Opportunity Precedes Achievement, Good Timing Also Helps

None of the Above:
What I.Q. doesn’t tell you about race.

by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

Flynn brings a similar precision to the question of whether Asians have a genetic advantage in I.Q., a possibility that has led to great excitement among I.Q. fundamentalists in recent years. Data showing that the Japanese had higher I.Q.s than people of European descent, for example, prompted the British psychometrician and eugenicist Richard Lynn to concoct an elaborate evolutionary explanation involving the Himalayas, really cold weather, premodern hunting practices, brain size, and specialized vowel sounds. The fact that the I.Q.s of Chinese-Americans also seemed to be elevated has led I.Q. fundamentalists to posit the existence of an international I.Q. pyramid, with Asians at the top, European whites next, and Hispanics and blacks at the bottom.

Here was a question tailor-made for James Flynn’s accounting skills. He looked first at Lynn’s data, and realized that the comparison was skewed. Lynn was comparing American I.Q. estimates based on a representative sample of schoolchildren with Japanese estimates based on an upper-income, heavily urban sample. Recalculated, the Japanese average came in not at 106.6 but at 99.2. Then Flynn turned his attention to the Chinese-American estimates. They turned out to be based on a 1975 study in San Francisco’s Chinatown using something called the Lorge-Thorndike Intelligence Test. But the Lorge-Thorndike test was normed in the nineteen-fifties. For children in the nineteen-seventies, it would have been a piece of cake. When the Chinese-American scores were reassessed using up-to-date intelligence metrics, Flynn found, they came in at 97 verbal and 100 nonverbal. Chinese-Americans had slightly lower I.Q.s than white Americans.

The Asian-American success story had suddenly been turned on its head. The numbers now suggested, Flynn said, that they had succeeded not because of their higher I.Q.s. but despite their lower I.Q.s. Asians were overachievers. In a nifty piece of statistical analysis, Flynn then worked out just how great that overachievement was. Among whites, virtually everyone who joins the ranks of the managerial, professional, and technical occupations has an I.Q. of 97 or above. Among Chinese-Americans, that threshold is 90. A Chinese-American with an I.Q. of 90, it would appear, does as much with it as a white American with an I.Q. of 97.

There should be no great mystery about Asian achievement. It has to do with hard work and dedication to higher education, and belonging to a culture that stresses professional success. But Flynn makes one more observation. The children of that first successful wave of Asian-Americans really did have I.Q.s that were higher than everyone else’s—coming in somewhere around 103. Having worked their way into the upper reaches of the occupational scale, and taken note of how much the professions value abstract thinking, Asian-American parents have evidently made sure that their own children wore scientific spectacles. “Chinese Americans are an ethnic group for whom high achievement preceded high I.Q. rather than the reverse,” Flynn concludes, reminding us that in our discussions of the relationship between I.Q. and success we often confuse causes and effects. “It is not easy to view the history of their achievements without emotion,” he writes. That is exactly right. To ascribe Asian success to some abstract number is to trivialize it.

The Ethnic Myth
by Stephen Steinberg
pp. 125 -7

At least superficially, the streetcorner men exhibited many of the characteristics of a culture of poverty. They unquestionably had a present-time orientation, in that immediate pleasures were pursued without regard to long-range implications. Their aspirations were low, at least as gauged by the fact that they worked irregularly and did not look for better jobs. Their absence from their families meant households were headed by women. And the feelings of inferiority, helplessness, and fatalism that Lewis saw as endemic to a culture of poverty were in plain evidence. Yet Liebow forcefully rejects the view that these are “traits” that add up to a culture of poverty. He insists that the fundamental values of the streetcorner men are the same as those of the middle-class society, and that their behavior, though in apparent contradiction to those values, is only a response to external circumstances that prevent them from living according to conventional values.

Of paramount importance is the fact that these men are unable to find jobs that pay a living wage. As Liebow points out, the way a man makes a living and the kind of living he makes defines a man’s worth, both to himself and his neighbors, friends, lovers, and family. This operates with the same force as in the rest of society, but inversely, since the streetcorner men do not have jobs that are worth very much, either in status or pay. For Liebow, this is the controlling factor in their lives, distorting their values, their family relationships and their concept of themselves.

Thus if they do not plan for the future, it is not because they are observing a different cultural norm that emphasizes the pleasure of the moment but because their futures are bleak and they lack the resources and opportunities for doing much about it. Similarly their low aspirations are an inevitable response to restricted opportunity, particularly the improbability of finding a decent job. This is not a self-fulfilling prophecy, but a resignation born out of bitter personal experience. All the men in Liebow’s study had tested themselves repeatedly on the job market, and had come to realize that the only jobs available were menial, low-paying, dead-end jobs that would not allow them to support their families. […]

Thus, Liebow presents a strong case that the streetcorner men have the same concept of work and family as does the middle class. Indeed, it is precisely because they share these conventional values that they experience such a profound sense of personal failure. The attraction of the street corner, with its “shadow system of values,” is that it compensates for an impaired sense of manhood. In all these respects Liebow’s intepretation of the street corner is in direct opposition to the culture-of-poverty thesis. […]

Thus, similarities between parents and children are not the product of cultural transmission, but of the fact that “the son goes out and independently experiences the same failures, in the same areas, and for much the same reasons as his father.”

For Liebow, then, the poor do not neeed instruction in the Protestant ethic or other values, but jobs that would allow them to incorporate these values into their everyday lives. It is not their culture that needs to be changed, but an economic system that fails to provide jobs that pay a living wage to millions of the nation’s poor.

Conclusion

There is intellectual perversity in the tendency to use the cultural responses of the poor as “explanations” of why they are poor. Generally speaking, groups do not get ahead or lag behind on the basis of their cultural values. Rather, they are born into a given station in life and adopt values that are consonant with their circumstances and their life chances. To the extent that the lower-class ethnics seem to live according to a different set of values, this is primarily a cultural manifestation of their being trapped in poverty. In the final analysis, the culture-of-poverty thesis—at least as it has been used by Banfield, Moynihan, and others—is nothing more than an intellectual smoke screen for our society’s unwillingness or inability to wipe out unemployment and poverty.

pp. 134-5

Berrol’s inventory of educational facilities in New York City at the turn of the century shows that the schools could not possibly have functioned as a significant channel of mobility. Still in an early stage of development, the public school system was unable to cope with the enormous influx of foreigners, most of whom were in their childbearing ages. Primary grade schools were so over-crowded that tens of thousands of students were turned away, and as late as 1914 there were only five high schools in Manhattan and the Bronx. If only for this reason, few children of Jewish immigrants received more than a rudimentary education.”

Berrol furnishes other data showing that large numbers of Jewish students ended their schooling by the eighth grade. For example, in New York City in 1908 there were 25,534 Jewish students in the first grade, 11,527 in the seventh, 2,549 in their first year of high school, and only 488 in their last year. Evidently, most immigrant Jewish children of this period dropped out of school to enter the job market.

Nor could City College have been a major channel of Jewish mobility during the early decades of the twenntieth century. Until the expansion of City College in the 1930s and 1940s, enrollments were not large enough to have a significant impact on Jewish mobility. Furthermore, Jewish representation at the college was predominantly German; Berrol estimates that in 1923 only 11 percent of CCNY students had Russian or Polish names.

In short, prior to the 1930s and 1940s, the public schools, and City College in particular, were not a channel of mobility for more than a privileged few. It was not until the expansion of higher education following the Second World War that City College provided educational opportunities for significant numbers of Jewish youth. However, by the time New York’s Jewish population had already emerged from the deep poverty of the immigrant generation, and had experienced extensive economic mobility.

It was the children of these upwardly mobile Jews who enrolled in City college during the 1930s and 1940s. For them, education was clearly a channel of mobility, but it accelerated a process of intergenerational mobility that was already in motion, since their parents typically had incomes, and often occupations as well, that were a notch or two above those of the working class in general. As Berrol concluded:

. . . most New York City Jews did not make the leap from poverty into the middle class by going to college. Rather, widespread utilization of secondary and higher education followed improvements in economic status and was as much a result as a cause of upward mobility.

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26 thoughts on “Opportunity Precedes Achievement, Good Timing Also Helps

  1. Culture, I think, plays a large part as well. Take for instance Jewish culture. The next generation is expected to prosper in spite of the parent’s socio-economic status and even more if possible. Many of the Asian cultures are the same way because the children are supposed to assume the role of caregiver when they become adults. The aging parents benefit when their children succeed. Christian culture, which is basically American style patriarchy, is more domineering especially amongst members of the lower socio-economic classes. They want their children to fall in line and continue on the same path. If not, they accuse them of showing off or of trying to be something they’re not.

    • I understand the cultural viewpoint. Both of the authors I quote discuss culture as a part of the puzzle, although one emphasizes it more than the other. I’ve always been a fan of cultural explanations. But I decided to emphasize a different aspect here, another connecting insight I noticed was shared by the two.

      I must admit, however, that I have become a bit more wary about cultural speculations. They too easily become just-so stories, not unlike the just-so stories of hereditarians. Still, culture fascinates me, and yet it is so hard to grasp.

      Even knowing culture is involved doesn’t necessarily tell us the direction of causality and its mechanisms.

      Culture is impotent without environment. This is because culture is simply another aspect of the environment, albeit on a social level. Culture doesn’t have an independent existence. it’s an indicator of many factors for it is in some ways nothing more than the point of confluence. Maybe it is the emergent property, the sum that is greater than the parts. Or maybe it is just the shimmering light on the surface of the water, but still useful to the degree it helps one see the currents.

      I’m not quite sure what I think of culture, besides agreeing that it is significant and meaningful.

    • Also, much of what gets seen as culture is really class. Asian and Jewish immigrants in recent generations have disproportionately come from the professional class. Those people aren’t representative of the average Asian and Jew.

