Tweet of the Week, Vol. 7

 

 

In which I highlight tweets from around the area and analyze why they’re important.

On Tuesday, Emma Brown and Scott Clement’s story “Middle schools present vexing problem for D.C. leaders as parents choose other options” ran on the front page of The Washington Post. The story featured a rather stunning, but incredibly honest statement from one parent. Gabriella Savio, who lives in the boundary of Dupont Circle’s Ross Elementary, said one of the reasons she sent her two boys to a charter for middle school was basic.

“I need diversity. I need a nice mix of people,” Savio said. “I don’t want my child to be the only white child in a classroom full of all African Americans.”

While this seems incendiary at first, it’s actually the implication of what’s not said that is equally important as what is said. As Christina Henderson says, does this person not believe that African-American parents value diversity as well? Is it fair to presume that because so many traditional public schools in D.C. happen to be primarily black that all parents want it that way? Absolutely not.

But the overall point Henderson highlights is one that has continually plagued the city’s school system. Instead of trying to grow naturally and responsibly, so many families just opt to send their kids out of boundary or elsewhere to emulate or participate in so-called proven systems. As if those who chose to stay in boundary in areas of less success deserve their fate for not trying to get out.

Which is part of the inherent conundrum — and the difficulty in solving it. If every neighborhood school is going to be looked at as a problem worth escaping, rather than a problem worth solving for the overall greater good, the school system will continue to be a fractured mess, stressing out parents, teachers and students alike.

 

Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.
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