Arlington, VA

Ed Talk is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

Esther Cooper started the Arlington branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1940 to fight for educational equality of Black students in Arlington Public Schools (APS).

Under her leadership, the NAACP sued the school board challenging the inequalities in the county’s Black high schools. In Carter v. School Board of Arlington Co. (1950), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, ruling that Arlington’s separate high schools constituted unlawful discrimination.

Today, 81 years after Ms. Cooper began her advocacy, 71 years after the Carter decision, and 67 years after Brown v. Board of Education, we still don’t have education parity for Black students, or fully integrated schools.

Over the decades, both the county and the school board have intentionally, through policies and boundaries, kept our neighborhoods and schools segregated. Consequently, Black students have been redlined out of education parity by neighborhood, by school, and by classroom.

Not surprisingly, the academic gap has not closed in decades. In fact, the literacy gap between Black and White students increased within the last decade. The fact is, we have Black students entering high school reading on a third grade level, or below. The inability to master all five pillars of reading (phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension) adversely impacts a student’s ability to access the curriculum in all other content areas, causing the gaps to widen as students “progress” through school.

Through a prolonged practice of social promotion and failing up, APS has a sordid history of graduating generations of Black students who are functionally illiterate. Many of these students grew up in Arlington, attended APS schools, and are now relegated to low-wage jobs — some in the very schools that failed them.

This is the school-to-poverty pipeline.

While there are many Black students who excel academically in APS, there are far too many others who do not. For the 13 years I have lived in Arlington, I haven’t heard any school board members or school board candidates acknowledge this problem, let alone commit to addressing it — not even the ones who purport to be “educators” or feign concern about “equity.” Instead, year-after-year, decade-after-decade, superintendent-after-superintendent, and school board-after-school board, APS continues to fail Black students with impunity.

This miseducation of Black students is the school-to-prison pipeline.

APS is miseducating Black students by under diagnosing learning disabilities and misidentifying them with emotional and intellectual disabilities;

APS is miseducating Black students by failing to utilize the most current and recommended psychological testing for accurate evaluations;

APS is miseducating Black students by under-identifying them for gifted and twice-exceptional (“2e”) services;

APS is miseducating Black students by underfunding training and procurement for evidence-based literacy instruction and intervention;

APS is miseducating Black students by tracking them into low-level courses in pursuit of standard versus advanced diplomas;

APS is miseducating Black students by allowing disparities in opportunities to persist;

APS is miseducating Black students by levying harsher discipline and disproportionate referrals to law enforcement;

APS is miseducating Black students by failing to sufficiently recruit and hire teachers that look like them;

APS is miseducating Black students by perpetuating a culture of low expectations and unchecked bias;

APS is miseducating Black students by downplaying or ignoring acts of racial violence perpetuated against them; and

APS is miseducating Black students by failing to talk about and recon with all of this.

In the 81 years since Esther Cooper commenced her fight for equality for Black students, APS and the school board have dodged accountability and maintained the status quo. How much longer must we wait for them to course correct? How many more generations of Black families will be lost to poverty or prisons in the meantime? APS deserves no more grace. The time for change is now.

Image courtesy of Project DAPS, Arlington Public Library, Community Archives

Symone Walker is an Arlington Public Schools parent and federal attorney. She is an At Large Executive Committee Member of the Arlington NAACP and Co-Chair of the Education Committee. She serves on the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee, Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for Equity and Excellence, School Resource Officer Working Group, Destination 2027 Task Force, and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Community Advisory Board. She is a former candidate for the Arlington school board.


Feeling a little stir-crazy for the movie experience but not quite ready to return to theaters yet? The National Landing BID is bringing back an outdoor film festival next month.

The BID will show a new movie every Friday at 8 p.m. on a softball field at Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street) in the Pentagon City area.

“Social distancing circles” will be sprayed onto the field with a four-person limit per circle. Masks will be required outside of those circles.

Tickets are free but registration in advance is required.

The “Movies in the Park” lineup for May is:

Image via Orion Pictures/YouTube


Address: 2827 N. Underwood Street
Neighborhood: Berkshire/Oakwood
Listed: $1,795,000
Open: Saturday, April 17, and Sunday, April 18, 1-4 p.m.

Built by Spring Street Development in 2011, this home is in pristine move-in condition and offers these desirable details: built-ins in the main-level office, family room and upstairs bonus room; window treatments; a patio with extensive landscaping, playset and friendship gate; a natural gas generator and electric car charger.

