Thomas Jefferson Isn't for Everyone

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Oct. 25 column ["A Thomas Jefferson Brain Drain?"] discussed a statement by Georgetown University's dean of admissions, Charles Deacon, in Washingtonian magazine that regional magnet Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology robs other Northern Virginia schools of their best students, "leaving behind a culture that's more dominated by athletics and rock music and less dominated by [Advanced Placement] and high academic achievement."

Deacon said that explains why "we don't see a lot of great candidates [for Georgetown admission] from Northern Virginia high schools other than Jefferson." Nancy Burke-Sanow of Vienna did not agree, and many readers have since sent their thoughts:

Dear Extra Credit:

My son graduated in the Class of 2006 from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington. He is at Pomona College because (other than the fact that he was admitted) we have only one child and are willing to use our savings for his education.

Many of his fellow International Baccalaureate and valedictorian classmates are at the College of William and Mary or the University of Virginia because their parents said they had to go to an in-state school, and those kids were content to do so. Not everyone is willing or able to pay more than $45,000 a year for an education, especially when an excellent education can be had at Virginia schools.

They are kids who I am sure could have gone to a good private college had they chosen to. I was really surprised to read Charles Deacon's comments on a brain drain from Northern Virginia schools because of Thomas Jefferson, and I have to say I think it's pretty irresponsible to make such a statement based on anecdotal evidence.

Ruth Sievers


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