Home 2019 Elections ICYMI: Virginia State Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R) Opposes Rezoning to Integrate Richmond’s...

ICYMI: Virginia State Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R) Opposes Rezoning to Integrate Richmond’s Whitest Schools

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From Progress Virginia. Go Ghazala Hashmi!

ICYMI: Glen Sturtevant Opposes Rezoning to Integrate Richmond’s Whitest Schools

Richmond, Virginia—Senator Glen Sturtevant has started a petition in opposition to a rezoning plan that would better integrate two of Richmond’s whitest schools. He claims he wants to “save” the two schools, but from what? Sturtevant’s petition uses a phrase, “Save Our Neighborhood Schools,” commonly employed in the 1970s by opponents of school integration.

“Every child, regardless of their race, zip code, or how much money their parents make, deserves a high-quality education with excellent teachers and a challenging curriculum. So why is Senator Glen Sturtevant interfering in a local proposal to ensure students of color have that opportunity,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “Senator Sturtevant is elected to represent all of the people in his district, not just the white people. Voters are smart enough to see through these despicable tactics reminiscent of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” to stoke racial animosity in an attempt to salvage his re-election bid.” 

Background:

Facing Tough Reelection Bid, Sturtevant Declares Opposition to Rezoning Richmond’s Whitest Schools [Richmond Times Dispatch]

“Sturtevant was sued in 2013 by a Richmond parent who accused him and other School Board members of holding secret talks to protect white enrollment at certain schools during the rezoning process….The lawsuit was dismissed in early 2016 when the parent who filed it moved into a different school district.”

“The idea of combining the elementary schools with others first emerged this summer …Under that plan, Fox would have gone from 66% white to 47% and Cary from 86% black to 52%.”

“Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, a Virginia Commonwealth University professor and national expert on school desegregation, called Sturtevant’s proposal ‘deeply ironic.’ ‘This is a state representative interfering with a local decision-making process and in the past we’ve seen local control invoked as a means to preserve segregation,” she said. “This turns that on its head.” Siegel-Hawley added: “It’s reminiscent of the era of Massive Resistance when people who oppose integration use whatever means necessary to do so.’”

Williams: Sturtevant’s petition on Richmond School Boundaries Out of Line [Richmond Times Dispatch

“‘Save Our Neighborhood Schools’ is a term laden with so much baggage that it shouldn’t be trotted out in polite company.”

“‘Save Our Neighborhood Schools’ was to the 1970s what Massive Resistance was to the 1950s.”

“Today, 73% of the city’s schools are what researchers define as “intensely segregated,” meaning less than 10% of the student body is white. Superintendent Jason Kamras is attempting to change that through various rezoning proposals to provide more socio-economic equity. The proposal includes pairing Fox and Munford with other schools.”

“You might say Sturtevant is attempting to solve a problem he exacerbated during his School Board tenure. He pushed a rezoning that critics say protected white enrollment at Munford and Fox following the closing of Clark Springs Elementary School. John B. Cary absorbed a chunk of Clark Springs’ enrollment while losing families in the affluent Museum District.”

Republican state senator pushes back on Richmond’s proposals to increase diversity at its whitest schools [Virginia Mercury]

“‘Save’ them — your campaign is to save them for white, affluent families,’ one commenter wrote.”

“Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras said that first wave of parental feedback ‘sounded eerily like Massive Resistance 2.0.’”

“‘[Sturtevant] is hardly the first person to talk about race without talking about race,’ [Alex Keena, a political scientist at Virginia Commonwealth University] said. ‘We see this any time you talk about rezoning schools: There’s an auditorium full of white parents who say, ‘No, no I’m not racist but I want to keep my status. … It’s hard to deny that race isn’t a part of that.’”

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Progress Virginia is a multi-issue advocacy organization dedicated to communicating progressive values across the Commonwealth. We engage citizens around issues of immediate state and local concern. www.ProgressVA.org