Fairfax Schools Paid $455k to Promote 'Equal Outcomes For Every Student' While Withholding Merit Awards

Brittany M. Hughes | December 30, 2022
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On the heels of a bombshell story detailing how one prestigious school in Fairfax, Virginia intentionally withheld National Merit Scholar awards from students who’d earned them in the name of “inclusivity” comes another gut-punch to parents of high-achieving, hardworking kids.

The Fairfax Times obtained a snapshot of a powerpoint display from Performance Fact, Inc., a company hired by Fairfax Public Schools to the tune of nearly half a million dollars to promote “equity,” showing the county has committed to creating not only “equitable access” for all students, but also to promote “equal outcomes for every student, without exception.”

Those “equal outcomes” apparently included deliberately not informing National Merit scholars of their achievement, denying them the award and the potential college admissions and scholarship opportunities that can come from it.

That’s what one mom in Fairfax, Virginia, says recently happened to her family at the now-infamous Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, which is ranked as the country’s #1 school and had previously been accused of discriminating against Asian-American students in order to promote racial diversity.

Shawna Yashar said her son started at TJHS in 2019, and spent the next two years busting his butt to earn top grades in the school’s most difficult courses. After taking the PSAT last fall, he earned a coveted spot as a National Merit scholar, one of about 50,000 students ranked as having placed among the top 3% of students across the entire country. There was just one problem - administrators at the school never told him he'd earned the award.

Related: BOMBSHELL: Nation's Top High School Withheld National Merit Awards to Promote 'Inclusiveness'

The City-Journal reports:

School officials had decided to withhold announcement of the award. Indeed, it turns out that the principal, Ann Bonitatibus, and the director of student services, Brandon Kosatka, have been withholding this information from families and the public for years, affecting the lives of at least 1,200 students over the principal’s tenure of five years.

In a phone call to the school administration to demand accountability, Yashar said Kosatka told her that administrators “want to recognize students for who they are as individuals, not focus on their achievements,” saying that handing out Merit awards might “hurt” the feelings of students who hadn’t earned them.

After news broke that the school had been intentionally withholding Merit awards, the administration began scrambling to do damage control, recently sending out emails to those students who’d earned the award this previous fall apologizing for what they claim was an oversight. Kosatka then told the Daily Caller in an article published this week that the mistake was a “one-time human error in the fall of 2022 only.” But several parents say their child was denied the award as early as 2019. 

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While students were being denied the awards they'd earned, Fairfax County Public Schools was busy paying the California-based Performance Fact, Inc., $455,000 in a 9-month, no-bid contract for “equity” data collection and analysis. According to their own website, PFI works to ensure all students are rewarded at the same level, regardless of their actual achievements or merit.

“The Equity Imperative: Equitable Access, Equal Outcomes,” reads the company’s mantra, adding the initiative promotes “Equitable access to resources and opportunities that guarantee fair, just and affirming experiences and produce equal outcomes for every student, without exception.”

Or, as an alternative, how about this: any school official who promotes "equal outcomes" for students regardless of their actual achievements or work ethic and who deny children the awards they earned are unfit to work in education and should lose their cushy, tax-funded jobs immediately.

Every one, without exception.