in and of itself], the pool of applicants shrinks, thus allowing for more variance in the data; and that, combined with Asians’ apparent zeal for education, allows them to be disproportionately represented,” he would have made sense.  But he didn’t.

There are two ways to explain this. First, most parents have little opportunity or interest in sending their children to selective high schools, public or private. We think our kids can get just as good an education in the neighborhood school.

This is ludicrous.  If we’re talking about private schools, then fine, some parents won’t want to pay.  But you can’t possibly tell me that most parents wouldn’t send their child to a public school—with free tuition—that probably provides a superior education.  No chance.  Talk to me about whether the kids themselves want to attend TJ, and I’ll listen; don’t try to sell me on parents not wanting it.

In many cases we are right. Most Northern Virginia schools have teachers just as good as those at Jefferson.

Wait, I thought TJ had such “imaginative teaching” and “great teachers.”  He said this, like, 4 paragraphs ago.  Maybe that bit about TJ caring more about sorting than teaching should have hit the cutting room floor, eh?

Second, many Asian American families, particularly those more recently arrived, have a reverence for science, math and academic success not typical of this country, and remember prestigious selective secondary schools in China, Japan and Korea. They love what Jefferson offers and apply out of proportion to their numbers.

All of this is prolix; if he’d just said something resembling what I wrote above, he could have explained the Asian numbers with far less time and ink wasted.

Their children’s commitment to science and math may be particularly important to their being more likely to be admitted than other ethnic groups, because Jefferson principal Evan M. Glazer says interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math) is key. “A very bright student without a passion for STEM should not be selected for admission,” he says.

Welp, I guess I shouldn’t have been admitted.  Better shore up that loophole, guys.

To be fair, that wasn’t Jay speaking.  But it still has little relevance to his piece, and it vaguely offends me, so I’m going to attack it.

Asian-American children get terrific educations at these selective high schools, but they learn eventually that attending Jefferson does not guarantee admission to Princeton or Yale.

So?  God, these vague statements kill me; ‘Some qualified Blacks weren’t admitted,’ ‘TJ is no guarantee of admission…’

Again, with different wording, this paragraph might have sniffed cogency: “Attending TJ can provide a stimulating academic environment for the right student; however, because of restrictions on how many students from one HS will be admitted to one college, a gifted student might be better served, as far as college goes, to stand out at his local public school.”  Is that what he’s going to say?

Those colleges dole out admissions like Halloween candy, not too many to any one high school.

No, he’s going with a terrible analogy.  Jay, most houses dole out Halloween candy liberally—primarily because they don’t want two tons of it left over for the dog to choke on—so this couldn’t be more off base.

Broadening the ethnic profile of our nation’s best high school should not be that hard.

Actually, since affirmative action is one of the most controversial subjects in our society right now, I’d say it is/would be hard.  And what in the world does “broadening the ethnic profile” mean?  I hate euphemisms.

Many educators and students supporting Jefferson have formed a Diversity and Engagement Curriculum Team to recruit more blacks and Hispanics interested in science. I think the school should also keep in mind that success in America stems more from character than test-taking ability.

I guess I can just sign an affidavit at the end of my GRE that testifies to my exemplary character, which will raise my score 500 points.

Washington offices are full of brilliant people who lacked the patience, persistence and charm to rise as high as they hoped.

So?  The nation’s top positions are also full of people who possess little more than the good looks and/or charm to win over someone in the first 2 minutes of an interview.  This is how the world works.

Sadly, we haven’t figured out a sure way to teach character.

Well, then that makes this piece rather irrelevant, doesn’t it?

The largest federal study of character-building or social-development programs just reported little progress in improving student behavior or achievement.

There’s no attribution here, but I don’t mind so much, because he’s digging his own grave.

But we can tell which Jefferson applicants show signs of the determination and grace that produce great lives.

Can we?  Really?  So picking TJ applicants on the basis of their test scores and tangible accomplishments at age 13 is unfair, but by that age we should be able to descry “determination and grace that produce great lives”??  What in the world does that mean?

And who are you to define what a great life is?  I have utterly no idea how much ‘grace’ Isaac Newton had, so he must not have done anything for our society, eh?

