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Rallying to Protect Admissions Standards at America’s Best Public High School

This week, a group of about 200 students, parents, alumni, and concerned local residents flooded the sidewalk in front of America’s number-one-ranked public high school—Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. This was no back-to-school event. It was a rally to save the soul of the school itself.

The parents included Norma Muñoz, a Peruvian immigrant who told us she was there to “fight for TJ” (as the school is known locally). Other parents were from China, India, and South Korea. They stepped forward, one by one, to describe their families’ journeys—from marching in Tiananmen Square decades ago to arriving in the United States with only dollars in their pockets.

“I came here for freedom,” said Yuyan Zhou, a Chinese-American woman who’s spent eight years as a TJ parent. “Moral courage is the only solution for this madness. Stand up for your rights. Stand up for your values. Fight for the future of our students!”

And what is this “madness” Ms. Zhou describes? Since early June, a small but vocal group of TJ alumni have worked with activist school-board members, state education officials, politicians, and even TJ’s principal, to undermine the school’s selective admissions process. Their language consistently channels fashionable academic doctrines such as critical race theory (popularly known as CRT), which presuppose that all of society’s institutions are embedded with implicit forms of white supremacy.

The result is a proposal to replace the existing race-blind, merit-based TJ admissions system of standardized tests, grade rankings, essays, and teacher recommendations with a process based on random selection from among applicants who have a core class GPA of 3.5 or greater (and are currently enrolled in algebra). Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Scott Brabrand has branded this proposed new system a “merit lottery.”

Twenty years ago, 70 percent of TJ students were white. Today, 79 percent are minority, mostly from immigrant Asian families, many of whom fled persecution and economic privation. This shift in TJ’s student body has included a large drop in white students, who now account for only 19 percent of total admissions; while black and Hispanic admissions have remained relatively unchanged, at about two percent and three percent respectively. The activists seeking to eliminate TJ’s meritocratic admissions systems attribute this latter result to systemic racism.

School officials claim that the new lottery-based proposal would serve to reduce the share of Asian students in the Class of 2024 from 73 percent to 54 percent, while increasing black and Hispanic representation. But TJ’s parents include a number of highly numerate scientists who manage and analyze data professionally. According to their calculations, the share of Asian students will actually be cut by more than half—to 33 percent, and will eventually drop even further. The share of black and Hispanic students would increase only marginally. And, ironically, white students would be the plan’s greatest beneficiaries, increasing from 18 percent to at least 45 percent of the student population. (School officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

As in so many policy areas, the battle over TJ has been affected by the culture-war fallout from the May 25th killing of George Floyd and the weeks of protests and violence that followed. Social-justice advocates argue that pursuing equitable outcomes in all areas is now more urgent than ever. But even before this year’s tumult, K-12 students across the United States have had their curricula diluted by the injection of materials promoting concepts such as white privilege, systemic racism, structural inequity, and white supremacy. The battle unfolding around TJ—as with similarly selective institutions in New York City and elsewhere—shows how these ideological trends pose a special threat to the integrity and quality of America’s best public schools. Their survival as citadels of excellence now rests largely with hastily organized groups of amateur activists—such as the ones I stood with this week in Alexandria, holding American flags and home-made signs with slogans such as “Individual merit, not group identity,” “Reward hard work,” and “Don’t gamble with childrens’ futures! Save STEM Education at TJ.”

On June 1st, FCPS administrators issued a press release announcing the TJ admissions roster for the class of 2024. Months earlier, 2,539 students had taken TJ’s first-round test, which measures applicants’ skills in math, science, and English. Of those, 486 students gained admission, including Muñoz’s son—one of the 16 Hispanic students on the list.

For Muñoz, it was a triumph. Her son was born in Peru, and they’d moved to the United States when he was just six years old. Though the boy spoke little English, he quickly developed a passion for science and math. Muñoz encouraged him, though she felt frustrated when teachers and counselors discouraged him from applying to TJ.

Her son’s class, she learned, had 355 Asian students—almost three quarters of the total. But Muñoz didn’t resent their success. They worked hard to get into TJ, she told us, and added: “I’m inspired by them.”