      Talking about such large social categories generalizes to an extreme degree. It’s like talking about North Americans that includes not just the diverse cultures of the US, but also the diverse cultures of Mexico and Canada. The average North American who travels or immigrates overseas isn’t representative of the average North American who doesn’t.

      Asia is a more vast place than North America. I bet that in many ways it is also more culturally diverse. India is also part of Asia, and yet quite distinct from China.

    • I came across another depressing piece of info.

      Ya know how the criminal system is raciallly biased. In a study, when Americans were informed of this, most were even more supportive of harsh punishment. And, of course, most Americans just so happen to be white. That is mass sociopathy.

      Combine that study with what you linked and you get this. If it harms non-whites, then white Americans think it’s good. If it helps non-whites, then white Americans think it’s bad. Plain sick. I realize most of this unconscious, as it is part of the air we breathe, but still it’s morally indefensible.

  2. White people score high because they’re more capable. Asians score high because they’re soulless robots.

    My depression as anxiety developed and peaked high school. It wasn’t it’d stress over competition but because I felt my entire character was being judged by presumptuous assholes who would judge my worthiness of their campus based on frankly, inappropriate (personal) factors that is out of their jrisdiction to judge, as total strangers.

    I wasn’t stressed about test scores as much as I was about being judged as a robot. It was personally hurtful. You know?

    Another gladwell piece.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/10/10/getting-in

    • That is part of why I’m wary of cultural explanations. It’s not that culture is irrelevant, but invoking culture too often obscures than enlightens.

      Sure, Asian immigrants have specific cultures they come from and that does influence their behaviors. Studies do show that there are genuine differences, but there is no reason to point to that as some ultimate explanation while ignoring all else.

      Immigrants are a self-selected group, no matter what country they come from. Immigrants from distant countries, in particular, tend to be wealthier and more well-educated. That is probably a bigger factor for their success than cultural variables.

      What Steinberg gets at is something more subtle. Social values matter. That truth isn’t being challenged. The question is whether those values are a cause or an effect… or both. Steinberg suggests that our values and our behaviors arise from specific environmental conditions we are born in. Individuals will conform to the people and the world immediately around them.

      The other thing that concerns me is over-generalization. If one is to speak of cultures, something I love to do, one should be as specific as possible. It is fine to on occasion speak of broad cultures, as there are larger patterns, but that should always be followed with qualifications.

      In reality, there is no single Asian culture. Asia is an immense region with many distinct cultures based on diverse histories, religions, languages, economies, and politics. Plus, the various Asian countries have different kinds of education systems.

      As for Asian-Americans, it is even more complex. A Chinese-American whose ancestors came in the mid-1800s won’t be the same as a recent Korean immigrant, the grandchild of Vietnamese refugees, a Filipino living in a rural Midwestern state, or someone of Japanese ancestry who grew up in in Canada.

      This is how talk of culture so easily falls into stereotyping. It also simply blinds us to seeing many other factors that might be a thousand times more important. We humans are not only social animals, but also creatures of immensely complex environments. We are inseparable from all that surrounds us.

      Also, we each are individuals. The coming together of factors is unique in each instance, even as larger patterns are at play. Every individual is a product of those factors. An individual, like a culture, is maybe best thought of as a confluence. It takes great care to simultaneously take into account culture, environment, and individuality. It’s all of the same fabric, however much we seek to tease out the threads.

    • My sister-in-law used to work at a place that housed the mentally disabled. She would sometimes talk about what happened at work. I know I couldn’t handle that kind of work. People willing to do that work should be paid high salaries. Why do so many of the most important jobs pay so little?

  3. So first he talks about how pressure for smart kids to succeed is bad, seeing them as future leaders is bad. But he justifies specialized schools for accomplished people (magnet schools don’t do iq. You can study for magnet school tests! It attracts motivated people, not necessarily genius iq people) because gifted people are meant to prevent us from being primitive. Isn’t that a lot of pressure

    • There is a lot of confused thinking because few people want to look too closely at the assumptions they make. People tiptoe around uncomfortable truths and avoid noticing the obvious problems of our society. Much of what they believe they can never openly admit, not even to themselves. This leads to convoluted logic and doublespeak.

  4. See what I mean?

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    Last Samurai
    6/26/2015 2:59 AM EDT
    This is a good example that the Koreans are with a lump of the vanity only assessing people based a diploma from brand name schools, and or the employment with reputable companies despite South Korea has never had any Nobel prize winner in the field of Physics, Chemistry, Medical Science, Literature and Economics.

    This Korean’s inferiority complex comes perhaps from their mentality of being a tributary state to China for over 2,000 years whilst none of Korean ancestors could establish own diplomacy. Historically, Korea and its predecessors have always been annoyed and indecisive on the horns of a dilemma between the reigning powers and emerging powers in China.
    LikeShare
    brian112358
    6/25/2015 3:09 AM EDT
    It’s not all about status. Being a student an elite school is not nothing. It is a big deal.

    It’s true that it’s overblown. And it’s true that some people want it for the wrong reasons, but it’s not nothing.
    LikeShare
    warbux
    6/24/2015 6:10 PM EDT
    Ms Dvorak is spot on. There are many different opinions as to what constitutes success in life. For some it includes wealth, fame, status and power or a combination thereof. Graduating from a highly rated college or university would probably improve the odds for those seeking such goals, and there is no question that such individuals can powerfully influence society for good or ill.

    It is no surprise, however, that the combination of intellectual curiosity, a healthy work ethic and a well integrated personality will go a long way when combined with an average or better IQ and a good but not necessarily gold plated education.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the level of competition for those slots not already reserved for athletes, legacies and certain demographic groups at top ranked institutions is stimulating a great deal of unnecessary neurosis among parents and children.
    LikeShare
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 3:24 PM EDT
    This article is incredibly misleading. TJ has not had a suicide in recent memory (nobody even recalls the last time there was one). If you’re going to complain about a school, at least complain about issues actually present at the school.
    LikeShare1
    cjw1973
    6/24/2015 3:36 PM EDT
    In the 90’s, I remember reading one of the TJ kid’s parents killed themselves. The parent, not the child, and it was over financial issues. Does that count?
    Like1
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 4:18 PM EDT
    I meant a student that was attending at the time of their death, but I was not aware of that. There was a former student my sophomore year whose death was ruled a suicide. He was a freshman at Yale at the time and it was over some debacle with a research team he was involved with at Yale (it had nothing to do with TJ).
    LikeShare
    Bee88
    6/25/2015 1:32 PM EDT
    I don’t think she ever actually said that it was students from TJ that committed suicide. She talked about kids in S. Korea, Palo Alto, and a different school in Northern Virginia. But yes, I agree it is very misleading to have a whole article about TJ and that also focuses heavily on suicide, when the two aren’t technically connected.
    Like
    ttt
    6/24/2015 2:10 PM EDT [Edited]
    Collaboration, cooperation and support are not the cultural norms at TJ. Its all about competition, which educators will tell doesn’t foster intellectual growth for adolescents and in fact stifles it. No one wants to ask a “dumb” question or appear to be unsure of anything. They are still 14-18 year olds after all who are insecure and don’t know it all.
    LikeShare
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 6:00 PM EDT
    I went to TJ…. collaboration, cooperation, and support ARE the norms at TJ, not competition. Those who claim otherwise have never attended, set foot in, or talked to any student from TJ.
    Like
    ttt
    6/26/2015 7:02 PM EDT
    I have set foot in TJ. I speak from experience. The competition and stress among students has only increased.
    LikeShare
    tiglathpileser
    6/25/2015 10:59 AM EDT
    Have many friends whose kids go to TJ, and they consistently say that this is a school where you are not mocked or seen as different for being brainy and focused on academics. So while there may be competition for grades, and the level of competition maybe high, overall the atmosphere and peer groups are very supportive.
    Like1
    ttt
    6/26/2015 7:04 PM EDT
    In TJ, you don’t admit any doubt or weakness, its the culture. Teens need to be able to express insecurity and know they can ask for help.
    LikeShare
    ttt
    6/24/2015 2:04 PM EDT
    I hope this girl and her family get the psychological help they need. Ethical and moral behavior needs to be taught at home and at school.
    Students in fairfax county are depressed and stressed because they have been falsely conditioned to believe their entire future depends on where they go to college at the expense at what kind of human being they become.
    LikeShare
    aswqwer
    6/24/2015 12:42 PM EDT
    Why does everyone think that this is normal at TJ?
    This girl’s actions was hugely frowned upon by her peers and most kids at TJ are satisfied with whatever school they get into, Ivy League or not. Of course, every student at TJ dreams of going to a prestigious school, but they don’t treat rejection as the end of their lives, and often don’t even care about it.
    As for the racial imbalance here at TJ… Most of the applicants are Asian and TJ uses a point system in the application system based on the test score and activities. Perhaps TJ should implement a system that could help students from a wider range of socio-economic groups to be admitted, since poorer students have less access to extracurricular activities, but this imbalance exists not because Asians are naturally smart or that TJ has a racial preference to Asians, but Asian students do the most to make their applications more attractive.
    Also, to all the comments saying that the Asian students are illegal immigrants, most of them are US citizens and so are their families AND even the non-citizen ones pay taxes.
    And let’s be honest here: if TJ was 99% white, would anyone be complaining?
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    LikeShare4
    sequoiakc
    6/24/2015 12:11 PM EDT
    It’s true, a lot of this getting into the big name private school(s) is all over “prestige & status”.

