By Chrissy Clark
Activists in Loudoun County, Virginia’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) played a role in lowering the admissions standards for an elite magnet school, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller.
The NAACP Loudoun Branch obtained “stakeholder” status in “developing the process” Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) uses “to revise its admissions criteria and implement procedures,” according to a Terms of Conciliation agreement between the school district and the NAACP.
The NAACP sued LCPS in May 2019 alleging that the district had “discriminatory practices” in admissions to its magnet school Academies of Loudoun. Former Attorney General Mark Herring ruled that the school’s admissions standards resulted in “a discriminatory disparate impact on Black/African-American and Latinx/Hispanic students.”
The activist organization said in the Terms of Conciliation that its goal is to “promote the racial and ethnic diversity of admitted students, specifically black and brown students.”
Examples of admissions changes that the NAACP requested included developing an “equitable” admissions criteria based on “interest” in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) subjects. Activists also called for lowering the final acceptable grade in a class to a “C” and lowering the number of prerequisite courses and assessments.
“The criteria should also include strategies to increase identification and selection of historically underrepresented students, including Black/African-American students,” the Terms of Conciliation read.
Following legal challenges, the Academies of Loudoun acquiesced to many of the NAACP’s core demands. According to a PowerPoint of the school’s admissions changes, the school removed Geometry as a prerequisite for admissions and lowered the number of standardized tests from two to four.
Students must take a written assessment graded by an office that ensures there are “equitable results across students with diverse backgrounds.” (RELATED: Report: Virginia Grand Jury Investigating Loudoun Schools Over Allegedly Mishandling Sexual Assaults)
Academies of Loudoun claim that it abides by a “merit-based approach” to admissions, while also attempting to provide greater access for students with “socio-economic and geographic diversity.”
“Socio-economic and geographic diversity are NOT being used as a proxy for race/ethnicity,” the school said.
The NAACP lobbied the district to make race a factor in the admissions process, according to emails obtained by the Daily Caller. Academies of Loudoun’s admissions panel received no information on a student’s gender, ethnicity, or whether they are homeschooled. The NAACP dubbed this “problematic.”
Activists then demanded that the school “unconditionally admit 20% of the African American applicants to the Academies of Loudoun” to remedy their policy.
Data from LCPS states that every racial group, except for Asian students, is underrepresented at the Academies of Loudoun. Asian students are “overrepresented by approximately 42%,” while African-American students are underrepresented by 4%, Hispanic students by 12%, multi-racial students by 3%, and white students by 23%.
Nowhere in the former Attorney General’s finding does it conclude that white students or students with disabilities were discriminated against in the admissions process.
LCPS parent Scott Mineo told the Daily Caller that he believes the NAACP is attempting to lower the admissions process to help one racial group while ignoring other groups that deserve access as well.
“When the NAACP insists that LCPS must address equitable access for African American students first with the action plan to ‘combat systemic racism,’ not to address other races, genders, socioeconomic status, or students with disabilities. That tells you all you need to know,” Mineo said.
“To demand the focus be on black students and not any and all others, including kids with disabilities is 100% racist and ideologically driven,” he continued.
The NAACP claims that the goal of changing admissions standards is not to lower the standards, but to make them “equitable.”
Loudoun County Public Schools did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.