A lesson on inequality in Petworth: Elementary schools in the D.C. neighborhood and income disparity
| By Samantha Hogan, Rashonda Dickens and James Johnson |
Elementary students in Petworth struggle to achieve with limited resources in the classroom and at home as the block-to-block the income of white residents has increased and the income of black families has fallen over the last two and a half decades.
Petworth, a neighborhood that runs against the border of Northeast D.C., is home to nine schools and over 2,000 school age children, according to 2010 U.S. Census data. A majority of students in Petworth’s elementary schools are economically disadvantaged.
Raymond Education Campus, a kindergarten through eighth grade school in Petworth, is not just a place to learn; it’s become a place of refuge for its students, said school social worker Tarianda Ruston.
“The kids are very resilient despite the challenges they face at home or lack [of] necessity,” Ruston said. “They really love coming to school.”
The school works in partnership with a program called “Neediest Kids.” If students do not have clothes, shoes or food, the school can provide those items, according to Ruston. Raymond faculty and staff have been able to provide gift cards to stores such as Target and Wal-Mart, and uniforms are given to students as needed, according to Ruston.