School Segregation Podcast and Action Items

I hope you’re enjoying the last few weeks of summer!
One of our members suggested this wonderful podcast episode called “School Segregation in 2018 with Nikole Hannah-Jones.” I highly recommend it.
Another member shared this article about a Center for American Progress (CAP) proposal to increase federal funding to high-poverty schools via teacher pay.
There have been a few suggestions of doing themed meetings, like a book club, but around shorter content like podcasts or articles, to help shape our conversations. I may have enough bandwidth to put something like this together at some of our small group meetings once my kiddos are back in school, but I’m also completely open to having any of our members host these conversations and/or choose the content and/or lead the discussion.
I also had a great conversation with Integrated Schools again and I’m going to set up a presentation with them for early November, mostly geared towards families heading into choosing a school for their Kindergartner, but also for anyone interested in school integration issues. We’re considering Thursday, November 1 or Sunday, November 4. Please let me know if you’re interested and if you have a date preference (or an opinion about which date you think might work for the most people). Once we choose a date, I’ll need your help getting the word out.
I have a few events to share:
(1) Black Lives Matter DC and SURJ DC are holding an event on Thursday, August 23 called “Black Lives: They Matter Here” to share stories of the movement.
(2) A reminder that Embrace Race is holding a webinar on “Addressing Racial Injustice with Young Children” on August 28 at 8:30 pm. Remember that you can register even if you can’t attend live and they’ll send you a link to the recording.
(3) VACOLAO has opened registration for the 9th Virginia Immigrant Advocates Summit on November 15.
And some recent articles worth sharing:
(1) This article about teacher diversity from the Brookings Institute was quite insightful.
(2) Washington Post article by Theresa Vargas about lead poisoning of children in DC.
(3) Washington Post Retropolis article about deportation of a million Mexican-Americans during the Great Depression.
I have ordered postcards from the ACLU for their election postcard writing campaign, so please let me know if you’d like to complete some by October 1. The goal is to encourage people to vote — we write a personal message and send them back to the ACLU and they send them along to potential voters. Here’s the campaign page and yes, they had so many people requesting them that they far exceeded their expectations and ran out. A great problem to have!
Listen, Amplify, Follow.

Equity Efforts County-Wide

Hi Friends,
Sorry this weekly update is late. A few reminders, first:
(1) Our first August small group meeting is scheduled for next Monday. Please let me know if you’re planning to attend.
(2) Please let me know if you’re interested in speaking this coming school year at School Board meetings about agenda items through an equity lens. Even if you can only do one, it will really help — the more they hear on a regular basis about the importance of equity, the better!
(3) Please let me know if you’re interested in attending a meeting with the Democratic candidate for County Board — if there’s enough interest from our group then I’ll set something up with him.
There are several actions happening this coming weekend:
(1) Shut It Down DC
(2) Black Lives Matter Rise Up Fight Back March
EmbraceRace is having another webinar, this one on how to discuss race with young children featuring the authors of the children’s book called Something Happened In Our Town. Registration is free and if you register, even if you can’t make it to the live event, you will receive a recording afterwards and can watch it at your convenience.
I had a very informative and exciting meeting with a community member last week. She’s a former School Board member and is currently working on a bunch of initiatives, all with an equity lens. She shared the following items:
(1) Communities in Schools of NOVA is working with some of our schools to manage unmet needs.
(2) The Community Progress Network is coordinated by APAH and was one of the major supporters of “Equity” being included in the School District Strategic Plan.
(3) Destination 2027 working on health equity in our community. In various parts of our county, there is a 10-year difference in life expectancy from one part to another because of inequities in our community. This campaign works to address that.
(4) We also discussed the difference between approaching problems upstream and downstream — downstream means focusing on the results of the systemic problems, applying bandaids, doing cleanup that will not end. As much as we can, we need to look upstream to find the sources of the problems to create lasting and systemic change.
(5) We talked about barriers to progress — things like lack of awareness, lack of collaboration, lack of communication, and lack of access. One of the places we need to push collaboration is between the schools and the County — we need to keep encouraging that to happen, both on the budget and on strategic planning as our community grows, which will hopefully allow us to leverage our resources in the most effective ways.
(6) King County, WA adopted an equity ordinance 12 years ago and this is an amazing example of a county incorporating equity into everything it does and giving actual meaning to that action. Montgomery Co, Fairfax Co, and Alexandria are all working on something similar, but our community is lagging behind — we need to push our leaders on making this happen.
(7) Supporting whole child initiatives and approaches will contribute to addressing the achievement gap and equity goals — when each child has what they need to learn, to be healthy, to live, then we are meeting their needs. Our community is the resource we need to leverage to do this and having a county-wide focus (as in, what is good for the county is good for all of us) will be key.
Happy last month of summer!
Listen, Amplify, Follow.

When Property Value Discussions Cloak White Privilege and Ignorance

Happy August!
One of our members let me know about Rachel Cargle (and some of her work is here). Her posts led me to this article by Danielle Slaughter, which is Awareness 101 for white women in this space.
A member also shared this article and the title alone makes it a worthwhile read.
Doorways in Arlington is holding its annual Back to School Campaign to help and there are options for how to donate. And a reminder that APAH has a similar program for providing school supplies for children living in their affordable housing properties.
I saw a discussion about this article on another email group which shows some of the subtle perceptions we’re trying to address in our community.
(1) School zone does not convey with a home purchase, but many local residents are very committed to “property value” discussions related to their school zone. Which simply leads me to ask what they are doing to advocate for making ALL district schools equal so home values are not so affected by school zone changes. The only reason home values fluctuate when school zones change is because of public opinion of what makes a “good school.” Test scores are a biased form of ranking and do not reflect the quality of a school accurately.
(2) Read this article with an eye for phrases like “quality of life,” “keeping the neighborhood safe and comfortable,” and, of course, this quote, “We bought these schools and the house came with them.” The implications are that these desires of the residents of this particular neighborhood are what set it apart from other parts of our county, when in fact I imagine that nearly all local residents desire to have quality of life, good schools, and safety. The fact that significant disparities exist within our County should instead be motivation for addressing those inequities, not touting them as though the residents of that neighborhood had an intentional impact on making it that way or did something special (it happened passively through their privilege).
I saw this article in the Washington Post over the weekend and have already reached out to the two women who are featured in the article. Also, one of my neighbors is offering to put in a bulk order of the Hate Has No Home Here yard signs (we have one in our yard already), so please let me know if you want to join in on that order. The anti-hate actions are a good sign — community members are standing up more clearly to the overt signs of hate and racism. Let’s keep that momentum going to address the covert versions, which are harder to see and harder to address. That’s why we’re all here!
And this morning, I saw a very interesting article by Courtland Milloy about teachers choosing to learn about how to teach slavery, including several quotes from local teachers. It sounds like at least one (white) teacher was able to listen to and follow the feedback provided by teachers of color during the workshop. I’m glad Stratford Hall (Lee’s birthplace) is providing such relevant content and programming.
Related to school equity issues, the school district issued an update on the elementary boundary process, which starts right away this fall. For more details, go here.
Listen, Amplify, Follow.