I’m being intentionally annoying, I know, but statements like “we can tell which TJ applicants show signs of the determination and grace that produce great lives” represent the kind of vague and illogical claptrap that should never approach the pen of someone who’s paid to transcribe his thoughts for a prominent international newspaper.

Just ask their middle-school teachers.

Um, they do.  They’re called teacher recommendations.  They are required.

Many of the most promising ones will be black and Hispanic. Give more of them a chance, and Jefferson will not only be a more interesting school to attend, but more reflective of the values we want all of our kids to have.

How do you know how interesting it is or will be to attend?

And are there ANY values that “we all want” our kids to have?

Arg.  In retrospect, this piece exemplifies typical Jay hallmarks, namely that roughly 5% of it addresses the actual thesis—such as it is—and the rest features tangential filler riddled with inaccuracies and logical fallacies.  Oh well.  Back to your regularly scheduled programming later.  Maybe I’ll start firejaymathews.com.

Grant J.

Grant J.

Grant co-founded Earn This in 2009 and is a regular contributor. His music taste makes him seem a lot weirder and sadder than he really is.

25 thoughts on “Jay Mathews writes, logic cries

  1. Thank You Jay for an excellent article.
    I will have to go back and read the original article, but based on these excerpts, it is excellent. I wouldn’t bother to pick this Blog’s points apart, that would be too easy, I assume this “former resident of NOVA and TJ Attendee” did not graduate from TJ, like my son did this year. If Grant had graduated, then he would know that when he was admitted, Dr. Glazer was not the principal so could not be responsible for his slipping through admissions process.

    • Karen, Grant did graduate from TJ and he’s one of the more interesting, articulate people from his graduating class (not sure he wants to share, but it was in the ’00s and before Glazer came).

      You’re right that he wasn’t there was Glazer was principal. You’re wrong that this fact invalidates his argument.

      Guess what: I’m a TJ grad too, and three of my younger siblings are either current students or graduates (all under Glazer), so by your evaluation method, that would make my viewpoint more valid than yours.

      And I almost completely agree with Grant. I take issue with maybe one or two of Grant’s individual points in this article, but the overall thesis: That Jay’s article is a piece of sensationalist, insubstantial, self-contradicting crap, I most definitely agree with.

  2. I agree 90%+ with your concerns, Grant. Stupid article, poor logic, overall drivel.

    The biggest point I’d take issue with is your dislike of Glazer’s quote: “A very bright student without a passion for STEM should not be selected for admission,” he says.

    TJ has changed a lot since we’ve been there. Much of the stuff that made TJ “more than just a great sci/tech high school” has been de-emphasized if not removed. Arts participation is at a low, most of the great

    What Glazer should have said is that people not interested in sci/tech should not apply or not attend, not that they shouldn’t be admitted, because something as subjective as “interest” is hard to objectively evaluate by an admissions process.

    But the truth is, with the re-focus on hard science and research that TJ has seen in the past few years, someone like yourself (less interested in that) may have been better off attending elsewhere.

  3. I did not say that fact invalidates his argument, I just made the point that his argument is full of wrong logic and I used that as an example, so that is one thing we agree on.
    It is your opinion he is articulate. My opinion is that he is not and that Jay is.
    Your information that you are a TJ grad just supports my view that there are serious problems with the admission process. I would characterize Grant’s text as “poor logic, overall drivel”

    • I’d be happy to entertain some discussion of whatever examples of Grant’s poor logic you can find in this article. So, please, call out the specific faults in his logic and challenge them with correct logic. He put his reasoning on the line — I challenge you to do the same before you make over-arching statements that trash his writing and thinking.

      And, sorry, just saying it’s your “opinion” that somebody uses poor logic doesn’t work. Opinion is the opposite of logic; you can’t counteract objectivity to subjectivity. That leads to closed minds and nonproductive discussion. If you don’t agree, ask your son: Having an open mind to new reasoning and different ways of thinking is one of the key themes taught at TJ.

      So, on that note, I invite you to submit your own logical, cogent discussion of Grant’s specific points. I’ll happily consider them.

