Virginia Senate Passes Gutted Race-Blind Governor’s School Admissions Bill

RICHMOND, Virginia – In a bipartisan 26-13 vote, the Senate passed a stripped-down version of a House of Delegates bill to require race-blind admissions procedures in Virginia’s Governor’s schools; that version will have to go back to the House for approval.

Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) advocated for HB 127 on the Senate floor on Tuesday; he noted that about 90 percent of the House bill had been removed.

“We really are only left with two paragraphs,” Petersen said. “Everything else frankly we did away with. And the two paragraphs, one has to do with no discrimination based on race or ethnicity, which is the current Title IX standard, and the second would just simply say that¬† all school divisions should make sure that each middle school has a program in place to prepare children to apply for Governor’s schools.”

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House of Delegates Passes Bill to Ban Consideration of Race in Governor’s Schools Admissions

RICHMOND, Virginia – The House of Delegates passed a bill banning consideration of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in admissions to Virginia’s governor’s schools. That’s a reaction to controversy at Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School for Science and Technology, where officials instituted a merit lottery to try to expand the largely Asian American student base to underrepresented groups while still maintaining a high standard. Conservatives saw that as part of a broader wave of watered-down academic standards in the name of equity, and Republicans campaigned in 2021 on restoring Virginia’s educational standards of excellence.

Delegates debated HB 127 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Delegate Richard (Rip) Sullivan (D-Fairfax) said he and his wife spent years as proud TJ Colonials parents.

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