As the debate rages over the Braddock Road Metro plan, development, transit, and public housing the Growler is increasingly suspicious that this neighborhood is being treated as the colonies were once treated by the British Empire: as a source of revenue and raw goods, an entity to be dominated and exploited while the benefits flow elsewhere.
Case in point may be a scenario brought to the Cranky One by a concerned Parker-Gray parent, who is wondering if the Alexandria City Public School system is warehousing special education kids at Jefferson-Houston to attract Title I money that is then distributed around the City.
And does that mean that Jefferson-Houston test scores are being sacrificed in the interest of grant money?
This mom noticed while reviewing various school documents that although there are special education students in elementary schools all around Alexandria, Jefferson-Houston (as well as John Adams) has an unusually high percentage of special education students.
Now this may not be a bad thing in itself. By concentrating many pupils in one or more locations the City may also be better able to concentrate the additional resources they need.
Nevertheless, because these schools have large special ed populations, they give the ACPS the grounds to apply for Title I money to help out these troubled schools.
But that money apparently does not just go directly back to Jefferson-Houston but also to other special education programs in the City. If this theory is correct, it would seem ACPS has strong motivation to keep Jefferson-Houston inundated with special needs kids.
Surely, Growler asks, isn't this contributing to Jefferson-Houston's ongoing academic woes? If you have a large concentration of special ed students isn't it likely their testing scores will be lower, dragging down the whole school?
Ah yes. Some states have enacted waivers to exclude certain populations' test scores from a school's results. A waiver would mean a possible correction to Jefferson-Houston's scores, as it would allow ACPS to throw out the lowest test results.
But according to Concerned Parker Gray Parent, Virginia is apparently not one of the states that has enacted a waiver. So the special education populations' scores are still part of the Jefferson-Houston record.
Paranoia or truth? You be the judge.
At the very least, the fact that this interpretation is being bandied about and researched indicates Parker-Gray residents are waking up to the fact that we are getting the short end of the stick.