Alas, not everyone feels quite the same way. On June 7th, shortly after the Class of 2024 list was published, Blue Virginia, a blog dedicated to “Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective,” published a false headline indicating that “ZERO African Americans” had been granted admission. (Only on June 12th, five days later, did Blue Virginia publish an “update” admitting that the claim had been false.) An alumni group called “TJ Alumni Action Group” then weaponized the false news (and continued to do so, even after the group’s leaders had been made aware of the inaccuracy). On the group’s Facebook page, there were even calls for a complete dismantling of TJ.

The group’s messaging was tweeted out by the education reporter for the Washington Post, who later wrote a torqued article on the issue. State policymakers in Richmond seized on it. Atif Qarni, Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam’s Secretary of Education, urged readers to “check out” language inserted into the 2020 state budget bill relating to “Governor’s Schools” such as TJ (which is named specifically in the bill). Such schools, the bill stipulates,

shall set diversity goals for its student body and faculty, and develop a plan to meet said goals in collaboration with community partners at public meetings. Each school shall submit a report to the Governor by October 1 of each year on its goals and status of implementing its plan. The report shall include, but not be limited to the following: utilization of universal screenings in feeder divisions; admission processes in place or under consideration that promote access for historically underserved students; and outreach and communication efforts deployed to recruit historically underserved students. The report shall include the racial/ethnic make-up and socioeconomic diversity of its students, faculty, and applicants.

Closer to home, TJ parents received a letter from the school principal, Ann Bonitatibus (a white woman, incidentally), urging parents such as Muñoz to check their “privileges”:

I implore you to think about your own journey and discovery of race and economic advantage in America. My parents never had to teach me about what it means to be white. I never have had to worry that someone would look at the color of my skin and think I either may not be smart enough to learn or I should be exceedingly smart in a certain subject. No one has surveilled me in a store while shopping, or locked their cars or front doors out of fear when seeing me in their neighborhood. While I did not come from a family with economic means, the color of my skin has given me privileges that others do not have. Please think of privileges you hold that others may not.

The principal also suggested that the school’s racial demographics should more closely “reflect the racial composition” in the FCPS system as a whole—an ominous sign for Asians, who comprise only about 19 percent of students in the overall FCPS. Furthermore, Bonitatibus suggested that the school’s rigorous STEM curriculum be leavened with social-justice content regarding “diverse cultures and perspectives,” quoting an alumnus to the effect that “STEM alone is not enough.” Zhou said it all reminded her of China’s Cultural Revolution.

Behind closed doors, Qarni, the state’s education secretary, started meeting with hand-picked members of a new “task force”—members of which include FCPS Superintendent Brabrand; and FCPS member Karen Keys Gamarra, an open supporter of the TJ Alumni Action Group. Meanwhile, out in the open, FCPS school officials were observing Virginia’s “Racial Truth and Reconciliation Week” with a video session hosted by celebrity CRT guru Ibram Kendi. He earned $20,000 for his one-hour presentation according to the contract, almost as much as an instructional assistant makes in one year. On Twitter, Fairfax County school staff fawned over Kendi like he was a rock star, punctuating their tweets with #FCPSCall2Action.

We are both parents of TJ students who have become increasingly concerned about these developments. One of us, Glenn, witnessed the origins of this movement when he studied at Harvard Law School in the 1980s, at a time when professors such as Derrick Bell were establishing the early principles of CRT by adapting Marxist intellectual traditions to the issue of race. His co-author, Asra, spoke out at a virtual return-to-school session on June 18th, decrying the radicalized nature of the campaign by TJ Alumni Action Group activists, some of whom had threatened to “Occupy TJ.” (This was a time when swathes of Seattle and Portland were—and, in Portland’s case, remain—lawless arenas of violent protest.)

On August 11th, Asra published a column outlining previously undisclosed information about Qarni’s secretive task-force meetings. (Associated Press reporter Matthew Barakat published an interview with Qarni on the same day.) The minutes from the meetings, uploaded here, reveal unsettling non-sequiturs to the effect that the whole idea of gifted schools is “eugenically biased.” The attendees also considered a rejected 2018 legislative bill promoted by Democratic lawmaker Scott Surovell, who recommended shutting down TJ’s elite program. Proposed solutions included quotas, lotteries, and racially motivated score bump-ups justified according to the level of adversity an applicant has faced.