The traditional living room flows into the dining room and then to the kitchen, breakfast area and family room. The office, powder room and guest closet are just off the foyer. The kitchen features warm wood cabinets, center island gas cooking and a wall oven — ideal for those with a renewed or new-found interest in cooking and baking. A large pantry holds equipment and supplies while a planning desk provides space to organize daily activities. The coffered ceiling and gas fireplace in the family room are handsome details along with the gleaming wood floors throughout the main level. A mudroom off the oversized two-car garage provides nooks and hooks and a coat closet. Doors from the breakfast area open to a deck and patio for casual dining and distance entertaining. Ample areas remain for sport, play and gardening. Raised beds and a rain barrel will please gardeners and environmentalists.

Upstairs, there are four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a bonus room. This large room features dormered ceilings and an enchanting window seat. It could be used as the fifth bedroom, playroom, second office or space for a pampered guest. The primary bedroom has a cove ceiling, sitting area and a fitted walk-in closet. Double vanities and an oversized shower, soaking tub and linen closet are in the primary bathroom. A nook at the front of the home is a perfect spot for a computer or reading spot. Another linen closet is in the hall near the laundry room. Additional cabinet storage is in the laundry room along with a utility sink.

The lower level of the home has a large rec room with double doors to the yard, tall windows, and spots for media, play, games, and casual gatherings. A large bedroom and bath on this level are ideal for an in-law, nanny or distance-learning college student. Just off the rec room is a gym with mirrored wall and rubber flooring, and another space at the base of the stairs is great for hobbies, crafts or educating at home. The utility room offers even more storage.

The home is in the Tuckahoe, Williamsburg, Yorktown school district and near the East Falls Church Metro, Tuckahoe Park and Playground, and bike trails. Whether commuting to Washington, business centers in Virginia or Maryland, this home is well positioned for an easy commute.

Quality, space, and an enviable location.

Listed by:
Betsy Twigg
McEnearney Associates
[email protected]


Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

1806 S. Arlington Ridge Road
6 BD/4 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Neighborhood Real Estate
Listed: $2,000,000
Open: Sunday, 1-4 p.m.


228 N. Edgewood Street
4 BD/3 BA single-family home
Agent: McEnearney Associates
Listed: $1,300,000
Open: Saturday and Sunday, 2-4 p.m.


2215 N. Powhatan Street
5 BD/3 BA single-family home
Agent: RE/MAX West End
Listed: $1,125,000
Open: Saturday and Sunday, 2-4 p.m.


2401 S. Culpeper Street
4 BD/3 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Listed: $960,000
Open: Sunday, 12-3 p.m.


2502B Fairfax Drive
3 BD/3 BA, 1 half bath townhome
Agent: Optime Realty
Listed: $875,000
Open: Saturday, 1-3 p.m. and Sunday, 2-4 p.m.


1276 N. Wayne Street #1230
3 BD/2 BA condo
Listed: $765,000
Open: Saturday and Sunday, 1-3 p.m.


Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Council on Environmental Quality NEPA Regulations (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Parts 1500-1508), the Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) has issued a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the construction of the Pentagon Remote Delivery Facility (RDF) Roof Structural Strengthening Project.

To meet the needs of the military branches that operate flights at the Pentagon, the RDF Roof must support certain helicopter vehicle weights under both landing and operation conditions. The Project would enhance the structural integrity of the RDF Roof and convert the Pentagon Heliport (located on the RDF Roof) into a permanent facility that sustains the safe operations of aircraft.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

Legislative Update for Landlords in NOVA

This webinar will review all Virginia Laws going into effect on July 1, 2021. Ensure you’re in the know and operating within the law.

There will be a special section specifically covering the legalization of marijuana.

This meeting will take

Move over Jazz, there’s a new heir to the cute crown in Arlington.

On Easter Sunday at about 5 p.m., an adorable baby red fox — a kit — was caught on camera in the backyard of a residence in the Rock Spring neighborhood, near Jamestown Elementary School.

Sally Granade was at Jamestown Park with her daughter when she got a call from her husband.

“He called and said ‘Oh, this baby fox has been staggering in the yard, I got a bowl of water and put it out and now it’s following me around,” Granade tells ARLnow.

