“I don’t see where that helps a school by combining a school district.” – Robert Setliff, chairman of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors [VIA]

Seriously? Well, perhaps Chairman Setliff needs to read the article in which he was quoted. There he’ll see some research referenced which clearly refutes his baseless claim:

Federal studies show that school systems with more than 50 percent of students reliant on free lunch programs simply do not succeed, Cowles [Executive Director of Richmond-based Initiatives of Change] says. Considering the overwhelming number of city schools that face such a scenario, he says, “the city can’t address it alone.”

So does Chairman Setliff not know that poverty is concentrated in one jurisdiction in our region?

Does Chairman Setliff not know about education research that shows that concentrated poverty has an adverse affect on student academic performance?

Does Chairman Setliff not know how suburban Richmond-area counties actively prevent affordable housing from being built through zoning laws, thus continuing the economic segregation which keeps some jurisdictions saddled with high poverty levels?

Either he doesn’t know these things- and should therefore not be publicly commenting on what helps schools, or he does know these things- and is claiming ignorance in order to prevent change which would benefit our most educationally disadvantaged children.

Either way, it’s a striking statement of ignorance from a highly-place suburban official.

Let’s hope other officials will at least acknowledge the disadvantage created by our unique county-city divisions, even if they don’t intend to change them. Because statements like this obscure the real issue- children are not being served by our current school systems.

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