  4. The more I think about Jay’s article, the angrier I get. For me, the biggest issue at TJ is the de-focusing of well-roundedness and super-emphasis of tech and science and math. High school shouldn’t be so specialized: Let students decide what productive fields they have a passion and knack for rather than pigeonholing them into engineering or research at age 13 or 14.

    • I actually don’t mind that TJ is not emphasizing well-roundedness. This may sound weird coming from a TJ grad who was active in the arts in high school (and still is.) However, there is evidence that focusing in on science and technology early – especially in a specific field – tends to lead to more success in that field in the future. We need experts to make those groundbreaking scientific discoveries that move society forward. To put it bluntly, I did NOT have that experience at TJ. I got an excellent education, I was very prepared for college, and I think that TJ has had a positive impact on my life & provided a foundation for me to becoming a contributing member of society.
      TJ’s mission is to produce contributing members in the scientific and technological fields of society. What we need, really, is a magnet school for the well-rounded. But THAT’S not happening anytime soon.

      • For a while I was all in favor of a magnet school with a non-science focus, and I probably still am. But on some level I don’t see why it has to be such an a-or-b thing. The logical reasoning behind hard science is (or should be) essentially the same as the philosophy underpinning psychology, economics, and other fields. I love abstract, unquantifiable art as much as anyone, but I don’t think art precludes logic. Some might, though.

        • That’s true. It’s a tough balancing act.
          And just for the record, I am a psychology student and do consider it to be a “hard science” field. It’s not as traditional as chemistry or physics, though, and TJ as it ran when I was there only played the role in the set-up of my interest in psychology, and did not tangibly develop or fuel said interest. So you definitely have a point.

  5. If Matthews had separated his ideas of the importance of diversity, a fair admissions process, and what a school like TJ is meant to accomplish, he probably would have had a much better shot at making a valid point. As you say, Grant, the issue with this article is really poor writing more than anything else.

    • Here’s really what I don’t understand. Even at TJ, the almighty sci+tech school, we learned how to write persuasive, reasonably cogent essays. We learned the concept of introducing a thesis and then defending it. Certainly, at the very least, by the time one graduated from college–especially if he had a non-science degree, as I imagine Jay does–he should have a decent grasp on writing this kind of essay.

      And, yet, his piece has NONE of the basics that English teachers would preach. No coherence, no clear thesis, no flow between and within paragraphs, no fair consideration of opposing viewpoints…and this is someone paid for his insight. The world is a funny place.

  6. Ooh, this is getting juicy…I like it.

    Yeah, Dan, I could have left Glazer’s comment alone. It wasn’t that surprising to me, as I had heard from TJ attendees after me that the school was going even more heavily sci+tech. But, though it’s not surprising, the notion that the school doesn’t want bright students who aren’t destined to study chemical engineering still seems bizarre to me.

    I agree w/ your last point too about his piece getting worse upon more reflection. Seriously, what does “ask their middle school teachers” mean? Does he not know that teacher recs are required? That seems unlikely; so is he saying they should be more important? Who knows?

    And what in the world is up with ‘they care less about teaching than sorting…but they have great, imaginative teaching…but most other NOVA schools have teachers as good as them??’

    And, seriously, I wouldn’t even try to pitch my editor the notion of writing a piece about affirmative action at TJ. That felt like old news back when I was there.

  7. Just because someone graduated from TJ does not make them an articulate speaker or writer. I consider my writing to be very weak, and yet I graduated from TJ. I was admitted under Dr. Glazer, and I consider myself a science-centric student, and yes, I am white. Grant presents some very good points here, and I hardly think that attacking the writer is really not in any way a valid argument. I’m tired of TJ getting bad press, but I guess it comes from being the best.

  8. I take issue with Mr. Matthews asserting that the current students are not interesting because they are white or asian. Seems rather insulting. In addition, he seems to believe that we should deny a student, who might be ‘the one to cure cancer’, the education he requires to make that achievement, if he doesn’t exude enough “charm” or social skills. Sorry, Jay, charm doesn’t cut it when you need to understand quantum chemistry. Charm is not a scientific ability. We do people a disservice when we push them into science and then they fail in grad school because they followed a career path that did not match their personal gifts. I’m so tired of real racism these days coming from the ‘diversity’ crowd.