    Thank goodness for the Commonwealth of Virginia having such great public schools as Univ. Virginia, …William & Mary, …Virginia Tech, …Christopher Newport University, …James Madison University, etc.
    LikeShare2
    truthforever
    6/24/2015 6:06 PM EDT
    I agree, but why did you list CNU before JMU? And what about Mary Washington?
    Like
    Edward Hashima
    6/24/2015 10:45 AM EDT
    The eight “Ivy League” institutions have ONE thing in common: they play sports in an athletic conference. That is it. Please stop touting the “admitted to all eight ‘Ivies'” nonsense. It just fuels the anxieties that are at the root of this poor girl’s story.
    LikeShare
    bobfonow
    6/24/2015 1:43 AM EDT
    So what I am reading here is that Thomas Jefferson has become an Ivy League prep school for parents from countries that have inadequate education systems – at the expense of Fairfax County taxpayers. In fact, they are free loading on Fairfax County taxpayers. Why are FC taxpayers putting up with this. We need to elect a school board that deals with this situation.

    Fairfax County has a plethora of very good high schools. TJ has no political, social, or moral right to increasingly scarce education funds. That TJ has a 70% Asian intact indicates an imbalance that goes well beyond chance, and indicates a cultural strategy. That is not illegal but it may eventually lead to an unpredictable, unwanted and unnecessary backlash. Make TJ an area and neighborhood high school like the rest of the very good high schools in the county.

    LikeShare5
    beachlover
    6/24/2015 8:13 AM EDT
    I absolutely agree! School systems rail against “tracking” students except when it comes to the intellectually gifted. Then it’s just fine to use scarce educational dollars to design an elite cocoon for them to the detriment of other much-needed programs in the county.
    Like
    PunxatawneyPhil
    6/24/2015 11:04 AM EDT
    The intellectually gifted are the ones who invented everthing — the wheel, microscopes, internal combustion engines, space flight, etc — that keep us from sleeping in caves for our short lives.

    Letting the gifted develop their gifts is the best possible thing for society.
    LikeShare3
    cjw1973
    6/24/2015 11:28 AM EDT
    beachlover’s statement isn’t even true. Kids with autism have their own track. Kids who can’t speak English get their own track too. Kids with down syndrome have their own track too. Student athletes effectively have their own academic track up until they turn Pro. But hey, any lie to bash the non-ditch diggers in our world will do, right ??
    LikeShare1
    PinkieMe
    6/24/2015 10:31 AM EDT
    I wonder if Bobfonow would complain if TJ is 98% white.
    The fact that TJ has so many Asian kids is not due to its admission policy. It is due to the investment Asian families put into education. Is that a bad thing?
    It’s funny to read Bobfonow’s comment “imbalance…may eventually lead to an unpredictable, unwanted and unnecessary backlash” I do wonder what kind of backlashes Bobfonow referred to.

  5. “Liberalism” mainstream doesn’t always have a palc for ASian Americans

    asarkano
    6/23/2015 11:27 PM EDT
    Part 5 of 5

    If more white American, Native-American Indian, and African-American students—starting from age 4 had their lives fully financed with significant amounts of cash they could absolutely be more academically competitive. However, the fact of the matter is, African-Americans—constantly under siege by racist white cops and racist employer ratio historically sacrificed a great deal and basically cleared the way and did all of the hard work so that Asian-American immigrants could step into America…seize the social and academic benefits created by historically persecuted African-Americans and Native-American Indians.

    But if the US government does its job, and thoroughly criminally investigates Asian-American families—and their real origin of wealth (in America and in their respective Asian motherlands) starting with Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia, Stuyvesant High School, and Bronx High School in New York City, they will arrest and imprison the largest number of white and blue collar criminals in American immigrant history….

    And if Asian-Americans balk at these closer criminal investigations…they should not because if they and their parents and grandparents did things honestly…then what do they have to lose. Honest Asian-Americans…and Asians should have nothing to fear….

    And by the way, since Asians or Asian-American complained that they were being racially discriminated against, perhaps the parents of white, black, and legal Latino students who were rejected by Thomas Jefferson High School should now launch a multi-million US dollar lawsuit also claiming that they were racially discriminated against because they were not Asian. After all, what is goose should be good for the gander…and if anyone has a better standing to launch such a lawsuit, it is traditional Americans whose ancestors built, fought, died, and militarily defended America…long before an Indian could spell…the United States of America….
    LikeShare

    • Liberal is a relative label. There are many degrees of liberalism. Quite a few conservatives and reactionaries can be rather liberal in relation to those they consider part of their group, whether their race, religion, nationality, or whatever.

  6. I noticed that gifted programs just become honors and ap class’s at high school level :/ what’s so blessed by god about these schools? Everything about these blessed by god places require more work ethic than high iq honestly :/

    These same people would use “emphasize testing cause real merit!!!” If it were blacks and Hispanics. It’s all just about maintaining status quos.

    The Washington Post

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    Genius Girl, a Harvard-Stanford admissions hoax and elite college mania
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    In this 2012 photo, a group tours the campus of Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

    By Petula Dvorak Columnist June 22

    Super-achievers (and your uber-ambitious parents) — take a deep breath, go to the pool, have an ice pop.

    Do not take summer research statistics. Do not hire a robotics tutor. Do not start yet another thread on a parenting forum asking for advice on how to get your child into the much-sought-after Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Northern Virginia.

    Petula is a columnist for The Washington Post’s local team who writes about homeless shelters, gun control, high heels, high school choirs, the politics of parenting, jails, abortion clinics, mayors, modern families, strip clubs and gas prices, among other things. View Archive
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    Because the great Harvard-Stanford admissions hoax of 2015 should tell you all you need to know about where Ivy League insanity can lead. And it’s pretty ugly.

    The hoax was concocted by a TJ student who claimed that she was so amazeballs brilliant at one of the country’s best public high schools that Harvard and Stanford universities were totally fighting over her.

    She said Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg called her to persuade her to pick Harvard. (Um, which he never graduated from.) She waved around a letter from a Stanford dean who wrote (in the exact same, cute handwriting as the dean from Harvard, oddly) “Go Trees!” Then the two schools supposedly offered her dual enrollment — two years at one campus and two years at the other.

    She was a media darling back home in South Korea, where she became known as “Genius Girl.”

    Ouch when it all came crashing down, right?

    [Harvard-Stanford admissions hoax becomes international scandal]

    Her elaborate ruse was uncovered last week, and her dad, who has been described as a tech executive with a South Korean company, issued a poignant apology that acknowledged the pressure cooker that his daughter’s life had become.

    “I am sincerely sorry for causing trouble with what is not true,” he wrote, according to Yonhap, the South Korean news agency. “I am deeply repentant that I failed to watch properly over how painful and difficult a situation the child has been in so far and that I even aggravated and enlarged her suffering. . . . From now on, the whole family will live a quiet life, devoting ourselves to getting the child cured well and taking good care of her.”

    Our college admissions death struggle has been building for years. Kids are taking the SAT a dozen times, applying to two dozen schools and hiring college admissions coaches for their best shot at an Ivy League welcome letter.

    Now add to that madness students from an even more competitive culture 7,000 miles away from the Washington suburbs.

    In South Korea, TJ — yes, a public high school in an American suburb — gets rock-star status. The Korean Embassy has the admissions requirements for TJ on its Web site. Preschools near Korean churches advertise that they can help kids get into TJ. There is an entire subculture of Korean parents who establish residency in Northern Virginia — one parent comes, while the other usually stays behind — with the sole purpose of getting their kid into TJ.

    South Korea’s college admissions mania makes our homegrown version look like amateur hour.

    Students there often have 14-hour school days, and the entire nation’s air traffic is grounded — to keep airspace quiet — on the national testing day for the one, big college entrance exam that can determine a student’s future.

    The stories of teen suicides are frequent — it is the leading cause of death among teens in South Korea — and 60 percent of teens said they suffer from chronic, school-related stress, according to a government survey,

    (The leading causes of death among American teens are, ranked in order: accidents, homicide and suicide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

    TJ is an impressive place, filled with in­cred­ibly smart kids. This year, one of its seniors, Pooja Chandrashekar, made national news by getting into all eight Ivies.

    [Super student gets 14 college welcome letters, including all 8 Ivies]

    Pooja had a 4.57 grade-point average and near-perfect SAT scores. She founded a national nonprofit group that pushes middle school girls to get into STEM programs, and she developed a mobile app that predicts with 96 percent accuracy whether a person has Parkinson’s disease based on speech-pattern analysis.

    “We celebrate the accomplishment of students who get into all eight Ivies,” Brandon Kosatka, TJ’s director of student services, told The Washington Post’s T. Rees Shapiro last week. “That’s the bar, and our kids are shooting for that. They don’t like to be the second-best. If that’s the bar, then, yes, that creates anxiety for them.”

    That’s the bar? Kids are doomed.

    The relentless pressure to achieve may be triggering suicides in some of the nation’s highest-achieving areas.

    In the Palo Alto school district in Silicon Valley, there were two waves of suicides in the past five years. Most of the teens stepped in front of trains.

    In Northern Virginia, suicide clusters among high-achieving high schoolers prompted an investigation by federal health officials.

    [Two teen suicides in two days: Unthinkable until it happened]

    I was at one of the memorials last year, and the students I talked to all said they, too, feel the crush of school stress. Most get only four or five hours of sleep every night because they’re so laden with homework and scheduled activities.

    Here’s the worst part of it, the part that Genius Girl illustrates so perfectly.

    This is not about academics. It is not about a monastic love of learning, the dogged pursuit of discovery, the challenge of exploration or the odyssey of the mind.

    This entire, whackadoo college admissions obsession is about status.

    Genius Girl would have breezed into just about any university in America. And the truth is, most successful Americans did not graduate from an Ivy League school. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg, if you can get him on the phone.

    There is no nobility in driving kids to stress, exhaustion, delusional hoaxes and suicide in a craven race for platinum-plated university credentials.

    Parents and kids? Lean back, let go and be honest about what it is you’re really trying to achieve. Maybe have an ice pop while you’re at it.

    Twitter: @petulad

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    Last Samurai
    6/26/2015 2:59 AM EDT
    This is a good example that the Koreans are with a lump of the vanity only assessing people based a diploma from brand name schools, and or the employment with reputable companies despite South Korea has never had any Nobel prize winner in the field of Physics, Chemistry, Medical Science, Literature and Economics.

