To the editor:
Lest readers imagine that I am defending the city establishment, I should begin by noting that describing the dynamic isn’t defending it. Interim Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt’s column “Simply the Best” is not tone deaf to the headline grabbing violence in our schools. Instead, it is the answer her bosses on the elected School Board desire.
Parents sharing the Alexandria Times’ alarm about such topics sought election to the School Board, but lost, because Alexandria’s increasingly liberal electorate sees things the same way as the present incumbents and the interim superintendent echoing their perspective. They regard expulsions as “inequitable” because they fall disproportionately on minorities and talk of “gangs” – notwithstanding whether such talk might be accurate – as a “dog whistle” about immigrants.
Baby Boomers recall how our society went down this road before, with rollbacks of yesteryear’s policies considered “inequitable” and the decades-long crime spike which ensued. Former President Bill Clinton in recent years has been forced to apologize for his role in reversing it because his successful formula proved “inequitable.” Since Bill Clinton’s presidency, a sorting has taken place among the electorate with both conservative and liberal locales becoming moreso. Concerns such as violence in schools, which once would have moved Alexandria’s electorate, now play second fiddle to equity.
This attitudinal shift is not taking place in a vacuum, but is actuated by some of the most powerful interests in society, sectors of business – e.g., finance, trade, tech and media – which have financialized a hyper-profitable business model facilitating productivity and holding down pay. Most of these business sectors’ local movers and shakers understand that Alexandria’s schools will produce enough well prepared students to meet business’ needs under its equity model, while business finds a place for the rest. This is why, while some parents are alarmed, local business has been mostly silent, signaling its assent.
-Dino Drudi, Alexandria