Links Between Education and Housing Discrimination

 Hi Friends,

I had the luxury of visiting the Supreme Court building on Saturday. It was so helpful for my heart to see the outpouring of people who were there to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While at first it felt like a torch had been dropped, I came to see that she had inspired and encouraged so many others to carry torches of their own. The world is brighter for her efforts.

If men, particularly white men, raise their voices to stand in solidarity with women, to amplify us, to validate the challenges women continue to face, particularly women of color, then the protection (and expansion) of our rights is more likely. Those with the most privilege must use it to support those with less.

I also wanted to share the opening remarks I delivered at the CCPTA meeting on September 21.

- Arlington County is moving in the right direction regarding its logo and other symbols that feature Arlington House.
- “Arlington Reaffirms Commitment to Fair Housing Practices” (9/16/20)
- The Lee Highway Alliance has more information about “Renaming Lee Highway” (you can submit your new name ideas!) and links and documents related to the Working Group on Renaming Lee Highway. The first meeting took place on September 16.
- Rebecca Burnett at WDVM 25 shared that “Arlington Independent Media to produce series about county’s Black history.”

- Andre Perry writes about “When poorly veiled bigotry masquerades as choice” (The Hechinger Report, 9/15/20). PLEASE read this one. It highlights how choice is used in housing and schools: “In theory, choice means allowing people the freedom to choose the home, neighborhood and school that’s best for them. In practice, choice is frequently a code word for preserving white preferences — in housing and schooling — and excluding Black and Brown people. In education, the word “choice” too often accompanies statements about the need to escape failing schools and zip codes. Read: Black schools and neighborhoods.”

- Molly Stellino writes “College students push for race and ethnic studies classes to be required, but some campuses resist” (The Hechinger Report, 9/11/20). The next step beyond increasing the number of specific classes that include marginalized populations is to have an inclusive curriculum from the beginning, incorporating people from many backgrounds, meaningfully, in the way we teach every subject. Instead of celebrating Black history and culture ONLY in February, the teaching of Black history should not ONLY be found in a special class. It should be something we learn about alongside everything else, of equal value and relevance. Every subject, every class.

- Daniel C. Vock writes “GreatSchools Wanted to Disrupt Online School Ratings. But Did It Make Neighborhood Segregation Worse?” (Mother Jones, November/December 2020 Issue). The link between real estate listings and GreatSchools ratings is damaging, even though there are agent rules designed to prevent housing discrimination. “GreatSchools’ heavy reliance on test scores — and other measures that are highly correlated with race, like graduation rates and Advanced Placement test performance — means homebuyers looking at its ratings don’t have to harbor any racial animus to steer clear of neighborhoods with sizable Black or Latino populations. They just have to use GreatSchools’ filters on real estate websites to skip over listings in areas with poorly rated schools. Since homebuyers who can afford to move into areas with highly rated schools are largely white and Asian, the scores could reinforce the separation of neighborhoods along racial lines.” (emphasis mine)

- Linda Darling-Hammond, Abby Schachner, and Adam Edgerton write “Reinventing School in the COVID Era and Beyond” (Learning Policy Institute, 9/15/20)

- Brentin Mock writes “A Neighborhood’s Race Affects Home Values More Now Than in 1980” (CityLab, 9/21/20). It’s the next evolution of redlining: “In other words, if an appraiser is calculating the value of a home in a Black neighborhood by comparing it to houses recently sold around it, then chances are she is comparing it to other Black-owned houses that, because of the legacy of segregation, have handicapped values in the market compared to similar homes in white communities appraised at higher prices. The unfairly valued prices of homes in Black neighborhoods before the 1970s thus serves as the baseline for how homes are appraised and priced today. While the Fair Housing Act and Community Reinvestment Act forbade practices like redlining and denying mortgage loans based on race, they did nothing to readjust housing prices in segregated neighborhoods after they were passed.”

Fairfax County experienced an example of voter suppression when supporters of the current president temporarily interfered with a line for early in-person voters to access the Fairfax County Government Center on September 19.
- The Arlington County Civic Federation general meeting included a candidate’s forum on September 8.
- The Arlington Committee of 100 hosted a County Board & School Board Candidate Forum on September 9.
- Justin Wm. Moyer writes “Voting is a challenge for the homeless. Advocates are trying to make it easier.” (Washington Post, 9/10/20)

- Sanya Mansoor writes “‘At the Intersection of Two Criminalized Identities’: Black and Non-Black Muslims Confront a Complicated Relationship With Policing and Anti-Blackness” (TIME, 9/13/20)
- Kurtis Lee writes “Armed and Black. How a group of men licensed to carry guns say they are seeking racial justice” (Los Angeles Times, 9/21/20)
- Kara Harris writes “There’s a Movement to Defund School Police, Too” (CityLab, 8/24/20)

- Some resources from ADL were shared with me recently, including “Table Talk: Family Conversations about Current Events” and “25 Alternative Questions to the ‘How Was Your Day?’ Parent Question,” both of which have great tips for practicing conversations about racism and bias and tools to unlearn these tendencies.

- The SPLC released its “Vision For A Just Future,” (PDF) which provides guidance for systemic, governmental action: “We believe that it is not enough for the next Congress and administration to merely modify policies and regulations to expand rights and freedoms. Instead, we recommend bold, transformative actions that can revitalize and fundamentally realign our nation to eliminate white nationalism, structural racism and historic inequalities, to remove unjust barriers to fundamental voting rights, to expand inclusive anti-discrimination protections, and to reinvigorate our values as a diverse, welcoming and compassionate nation.”
- Abrahm Lustgarten writes “Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration” (ProPublica 9/15/20)

- Mijente shared a campaign for September 23 to call attention to Palantir’s funding of ICE before the company goes public.
- On September 24, there’s a webinar intended for educators and school administrators from the Virginia Department of Education that might also interest our members. “Working with Immigrant/Refugee Children & Families: Resources for Teachers and School Administrators (Session 2).” This might be of particular interest to parents and PTAs at schools with immigrant populations to consider improving inclusion and community engagement.
- Embrace Race is hosting “Same Family, Different Colors: Talking About Colorism and Skin Color Politics in the Family” on September 24.
- Arlington Public Library is hosting a virtual discussion on “Multiracial Coalitions in the Civil Rights Era” on September 29.
- Virginia Humanities is hosting a conversation with Martha S. Jones who wrote Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All on October 2.
- The Learning Policy Institute is hosting “Restarting and Reinventing School for Equitable and Empowering Learning” on October 6.

I’d like to share a quote from RBG that I’m keeping in mind from now on: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Keep your chin up.

Listen. Amplify. Follow.

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