    This Korean’s inferiority complex comes perhaps from their mentality of being a tributary state to China for over 2,000 years whilst none of Korean ancestors could establish own diplomacy. Historically, Korea and its predecessors have always been annoyed and indecisive on the horns of a dilemma between the reigning powers and emerging powers in China.
    LikeShare
    brian112358
    6/25/2015 3:09 AM EDT
    It’s not all about status. Being a student an elite school is not nothing. It is a big deal.

    It’s true that it’s overblown. And it’s true that some people want it for the wrong reasons, but it’s not nothing.
    LikeShare
    warbux
    6/24/2015 6:10 PM EDT
    Ms Dvorak is spot on. There are many different opinions as to what constitutes success in life. For some it includes wealth, fame, status and power or a combination thereof. Graduating from a highly rated college or university would probably improve the odds for those seeking such goals, and there is no question that such individuals can powerfully influence society for good or ill.

    It is no surprise, however, that the combination of intellectual curiosity, a healthy work ethic and a well integrated personality will go a long way when combined with an average or better IQ and a good but not necessarily gold plated education.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the level of competition for those slots not already reserved for athletes, legacies and certain demographic groups at top ranked institutions is stimulating a great deal of unnecessary neurosis among parents and children.
    LikeShare
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 3:24 PM EDT
    This article is incredibly misleading. TJ has not had a suicide in recent memory (nobody even recalls the last time there was one). If you’re going to complain about a school, at least complain about issues actually present at the school.
    LikeShare1
    cjw1973
    6/24/2015 3:36 PM EDT
    In the 90’s, I remember reading one of the TJ kid’s parents killed themselves. The parent, not the child, and it was over financial issues. Does that count?
    Like1
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 4:18 PM EDT
    I meant a student that was attending at the time of their death, but I was not aware of that. There was a former student my sophomore year whose death was ruled a suicide. He was a freshman at Yale at the time and it was over some debacle with a research team he was involved with at Yale (it had nothing to do with TJ).
    LikeShare
    Bee88
    6/25/2015 1:32 PM EDT
    I don’t think she ever actually said that it was students from TJ that committed suicide. She talked about kids in S. Korea, Palo Alto, and a different school in Northern Virginia. But yes, I agree it is very misleading to have a whole article about TJ and that also focuses heavily on suicide, when the two aren’t technically connected.
    Like
    ttt
    6/24/2015 2:10 PM EDT [Edited]
    Collaboration, cooperation and support are not the cultural norms at TJ. Its all about competition, which educators will tell doesn’t foster intellectual growth for adolescents and in fact stifles it. No one wants to ask a “dumb” question or appear to be unsure of anything. They are still 14-18 year olds after all who are insecure and don’t know it all.
    LikeShare
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 6:00 PM EDT
    I went to TJ…. collaboration, cooperation, and support ARE the norms at TJ, not competition. Those who claim otherwise have never attended, set foot in, or talked to any student from TJ.
    Like
    ttt
    6/26/2015 7:02 PM EDT
    I have set foot in TJ. I speak from experience. The competition and stress among students has only increased.
    LikeShare
    tiglathpileser
    6/25/2015 10:59 AM EDT
    Have many friends whose kids go to TJ, and they consistently say that this is a school where you are not mocked or seen as different for being brainy and focused on academics. So while there may be competition for grades, and the level of competition maybe high, overall the atmosphere and peer groups are very supportive.
    Like1
    ttt
    6/26/2015 7:04 PM EDT
    In TJ, you don’t admit any doubt or weakness, its the culture. Teens need to be able to express insecurity and know they can ask for help.
    LikeShare
    ttt
    6/24/2015 2:04 PM EDT
    I hope this girl and her family get the psychological help they need. Ethical and moral behavior needs to be taught at home and at school.
    Students in fairfax county are depressed and stressed because they have been falsely conditioned to believe their entire future depends on where they go to college at the expense at what kind of human being they become.
    LikeShare
    aswqwer
    6/24/2015 12:42 PM EDT
    Why does everyone think that this is normal at TJ?
    This girl’s actions was hugely frowned upon by her peers and most kids at TJ are satisfied with whatever school they get into, Ivy League or not. Of course, every student at TJ dreams of going to a prestigious school, but they don’t treat rejection as the end of their lives, and often don’t even care about it.
    As for the racial imbalance here at TJ… Most of the applicants are Asian and TJ uses a point system in the application system based on the test score and activities. Perhaps TJ should implement a system that could help students from a wider range of socio-economic groups to be admitted, since poorer students have less access to extracurricular activities, but this imbalance exists not because Asians are naturally smart or that TJ has a racial preference to Asians, but Asian students do the most to make their applications more attractive.
    Also, to all the comments saying that the Asian students are illegal immigrants, most of them are US citizens and so are their families AND even the non-citizen ones pay taxes.
    And let’s be honest here: if TJ was 99% white, would anyone be complaining?
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    sequoiakc
    6/24/2015 12:11 PM EDT
    It’s true, a lot of this getting into the big name private school(s) is all over “prestige & status”.

    Thank goodness for the Commonwealth of Virginia having such great public schools as Univ. Virginia, …William & Mary, …Virginia Tech, …Christopher Newport University, …James Madison University, etc.
    LikeShare2
    truthforever
    6/24/2015 6:06 PM EDT
    I agree, but why did you list CNU before JMU? And what about Mary Washington?
    Like
    Edward Hashima
    6/24/2015 10:45 AM EDT
    The eight “Ivy League” institutions have ONE thing in common: they play sports in an athletic conference. That is it. Please stop touting the “admitted to all eight ‘Ivies'” nonsense. It just fuels the anxieties that are at the root of this poor girl’s story.
    LikeShare
    bobfonow
    6/24/2015 1:43 AM EDT
    So what I am reading here is that Thomas Jefferson has become an Ivy League prep school for parents from countries that have inadequate education systems – at the expense of Fairfax County taxpayers. In fact, they are free loading on Fairfax County taxpayers. Why are FC taxpayers putting up with this. We need to elect a school board that deals with this situation.

    Fairfax County has a plethora of very good high schools. TJ has no political, social, or moral right to increasingly scarce education funds. That TJ has a 70% Asian intact indicates an imbalance that goes well beyond chance, and indicates a cultural strategy. That is not illegal but it may eventually lead to an unpredictable, unwanted and unnecessary backlash. Make TJ an area and neighborhood high school like the rest of the very good high schools in the county.

    LikeShare5
    beachlover
    6/24/2015 8:13 AM EDT
    I absolutely agree! School systems rail against “tracking” students except when it comes to the intellectually gifted. Then it’s just fine to use scarce educational dollars to design an elite cocoon for them to the detriment of other much-needed programs in the county.
    Like
    PunxatawneyPhil
    6/24/2015 11:04 AM EDT
    The intellectually gifted are the ones who invented everthing — the wheel, microscopes, internal combustion engines, space flight, etc — that keep us from sleeping in caves for our short lives.

    Letting the gifted develop their gifts is the best possible thing for society.
    LikeShare3
    cjw1973
    6/24/2015 11:28 AM EDT
    beachlover’s statement isn’t even true. Kids with autism have their own track. Kids who can’t speak English get their own track too. Kids with down syndrome have their own track too. Student athletes effectively have their own academic track up until they turn Pro. But hey, any lie to bash the non-ditch diggers in our world will do, right ??
    LikeShare1
    PinkieMe
    6/24/2015 10:31 AM EDT
    I wonder if Bobfonow would complain if TJ is 98% white.
    The fact that TJ has so many Asian kids is not due to its admission policy. It is due to the investment Asian families put into education. Is that a bad thing?
    It’s funny to read Bobfonow’s comment “imbalance…may eventually lead to an unpredictable, unwanted and unnecessary backlash” I do wonder what kind of backlashes Bobfonow referred to.
    Like2
    Maruka2
    6/25/2015 2:38 PM EDT [Edited]
    I would have no problem if TJ was primarily Asian-American, but it sounds like part of the issue is that families from Asia that have no intention of immigrating here are gaming the system by using a public school as a free prep school to get their kids into top American universities. That’s not what the taxpayers are supporting magnet schools FOR.

    If it were a private, fee-based school, it could do whatever it wants. And surely families that can afford to maintain two households could afford a boarding school.
    LikeShare
    Karen Johnson
    6/24/2015 1:26 AM EDT
    Your lack of reasoning is horrific. Hard work regardless of ethnicity, is still how to grab the big, brass ring. Most of your comments are commonly-heard excuses because of personal weakness and jealousy.
    LikeShare2
    bobfonow
    6/24/2015 1:49 AM EDT
    No one is decrying hard work, or anyone trying to grab the brass ring, however anyone defines it. There is a numbers issue here. Many Fairfax County parents operate under a sense that there is something traditionally American in the way they bring up their families, There is a growing sense that this is being undermined by those who see in this an advantage to be exploited. That is not a good social development, or a recipe for a stable community. There may be some jealousy, but that’s not the whole story here.
    Like
    asarkano
    6/23/2015 11:27 PM EDT
    Part 5 of 5

    If more white American, Native-American Indian, and African-American students—starting from age 4 had their lives fully financed with significant amounts of cash they could absolutely be more academically competitive. However, the fact of the matter is, African-Americans—constantly under siege by racist white cops and racist employer ratio historically sacrificed a great deal and basically cleared the way and did all of the hard work so that Asian-American immigrants could step into America…seize the social and academic benefits created by historically persecuted African-Americans and Native-American Indians.

    But if the US government does its job, and thoroughly criminally investigates Asian-American families—and their real origin of wealth (in America and in their respective Asian motherlands) starting with Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia, Stuyvesant High School, and Bronx High School in New York City, they will arrest and imprison the largest number of white and blue collar criminals in American immigrant history….

