Thursday, March 03, 2011

Richmond Public Schools: Proclaiming The Good News

Back in 2008, both before and after I became a candidate for the Richmond School Board, I was constantly pointing out to those who would listen that the enrollment in Richmond Public Schools was constantly shrinking. I pointed out that at that time RPS was losing about 500 students per year. I attributed this shrinkage to what I called the middle class hemorrhage, the constant abandonment of the city by those middle class parents who thought Richmond Public Schools was not good enough for their children.

Last year, I was encouraged by the fact that the shrinkage in RPS enrollment was only 208 students. But, I wasn’t sure whether this was a one-year anomaly or that we had really turned the corner. But now. . . .

From the 2009-10 school year to the 2010-11 school year, the enrollment in Richmond Public Schools (according to statistics published by the Virginia Department of Education) has increased from 22,994 to 23,454. That is an increase of 460 students!

This growth is particularly significant since our beloved governor and his Republican brethren and sistren in the General Assembly have justified cutting spending by claiming that school enrollment is down in Virginia. Well, I don’t know about the rest of the Commonwealth, but here in Richmond our school system is growing. There is no justification for cutting funding for our children.

When I get a chance to look at the census data, I will report back to you on where in the city these newly enrolled children are coming from. In the meantime:

To Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon, to the nine members of the Richmond School Board, to Mayor Dwight Jones, to the nine members of the City Council: Congratulations!

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