News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Better wear black, not Navy

Ahead of Thursday's awesome school board meeting, at which the Fairfax County School Board will formally begin considering whether to subject kids from South Lakes High School to their counterparts from such economically challenged areas as Oakton Woods, with its ghetto-like $758,000 homes and shocking paucity of Bratz dolls, the school system has tweaked its redistricting proposal one last time:

The proposal, from the staff of Superintendent Jack D. Dale, would reduce demographic disparities among five high schools. South Lakes, which is operating far below capacity and serves more low-income and minority families than the other four, would gain students bound for Westfield Madison and Oakton high schools. In addition, some students in the Chantilly High attendance zone would be rerouted to Oakton.

The staff's recommendation largely mirrors a proposal offered Dec. 19 at a town hall meeting at Oakton. The only tweak affected a neighborhood near Navy Elementary School. Under the staff plan, more students from that neighborhood would move into Oakton's attendance area and out of Chantilly's.
Poor Navy kids. They'll be forced to go to school, against their will, with insufferable Oakton folks like this:
* SL should be grateful they are getting what they wanted, more kids plucked out of communities that do not belong in Reston to help them perform better.

* Will you please get it through your thick skulls that Langley will NEVER be redistricted. We are different from you!!! Get over it!!!

* "Plasma screens can be found along the wall of the main hallway and the career center..." Hope they are bolted to the wall.

* Please do not push for AP at SL. If they have AP classes at SL, short of selling and moving we will be forced to go to south lakes. Be careful of what you ask for.

* I am concerned about this parent-kid stuff because my child is hearing from (a few) other children that South Lakes stinks, that there are murders there, that he will be surrounded by druggies -- and he is very likely going there.

* We can solve this problem the way we solve most others - Let import them from Mexico or any other country where people are willing to come to US... I am sure there will be thousands of applicants, if we offer free visas and settle them in Reston, so that they can fill up the empty seats at SL.
Maybe they can be asked to be pupil-placed into South Lakes.

Meanwhile, State Del. Ken Plum has weighed in on this whole mess, basically comparing this process to the painful integration of Virginia schools in the early 1970s.
One of the more memorable moments in recent Virginia history was recorded in a front-page New York Times photograph and story of Governor Lynwood Holton walking his daughter Tayloe into a predominately Black high school in Richmond in 1970 to enroll her for classes. His wife was at the same time enrolling their other daughter Anne and their son Woody in schools in which they were the only white children in their classes. Woody grew up to become a prominent author and historian, and his sister Anne is now First Lady of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Governor Holton took a bold leadership step to show folks that their fears about the integration of public schools were not well founded. He explained later that he felt integration of the schools was the morally right thing to do. After decades of lawsuits, our public schools are for the most part integrated. The worst fears of the consequences of integration were never realized. […]

The recent process the School Board has undertaken in our region to adjust boundaries has brought some of the feelings about our local schools into the open and exposed some biases that we may be surprised to learn continue to exist in our communities. In the process, South Lakes High School has gotten a bum rap.
Hmmm. While we think the black T-shirt wearing crowd have basically shown themselves for the self-serving elitists they are, there's a big difference between socioeconomics and racism. And there's an even bigger difference between integrating schools and sending kids to a school whose biggest issue is that, until recently, it lacked windows.

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