    And if Asian-Americans balk at these closer criminal investigations…they should not because if they and their parents and grandparents did things honestly…then what do they have to lose. Honest Asian-Americans…and Asians should have nothing to fear….

    And by the way, since Asians or Asian-American complained that they were being racially discriminated against, perhaps the parents of white, black, and legal Latino students who were rejected by Thomas Jefferson High School should now launch a multi-million US dollar lawsuit also claiming that they were racially discriminated against because they were not Asian. After all, what is goose should be good for the gander…and if anyone has a better standing to launch such a lawsuit, it is traditional Americans whose ancestors built, fought, died, and militarily defended America…long before an Indian could spell…the United States of America….
    LikeShare
    asarkano
    6/23/2015 11:27 PM EDT
    Part 4 of 5

    Now this is an average Chinese family of tax evaders or terrorist tax evaders just imagine the exponential amounts of money they can make from a legitimate or illegal business—if they are the owners of their business. The American tax system is based on an honor system of honestly reporting income.

    However, more often than no, Chinese or Asians look at this system as “foolhardy” and “too naive” and simply lie to the US government—hoard the cash—to avoid paying US taxes or any other expenses…and live high off the hog…just like an illegal female Latina graduate from a California University walking across the stage and waving a Mexican flag at the American people, Congress, and the US government….

    An average American family of eight, reports all of the adult income based on their social security numbers, and still encounter a large tax liability even with the tax deductions. And if they fail to pay their fair share of taxes…they get their job salary garnisheed or imprisoned.

    Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Northern Virginia may think that it is producing scholars, but not criminally investigating the myriads of Asian families cheating the American tax system of trust to access a free American education and food.

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    asarkano
    6/23/2015 11:26 PM EDT
    After the American immigration visa is issued, the husband—the English speaker and “The Primary” on the application gets a “legitimate” job and reports his taxes using his social security number. The Chinese wife—who never uses her social security number gets an off the books job in a Chinese clothes factory or club—of a few hundred US dollars a week part-time and more full-time.

    The grandparents take care of the kids, to avoid nanny or day care costs if they are too young, or if they are older high school students, the grandparents also get a job—not using their social security number—off the books in Chinatown or another Asian sweatshop—off the books making a few hundred dollars each and not declaring or paying taxes. They hide and hoard the weekly money in a US deposit box or in a safe or box at home—which could be as much as an extra thousand US dollars or more of undeclared money. They even electronic money back home to Hong Kong (then have a family member to deposit it into mainland China account) that does not report its accounts to America’s IRS.

    The Chinese husband declares that he made only two thousand US dollars a month, gets significant tax credits and deductibles for supporting a family of eight people, while his wife, parents, and in-laws made a few extra thousand US dollars that the IRS never finds out about. With the vast amounts of extra undeclared income, Asian children can pay for tutors outside the classroom, can pay for 3rd parties to take their international examinations, as well as take winter and summer vacations, buy expensive cars to drive to school in and buy expensive designer clothes….
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    asarkano
    6/23/2015 11:26 PM EDT
    Part 3 of 5

    family in the school to track down the original sources of their financial income and real estate property assets dating back two to three generations.

    And as for the myth that Asian-American students are academically very good in school, that is the biggest DNA lie in history. Any statistician will tell you that there is a direct correlation between greater wealth and better achievement in academic schools, especially when great amounts of extra disposable income can pay for more academic tutors (after school) and a better way of life to help Asian students relax with summer and winter family vacations, country club membership, cars, and bar money after the pressures of school and tests.

    Just picture this. You are an Asian (Chinese) family from Hong Kong with eight people (husband + his two parents, wife + her two parents, and two school children) in a foreign country that has a bad economy. You fill out an immigration application for America—presumably a nation with the best economy, or perhaps Canada, or even Australia—but never honestly declare the actual amount of money and savings you have earned in Asia—or in the case of China—stolen as a political party member.

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    cjw1973
    6/24/2015 8:47 AM EDT
    You wrote: “And as for the myth that Asian-American students are academically very good in school, that is the biggest DNA lie in history.”

    I could care less about your other lies and slander against Asian Americans, but this one is just too funny to ignore. There is no piece of statistical evidence that backs up what you wrote above. The myth is not a myth. It’s fact. Every single IQ test, every SAT test, every PSAT test, every OECD PISA test, every Math/Physics/Chemistry Olympiad, every Intel STS, every Google Code Jam, every Nobel Prize in STEM, every Fields Medal winner tells any unbiased statistician the differences in achievement are NOT a statistical fluke. The results have been repeated in every single academic test for the last 70 years in both rich & very poor countries.
    Like1
    JGalt2
    6/24/2015 9:17 AM EDT
    I’ll admit – I didn’t read the entire thread. But the test scores only tell part of the story.
    In engineering grad school, I was one of the 15% of Americans the year I started. I was amazed at the mathematical abilities of the Indian and Chinese students.
    But statistics can be deceiving. I don’t argue about the higher SAT, etc. scores. But what we’re seeing isn’t representative of race, it’s representative of a biased study. Average or below-average students don’t come to the US. We get only the cream of the crop – the 99.999th percentile of a 2 billion population. So, it’s not really representative of any race’s population, just the genetics of the top-notch people that have immigrated.
    LikeShare
    cjw1973
    6/24/2015 9:47 AM EDT [Edited]
    @JGalt2
    I wasn’t just talking about Asian Americans, but Asians in Asia also(and some in very poor countries). For example, the OECD PISA tests are administered at the country level.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PISA_2012

    Here’s 2015 Google Code Jam results:

    http://www.go-hero.net/jam/15/regions

    I could go on and go. But if you don’t see a simple pattern here, nothing I say will convince you.
    LikeShare
    asarkano
    6/23/2015 11:26 PM EDT
    (8) Native-American Indians, African-Americans, Latino-Americans, and white Americans, as well as Hollywood actors and actresses—both white-collar and blue-collar are sent to jail and prison every week for committing crimes—especially tax crimes.

    (9) Therefore, it is incumbent upon the D.O.J. and the District Attorney in every jurisdiction of America to start an ambitious campaign of targeting highly illegal criminal activity (i.e. prostitution, gambling, sex trade and human trafficking, illegal banks and loan offices, real estate fraud offices and businesses with fraudulent financial documents when applying for loans from American banks, drugs, that has gone on for far too long in Asian communities throughout the nation.

    Jung Yoon Kim, who goes by Sara, is graduating this year from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, one of the nation’s top high schools, but her behavior is nothing short of criminal fraud, which warrants the IRS, FBI, and every other law enforcement agency in America to criminally investigate every Asian
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    asarkano
    6/23/2015 11:25 PM EDT
    Part 2 of 5
    (4) immigrant children went to American schools—for free education and free lunch—which means paid for by American taxpayers.

    (5) The rest of the immigrant adult family members (i.e. Chinese, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, etc.) did not pay the IRS…a dime, but instead worked off the books in California and New York sweatshop factories, hoarded their cash (not in US banks) at home or in small Chinese, Indian, and Asian banks that unscrupulously helped Asians/Asian-Americans to hide money and wire money back home to their Hong Kong and other Asian banks…while the IRS feverishly hounded hardworking white, Jewish white, and black & West Indian American taxpayers—with registered social security numbers—to death, even imprisoning them for tax violations.
    (6) Asians or Asian-American households were basically given a free historical pass by the IRS and the US State Department—mainly because they were never monitored and given surprise visits once they were allowed in the United States—so Asian terrorists and Asian serial tax evaders—many of which could not speak English…now living in America with big homes in the richest Los Angeles, San Francisco, Virginia, Texas, and New York City zip codes, driving expensive cars, and wearing designer clothes.

    (7) And even after the IRS and the US State Department were told of myriads of these Asian tax crimes…did not form a special task force and put these Asian-American criminals in prison and deport them.

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    asarkano
    6/23/2015 11:25 PM EDT
    As for the article about the KOREAN HOAX GIRL:

    (1) This South Korean father, Kim Jun-wook missed the entire point…or what should have been the “moral” point…of this article. He spent more time apologizing and allegedly taking responsibility for his daughter’s actions, and lamenting the academic pressure of his high school daughter—than focusing on the most important fact—his daughter committed fraud, which of late appears to be fast-becoming the rule—and general habit of criminal behavior in college admissions and international commercial trade—by Asians and Asian-Americans—rather than the exception.
    (2) America is a nation of laws…and this is no secret, and it is time that the Department of Justice (D.O.J.) and the United States Attorney General, ICE, DEA, ATF, US CUSTOMS, the FBI, and even the ETS (Educational Testing Service) administering international tests start sending Asian-Americans and Asians to prison for breaking the law. There is more than sufficient evidence and probable cause to start arresting and imprisoning Asians and Asian-Americans for committing ongoing criminal activity. For the last 100-years, white Americans and African-Americans have wasted so much time in unnecessary historical racial conflict that both were being concomitantly conned by Asian-Americans—clearly breaking the law—but hiding under the radar for the last few generations.

    (3) When the US State Department allowed them into the country, they disappeared, and in many cases of multiple family members, only registered the social security number of “one” family worker—the primary, while the

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    asarkano
    6/23/2015 11:24 PM EDT
    Part 1 of 5

    To traditional Native-American Indian (Hawaiian & Alaskan), Latino-American, African-American, Caribbean-American, white American, and African people (whose family of “legal” immigrants hail from America 3-generations or longer):

    [And Yes, 3 is the magic number because as of the last few decades (more than any other time in US history) too many legal/illegal immigrants disrespected America’s largesse and came into the country and comprised its national security with illegal immigration, or dangerous Islamic, communist, terrorist, anti-American divided loyalties.

    For this reason, the US Congress, State Department, and the next President in the White House needs to…with the exception of marriage and adoption, suspend US immigration including H-1B work visas for 10 years in order to deport illegal aliens (and send expenses to their respective foreign governments or that nation cannot do business in America until paid), provide more jobs for “traditional 3rd generation or older Americans” as well as overhaul the immigration process]:
    LikeShare
    disappointedindependent
    6/23/2015 10:53 PM EDT
    Says the woman who went to USC.