Worried about both the health of the fox and the risk of rabies, she immediately told him not to touch it and they called the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Animal control officers arrived in less than 15 minutes, says Granade, and told the family the baby fox was neither sick or injured, simply very young and a bit lost.

It’s thought the kit had wandered from the den, which Granade now believes was under her shed, when mom was out of the house.

“It’s likely that the mom was either out hunting, or she was relocating her kits from one den to another, and the kit happened to make enough noise for the homeowners to notice him,” writes Chelsea Jones, AWLA’s spokesperson.

AWLA believes the kit was only a few weeks old, meaning it was born in the litter season of late March to early April. They were unable to confirm the sex of the baby, though.

Animal control officers requested a four-sided box to gently place the fox in there, so that it couldn’t wander more and mom could find it when she arrived back.

All Granade had was a wicker basket, hence a cute video of the baby fox squawking in a basket.

The officers departed with a request to keep an eye out for the mother.

Sure enough, only about an hour or two later, the family spotted her.

“We saw what was probably the mother sulking around the background… and, by morning, the baby was gone,” says Granade.

Jones says that Granade and her family did exactly what they should have done, which was to not touch the wild animal and call the professionals immediately.

“It’s very important that the public NEVER touch a wild animal unless they absolutely have to because there are zoonotic diseases that can pass from animal to human,” writes Jones. “If you have to touch the animal (it’s in a very dangerous spot, it’s severely injured, etc.), it’s very important to wear thick gloves or use a towel.”

Foxes are certainly not uncommon in Arlington, but in the past year AWLA has received more calls about them and other wildlife. This has more do with humans than the animals.

“We have had more wildlife calls overall in the past year because so many more people are home during the day and seeing more wildlife that they would normally miss because they are at work,” writes Jones.

This is the time of the year that kits begin venturing out of the dens, so it’s normal to spot them in mid-April, Jones notes.

In general, foxes do not pose a threat to humans, however, if they have rabies, they can be dangerous to pets. While they’re fun to watch, do it a safe distance to keep foxes, pets, and humans all safe, Jones says.

For Granade, it was a memorable Easter Sunday evening for her and her family, helping to reunite a baby fox with its mom.

“I was really impressed with the good job that the Animal Welfare League did,” she says. “They even came back to get the basket.”

Photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Arlington/Facebook


(Updated at 11 a.m.) After more than a year of online-only Arlington County Board meetings, some have decided they actually prefer it to in-person.

Instead of schlepping to a Courthouse office building and sitting quietly for hours, one can now speak at Board meetings at home, in your pajamas if you prefer. Board meetings have been broadcast on local cable TV and online for years, but the virtual format now provides an opportunity to participate in the meetings to those who cannot attend in person.

Parents who would otherwise have to hire a babysitter in order to attend, for instance, are now more likely to be able to speak at a meeting.

Last May, two months into the pandemic, we asked whether the county should “consider making virtual meetings a more regular feature of citizen participation” after the pandemic. About 73% of more than 900 respondents said yes.

At least one civically-engaged local called keeping Board meetings open to virtual participation after the pandemic “a no-brainer.”

Of course, there are downsides. Older and disadvantaged residents may lack the technology and/or the know-how to participate in a virtual-only meeting. And there is something to be said for in-person meetings helping to keep elected officials accountable to their constituents.

A hybrid option that allows virtual and in-person participation is an option — in fact, one that the county appears to be pursuing (see below) — though virtual participation could come to be seen as less impactful than speaking at the meeting in person. And it could be more difficult to coordinate the combination of in-person and virtual speakers.

What about streamlining things and making all regularly-scheduled, monthly County Board meetings online-only on a permanent basis after the pandemic, however? Would that be a better idea than a hybrid participation option or the in-person-only way of yore?

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that in order to facilitate virtual-only meetings, Arlington library branches can open during meetings and offer video conference stations from which library staff can help people speak and participate. And the Board can still hold certain special meetings in person.

What do you think?