  9. Here’s where I stand on all of this:

    Would TJ benefit from more diversity? Yes. Definitely. Just as I said in a response to one of Karen’s comments, one of the most important lessons I took away from TJ was to thoughtfully consider different perspectives with an analytic, reasoning mind.

    So I’m okay with addressing the general theme of “TJ could benefit from more diversity.” Nay, I support it. And diversity is more than just skin colors: It’s about having different backgrounds and values and perspectives on the world.

    But Jay’s article is exactly how you DON’T address it: very vague thesis, lots of irrelevant tangents, broad mudslinging, and — most egregiously — no constructive ideas.

    So here’s one idea: What if TJ started an outreach program for black and Hispanic students in middle school? It could be something as simple as a one-time, two-hour afterschool program at each middle school that goes over some big ideas students may not have ever really thought about — the value of a strong technical background; that science is more than memorizing facts or procedures, it’s solving problems; that diversity is important and lots of Hispanic and black scientists and engineers make a huge impact in our world every day.

    But these wishy washy ideas and generalizations that the article throws around are incendiary and offensively inane.

    • Dan, that’s not a bad idea…it was tried of course, called “QUEST”, my son was in it for a while and he quit because it was real bad, very poorly run. The current version of that idea is “Young Scholars”
      I’m not looking at it from the perspective of “what is good for TJ” but rather, what is good for the public that support the school.
      What is most troublesome about the information I found here is that 29 Black students were found qualified for TJ but only 4 were enrolled last year. The answer I get from TJ about the unacceptably low numbers of Black students is that “They don’t apply” and when that argument does not hold up, they say “they are not qualified” By definition, students in the semi finalist pool are “qualified”, but only 500 or so can enroll. Whatever process they are using now to select from the semi finalist pool would probably be improved by a simple lottery….and of course by supporting the other public high schools so they can be the best they can be…having TJ to compete with is good for the other schools. I really can’t see why you are so unhappy with Jay’s article, I agree with him 90+%.

      • It’s not totally accurate to say that anyone who makes the first cut is qualified. What it means is that said students have sufficient grades and test scores to separate them from the vast majority who don’t deserve admission, but that portion doesn’t include lots of relevant info – extracurriculars, essays, teacher recs, etc. So we shouldn’t just ignore those aspects of a candidate and say that all the students who make the first cut are close enough to each other that a lottery should be instituted to determine the second cut.

        Whatever process they’re using for the second cut might indeed be flawed and worthy of improving, but likely through means other than a lottery.

        I, for one, would rather not get in somewhere because human beings didn’t like my essays, extracurriculars, teacher recs, etc, rather than because a lottery randomly decided so.

      • –I’m not looking at it from the perspective of “what is good for TJ” but rather, what is good for the public that support the school.

        That’s a good distinction, one I did not make. But I do think making TJ the best possible learning environment for the most qualified students is equivalent to allowing it to best serve our community.

        –What is most troublesome about the information I found here is that 29 Black students were found qualified for TJ but only 4 were enrolled last year.

        I’d somewhat agree, but I’d say it’s more POTENTIALLY troublesome than outright troublesome. This is a small sample size to look at. I’m curious how the numbers from previous years compare, but there could very well be some problem in the numbers.

        An important part of this whether the evaluators making the second cut can see the applicant’s race. If I’m not mistaken, it wasn’t long ago when they changed the second cut to include the applicant’s race with the intent of improving diversity. But it seems like possibly the OPPOSITE is happening.

        –Whatever process they are using now to select from the semi finalist pool would probably be improved by a simple lottery

        There are some pros and some cons to this idea, and for me, the cons outweigh the pros. The point of the second cut is to take a look at more than test scores and grades; to evaluate the person as a community member and proactive learner. A lottery would lose that.

        –and of course by supporting the other public high schools so they can be the best they can be…having TJ to compete with is good for the other schools.

        I’m confused what you mean here by “support” and “compete.” What specifically are you referring to? TJ should support other schools academically?

        –I really can’t see why you are so unhappy with Jay’s article, I agree with him 90+%.

        I’ll admit, part of my response is somewhat reflexive and defensive. As a white graduate of TJHSST, the racial diversity controversies of the school potentially hold the implication that, because of my skin color, I’m less valuable to the school’s community and history than someone.