    I’m sure you’re career would have had the same trajectory if you went to nowhere state.

    That’s why there’s such competition and intensity. Because where you go to college often – did I mention often – matters tremendously. As an alum of USC, I’m quite sure that you understand – and understood when you went to college at an elite university – that.

    You’re a hypocrite.
    LikeShare
    Rockvillers
    6/23/2015 7:44 PM EDT
    So where is the affirmative action program for white students and black students and Hispanic students since TJ’s next year’s freshman class is 70 percent Asian???????
    LikeShare
    pmichaelis
    6/23/2015 7:33 PM EDT [Edited]
    I started my career as a green grocer in a supermarket and finished my career as a technical manager at world renowned Bell Laboratories in charge of various projects ranging from submarine quieting to underwater sound systems. Along the way I acquired 12 patents, lectured at Universities Of Moscow, Leningrad and Tbilisi, received IEEE Liebmann Award for discoveries in magnetic memories and managed to have a interesting collection of hobbies.
    All of this came about because I went to night college and interested my employer in sponsoring me through to my Masters in Physics.

    The point being, you don’t have to hang a prestigious sheepskin from a “name” college on your wall to succeed; you need to apply the drive to succeed in the proper direction………..
    LikeShare5
    noaxe397
    6/23/2015 6:41 PM EDT
    I had a C average in a public high school in the south Bronx. I never would have gotten into college if City university of NY did not have an open admissions program. Essentially, can you fog a mirror?

    My father became disabled at 51 and we lived on SSI. City University of NY was free of charge to NYC residents. As it had been since before the Civil War.

    I was eligible for a BEOG grant of $35 every two weeks so I could buy books and stuff and pay fees.
    But, I had to work every year to earn an amount equal to the grant to keep it.

    And THAT was the key. I learned how to interface in the working world with others at any early age. I learned how to mange my own money and negotiate for it and budget it.

    Rest assured, 45 years later I’ve paid more than enough extra in taxes to pay back what that education and assistance cost the government.

    Thanks, America and thanks NYC for thinking boldly and progressively.
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    dmarney
    6/23/2015 5:52 PM EDT
    You can say this two times and mean it.
    LikeShare
    SocialistSecurity
    6/23/2015 5:47 PM EDT
    The only thing these idiots are good for is to subsidize my Social Security.
    LikeShare
    comment2357
    6/23/2015 6:22 PM EDT
    Sorry, but foreigners buying US real estate for the school districts and living here on 10 year multiple entry tourist visas don’t have to pay taxes. That’s why Australia banned foreign purchases of existing real estate, and I think if American voters and politicians were as smart, they would have already done the same. If you are a renter they might be collecting as your landlord, though, and then they might pay some tax.
    Like
    mc-squared
    6/23/2015 5:32 PM EDT
    Well, I didn’t start a billion dollar social-media company and have venture capital firms throwing money at me at the age of 25, but my BA and MBA from regional schools and Ph.D. from Maryland have allowed me to have a pretty lucrative career surrounded by lots of congenial and very smart colleagues.

    The smartest fellow I’ve ever met never graduated from college. He’s doing data-analysis for west coast utility companies part-time and working as a cabinet-maker as his full-time gig. It all depends on how you define success.
    LikeShare3
    samrtalec
    6/23/2015 4:14 PM EDT
    “Brandon Kosatka, TJ’s director of student services, told The Washington Post’s T. Rees Shapiro last week. “That’s the bar, and our kids are shooting for that. They don’t like to be the second-best. If that’s the bar, then, yes, that creates anxiety for them.”” –

    If that is how the students feel and get stressed about, what is Brandon Kosatka should do as director of student services? And through his comments above is he not encouraging to stress out even more? If the Board of TJ does its job well Brandon Kosatka should be fired immediately. Nothing is worth sacrificing an innocent teenager’s health, future, and worse still life!
    LikeShare4
    ClampBolt
    6/23/2015 4:44 PM EDT
    This is what the parents want from the school. If Brandon Kosatka was not representing the schools as making the students relentlessly driven, then he’d be fired and someone else would be hired who’d do that.
    Like1
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 3:28 PM EDT
    You misunderstood his message; that quote was taken out of context. He’s saying that as a society and in the media, those are the views held and celebrated. He is condemning those views. “If that’s the bar, then, yes, that creates anxiety for them” is showing that he believes those views are the core of the issue.
    Like
    chgobluesguy
    6/23/2015 3:31 PM EDT
    Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, Steven Spielberg, and John F. Kennedy did not need TJ to change the world. Do what you love; don’t worry about the trivialities others celebrate.
    LikeShare4
    StillinDC
    6/23/2015 3:29 PM EDT
    Unless you could make every school in the U.S. identical, and you can’t, there will be this pecking order and a limited number of slots at the schools at the top of the pecking order, and you will have people making themselves and their kids crazy because they want the brass ring. There was a story a few years ago about a young woman in California who told her parents she was into Stanford and actually went there and attended class, and it took some time before people figured out her story.

    I don’t see this as society’s problem. We don’t live in a bland vanilla society where everything’s exactly alike, and there will be competition for the things that are perceived to be of greater value, and there will be a very few outliers who just really lose it over the whole issue. Nothing about the society that we can change would have changed this. It’s one of the pitfalls of living in a diverse, competition-oriented, status-conscious society.
    LikeShare1
    bec215
    6/23/2015 2:35 PM EDT
    U.S. Higher education has been reduced to a commodity, and meanwhile we squash creativity by overscheduling kids, protecting them not just from true danger, but from the kinds of risks that enable young brains to be capable later of epiphanies and innovations that change the world- and inoculate them against feeling helpless to resolve conflict without the help of an adult.

    I am 40, and I’ve not had a true moment of feeling of nostalgia except when it comes to education. My husband, who got his degree recently, went to a top twenty business school and never had to write more than FIVE PAGES for a term paper, and most of those were done as group projects! It’s a farce, that will pay dividends for years to come. Everyone is so worried about social security, but I’m worried about the workforce of the future much more than the past!
    LikeShare7
    mc-squared
    6/23/2015 5:51 PM EDT
    Wow! Things sure have changed in the 20 or so years since I did my MBA at a regional school. We had to analyze a potential merger and provide a summary of the financials, product and distribution overlaps and inefficiencies, etc. etc. I think my paper was around 65 pages for that one assignment, and close to 100 with all the exhibits.

    Like1
    Point Break Hotel
    6/23/2015 6:09 PM EDT
    MC – This is precisely why the production of analytical work has fallen so far down a hole. The work that was done on the pass the trash mortgage securitizations of the pick a pay loan pools or the no down junk had to be written up. And it was, but by people without the basic tools to realize that they were writing up garbage as filet mignon. Interesting times. You see the same in a lot of legal work now.
    LikeShare1
    Point Break Hotel
    6/23/2015 6:09 PM EDT
    MC – This is precisely why the production of analytical work has fallen so far down a hole. The work that was done on the pass the trash mortgage securitizations of the pick a pay loan pools or the no down junk had to be written up. And it was, but by people without the basic tools to realize that they were writing up garbage as filet mignon. Interesting times. You see the same in a lot of legal work now.
    LikeShare1
    Squinksdad
    6/23/2015 2:28 PM EDT
    Nothing wrong with Land Grant Public universities “out in the sticks”. My baby girl (Squink) got her BS, then MS and PhD at two such non-Ivy schools (Berkeley, then Minnesota) and so far her career is OK.

    As for parental status: I brag on her all the time — she gets her brains from her mother and her beauty from me.
    LikeShare4
    Olivia LaRosa
    6/24/2015 1:56 AM EDT
    Berkeley is not just any land grant college in the sticks. It’s the flagship school of the Univ. CA system and a ticket into any Ivy postgraduate program.
    Like3
    ChicagoIllinois
    6/23/2015 2:22 PM EDT
    Just so you know, most of us are concerned with paying for college — not the status of the school.
    LikeShare2
    CriticalPerspective
    6/23/2015 2:24 PM EDT
    You can always just take out loans, right?
    Like
    bec215
    6/23/2015 2:40 PM EDT
    There are plenty of affordable schools, but you still have to choose a major that has a snowballs chance of qualifying you for a job that will pay the bills, and you most likely will have to take an unfulfilling job that lets you work your way up to what you want, all of which seem to be truths that students don’t want to hear and colleges do not want to admit to potential students, for fear of scaring them and losing revenue. An unfortunate combination of circumstances.
    Like3
    krenc
    6/24/2015 2:08 PM EDT
    My children all went to state supported schools. True, two of them went to UNC-Chapel Hill, which has always had a high status, but UNC also takes in students from counties across the state, not just from top-notch high schools. My children majored in English, history and French, not majors that typically are considered education for jobs; however, they all did get good jobs because they had DRIVE. I think that is also why so many Asian children do well. They don’t just inherit their intelligence, it is inculcated in them from an early age that you need DRIVE in order to succeed.
    LikeShare
    CriticalPerspective
    6/23/2015 2:12 PM EDT
    Too bad we can’t base status on good deeds/family/community contribution instead of education/salary/celebrity.
    LikeShare5
    Geezer4
    6/23/2015 3:10 PM EDT
    Benson, you have been reading David Brooks’ latest effort. You surprise me in a good way.
    Like1
    Themistocles USA
    6/23/2015 1:55 PM EDT
    Allow me to start the backlash: I would think twice about hiring an Ivy League graduate–and have. I want flexible, adaptive thinkers, not class-conscious climbers whose insecure parents excelled at career planning.
    LikeShare10
    Raymond Faulkner
    6/23/2015 2:16 PM EDT
    When I first started in consulting many years ago, I worked with a woman who had been a VP in a Madison Avenue advertising in the 70s and 80s. She once said, “We used to hire kids straight from the Ivies. After hiring a few top grads from second tier schools, we stopped hiring from the Ivies. They had an entitled attitude. The best from second tier schools were smarter, hungrier and more creative.” I have generally found that to be the case. Another type of person I like are really smart people from working class backgrounds. They bring a level of sophistication and practicality your rarely find.
    Like15
    StillinDC
    6/23/2015 3:31 PM EDT
    What’s flexible and adaptive about judging all Ivy league kids as the same?
    Like5
    Point Break Hotel
    6/23/2015 4:42 PM EDT
    I’ll go right ahead and add my voice to the hiring the working class, shoe leather graduates. Some of them do go to the Ivy’s. But I have run into plenty of IVY’s and the public school equivalents over the years who think that a piece of paper equals talent. It rarely plays that way in the real world. Worked during college? Went to night school and worked? Have a family and did that? Are personable and will work hard and play well in a mixed environment – You are hired.
    LikeShare3
    Themistocles USA
    6/23/2015 5:42 PM EDT
    I don’t think anyone is saying to paint them all with the same brush.

