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Four More Virginia Schools Admit To Withholding National Merit Awards From Students

Four More Virginia Schools Admit To Withholding National Merit Awards From Students

“How dare you pretend that students who manage to be in the top 3% academically among seniors nationwide have not achieved an accomplishment of which they should be enormously proud?”

As of last week, there were three Virginia schools which have withheld merit awards from students in the name of equity. Now there are seven.

WJLA News reports:

4 more Fairfax County schools failed to tell students about national merit awards

Four more Fairfax County schools failed to tell students about national merit award recognition in a timely fashion, 7News learned Friday.

Edison High School in Alexandria, along with Lewis High School, West Potomac High School and Annandale High School announced on their website that notifications did not go out on time last fall.

“As part of our ongoing review of FCPS practices, it has come to light that notifications to Edison High School students designated as Commended Students this past fall were also delayed,” Edison Principal Pamela Brumfield said. “While we were able to mark this achievement with a celebration of these students in late November, the notifications happened later than we had hoped.”

The teachers and administrators who are doing this are putting their obsession with social justice ahead of the future of these students. It’s selfish, not to mention completely unprofessional.

Parents are not happy about this and who can blame them?

The Fairfax County Times reports:

Fairfax County Parents Association blasts leaders: ‘How dare you tell students that their hard work doesn’t matter?

With four more school principals confessing they withheld National Merit awards from students, bringing the total to seven schools so far, the Fairfax County Parents Association sent the school district, state and local leaders a scathing letter, calling them out for saying that the awards “don’t matter.”

“You should hang your heads in shame,” the parents’ group, a nonpartisan volunteer grassroots organization, wrote in a letter published late Saturday morning

In its letter, the parents’ group asked state and local leaders, “How dare you tell students that their hard work doesn’t matter? How dare you pretend that students who manage to be in the top 3% academically among seniors nationwide have not achieved an accomplishment of which they should be enormously proud? How dare you tell these students – most of whom do not come from wealth – that it doesn’t matter whether they are able to note this achievement on college applications, or applications for academic scholarships that could help pay for college?”

This is all about equity. Ace of Spades recently made a great point about this:

Equity, for those of you not up-to-date on Marxist euphemisms, is not “equality.” Equity means ensuring equal outcomes, by artificially advantaging some races or artificially disadvantaging other races. Whatever it takes to get an “equitable” outcome.

And now three more high schools are deliberately hiding accolades from students so that they do not have advantages over other students in college applications.

When will it stop?

It will not stop until Virginia makes these people subject to personal lawsuit or even criminal prosecution.

Ace is right. The parents of these kids should seek legal counsel.


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Connivin Caniff | January 15, 2023 at 10:16 am

What causes of action do the affected students have against the schools and their employees and other agents?

    caseoftheblues in reply to Connivin Caniff. | January 15, 2023 at 10:25 am

    Could you possibly look at scholarship awards of applicants with and without the awards and go after that. Also the scores/awards did NOT belong to the schools… schools then took property not belonging to them and used for their own purposes….

    CommoChief in reply to Connivin Caniff. | January 15, 2023 at 10:45 am

    All sorts of tort actions. This was an in intentional decision and the down stream consequences flow from that; admissions failures to select Univ, lost scholarship opportunities. These claims are a little more difficult to prove but not impossible. Clearly there is financial benefit to the award as well as increased likelihood of admission due to the prestige for the accepting Univ in touting X number/% of admissions are National Merit Scholars.

    If the score notification is viewed as the property of the Student which seems logical then where the bureaucracy didn’t transfer the scores in a timely fashion, choosing to retain the scores for their purposes, that may be a simple tort of conversion of property claim.

    Then there is is the basic judgment of the bureaucracy. They made a decision relying upon some sort of authority to do so, presumably acting in loco parentis. Clearly this decision materially harmed a cohort of children. Given a deliberate decision to harm children why shouldn’t their ability to continue working in a position of oversight and responsibility for the care of children be revoked?

      neurodoc in reply to CommoChief. | January 15, 2023 at 4:52 pm

      I’m guessing you aren’t a practicing trial lawyer, because if you were, you would realize that the likelihood of recovery for any damages ($$$) in this matter is vanishingly small.

        CaptTee in reply to neurodoc. | January 16, 2023 at 12:46 pm

        Lawsuits against the School Boards and or individual principals would more likely result in settlements than court cases.

