I can’t explain this one. Parenting Magazine put Arlington at #1, while dropping the District to #71. For Arlington, they cited the prevalence of local historic markers, sprawling parklands, and many diverse activities, as well as low crime and “very few registered sex offenders.” For the District, they cited…local historic markers, sprawling parklands and many diverse activities.
P.J. Orvetti tackled it yesterday, Sara Libby tackled it today, and looking at the incredible similarity of the raw data for Arlington and the District, I can’t quite wrap my heads around why they might put Arlington at the top of the list, and DC down in the bottom quartile. Libby thinks it might be latent racism on the part of Parenting Magazine, while I tend to ascribe this more with an image problem that DC Schools has. Arlington was praised for its 14.9 student to teacher ratio, but DC got no credit for its 13.2 student to teacher ratio. DC has a higher per-capita number of Blue Ribbon schools, and seven times the number of pre-schools on per-capita basis.
DC gets slammed for its lack of open spaces, which means I guess they missed the Mall, Rock Creek Park, the parks along both our rivers, Hains Point, the National Arboretum, Fort Dupont Park and all of the little parks that dot our squares and circles. In the meanwhile, Arlington likely gets credit for the wealth of museums and art installations, and I’m fairly sure they don’t mean the Navy League’s paltry gallery in their new building. They mean the Smithsonian collected museums and the Newseum and the Spy Museum.
I don’t mean to bag on Arlington here, it’s definitely a great place to live, but it’s a great place to live because of its proximity to DC. I’d say having now lived in both DC and Arlington, there’s no way at all that Arlington is #1 while DC is #70. Something’s deeply broken here, and I’d love to know what. I won’t come out and accuse Parenting of anything short of faulty math and bad writing. At least, not until they return my email.