Parents seeking to protect the integrity of TJ’s admissions and curriculum have now organized their own group, Coalition for TJ, to advocate for diversity and excellence. (We’re both members.) Its first Change.org petition has almost 5,000 signatures. A second petition has almost 3,000 signatures. This has not gone down well with TJ’s influential critics—including Makya Renée Little, the president of the TJ Alumni Action Group, and a board member at the TJ Partnership Fund, a well-funded alumni nonprofit that’s dedicated to TJ and its diversity efforts. On August 14th, according to WhoIs records, someone with her name acquired the domain names “CoalitionForTJ” and “Coalition4TJ.” As of this writing, those URLs continue to redirect visitors to the website of Little’s group. (Neither Little nor the TJ Alumni Action Group replied to the authors’ requests for comment. Little is a member of Gov. Ralph Northam’s Virginia Commission on African-American History Education. Northam’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment either.) Fortunately, the TJ Alumni Action Group’s members failed to register CoalitionForTJ.net, which has become our website domain name.

More recently, Qarni launched a “listening session” tour with students, parents, and alumni at TJ and another Virginia magnet school. In the first, on September 8th, Qarni made the case for eliminating academic entry tests that inflict racial bias on “Black and Latinx” students, and replacing them with “holistic” admissions. He also described TJ’s gifted program as perpetuating a “false understanding of what merit truly is.” His moderator blocked many questions. In regard to a subsequent session, Qarni acknowledged to an AP reporter that he blocked TJ PTSA representatives from speaking; and for the last session, he stacked the panelists with speakers from the aforementioned TJ Alumni Action Group.

A similar tone was struck last week when FCPS publicly presented its “merit lottery” proposal, while launching what some interpreted as a veiled attack on TJ’s Asian students and parents. In a four-hour public session, the word “culture” was mentioned a dozen times, according to a transcript we prepared—with the superintendent speaking of “certain cultures” that are well-known at TJ. Brabrand also quoted the TJ principal to the effect that parents had spent “anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 a year” for test preparation courses—a claim that was news to the parents listening.

(This is not the first time that Asian parents in the area have felt singled out. When he was advocating for the abolition of TJ’s selecting admissions system in 2018, a retired FCPS school teacher whom Surovell had arranged to testify blasted certain groups of “ravenous” parents at Rachel Carson Middle School in nearby Herndon, whom she said got here “however they get here” and organized their own debate teams. Many parents at Rachel Carson are from India and felt like they were the object of her criticism. Not coincidentally, Rachel Carson happens to be one of the feeder schools targeted for a sharp reduction in TJ admissions under the proposed new lottery system.)

During last week’s four-hour video session, Brabrand lamented that “students of color” didn’t feel welcome at TJ—a somewhat absurd claim unless you exclude the school’s Asian majority from the “of color” category. A school-board member also raised the anecdote—which gets trotted out repeatedly at these events—of a black TJ student who reportedly said she’d wanted to “bleach her skin” to fit in as a student. The board member was apparently unaware that products such as “Fair and Lovely” have long been marketed to youth from India, too, under the false claim that fairer skin is more attractive. One hardly needs to attend TJ to internalize such ideas.

Certainly, the 200 demonstrators waving their signs at motorists outside TJ this week face an uphill battle: Brabrand plans to seek approval for his plan at the school board’s next meeting on October 8th. But no one’s giving up yet. Their next protest will take place this Wednesday, outside the Fairfax County Public Schools headquarters.

“We did good,” Zhou told me, as she gently folded the American flag she’d brought. “We fought for our values.”

 

Asra Q. Nomani is a former Wall Street Journal reporter. She can be reached at asra@asranomani.com, or on Twitter at @asranomani. Glenn Miller is an attorney. Both are parents of students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

Featured image: September 20th, 2020 protest at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Photo by Coalition for TJ/Antonio Martin Photography

Comments

  1. Equality can only be reached when all kids have access to TJ levels of excellence.

    This entire debate about access to a very very limited resource, quality education is retarded.

    All kids in the greatest nation on earth deserve access to the greatest education.

    Simply hand out vouchers to each kid and allow them to go to private schools. Within a few short years all these problems go away.

    I am waiting for a fair and just way to divvy up the scraps, but also frustrated at the lack of honesty.