    Many undeniably brilliant kids are attracted to the Ivy League schools (cf. MIT). But the rest of them need to understand that in the real world, they will not be able to get a $250K job out of college by flashing their diploma at a recruiter. At the end of the day, a medieval English major is just a medieval English major, with two possible career paths: grad school and teaching, or Starbucks.

    It isn’t all sunshine, and many of us who manage people will be scrutinizing an Ivy Leaguer, particularly fresh graduates, knowing there is likely a pile of baggage behind the scenes.

    This is not a reality that many of these people (and their parents) expect, which is to network their way to that corner office at the ripe old age of 22.
    LikeShare2
    Raymond Faulkner
    6/23/2015 1:52 PM EDT [Edited]
    Three important facts:

    (1) There is no difference between the life time earnings of someone with an Ivy League undergraduate degree vs. other undergraduate degrees.
    (2) In the professional world, people only care about your graduate institution not your undergraduate institution. Students in top-5 graduate programs come from a wide range of schools, including state universities.
    (3) If a student is “lucky” enough to get into their stretch school, they will find themselves at the bottom of the heap academically, continually stretching to keep up. Keep in mind that top-5 graduate programs do not handicap applicants based on their undergraduate institution. A C+ from Princeton is still a C+.

    The point is – go to a school that is best fit for you, not most prestigious based on some magazine’s survey.
    LikeShare5
    cjw1973
    6/23/2015 5:16 PM EDT [Edited]
    The study you are citing found that future earnings are highly correlated with average SAT scores and not necessarily whether it’s an Ivy or not. And guess which high school in the country has the highest average SAT score by Far ?? A high SAT score, an Ivy diploma and a high salary are obviously not mutually exclusive things.

    Then you wrote: “top-5 graduate programs do not handicap applicants based on their undergraduate institution. A C+ from Princeton is still a C+”. This is a straw man argument and yes they do handicap the undergraduate institution. Of course a C+ from Harvard is still a C+, but how many C+’s does Harvard or Princeton give out each year?? Why not compare an A from Harvard against an A from George Mason or VaTech?? Which 4.0 GPA student would John Hopkins Medical School or Yale Law School be more likely to accept into their institution, the 4.0 from Harvard or the 4.0 from George Mason/VaTech. You may not like the answer, but I can tell you it is Harvard. So your non-handicapping claim is just false.
    Like2
    AWV
    6/23/2015 1:37 PM EDT
    The problem is systemic: Students; parents; prep schools; teachers and counselors; The College Board; US News & World Report; universities/admissions officials; corporate recruiters, etc. They all play a role in creating this culture of competition and over-achievement. And they’re all concerned with status and money!
    LikeShare12
    Cubby_Michael
    6/23/2015 1:28 PM EDT
    It’s sad that educating children for some morphed from just ensuring they were well rounded, to a master plan that sets one or two specific schools as the goal, with any others considered some form of failure.

    The reality is that most hiring managers care that a young person has the degree. They care about what they studied. They care about many things, but for most jobs an Ivy League degree is just as good as one from any other accredited college.

    Seems a lot of fuss and stress for something that’s apt to be viewed by the world as just a degree, nothing more.
    LikeShare3
    jct4
    6/23/2015 1:25 PM EDT
    How do all these Koreans get visas to allow one parent and child to live in Fairfax Country to attend our schools while the working parent remains behind in Korea? Something does not smell right here.
    LikeShare2
    Cubby_Michael
    6/23/2015 1:29 PM EDT
    This is nothing new overall. Everyone I know has a story of some relative coming first, setting up shop and bringing the rest of the family. The only difference in this case is that the kid’s here, rather than back home.
    Like
    guwinster
    6/23/2015 3:24 PM EDT
    Well a lot of these kids are rich so their parents just get an E-2 investor visa or they plop $500,000 into some random American business to get an EB-5 visa the later of which leads to a green card. Upper-middle and middle class Koreans may come here under the 90-day tourist visa-waiver program and secretly look for a job, after which one of the two parents applies for a more permanent work visa and brings the child with them.
    Like1
    comment2357
    6/23/2015 6:35 PM EDT
    The US now has 10 year multiple-entry tourist visas with China and many other countries such as India, so you get one of those, buy yourself a couple million dollars worth of house in a good school district, throw in a local apartment complex (raising the rents if possible), and now you have income, diversification, and a place to live in the US. For these Asian families, it is really essential to have the English immersion as well, because they know how important this is to higher education success. Out here in Silicon Valley, about half the time you talk to someone of Chinese, Japanese, or Indian descent who actually has a job here, they are hysterical about how their parents, friends, and everyone else is being pushed out of housing by the tidal wave of home buyers from Asia. These buyers have made up 25-50% of the market since the 2008 crash, they are coming here because the US has the only multi-national, technological center of innovative excellence, and because they are effectively throwing in the towel on their chauvinistic hopes that India/China/Japan will be #1. Australia banned foreign purchase of existing real estate to prevent this from happening, and if California had any sense it would do the same. Instead we have Matthew Jacobs, head of the California’s Affordable Housing Agency, displacing working renters to sell to these very investors. Voter proposition, anyone?
    Like1
    dcc1968
    6/23/2015 1:22 PM EDT
    Looks like the Post is rerunning a story from a couple weeks ago.
    LikeShare
    Sue Green
    6/23/2015 12:11 PM EDT
    The problem is NOT this poor girl. The actual hoax is bigger. Real journalists must investigate & reveal the actual situation, as this is a mere reaction. The REAL hoax is perpetrated by HYPS insiders, ranging from HYPS administrators, faculty, big donors, research scientists etc, who commonly commit fraud on behalf of their own undeserving, quite average, teen aged children. Imagine this: A HYPS adminstrator or prof puts their own 16 year old kid in an underling’s/ colleague’s RESEARCH LAB — this happens daily at HYPS!!!! That AVERAGE teen is placed on major research! Often, a TA is pressured* to help the high school student.Then that student goes on to become an INTEL or Siemens finalist/winner. That underserving student is thought to be a brilliant prodigy, haha. They are nothing of the sort, they are merely unbelievably connected and had ridiculous ACCESS, gaining them a FAST PASS to HYPS for their college applications. I have a great new hobby: Google all Intel and Seimens winners and then Google their parents and you will see POWERFUL people who can ORDER their kids into the top research labs in the country. Some are deans. Some are faculty members. Some are researchers themselves! Some give a lot of money. These are not 16 or 17 year old science prodigies we are talking about. They’re are thousands of these frauds! THIS is the reason so many legitimately, smart kids are sadly stepping in front of trains in CA, or are lying about acceptances; no matter how many A’s they earn, no matter their sacrifices they made as kids – they CANT WIN! Why? Because some middle aged ENTITLED HYPS administrator or donor will exert POWER and place their average teen ahead of the smartest, hardest-working high school students, placing them at the forefront of science research lol. And no one questions legitimacy of these average teen doing Phd research?! JOKE! TAs do the work- UNDER PRESSURE! A HOAX by insiders- that’s the dirty secret of colleges and admissions.
    LikeShare4
    John721
    6/23/2015 12:03 PM EDT
    My oldest daughter applied and was accepted to the first class at Thomas Jefferson. She had been attending GT center schools since 3rd grade and she asked if she could just attend her regular high school with her friends. We agreed with what she chose.

    She graduated from a very good school and got an MBA. She is a CPA and the mother of four children. She was a well rounded young woman who enjoyed her teenage years. Perhaps Fairfax county needs to reevaluate what Thomas Jefferson has become. This subculture of “succeed at all costs” that has developed in the Asian community has led to the next class consisting of 70% Asian students. That is not Fairfax County and the school board needs to look at what is happening and the effect it has upon these young students.
    LikeShare11
    jct4
    6/23/2015 1:28 PM EDT
    The increasing emphasis on test scores in the TJ admissions process instead of activities that indicate that the student is passionate about STEM subjects is a major reason why the character of TJ has changed so greatly since its earlier years. TJ needs to go back to its roots, instead of being a glorified general GT center at the high school level.
    Like2

  7. It’s all about the status quo man

    All Comments
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    Last Samurai
    6/26/2015 2:59 AM EDT
    This is a good example that the Koreans are with a lump of the vanity only assessing people based a diploma from brand name schools, and or the employment with reputable companies despite South Korea has never had any Nobel prize winner in the field of Physics, Chemistry, Medical Science, Literature and Economics.

    This Korean’s inferiority complex comes perhaps from their mentality of being a tributary state to China for over 2,000 years whilst none of Korean ancestors could establish own diplomacy. Historically, Korea and its predecessors have always been annoyed and indecisive on the horns of a dilemma between the reigning powers and emerging powers in China.
    LikeShare
    brian112358
    6/25/2015 3:09 AM EDT
    It’s not all about status. Being a student an elite school is not nothing. It is a big deal.

