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Maggie Walker Governor’s School sees uptick in diversity

Maggie Walker High School.jpg
Posted at 2:35 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 14:36:30-04

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - One of Virginia's “Governor's Schools” has accepted more Black and Latino students in the wake of a push to increase diversity at the selective institutions.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported last week that the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond accepted more Black and Latino students for the upcoming 2021-22 school year than it has in five years.

The school draws from 14 divisions and has seen applications surge from last year. One-third of the students from the feeder districts are Black, and about 14% are Latino.

The 23 Black and 13 Latino students who've been accepted are still under-representative of the school districts. But the school’s director said it’s a step in the right direction. A total of only 14 Black and Latino students were offered slots last year.

The increase comes as the school considers permanently removing an in-person admissions test that was waived this year amid the pandemic. But the necessity of standardized admissions tests is being questioned at a time when many experts have concluded that the exam has a racist history.

Virginia education Secretary Atif Qarni spearheaded an effort last year to address the lack of diversity at the state’s 19 Governor’s Schools, especially Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County and Maggie Walker High in Richmond.

Those two schools in particular are considered elite institutions; TJ is ranked the best high school in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

But Black and Hispanic students have long been woefully underrepresented at both schools.