    Teachers Unions and libtarded special interests have screwed our motivated kids out of getting a world class grade school education.

    On a happy note, today was my daughters first day back at her very expensive, very exclusive and 100% college bound private high school.

    Lets fix the problem. Privatize our schools and hand out vouchers.

  2. I half agree with you. All kids in our country deserve the best education we can offer and the parents should have choice to ensure schools continue to perform.

    However, all kids are not equal to each other in academics. Expanding on this, all families are not equal to each other on academics either. Your kid should not be held back because another family values school less and their children are further behind. Even if another family is just as academically focused, they may have kids that are further ahead or behind yours.

    We must acknowledge reality. My kid may be a math wiz and yours may not. Yours might write well and mine might not.

    Everyone is not a genius and everyone is not made for college. Schools like TJ deserve to offer programming to the best qualified candidates, if they happened to be all black one year would we even be having this conversation?

  3. See, you just found the way to divvy up the scraps.

    This is not an issue that can be solved top-down. Kids need good parents, not good schools.

  4. “Expanding on that–the US really needs to adopt a trade school track, and value working with ones hands. The Germans are very good at that, the US should offer auto-shop and wood working and more.”

    You are spot on. When I’ve in Australia they had a spectacular Apprenticeship Program that the US desperately needs!

  5. Are you kidding me? Who is asking for the special treatment here, blacks or Asians? Take that “victim mentality” and “deal with it” attitude and try saying that to supporters of BLM. Your type of attitude is why Asians need vocal national leaders: people feel free to slur us with crap about our deficient personalities.

  6. It is fascinating to see people bend over backwards in denying the fact that te blacks just aren’t interested.

    I suppose their vague idea is that black culture will change if enough of their children are exposed to the best institutions and ideas. But the problem is that the black children bring their culture with them. The idea that a school alone, without the committment of the families of the pupils will be able to produce brilliant graduates. This means that the institutions will be dumbed down in order to give black children a credential. The idea that the credential might thus be lowered in value never seems to enter the heads of the wokerati.

    This i a very chiken and egg situation. Do you help correct the cultural roblem first or do address the access problem caused bu the cultural problem in the hope that the culural problem will be fixed that way?

    I think you have to cure the culture first.

  7. The purported goal of Critical Race Theory (CRT) is to create “equity” and “justice” for marginalized groups but as we can see in practice it is used to divide people and wreak havoc. Look at Portland, Seattle, New York. Look at California. Look at the divided political landscape.

    Even though the ideology is poorly thought out and scientifically unsupported its tenets are considered gospel by a vocal and highly political activist segment of the population. CRT is constantly being pushed by leftist media, celebrities and the entire virtue-signalling class.

    If you don’t loudly support this ideology then you get mobbed.

    CRT has infected everything from universities to major league sports and corporations. It is the religion of the elites and is funded by the oligarchs who are shoving it down our throats through brute force.

    It initially pitted whites against non-whites but has evolved. The “Privileged People” now includes whites, East Asians, South Asians, Jews and Hispanics. The privileged also includes gays and lesbians and classical feminists like J. K. Rowling.

    The Intersectional Hierarchy has blacks at the top and trans nearby but blacks are CRT’s chosen people.

    While I sympathize with the parents of children attending or planning to attend Thomas Jefferson High School I’m afraid the problem is much larger than just one high school.

    To cut a long story short, vote Republican across the board.

    Do everything you can to keep Democrats out of positions of power because this is their cult.

    If you support Democrats then this insidious ideology will infect every aspect of our lives and undermine Western Civilization – or more likely – start a civil war.

    I say that as someone who was initially a Hillary Clinton supporter but now dread what will happen if Democrats regain power.

  8. This is disingenuous. Elite schools use “personal ratings” as a bullshit excuse to reduce the number of Asian students and artificially increase the number of blacks, Latinos and even whites. There might be some justification for this given how much power and influence Ivy League graduates have in American society, but they should at least be honest about what they’re doing and why.

  9. The Left seem incapable of conceding that an institution’s excellence has less to do with facilities, resources and excellent teaching standards (although the latter is somewhat important) and much more to do with peer group, especially with selective schools. Even schools which use traditional (as opposed to progressive) methods are forced to concede that any teacher will spend the lions share of their time checking that the bottom fifth of the class is following along.

