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Arlington Falls in Dubious ‘Parenting’ Rankings

by ARLnow.com June 16, 2011 at 10:36 am 5,855 39 Comments

Parenting Magazine has released its latest list of the “Best Cities for Families.” As a result of some changes to the way the list is compiled, Arlington has dropped all the way from No. 1 to No. 70.

Replacing Arlington at No. 1 is our neighbor, the District of Columbia. Parenting says the District was chosen as the best city in the country to raise kids based on “the quality of schools, affordable homes, low crime rates, jobs, and parkland.”  Needless to say, some are questioning the methodology that allowed D.C. to top a list based on schools, affordability and crime.

Last year, when Arlington was the top-ranked city, Parenting said it was due to the county’s “fabulous schools, great home values, and an attractive unemployment rate.” This year, the District won praise for its cultural attractions.

“The history, the government, the breathtaking architecture and inspiring monuments—you don’t have to be a child to get an amazing education in this city,” the magazine wrote, adding that “family dinner nights are easy at quirky local favorites like Matchbox restaurants or Busboys & Poets.”

  • doodly

    Um, yeah, I can see Arlington dropping – but DC number one? No way.

  • ArlForester

    So what they’re saying is they have pretty much no metrics whatsoever for their rankings. You can’t go from 1 to 70 on a list when the reasons you were 1 still exist.

    • doodly

      Read the article – they changed the criteria.

      Not that it matters, since trying to quantify and compare unrelated data and squash it into a ranking doesn’t really work anyway.

  • Steve

    I posted this in the forums, and I couldn’t stop laughing at the insanity. As much as I can’t stand arlington, to say DC is #1, where anyone with any means wouldn’t even consider sending their kids to the p ublic schools, could be considered #1 is INSANITY. DC is “great” if you live in Georgetown and can afford to send your kids to Sidwell friends… But most people don’t and cannot.

    • doodly

      Go have a smoke, Steve.

  • brendan

    ” Needless to say, some are questioning the methodology that allowed D.C. to top a list based on schools, affordability and crime.”

    hah. well put.

    • Chris

      Oh, that one is easy. In a methodology based on schools, affordability and crime, a place that provides cost effective criminal activity in their school system wins every time. See what I did there?

  • Nit

    Arlington isn’t a city and shouldn’t even be in the list, or the list should be the best “places”. Arlington has access to most of the advantages of DC and has better public schools anyway.

  • Stew Magnuson

    It’s too bad I live in Arlington and therefore can’t bring my child to all those fabulous monuments and museums across that wide impossible to cross river.

    The wails you hear are children crying out “Mom, why do we have to go to Chuck E Cheese all the time? Why can’t we eat at Busboys and Poets?”

  • john davis

    they must mean the District of Columbia located in Bazzaro World.

  • Skeptical

    The last I saw, there was a Busboys and Poets in Shirlington, or did they close?

    I don’t even much care to go into DC in the daytime, and I’m an adult. And everyone I know understands what it means when you say that someone you have had to deal with in, say, a government office or customer service was “a product of the D. C. school system.” (I know a woman who supervises practicum teachers in local school systems and she always comes back from DC assignments looking as if she’s been in a war zone.)

  • Steve

    “you don’t have to be a child to get an amazing education in this city,”

    LOL. Can you show me a child who is in the public schools in DC that gets an “amazing” education?

  • Cheeseeater

    There is no way DC can top a list titled “best place to raise a family” with the state of the public schools. Not to mention it is hardly affordable. We bought a house in fairfax county and will happily drive 10 miles to see all the DC has to offer, but would I ever send my kids to DC public schools? Hell to the no.

  • DK

    Is it possible that there is some other District of Columbia that we don’t know about??!!

    • This was my first thought. There must be a “Town of District” on the Columbia River in Washington state. That’s the one they’re probably referring to. It’s the only logical explanation.

  • G Clifford Prout

    When they said “Best Cities for Families,” they really meant a family of badgers.

    • Arlingtonian

      …a family of honey badgers.

      • Z

        They just don’t give a f*ck.

  • Crowded

    Easy to take a family to Matchbox???

    I love the food and beer selections and to there about as often as anywhere else in the District, but its a pain in the butt just getting in there as a couple. Slammed with people waiting in the bar area and a pretty tight restaurant as-is. I cannot imagine trying to take 1 kid there, much less more.

    • Maria

      But it’s “quirky” … Don’t you know how kid-friendly “quirky” places always are??

  • Vinh An Nguyen

    If “Parenting” could be this wrong about DC, why should anyone believe anything else that appears in their magazine?

  • Chickie

    Next year Compton will be #1 for preparing youth for the dangers of the world.

  • FunnyMunny

    This doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. Nearly all the positives they cite for DC are what most people consider to be in other jurisdictions (Gravelly Point, Reagan Airport = Arlington, Capitol Crescent trail connects to Bethesda and the Arlington Trails). DC is not even a viable first choice to raise a family in this region, let alone the country as a whole. I’m wondering who in DC has Parenting Magazine by the short hairs, and why?

  • Michael H.

    Was that Sulaimon Brown that I saw near the Parenting Magazine HQ the other day?


    • Xctly what I was thinkn

      Maybe da Mayuh or Kwame have family who work there! btw: I lived in DC but moved to Atown after Hizzoner’s decade of crack smokn and no garbage pickup. DC is definitely better but not #1 better.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    DC ranked #1 to raise a kid!?!?!?!?!?!?!? ROFL!! Maybe in Georgetown or Foxhall and if they mean private schools, but DC!?!?!

    What are those people at Parenting magazine smoking? Must be some wild hooch!

  • R. Griffon

    Thought I was reading The Onion there for a minute. My wife loves the District, but schools, housing costs, and crime are the exact 3 reasons we DON’T live there.

  • ArlingtonChick

    Maybe they equate quality with quantity? DC has the highest per child budget in the nation, although most of that money historically only goes into the pockets of the higher-ups? Or maybe they are pro-vouchers?

    Whatever it is, I wish I were smoking the same stuff they are. I LOVE DC, but high taxes, crappy schools, and bad public services (ie pepco) is exactly why I can’t tolerate the place.

  • SoCo Resident

    Arlington parents are pretty funny.

  • Mickey

    DC #1 for parenting? That’s like voting for Weiner as the Father of the Year!


    Kourtney Kardashian is their cover girl. I don’t know how seriously we should be taking any of this.

  • SeanO

    I’m calling BS on this one.

  • Oh I see…

    The magazine is entitled Parenting (the early years) so maybe they’re saying DC is #1 for families b/c of the plethora of nannies available for lil babies. Once your child is ready to enter kindergarten you move to Arlington if you’re white, Bethesda if you’re jewish, PG if you’re black or Prince William/Loudon if you’re a glutton for punishment (if you still work in DC that is). Got It!

    • FFX

      Who goes to Fairfax? Everyone else?

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  • yrb

    Don’t you people understand that all those rankings/best places lists in different magazines HAVE TO CHANGE completely every year, otherwise who would buy and read them. So they do COMPLETELY BOGUS lists like best small towns, best cities for parents, best cities for singles etc etc; and they always different next year. Everybody is talking about that “best small town” and then the next year — poof it’s gone, not even in top 100.

    It’s not journalism, it’s not news, it’s not information. So why is it on this blog? Why give them free advertisement?

  • I also wonder – a town full of work-aholics with few businesses allowing for family-friendly policies and flexibility – and yet DC gets classified as most “family friendly” – what a joke!

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