A reader commented:
“I really worry about this in DCPS from a consumer and community perspective.
“People who have a chance to have their kids go to DCPS often don’t look past test scores to see that the teaching in classrooms can be really good, i.e., something that would benefit their children.
“Our child is at a school with much poorer children and we’re blessed not to be, but the teachers and administration and program are just great.
“I really wish families would be able get past test scores of other children to evaluate what good programs are (and what good teaching should look like) and have some confidence that their child can go to the neighborhood or another DCPS school.
“Because they are building blocks of community having other children struggle there, though unfortunate, should not cause families to disengage, look elsewhere, or even leave the community.
Here was my reply, FWIW:
There’s been a herd mentality for a long time. When I was a youngster growing up in around DC in the 1950s and 1960s, there were lots of white folks who decided to flee to the suburbs and sell their houses for less than they were really worth, because they couldn’t bear the idea of living with any black families in their midst. Instead of burning the black families out, they left, so many parts of Washington DC that we think of as all-black neighborhoods used to be all-white.
(Heck, my wife’s grandfather (white) grew up on a farm in Anacostia and delivered milk there… one of my barbers (white) tells me he grew up in Anacostia during the time that the neighborhood was changing from all white to all black; there were fights galore after school pretty much every day between the white kids and the black kids…)
Economists have even written papers measuring exactly what percentage of black families need to live in a neighborhood for whites to depart, and vice versa… I’m sure that these ratios are not fixed in time, but evolve, just like bacteria and hominids and other social memes… white urban gentrifiers and pioneers and black intellectuals and professionals, and working-class members of both ‘races’ have different mathematical threshholds — if one wants to pursue the sociology in this; it’s more complicated than appears to the initial glance or to NPR or Fox “news”…
It definitely helps any school when there are involved parents. I’m not the only person who has found that there is a very, very close correlation between family income and involvement in school. Of course, part of that is because the parents in wealthier families probably did fairly well in school and have good memories, whereas poorer kids are more likely to have done badly in school themselves and don’t have good memories of their teachers and classes…