    It’s true that it’s overblown. And it’s true that some people want it for the wrong reasons, but it’s not nothing.
    LikeShare
    warbux
    6/24/2015 6:10 PM EDT
    Ms Dvorak is spot on. There are many different opinions as to what constitutes success in life. For some it includes wealth, fame, status and power or a combination thereof. Graduating from a highly rated college or university would probably improve the odds for those seeking such goals, and there is no question that such individuals can powerfully influence society for good or ill.

    It is no surprise, however, that the combination of intellectual curiosity, a healthy work ethic and a well integrated personality will go a long way when combined with an average or better IQ and a good but not necessarily gold plated education.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the level of competition for those slots not already reserved for athletes, legacies and certain demographic groups at top ranked institutions is stimulating a great deal of unnecessary neurosis among parents and children.
    LikeShare
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 3:24 PM EDT
    This article is incredibly misleading. TJ has not had a suicide in recent memory (nobody even recalls the last time there was one). If you’re going to complain about a school, at least complain about issues actually present at the school.
    LikeShare1
    cjw1973
    6/24/2015 3:36 PM EDT
    In the 90’s, I remember reading one of the TJ kid’s parents killed themselves. The parent, not the child, and it was over financial issues. Does that count?
    Like1
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 4:18 PM EDT
    I meant a student that was attending at the time of their death, but I was not aware of that. There was a former student my sophomore year whose death was ruled a suicide. He was a freshman at Yale at the time and it was over some debacle with a research team he was involved with at Yale (it had nothing to do with TJ).
    LikeShare
    Bee88
    6/25/2015 1:32 PM EDT
    I don’t think she ever actually said that it was students from TJ that committed suicide. She talked about kids in S. Korea, Palo Alto, and a different school in Northern Virginia. But yes, I agree it is very misleading to have a whole article about TJ and that also focuses heavily on suicide, when the two aren’t technically connected.
    Like
    ttt
    6/24/2015 2:10 PM EDT [Edited]
    Collaboration, cooperation and support are not the cultural norms at TJ. Its all about competition, which educators will tell doesn’t foster intellectual growth for adolescents and in fact stifles it. No one wants to ask a “dumb” question or appear to be unsure of anything. They are still 14-18 year olds after all who are insecure and don’t know it all.
    LikeShare
    guineagirl
    6/24/2015 6:00 PM EDT
    I went to TJ…. collaboration, cooperation, and support ARE the norms at TJ, not competition. Those who claim otherwise have never attended, set foot in, or talked to any student from TJ.
    Like
    ttt
    6/26/2015 7:02 PM EDT
    I have set foot in TJ. I speak from experience. The competition and stress among students has only increased.
    LikeShare
    tiglathpileser
    6/25/2015 10:59 AM EDT
    Have many friends whose kids go to TJ, and they consistently say that this is a school where you are not mocked or seen as different for being brainy and focused on academics. So while there may be competition for grades, and the level of competition maybe high, overall the atmosphere and peer groups are very supportive.
    Like1
    ttt
    6/26/2015 7:04 PM EDT
    In TJ, you don’t admit any doubt or weakness, its the culture. Teens need to be able to express insecurity and know they can ask for help.
    LikeShare
    ttt
    6/24/2015 2:04 PM EDT
    I hope this girl and her family get the psychological help they need. Ethical and moral behavior needs to be taught at home and at school.
    Students in fairfax county are depressed and stressed because they have been falsely conditioned to believe their entire future depends on where they go to college at the expense at what kind of human being they become.
    LikeShare
    aswqwer
    6/24/2015 12:42 PM EDT
    Why does everyone think that this is normal at TJ?
    This girl’s actions was hugely frowned upon by her peers and most kids at TJ are satisfied with whatever school they get into, Ivy League or not. Of course, every student at TJ dreams of going to a prestigious school, but they don’t treat rejection as the end of their lives, and often don’t even care about it.
    As for the racial imbalance here at TJ… Most of the applicants are Asian and TJ uses a point system in the application system based on the test score and activities. Perhaps TJ should implement a system that could help students from a wider range of socio-economic groups to be admitted, since poorer students have less access to extracurricular activities, but this imbalance exists not because Asians are naturally smart or that TJ has a racial preference to Asians, but Asian students do the most to make their applications more attractive.
    Also, to all the comments saying that the Asian students are illegal immigrants, most of them are US citizens and so are their families AND even the non-citizen ones pay taxes.
    And let’s be honest here: if TJ was 99% white, would anyone be complaining?
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    LikeShare4
    sequoiakc
    6/24/2015 12:11 PM EDT
    It’s true, a lot of this getting into the big name private school(s) is all over “prestige & status”.

    Thank goodness for the Commonwealth of Virginia having such great public schools as Univ. Virginia, …William & Mary, …Virginia Tech, …Christopher Newport University, …James Madison University, etc.
    LikeShare2
    truthforever
    6/24/2015 6:06 PM EDT
    I agree, but why did you list CNU before JMU? And what about Mary Washington?
    Like
    Edward Hashima
    6/24/2015 10:45 AM EDT
    The eight “Ivy League” institutions have ONE thing in common: they play sports in an athletic conference. That is it. Please stop touting the “admitted to all eight ‘Ivies'” nonsense. It just fuels the anxieties that are at the root of this poor girl’s story.
    LikeShare
    bobfonow
    6/24/2015 1:43 AM EDT
    So what I am reading here is that Thomas Jefferson has become an Ivy League prep school for parents from countries that have inadequate education systems – at the expense of Fairfax County taxpayers. In fact, they are free loading on Fairfax County taxpayers. Why are FC taxpayers putting up with this. We need to elect a school board that deals with this situation.

    Fairfax County has a plethora of very good high schools. TJ has no political, social, or moral right to increasingly scarce education funds. That TJ has a 70% Asian intact indicates an imbalance that goes well beyond chance, and indicates a cultural strategy. That is not illegal but it may eventually lead to an unpredictable, unwanted and unnecessary backlash. Make TJ an area and neighborhood high school like the rest of the very good high schools in the county.

    LikeShare5
    beachlover
    6/24/2015 8:13 AM EDT
    I absolutely agree! School systems rail against “tracking” students except when it comes to the intellectually gifted. Then it’s just fine to use scarce educational dollars to design an elite cocoon for them to the detriment of other much-needed programs in the county.
    Like
    PunxatawneyPhil
    6/24/2015 11:04 AM EDT
    The intellectually gifted are the ones who invented everthing — the wheel, microscopes, internal combustion engines, space flight, etc — that keep us from sleeping in caves for our short lives.

    Letting the gifted develop their gifts is the best possible thing for society.
    LikeShare3
    cjw1973
    6/24/2015 11:28 AM EDT
    beachlover’s statement isn’t even true. Kids with autism have their own track. Kids who can’t speak English get their own track too. Kids with down syndrome have their own track too. Student athletes effectively have their own academic track up until they turn Pro. But hey, any lie to bash the non-ditch diggers in our world will do, right ??
    LikeShare1
    PinkieMe
    6/24/2015 10:31 AM EDT
    I wonder if Bobfonow would complain if TJ is 98% white.
    The fact that TJ has so many Asian kids is not due to its admission policy. It is due to the investment Asian families put into education. Is that a bad thing?
    It’s funny to read Bobfonow’s comment “imbalance…may eventually lead to an unpredictable, unwanted and unnecessary backlash” I do wonder what kind of backlashes Bobfonow referred to.
    Like2
    Maruka2
    6/25/2015 2:38 PM EDT [Edited]
    I would have no problem if TJ was primarily Asian-American, but it sounds like part of the issue is that families from Asia that have no intention of immigrating here are gaming the system by using a public school as a free prep school to get their kids into top American universities. That’s not what the taxpayers are supporting magnet schools FOR.

    If it were a private, fee-based school, it could do whatever it wants. And surely families that can afford to maintain two households could afford a boarding school.
    LikeShare
    Karen Johnson
    6/24/2015 1:26 AM EDT
    Your lack of reasoning is horrific. Hard work regardless of ethnicity, is still how to grab the big, brass ring. Most of your comments are commonly-heard excuses because of personal weakness and jealousy.
    LikeShare2
    bobfonow
    6/24/2015 1:49 AM EDT
    No one is decrying hard work, or anyone trying to grab the brass ring, however anyone defines it. There is a numbers issue here. Many Fairfax County parents operate under a sense that there is something traditionally American in the way they bring up their families, There is a growing sense that this is being undermined by those who see in this an advantage to be exploited. That is not a good social development, or a recipe for a stable community. There may be some jealousy, but that’s not the whole story here.
    Like

  8. The other problem that I see is that none of this changes the fact that the US social mobility has been in decline over the past couple of decades.

    It seems more like the right is using it as an excuse.

    • The knowledge that this mobility has been decreasing has been slow to come to the attention of mainstream media and the general public. There seems to be at least a couple decade lag for any new info to filter out to the majority of the population and become part of public debate. Sometimes it takes even longer. We need to get better at disseminating knowledge, but the ever present problem is that those in power don’t want this to change. If the public were well informed, they would be much harder to manipulate and control. I hope as access to knowledge increases so will curiosity about that knowledge.

    • It is all about the money. The US government would kill every last Native American, if politicians and their cronies thought they could make a buck by doing so. But such extremes aren’t necessary.

      You only have to kill people to make money when those people have the power to obstruct you. Native Americans have no such power and so they are treated as an irrelevance, a pesky annoyance that can’t cause any real problems to the schemes of the powerful.

      The only way the tribe will get the attention of the mainstream is if they blew up that mine. Then they’d be terrorists. But everything the government and corporations do, no matter how destructive, is never seen as terrorism. The US military can knowingly drop bombs on innocent people and illegally torture people, and it still will never get reported as terrorism.

      Destroying communities of poor minorities, foreign and domestic, is just a day’s work for the American political system.

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