        But my main beef with the article is not that it’s completely groundless, but that it 1) doesn’t address a coherent thesis, 2) doesn’t propose any solutions other than a few throwaway lines, 3) addresses a tired issue from a tired perspective.

        It’s not just that the article puts a bad light on a school that I value and hold close not just because of my degree, but because four other members of my family have a degree or will have a degree from there. It’s that lacks reason, verisimilitude, and coherence.

        PS: Thanks for a reasonable response. I enjoy intelligent discussion about complex issues that relate to my life and the lives around me.

  10. This writer’s take:

    Many of my friends suffer from acid reflux every time they hear the name Jay Mathews. He could write a stylistic exemplar entitled “Candy Is Delicious” and there would be scathing editorials in TJ’s student newspaper.

    Statistics are, to logic, the Scripture that the devil can cite for his purposes. All numbers referenced by Jay Mathews do support his point, primarily as evocative tools but also as renderings of relevant data. These numbers can, in turn, be refuted by “looking deeper” to find statistical counterpoints; and, again, he could draw himself another bucket from the well.

    In three solid minutes of research, this is the best admissions data I could find for TJ. But I found a few things I consider more interesting:

    *TJ’s Mission Statement
    *TJ’s stated admissions criteria
    *The methodology by which US News & World Report has selected TJ as America’s best public high school in several recent years.

    Let me lay some Cartesian coordinates on you. We could throw up two axes, labeled “How much X agrees that TJ’s mission statement should be what it is” and “How much X feels that TJ is accomplishing its mission statement”, then populate the plane with a data point for every person X who has an opinion. Picture that plot in your head and realize that we can’t make everyone happy.

    So which path should the school take? Your answer will depend on your own morality and your sense of entitlement. How can TJ best serve the world at large? How can it best serve its community? Has TJ done “good” so far? Who supports TJ financially? Which of these questions is the most important?

    I suppose we will argue as long as we all have different opinions, which is as it should be. Jay Mathews wants to accomplish something. I’m not sure exactly what that is, but he has been harping on it for years. If he achieves his goal, one camp will rejoice with him and another will cry out in anguish. Life will be better for some and worse for others.

    Yep, debate like this is part of progress. Sadly, I’m not sure anymore whether I’ve made a point, or whether I had one that I meant to make. Ah, well.

    “May the circle of infinity be unbroken!”

    • Colton, you make sound logic and good points in my opinion. Thanks. Although I think the idea of a lottery for statistically qualified top 1500 applicants has tonnes of merit, I would not support it and doubt anybody else would. If those who suffer from this flawed process are those qualified applicants who are rejected, then a good way forward is to improve their Base school option. The current situation is not good for TJ, we should move beyond the acid reflux problem, granted some, perhaps many, will still have it, but it should not be so universal. TJ students should be proud and it is difficult when this problem keeps getting worse instead of better.

  11. Grant, I really appreciate this blog post. As a current TJ student, I vehemently disagree with most of the points the Jay Matthews brings up. Let me talk about the problem of diversity.
    DIVERSITY SHOULD NOT BE BASED ON RACE. It should instead be based on different socio-economic backgrounds. That will provide different perspectives and points of view that are essentially what increased diversity aims to achieve. It should secondly be based on diversity of interests and goals. I am of the belief that affirmative action based on race is a continuation of racism. People should not be let in simply based on their race. We should not have to lower our standards just so that more people of a certain race can be let it. All that would do would lower the quality of education at TJ. The only reason that Asians are so prevalent at TJ because education is so ingrained in their culture which they should not be punished for. Jay Matthews in his numerous articles seems to indicate that we have so many Asians because TJ prefers them. This is not the case. In fact, it is much harder to get in if you are an Asian because you are not judged based on the rest of the applications, instead you are compared to the Asian applicant pool – making it considerably harder to get in. TJ tries its best to gain more Hispanic and Black students. But it they do not apply or if they do not pass the cutoff score — TJ CANT DO ANYTHING ABOUT THEM. You should be able to have the necessary test scores if you want to do well at TJ. If you can’t even pass that test, then you would just fail and going to TJ would do you a disservice.

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