    So, by moving away from merit-based admissions the activists are not helping the disadvantaged at all. Inevitably, they will likely be streamed into the lowest performing classes and receive only the most marginal benefits from what is effectively credentialism. Meanwhile, talented Asian students will be left out in the cold, as they have been so many times before.

    Broadly speaking, academic excellence can be defined as the product of innate ability combined with conscientiousness and many Asian cultures, as well Ashkenazi Jews, benefit from extraordinarily well-adapted cultural systems in this latter regard. Chinese British pupils are the only demographic in the UK where socio-economic factors are not relevant, with the bottom 20% of the income distribution performing within a couple of percentage points of the top 20%, for the UK’s mandatory GCSE’s at 16.

    If they really wanted to help Black and Latino students they would introduce broad-based psychometric testing for these two groups. At least then they would be able to expand these groups to extend opportunities to those with hidden potential not yet realised. Psychometric tests are relatively cheap to administer online these days after all.

    But, as with so many things coming out of the Left these days, it’s not about raising up the less fortunate, it’s about destroying merit. They simply cannot stand that people vary hugely in terms of innate abilities, and don’t want to admit that so many of the Left’s failed policies have actually ended up harming the embedded potential of the very communities which they purport to champion.

    How much would you pay for an extra 3.5 points of IQ? Because that’s about the maximum that a highly engaged father can confer, which doesn’t really sound that impressive until one considers that the entire benefits of K-12 education are estimated to only allow for a 4.2 point IQ increase. Single mothers and there children are 9 times as likely to be subject to physical, sexual and domestic violence as the children of women in committed long term relationships. This is reflected in the fact that African American children are nearly twice as likely to be subject to domestic abuse or neglect as white children, with all the profound impacts this is known to have on cognitive development.

    And what are the impacts of growing up in communities which are largely deprived of productive fathers and fundamentally less safe and secure as a result? Well, we just don’t know in terms of cognitive development- but we can infer from higher rates of juvenile crime where fathers are absent and higher rates of social mobility where fathers are present in the community that the impacts might be quite profound.

    In many ways the story of African Americans and Latinos is a failure of liberal policy makers to deal with the unpalatable consequences of bad policies. They simply didn’t understand the harm they were doing, and won’t admit it now at any cost. Their unidimensional obsession with the top of the ability pool, rebranding merit as privilege, ignores the fact that economic opportunities for the middle and the bottom, are far more likely to achieve the modest gains in realised potential across the board, which will compound into a significant improvement overall.

    Yes, exceptional individuals will always rise to the top in our meritocratic systems of the West, but what would the overall effects be of slightly better employment rates, slightly lower rates of domestic violence, higher rates of marriage, more fathers, lower crime, safer communities, less drug and alcohol abuse, and slightly better peer group reflecting in better schools. Incremental changes in these areas might seem relatively minor, but in aggregate incremental change for the whole community can make for substantial differences.

    Here in the UK, somewhat more benign social conditions can already seen in incrementally better cognitive performance on tests at 11 for Black British schoolchildren, which is measurably long lasting from results at GCSE, ‘A’ level and degree, even is challenging areas like STEM. The only measurably difference is in the number of undergraduates receiving Firsts, which is perhaps indicative of the fact that there is still so way to go, at the very top end of the performance curve.

  10. It never fails to astonish me how the most intelligent and high performing pupils are continually beat down by the state/public school system.

    “Smarter than average? More emotionally mature than half your teachers? On another planet intellectually from your peers? Sorry kiddo, no platitudes for you. When we hung up all the posters in the hall saying “Be the best you can be!” and “Reach for the stars!”, er, we didn’t mean you, sorry. We were trying to talk up the chronic failures and the try-hards. The deluded parents who keep turning up here insisting that their kid is some kind of undiscovered genius who just hasn’t been talent-spotted yet by the right teacher, they love those posters and eat this kind of thing up. So do the hippie parents who seem to think that their D-average knuckle-dragger will become intelligent through osmosis if he could only just be seated next to a smart kid every day. And it makes parents with poor parenting skills feel like we’re going to fix their kid for them. But you? We don’t have any more material for you, and your obvious need for costly top-rank academic teachers we simply can’t attract to work here in this boring, run-down suburb is starting to annoy us. Sorry to break it to you, but you’re on your own. Just keep cranking out that high GPA that keeps the authorities from inspecting us and shutting us down, okay?”

