Matthew Nuti is your typical well-rounded student. He’s on the junior varsity football team, active on the yearbook staff, and a dynamic influence on the Model United Nations team at his school. However, his school is the not-so-average Thomas Jefferson High School (TJHS), in Fairfax County, Va. At this magnet science and technology school, students need to have top grades and stellar test scores to even get in. No wonder it’s ranked the #1 public school by the U.S. News and World Report. Now it has a new rule: get lower than a 3.0 GPA, and you are expelled.
Nuti, with a 2.8 GPA, was one of five students expelled this past year. He expressed his frustration on ABC and in the Washington Post. Many readers have already weighed in with mixed feelings. Some say a GPA cutoff for a public school is out of line. Still, others agree with the school, pointing out the classes he did poorly in were core academic subjects. There is a line of students waiting to take his place, says Washington-area student Alexa Williams: “Anything less than academic success should mean not being asked back.”
Should public schools be open to all and provide remediation to those students who need it? Are schools with enrollment policies like TJHS’s changing public education for the better or worse?