Morning Notes

APS to Offer Coronavirus Testing — “Beginning the week of April 19, APS will begin providing free medical testing for students and staff who are symptomatic, or who have been exposed to COVID-19. Walk-up testing will be conducted after school hours with parent/guardian consent. Walk-up testing sites at Glebe Elementary, Kenmore Middle and Wakefield High Schools provide trained staff to assist in mid-nasal swab testing using the RT-PCR test after school hours.” [Arlington Public Schools]

New DCA Concourse Opening Next Week — “The shuttle buses will soon be relocated to Philadelphia. And the air stairs, no more. After nearly 25 years, officials at Reagan National Airport on Thursday unveiled a much-anticipated addition, a sleek 14-gate concourse that will mark the end of operations of the much-maligned Gate 35X. American Airlines will begin service Tuesday out of the new concourse.” [Washington Post, NBC 4, DCist]

New Concessions Coming to DCA — Timber Pizza Co. and Peet’s Coffee are among the new food and drink options coming to National Airport and its new concourse. [Twitter, Twitter]

Group Rallies for Affordable Housing –“I’m at a rally hosted by the ACE Collaborative, community organizers who work with Asian American residents in Arlington. They’re in [Pentagon City] this evening, asking the county to take steps to end displacement as rents rise. In the immediate term, the group is calling for the county to add $8 million to its housing grant program in the next budget.” [Twitter]

Car Fire on GW Parkway — “ACFD is on scene of a vehicle fire on the GW Parkway near Spout Run. The vehicle is fully engulfed in flames, per the first arriving firefighters.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Animal Control Saves Turtle — “We need to thank Officer Davis for helping this snapping turtle, who was trying to cross I-395 during rush hour. Thankfully, she was able to safely remove him, bring him to the shelter for a check-up, and then release him back into the wild where he belongs!” [Twitter]


Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Andors Real Estate Group.

Good morning, Arlington, and welcome to JUST LISTED! If you’re reading this with your morning cup of coffee, I thank you for including this in your morning routine. If you’re not an early riser, I’m glad you scrolled down this far!

No surprises this week — the heat of real estate in Arlington is not just hot, it’s on fire! As you’ll see later in the column, we dramatically outpaced the same week last year, and week-over-week from last week is way up as well. With the warm weather now here to stay, military PCS orders rolling out and the end of school in sight, the primary market movers are now in place for the spring.

PICK OF THE WEEK: 1017 16th Street S. Arlington, VA 22202 — $1,450,000

A one-of-a-kind architectural gem designed by John Burke of Studio Twenty Seven Architecture in Washington D.C.! This like-new 2013 custom-build features stunning design, incorporating soaring ceilings, bamboo flooring, a functional floor plan and energy-efficient living with a geothermal HVAC system.

Find four bedrooms, two full and one half bathrooms, with an optional third full bathroom in the basement. A main-level owner’s suite provides a private oasis with spa-like en-suite bathroom. A large carport, spacious basement with fantastic head height, and a large, flat landscaped 7,957 square-foot lot truly completes this amazing, move-in ready home.

Find me here hosting open houses this weekend — Saturday, April 17, and Sunday, April 18, from 1-4 p.m. Covid protocols apply.

Sellers listed 136 homes for sale this past week, up 40 from the week before! Buyers came out in force this week and ratified 88 contracts in the same timeframe — 29 more than the week prior. 50 of the homes that went under contract were on the market for seven days or less.

This week, there are 458 available properties for sale throughout all of Arlington and across all property types; 117 are detached homes, a whopping 25 more than last week. This is great news for the buyers out there who have been feeling like they can’t get into a detached home.

There are 42 townhome/semi-detached homes currently for sale, and condominiums make up 299 of the available units in Arlington.

A quick comparison to last year: For the same week, sellers listed 44 homes and buyers ratified 39 contracts. There were also only 232 available properties for sale this week last year.

The average list price for currently available properties is $821,311 and the median is $575,000. Currently available properties in Arlington have an average of 62 days on market (DOM) and a median of just 30.

Click here to search currently available Arlington real estate. If you see a home you’re interested in purchasing, give us a call.

Call the Andors Real Estate Group today at 703-203-1117 to talk more about buying or selling Arlington real estate. Below are eight new listings I think you might like to check out:


Art House 7 has a new art supply store, right next to its studio. We have very competitive prices. Check out our great selection of paints: oils, acrylics, watercolors, gouache. We also have paper, painting accessories drawing supplies and more.

We’re located in a commercial townhouse strip near the Lee Harrison Shopping Center. As you go west on Lee Highway, turn right immediately after the new drive-thru Starbucks. We’re on the right side of the building, at 5535 Lee Highway — to the right of Art House 7’s studio. Free parking is outside the door. We limit entry to one family unit at a time due to Covid. Masks are required. Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 703-402-5017

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.


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