Exclusive: Virginia AG Jason Miyares Investigates ‘Equity Policies’ in Fairfax County ‘National Merit Scandal’

RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 19: The newly sworn-in Attorney General of Virginia, Jason Miyares,
Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) told Breitbart News that Fairfax County equity consultants advised education officials that “you had to be willing to treat some students unequally to get to those equal outcomes.”

In the wake of the “National Merit scandal” in which several Virginia counties withheld notification of student achievement in the National Merit Scholarship Program, Miyares’s office is investigating to see if racially discriminatory practices led to the Northern Virginia counties’ decisions.

The National Merit Scholarship Program can help students receive scholarships for college. At least four counties — Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford — and at least 17 schools have been found to have withheld the scholarship notification.

“We know that Michelle Reid, the Fairfax superintendent, hired an equity consultant [and] paid this person $455,000 for nine months’ worth of work,” the Old Dominion Republican said on Breitbart News Saturday. “We know this equity consultant had recommended to them that they get ‘equal outcomes for every student without exception.'”


“They also said you had to be willing to treat some students unequally to get to those equal outcomes,” he explained. “I had a group of Asian parents who came to me and said, ‘Our children are being discriminated against because they went away from a merit-based admission system,’ in which you had to get the right test scores and grades, to … an ‘equity admission system’ that led to a 20-point decrease in Asian American enrollment in just one year.”

“We later then found this National Merit scandal where they just were not notifying students; we found over 1,000 students that were not notified, and over 70% of those students were Asian American students,” Miyares continued.

Apparently these students were not notified of their National Merit achievements until after their college admissions applications had to be turned in. This meant they were unable to include those achievements in their applications, and were therefore unable to make use of the advantages they would have given them, including scholarships that would have been open to them.

“Why did so many of these Asian students get impacted by these ‘equity’ policies that said, ‘You had to have equal outcomes, even if you treat students unequally,'” he said. “If it was based on race, I could tell you that that’s why we exist, and that’s what we’re investigating right now.”

Highlighted by the maladministration of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County has been at the enter of several claims of discrimination against Asian and white students in the name of “equity.”

“What we’re trying to get to the bottom of is: you cannot, under Virginia statute, deny somebody a benefit or recognition or admission because of racial or ethnic background,” he said. “That is happening if they decided to have denied them the National Merit recognition based on that, that’s a violation of Virginia law.”

“I’ve heard some left-wing commentators say, ‘This isn’t that big of a deal. These students already had good grades, are already going to college,'” he explained. “We’ve calculated over 800 different scholarships that would have been available to these students if they had received this recognition. I know of at least one Virginia college that gets free tuition if you get a National Merit commendation. That was worth over $90,000.”

“As somebody who’s a child of an immigrant, I worked all four years of college; how you’re going to pay for college is as important as what college you get into,” Miyares said. “That idea that you can just ignore and not recognize students that have worked so hard, it goes totally against our concept of merit and achievement in this country.”

Speaking about an unrelated special grand jury investigation in neighboring Loudoun County, Miyares spoke about his office’s mentality about investigations.

“We operate the opposite of Merrick Garland in D.C., where if they think that maybe, possibly, one day they may investigate you, it’s on the front page of the Washington Post,” he said. “That is the wrong way to run an investigation.”

Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.


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