Governor McAuliffe has made an entirely political appointment to the State Board of Education. Elizabeth Vickrey Lodal is a loyal democrat who has had fundraisers at her home for Mark Warner and other notable democrats. She has also contributed large amounts of money to the party and to democrat candidates. [read_more]
In 2006 Mrs. Lodal was forced to leave her position as Principal of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology when she made the statement the Asian students were the cause of all the problems at the school. There had been some rare incidents of theft just prior to her making the statement. TJ students had grown accustomed to leaving their things unattended because there had been no thefts at the school. Students respected the Honor Code. But there had been a few such incidents prior to Mrs. Lodal making the statement. She later tried to walk back the statement but she couldn’t. In the school newspaper, TJ Today, Mrs. Lodal said that the African American students, of which there were too few by her standards, were the ‘most beloved’ students in the school. Both statements, about the Asians and the Blacks, were considered racist by many parents of students. Mrs. Lodal was forced to apologize for the statement about Asians being responsible for the problems at the school. Shortly after the apology she left the school.
Mrs. Lodal spent much of her tenure at TJ working to find ways to increase the percentage of African Americans admitted to the school. That would also have had the effect of forcing down the percentage of Asians admitted. Lodal and many of the administrators of FCPS wanted more Blacks at TJ but could not find a way to accomplish that goal without risking a lawsuit for racial discrimination. That happened to the school in 1997 when 32 qualified White students were rejected for 32 less qualified Black students. Fairfax county was sued by a group of parents of those students who had been rejected. The county was forced to readmit those 32 students during the summer. From that time on FCPS was unable to practice the blatant racial discrimination they had practiced with all TJ admissions in the past.
Fairfax county then began to institute numerous free tutoring programs for Blacks and other special programs for “under represented minorities” across the county beginning in Kindergarten, all in an effort to get more Blacks and Hispanics into Gifted programs and ultimately into TJHSST. Despite having spent tens of millions of dollars, if not more, nothing has worked to increase the number of Blacks at TJ. The latest TJ statistics available show Asians comprising 66.3% of the students admitted, whites are 24%, while Blacks remain about the same at 2.1% and Hispanics at 1.6%. The admission statistics can be found here.
Now Elizabeth Lodal will be on the State Board of Education. No doubt her focus will be on affirmative action for Virginia schools and universities as it is the issue near and dear to her heart.