Va. schools becoming more racially, economically segregated, report finds

MANASSAS, Va. — A new report finds Virginia’s schools have become more racially and economically segregated in the last decade.

The study by the Commonwealth Institute, described by The Washington Post as a left-leaning think tank in Richmond, shows the number of students attending schools considered racially and economically isolated has doubled from 2003 to 2014.

The report defines an isolated school as one in which more than 75 percent of the students are black or Hispanic and more than 75 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

The study doesn’t look at the performance of isolated schools, but a recent Government Accountability Office report shows isolated schools are less likely to offer advanced classes, and more likely to use expulsion and suspension as disciplinary tools, The Post reports.

Richmond had the highest number of isolated schools, with 29. However, several school systems in more affluent Northern Virginia have isolated schools, the report found.

Prince William County has 11 isolated schools. Fairfax County and the city of Alexandria have five; Arlington County has two.

Prince William schools spokesman Phil Kavits told The Post extra teachers are sent to high-needs schools and teachers get additional professional development.

Kavits said some isolated schools are performing well, pointing to West Gate Elementary, which had one of the county’s highest pass rates for mathematics.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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