Alex R. SOCG 371 Section 2

High school boundaries in Arlington, Virginia: is there a racial and class component to the way the school boundaries are chosen and adjusted? How can this separation be accomplished?

Abstract: In this paper, I looked at three public high schools in Arlington County, Virginia: Washington-Lee High School, Wakefield High School, and Yorktown High School. There is resident talk about how Arlington is divided into whites and minorities and how this is portrayed in the schools in the area. I argued that there is a racial basis as well as class basis for the way these schools are districted. In order to prove this, I looked at the racial makeup of each school as well as each zip code in Arlington, VA. Along with race I looked at the income of the zip codes and available affordable housing in the area. I compared the findings of each zip code with the school boundaries and found that there is a racial/class separation. I then looked at who exactly has the decision making power when it comes to changing the districts as well as community response. There have been several debates in the past when it came to re-districting the schools back in 2013 and they will begin again soon as the problems they have with overcrowding in the area continue to grow but the problem of racial disparities in schools is not something talked about as often.

Research P1

2 thoughts on “Alex R. SOCG 371 Section 2

  • October 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I instantly gravitated to your topic because I felt like it fit the theme of the course perfectly. To be perfectly honest this could have been any county within Virginia, because of the way the local government tried to deal with white flight without offending their more affluent supporters. This issue touches on racial disparity, class struggles, as well as local representation within the government.

  • October 18, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    I have always been curious to know more about the Arlington County high schools as I’m from Northern Virginia and know many people that have attended all 3 of the schools. It definitely has always been said that Yorktown is the rich school, Wakefield is the ghetto school, and Washington-Lee is somewhere in between–although my friends from Yorktown still argue that it’s ghetto. I think the situation is very controversial, obviously diversity is important but you also don’t want students to have to drive/bus really far to go to school. It will be interesting to see if any changes to the districts will be made in the future.

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