    I exaggerate, but it’s not a million miles away from what a small group of us were told in school (yes the ‘we have no more materials for you’ thing did happen, and so did the ‘dummies become smart through osmosis’ thing).

    TJHS should be a standard model across the country, not a problem that needs fixing. Underperformers who do poorly because of their own disruptive behaviour and stubborn disengagement waste an eye-watering amount of time and taxpayer money that should never be allowed to impact other pupils. Throw the smart ones a lifeline, and they’ll be the ones who’ll jet-propel the whole country’s economy 20 years later. Throw the average but engaged ones another lifeline, and they’ll be the backbone of every community. Stop pandering to the rest. And take down those posters. They shouldn’t be needed.

  11. Twenty years ago, 70 percent of TJ students were white. Today, 79 percent are minority, mostly from immigrant Asian families

    while black and Hispanic admissions have remained relatively unchanged, at about two percent and three percent respectively. The activists seeking to eliminate TJ’s meritocratic admissions systems attribute this latter result to systemic racism

    I often wonder how social activists can look at the above two paragraphs and not see the complete illogic of their worldview.

    How can one see that a decrease in Whites and an increase in Asians is the result of systemic racism? So what exactly is occurring? Whites have suddenly decided that Asians are better while Hispanics and Blacks are not? How can supposedly intelligent people have these competing thoughts in their heads and be able to reconcile them?

    As someone who is am immigrant myself (white, but from former Soviet Union), it was a struggle for me to get ahead. I had to learn a new language. I had to acclimate to a new culture. And I even dealt with some bigotry from Anglo-Saxon whites who looked down on immigrants. Yet despite that, both myself and my brother thrived, went to university, and have very good careers.

    So what was the mitigating factor? The answer is simple: GOOD PARENTING.

    My parents instilled a good work ethic in my brother and I and academics took a front row seat. They monitored my performance in school, and if things slipped, they acted on it. They were active in all of that and they never expected the government to raise their kids for them.

    Now, everything has been turned around. Parents are never to blame for their kids behavior or their lack of success in life. It is always the ‘system’. This notion, in the the 21st Century, is utterly preposterous.

  12. Since when is studying an unfair tactic in academics?

    I am constantly amazed by parents who think it’s entirely fair to get their kids tennis lessons to help them get on the tennis team but extracurricular studying is likened to a form of cheating.

  13. Once again it is statistically impossible for there to be this sort of disparity in personal scores by mere chance, considering the large numbers and the large gap in personal scores. So either there is some significant deficiency that asian students have that others do not have or this is a politically acceptable form of racism.

  14. The idea of lowering entry standards at TJ in order to give underrepresented groups access to better education makes several assumptions:

    1. Lower performing students will have better opportunities at TJ and their performance will increase.

    2. Higher performing students will not be damaged by going to an average school. They will magically succeed no matter what.

    A school like TJ, with a curriculum heavy in math and science, offers classes not available at other schools. Lower performing students at TJ will be in over their heads. Higher performing students will NOT get the same classes at the average schools.

    Equality of outcome will be achieved by hobbling the gifted.

    Harrison Bergeron indeed.

  15. First post. I was a graduate of TJ in 1989 - the first full 4-year class. In my graduating year, there were 8 black kids (I confirmed this by looking through my senior yearbook). Undoubtedly all 8 of those kids deserved to be there. The school was an intellectual meat grinder. I ended up going to Carnegie-Mellon University and majoring in Physics (hardly a slouch major at an easy school) and I found my freshman year there much easier than my senior year at TJ. So much so that I got my BS in 3 years because I AP-ed out of 25 credits.

    What I liked most about the school when I went was that everyone wanted to be there. Yes, it was hard, yes the work was never-ending, but there were no disrupters in class. We actually finished the textbooks assigned and went beyond them. When everyone is a nerd, no one is and so it was incredibly liberating. The biggest divisions were class divisions - many of my peers were much wealthier than I was (I’m the first college graduate in my family).

    I’m part of the Facebook alumni group where this discussion is taking place and I can’t even bring myself to comment there because any dissention from the progressive party line is considered “hate speech” and will get you banned.

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