        Just the fact of filing lawsuits would have a deterrent effect on risk adverse School Boards who would rather settle and announce new policies than have a trial that would be a PR fiasco.

    rabid wombat in reply to Connivin Caniff. | January 15, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    “ What causes of action do the affected students have against the schools and their employees and other agents?”

    The kid’s suffered a loss to finance and reputation. Arguably, without repair.

    Blaise MacLean in reply to Connivin Caniff. | January 16, 2023 at 11:06 am

    Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

These school officials withholding these awards are also engaging in child abuse.

Keep looking. The number in that county will be close to ALL.

I bet the principals sent emails about withholding the award.

Really the only thing this story is missing is a black and/or hispanic student to come out and say they got their awards. Just to plainly illustrate the agenda.

Oh, those *!@% model minorities…screwing up the “poor me” race narrative again.

Fairfax County Parents Association is obviously a group of domestic terrorists. Where are the DOJ’s priorities?

“While we were able to mark this achievement with a celebration of these students in late November, the notifications happened later than we had hoped.”

No apology. No admission of error or wrong doing. They simply gave out the awards later than they hoped. It was all unforeseen. No one is responsible, no one is to blame.

    artichoke in reply to Paula. | January 16, 2023 at 1:10 am

    That would miss the early admission deadlines (which tend to be easier admission standards, so important at those schools that have them) but be well before the regular admission deadlines which are in early January if I recall correctly. Not sure when scholarship applications are due and would probably vary by scholarship.

    I’m surprised some students didn’t figure it out from their scores and being able to see the national Commended Student score cutoff on various websites, then “hey I’m above that cutoff, why didn’t I hear from my high school?”

    But the very thought that high schools would damage some of their students in a NATIONAL competition for college admission, just to push them down without even offsetting advantage to other of their students (the benefit to a non-commended student from the same district is negligible to zero), is sick.

As I previously posted, I still expect the following two shoes to drop:

1. Same behavior found in various schools outside Virginia.
2. Decade-old article uncovered in a wokey teacher publication suggesting why this would be the greatest-most-equityness idea ever.

    Dimsdale in reply to henrybowman. | January 15, 2023 at 7:26 pm

    If it was, it would probably be in, a festival of socialism, unionism and indoctrination of students.

    artichoke in reply to henrybowman. | January 16, 2023 at 1:14 am

    (1) is possible, especially because it only makes sense if applied nationwide. Applicants to college are competing with statewide or national competition, and taking “commended” away from a student who earned it doesn’t give it to one of his or her classmates who didn’t earn it. HS’s would have to agree to do it all together, so that those who do it aren’t disadvantaged and so the “preferred” URM students they want to benefit receive the benefit uniformly without it “leaking”.

Look for the internal memo that provides for skin color grading rubric.

Sadly predictable and rotten fruits of the vile Dumb-o-crats’ racist “equity” ethos and policies. All of these schools should be re-named Harrison Bergeron High, in recognition of Kurt Vonnegut’s prescient novel that foretold this insanity and inequity.

This is yet another proof of Murray’s Law. If you’ve not heard of it, it’s because I made it up but I have not much publicized it thus far.

Murray’s Law says that any evidence which supports or positively correlates with the hereditary/environmental IQ thesis in Charle’s Murray’s book “The Bell Curve” must be suppressed, discredited or eliminated at any and all costs. As you will recall, the relevant chapter of the Bell Curve notes the hierarchy in average IQ scores by ethnic group (Asian on top, then whites, etc.) and then presents arguments and evidence that IQ is about half hereditary and about half environmentally derived.

In this case, Asians were highly overrepresented among the award winning students, followed by the remaining groups in the precise order predicted by the Bell Curve’s thesis. Accordingly, those results had to be suppressed not matter what. That is why the school administrators went against every instinct for self-promotion and bureaucratic advancement which they possessed and actively suppressed results which would have brought glory to themselves through commendations and awards for their own students.

To be clear, Murray’s Law does NOT say that Murray’s IQ thesis is correct, or that it is incorrect. It simply says that any evidence which tends to support his Bell Curve IQ thesis must be suppressed or concealed at all costs.

    jhkrischel in reply to CommMentor. | January 15, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    I think one thing that people miss is that culture is hereditary. Too many folks think that “hereditary” simply means “genetic code”, when it actually includes *anything* passed on from parent to child.

      neurodoc in reply to jhkrischel. | January 15, 2023 at 4:59 pm

      If the parents speak Mandarin and their children speak Mandarin, then is the ability to speak Manadarin a “hereditary” trait in that family (“*[i]some[/i]thing* passed on from parent to child”)?

      artichoke in reply to jhkrischel. | January 16, 2023 at 1:15 am

      That won’t mollify the low performers. Whether genetic or cultural, nobody is allowed to say they’re “less-than”. Even if they are.

