Is Northern Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson High, a science-and-tech magnet, too successful, asks The Washingtonian. “Why You Should Hate This School” is the subhead.
The public school admits only 16 percent of applicants. In addition to “whiz-kid scientists, computer jocks, and chess champions . . . there’s also a professional model who juggles New York gigs with dissecting leeches in neuroscience lab.” Students excel in music . They even do well in sports.
Among the faculty, there’s a fear that the school is becoming a success factory — a place where overachievers are too busy racking up trophies and college credentials to test themselves in the lab or classroom. The nation’s number-one school is asking itself: How much success is too much?
Students are smart — and highly motivated. Teachers complain they’re obsessed with grades.
“They are professional students,” says Emmet Rosenfeld, a former English teacher at Jefferson. “They know how to game anything, and they know how to get A’s.”
We should all have such problems, concludes Education Gadfly, which suggests creating more schools like TJ.
This year, 54 percent of TJ’s ninth graders are Asian-American; whites make up 36 percent of the class. The rap on the school — kids work too hard and care too much about grades — is one I’ve heard often in Silicon Valley with a lot of Asian-American students. Should we hate schools for achievers?