News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The first victims of redistricting? Fire hydrants

So, how did the first awesome hearing involving redistricting kids from a whole slew of Fairfax County high schools into South Lakes High School go? Let's go to the videotape!

Parents parked on medians and in fire lanes in Chantilly High School's overflowing parking lot Monday night for the first of three town hall meetings to gather public input on a west county boundary study by Fairfax County Public Schools.

By county staff's estimates, more than 2,000 people showed up to hear an explanation of the boundary study process and the problems the county hopes to solve with redistricting. Six high schools are in the study: Herndon, Oakton, Chantilly, Westfield, South Lakes and Madison.
Call us cynics, but we're guessing that law-abiding Fairfax County soccer moms didn't block in fire hydrants with their minivans and Lexus SUVs because they really, really want their kids in South Lakes' IB program. Right?
Groups from nearly every high school in the study, except South Lakes, have formed groups to protest redistricting.
Oh... okay. So, the folks opposing redistricting had their own realistic suggestions on what to do, right?
“The majority of the community advocates a moratorium on redistricting. Would you consider a moratorium?”

The man then walked down the stands and handed the microphone to Hunter Mill District School Board representative Stu Gibson, who declined to answer.
Of course, there's always the electoral process to address such impasses in a constructive way:
At the Colvin precinct, an Election Day push by parents in the Madison island led to a write-in campaign of 22 percent for “James Madison.”
Oh, snap!

All joking aside, we really feel for the South Lakes parents. Their kids go to a school that's improving by leaps and bounds and took a big risk by adopting a rigorous academic program, and they're stuck doing and saying things like this:
A smaller faction of nearly 30 parents and students of South Lakes wore the school's colors in the bleachers Monday. PTSA president Elizabeth Vandenberg brought and distributed 500 copies of the PTSA newsletter and South Lakes “At a Glance” handouts that highlighted academic and extracurricular achievements.

Vandenberg said she feels no ill-will toward parents at other schools who are opposed to sending their children to South Lakes.

“We understand change is hard, but we're 100 percent confident in our program, in our academics and in [Principal Bruce] Butler,” she said.
To counter the 2,800-plus signatures the folks in Oakton have collected opposing redistricting, the South Lakes crowd has started their own petition drive. To date, it has a whopping 98 signatures. Maybe that has just a soupcon to do with this one point:
2. WE SUPPORT diversity in our schools:

A. Our children will be better prepared for real-world and global issues if they have been given the opportunity to become acquainted with many different cultures, learning abilities, and socio-economic scenarios during their formative years in school.
If it's not about that, what is all this really about, random Vienna parent?
“We eat, breathe and live Vienna. Reston's not really part of our connections,” he said.
Eat Vienna? Reston may not have a Tara Thai, but we do have a Busara now. Their pad thai rocks!

Again, call us cynics, but how much of this brouhaha centers on this very point? As one of this site's astute commenters put it, we doubt this much angst would be stirred up if these kids were in danger of being moved to Langley High School.

Then, folks would just park in the spaces reserved for the employee of the month and the school secretary.

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