BierceAmbrose | January 15, 2023 at 3:24 pm

We can’t have meit-based awards for people looking to change their stars — higher-ed as entry into a different life than the one youre born into. Like the cleracy in Medieval Europe, it’s way too much accesss for the wrong kind of people.

The gatekeepers have encrusted every assistance aimed at helping people who are succeeding at climbing, at least:

— National Merit

— Bausch and Lomb science awards

— Mathematics Association of America

— inter-state, state “merit-based” assistance

They think their job is to decide who should be “elevated”, not help people who are trying to climb.

Blaise MacLean | January 15, 2023 at 3:43 pm

These are not “mistakes” or “oversights”. They are in compliance with previously stated strategies of the left. They are either policy or conspiracy. Or both.

Since education is mandatory and a requirement for advancement in society, and since teachers and administrators are professionals mandated with providing this education to the students, they have particular control over the students, who are usually under the age of majority. They have specialized training and extensive time with the students, perhaps more than many parents, and they are in special positions of trust.

I think this is the quintessential definition of a fiduciary relationship. I believe these teachers are in fiduciary relationships with the students and possibly the parents. By failing to provide these results to the winners in a timely fashion, and seemingly doing so in a concerted manner, they have each breached their fiduciary duties, just as a lawyer who steals trust funds does.

All of these teachers/administrators who did this should be sued PERSONALLY for Breach of fiduciary duty. Any damages/costs should be theirs personally because it’s not the taxpayers fault (they violated their responsibility to the taxpayers as well).

It is only when these malignant, evil abusers realize they will have PERSONAL accountability and liability that they will begin to think twice about their attacks against their students.

    artichoke in reply to Blaise MacLean. | January 16, 2023 at 1:25 am

    The left is SO much better at such coordination than the right is. They must laugh at us and our pathetic railing against their unreasonableness. “Yeah you finally noticed, well so what, suckers!” they say.

    We really need revenge. They need to be brought down hard, legally. As hard as possible so others don’t with to try this again.

And parents still send their children to the government schools.

    artichoke in reply to gibbie. | January 16, 2023 at 1:27 am

    We do have to pay for them. In my state of NY the teachers get about 2.5% more every year than they did the before unless there’s a union contract. That means that raise is a floor for any contract the union would agree to. And the union is happy to be adversarial, right to your face.

    It’s very hard to pay all that and then pay for another school too. Some do it, but many cannot.

      henrybowman in reply to artichoke. | January 16, 2023 at 7:13 am

      That’s why Arizona has the school funds follow the child to a private school. An arrangement which Katie Hobbs has vowed to kill.

Democrats insist on absolute equality of results, the “E” in DEI, and that means the end of all excellence, including National Merit.

1) Were the affected students what we used to refer to as “National Merit Semi-fanalists” who might become National Merit scholarship winners?

2) Why didn’t those who administer the National Merit program (who are they?) notify the students directly rather than leave it to the schools to do?

3) What explanation have the high schools offered for their failures to mail out notices to their students? Was it an intentional choice to keep the news from their students, and if so why? Was it a choice of individual school administrators or was is it at the direction of school system ones? What motive or rationale is not a mistake or inadvertance?

    Vancomycin in reply to neurodoc. | January 15, 2023 at 6:14 pm

    In case you aren’t trolling:
    1) yes
    2) the schools have *always* been the party to notify the students. It’s how I got my notification some 30ish years ago.
    3) It was an intentional choice in the name of communis…. Sorry “equity” comrade

    artichoke in reply to neurodoc. | January 16, 2023 at 1:35 am

    (1) No, they were Commended Students, who do not qualify as Semifinalists but are one step below in scores. I don’t know why this does not seem to have affected Semifinalists, since their notification must also come through the high schools. Then the high schools have to write recommendations to support their applications for Finalist, which are generally pro-forma but could fail if the school doesn’t support them.
    (2) Vancomycin is correct, it’s just they way they’ve always done it. But the student can figure it out himself because he receives his own scores (I assume the HS didn’t block that too, or can’t) and can compare them to published cutoffs at various websites like . If you beat the national Commended cutoff but miss your state’s Semifinalist cutoff, you’re Commended.

      artichoke in reply to artichoke. | January 16, 2023 at 1:45 am

      Note from that link for the last 4 years, West Virginia has had no Commended Students, because their Semifinalist cutoff has always been equal to the national Commended cutoff, and so they would be Semifinalists instead.

