December 13, 2013 3:12 am -

Wayne Coleman, a candidate for the Virginia State Senate, said in a radio interview that once schools were integrated, education went downhill.

“I’m old enough to have lived during the desegregation of the schools here locally,” Wayne Coleman said in an interview on The John Fredericks Show on Monday. “And busing children, in my opinion, around the different districts, getting them out of their local neighborhoods, really was the beginning of the decline in some of the school districts.”

Coleman, who is running to represent the state’s 6th District argued that state and federal officials should delegate more responsibility to local districts.

Once he realized how damaging his comments were, he tried to clarify.

On Wednesday, however, Coleman said in a statement that opponents were seizing on an opportunity to “misconstrue and mischaracterize” his statement.

“My point was – and remains – that schools that are closest to the families they serve are schools that have the greatest level of accountability,” his statement read. “Our schools can only provide the promise of achievement for our children if they have the direct accountability to parents that comes with community and neighborhood involvement.”