Sunday, November 2, 2014

Are Race & Class Barriers Also a Problem in FCPS?

I was driving between court appearance last week, and I ran across this story by Kavitha Cardoza on WAMU regarding race and class divisions in the District of Columbia.  As I listened, it occurred to me that much of it might just be just as applicable to Fairfax County as it was the District.

For example, one of the points made during he story was that kids from low income families tend to do better when they go to school with kids from other background.

In the story, a Harvard Fellow with the Century Foundation, Richard Kahlenberg, pointed out that packing low income children into one schools doesn't is problematic.  He said "one of the best things you can do to improve the education of all children is to give them access to an economically integrated environment.... low income kids will do better if you give them the right environment."

He points out that putting low income families in schools where (1) you have parents in a position to engage, (2) peers are academically engaged, and (3) where you have strong teachers, is the best way to maximize the ability of all children to learn.  He pointed out that packing all of the lower income kids into schools doesn't work.

First, Kahlenberg's description of successful schools reminded me of West Potomac H.S. when I attended between 1984-1989.  I had lots of friends from lots of different backgrounds.  As kids, we didn't think or judge - we all competed for the same grades (and in full disclosure, I was nothing special - #74 out of 420 something).

Second, this story brought to mind the existing situation on U.S. 1 where we have multiple schools with over 70% free and reduced lunch populations.  This just reiterates why we need to get to work on U.S. 1.

Listen to the story and let me know what your thoughts!


  1. Totally agree! So why are we considering raising the FRM population at Title 1 schools in our pyramid that already have a majority of students on FRM when there is a school in the same pyramid with less than 2% FRM???

  2. Why did it take so long for someone else to see this, wherever the school system; and now that it's out there, what do we do about it? This may be a good time to consider boundary changes.

  3. The ucoming boundary changes need to look at equalizing the FRM populations across the pyramid. As a Girl Scout troop leader at Waynewood then Stratford and now Sandburg, I see that all students benefit from economically integrated schools.