Bill would bar Virginia Governor’s Schools from using race in admissions

There are 19 academic-year Governor’s Schools across Virginia

Richmond (WSLS)

RICHMOND, Va. – A Republican bill targeting diversity efforts at Virginia’s Governor’s Schools would ban them from using race and other factors in admissions.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the bill introduced by Del. Glenn Davis Jr. would prevent Governor’s schools from collecting data on race, sex, nationality, or ethnicity during an application process unless required by federal law. It would also prevent schools from participating in what Davis calls “proxy discrimination,” including using geographic or socioeconomic factors or limiting the number of students from any single school.

The specific bill in question is House Bill 127.

There are nine Governor’s Schools that serve our viewing area:

Some critics say that’s aimed directly at new admissions rules at Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology. Davis said those allegations are false.

“There are communities that have historically not had the same resources as others when it came to educational opportunity,” Davis told the newspaper. “By adjusting admissions standards significantly by allowing race to be used significantly as (an admission standard), it just covers up the inequities that exist at the middle school level.”

While the House is controlled by Republicans, the bill is likely to face a tougher path in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras, whose school district has been seeking greater diversity in its open enrollment and Governor’s schools admissions process, was the only superintendent in the area to publicly oppose the bill.

In a statement, Kamras called the bill a “thinly veiled effort to prevent Governor’s Schools from becoming more diverse.”

The Governor’s schools have struggled with diversity for decades. A six-month investigation by the Times-Dispatch into Maggie Walker Governor’s School in Richmond found that white students had been selected to attend the school at a rate four times higher than Black students.