      I wonder which of the following kludges were used by the gods of National Merit to deal with this awkward situation:
      (1) WV gets fewer Semifinalists than its normal share because only those beating the national Commended cutoff are allowed to qualify, or else
      (2) WV has been used as the benchmark to set the Commended cutoff, so they get their full share of Semifinalists. This would conflict with the idea that Commended is a fixed percentage of national test takers, regardless of how badly WV does.

    coyote in reply to neurodoc. | January 16, 2023 at 9:45 am

    Regarding item 2: I was afraid I was the only one wondering why the NM people don’t notify students directly. Vanco’s argument that it’s always been thus, so must continue…is not an ideal solution. I’d hope that they’ll now take indirect notification out of the schools’ hands and also send letters directly to the semifinalists and winners. At this point, there’s really no excuse not to do that.

This is what you get when you put intellectual inferiors with s*** for brains in charge of education. Buffoons, scumbags, and fools.

Quite frankly, get these stupid POS’s out of education and do everyone a favor.

    artichoke in reply to Mark Cohen. | January 16, 2023 at 1:52 am

    We found jealousy to be a big factor when dealing with public school employees such as teachers and administrators. Jealousy of us and of our students. With few exceptions, they had not been such students when they were in school. I think the jealousy went up since I was in school in the 60’s and 70’s, as the intellectual quality of teachers has gone down. We don’t have such a large pool of smart women for the jobs now, since they go into other professions. After years of having to teach kids who can think better than they ever could, they get thick skins and scheme how to kneecap them. I could tell stories …

      coyote in reply to artichoke. | January 16, 2023 at 9:58 am

      Artichoke—we must be of about the same vintage (high school in the 60s). Mine was New Orleans, in the early days of Ben Franklin HS. Teachers were either pro-student or hostile to us. At our 40th or 50th reunion, the truth came out: everyone thought that everyone else was doing fine, but in fact, almost everyone had been miserable. All the way up to the valedictorian. Competent teachers weren’t jealous, but the marginal to incompetents bristled. It was about a 50/50 split.

      When they were good….

        artichoke in reply to coyote. | January 16, 2023 at 4:17 pm

        I was in HS in the early 70’s. In Delaware, in a HS Jill Biden EDD taught in long after I was gone. It was better when I was there than when Mrs. Biden was and it’s continued going down. My issues were more in elementary school. My 5th and 6th grade teachers hated me. My 1st and 4th grade teachers loved me. My 2nd grade teacher didn’t put with nonsense even from me, so she was pretty good in her way. But now with our own kids in school, frequently people from the superintendent on down are hostile. It’s all about the bottom students now, and equity means punishing the top, and the staff sort of enjoy it psychologically as well in my opinion.

Here’s a thought: mail it to the parents. Eliminate the very woke middleman(?). Mail a copy to the school.

Clearly, they aren’t reliable or working in the best interests of your child.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | January 16, 2023 at 2:36 am

As this is, obviously, widespread policy (and criminal) I think this would make for a great RICO case against all involved in promoting, implementing, and hiding this.

This is all very sickening stuff and the people doing it need to be held accountable and to suffer intensely for their crimes.

The left’s battle to negate reality in order to enforce their ideology continues apace.

Now seven? This is not simple incompetence: this is organized sabotage! The Principals should first be questioned as to who organized this, then each should be fired with a nasty note in their ‘permanent record’ (that should strike terror in their hearts).

The organizer obviously led a conspiracy to defraud the affected students of the benefits of their honor. What to do with her (or possibly him, but I’d bet it’s a “her”) is another question. I suspect tarring and feathering has gone out of style in Virginia (perhaps bring it back?), the public stocks have undoubtedly fallen into disrepair. Hmmm. Perhaps organize a contest among the parents of the students defrauded to design an appropriate (but non-fatal) punishment with prizes for originality and appropriateness? That should generate some interest and might even work as a deterrent against future repetition. After all, as the woke folk say, one should never let a good crisis go to waste

I’m guessing the equity consultant recommended this, so the public should start submitting FOIA requests for the equity consultant’s report, recommendations and any communications the schools have on this