Your View: Redistricting failed to reduce strain on Jefferson-Houston

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By Charles Conway, Alexandria (File photo)

“This is about our neighborhood, and an opportunity to say to anyone new to the area, whether you are black, brown, rich, poor, anything, we want you at Jefferson-Houston,” Alexandria City School Board member Bill Campbell said during the body’s discussions on redistricting Alexandria City Public Schools (“School board approves redistricted boundaries,” February 2). Finally, the school board is outed!

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest figures, Jefferson-Houston’s 16th census tract is 31.4 percent black and 8.3 percent brown. The remaining anything, of which 54.8 percent is white, is so politically insignificant Mr. Campbell declines to adequately account.

The phrase “white flight” took root in 1973. The central district’s anti-busing stance was the topic back then. The central district solved its 1999 redistricting problem, in part by sending Douglas MacArthur Elementary School’s special education students to Jefferson-Houston. District B’s Matthew Maury Elementary School also sent a class of developmentally delayed children to Jefferson-Houston, while District C’s Patrick Henry sent a class of physically disabled children. So it went for 17 years.

The school board had a chance to correct historical wrongs. Yet Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy, allegedly overcrowded, surrendered none of its anything to the Jefferson-Houston cause. Its northwest boundary is within one block of Jefferson-Houston.

Most middle class residents, black and white, have the capacity to pay for alternative schooling. Many lower income residents do not. None wish the dilemma.

As one letter writer put it, the racial segregation of yesterday is the economic segregation of today. How sad!

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