Diversity vs academics in school

Nicole - posted on 02/16/2011 ( 27 moms have responded )

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So i came across a post:
basically the person wanted to know how concerned should she be about the diversity in a school because her kid is about to enter kindergarten. Her kid is Asian and white.

Personally i thought it was really an easy question to answer. Being black and white myself i grew up in the south in a predominately white school. I was taught to be comfortable in my own skin and could've gave to craps about the background of my peers. Now that my oldest started kindergarten my views have not changed. Shes comfortable with her self (as much as a 5yr old should be lol) to not care how many kids of color are in her school. And who is gonna be her friend and who isnt. I think kids are cruel no matter what and even if everyone looked the same or completely different, someone is gonna be picked on for something else.

But after kinda being attacked about what i responded with to this person (not by her) i thought maybe people still think like that. For a kid to be accepted in school (and comfortable with themselves) they have to either be amongst peers or a whole variety of people. I would think the academic part of school should be the only deciding factor on what school to send your kid to.

What does everyone else think? honestly.

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JuLeah - posted on 02/16/2011

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If you teach your child that their value is based on what others think of them you have failed your child.

Angela - posted on 02/19/2011

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"But should parents avoid schools that aren't diverse enough solely based on that factor?"

To answer your question Nicole,No they shouldnt.Cause what does that teach our children? that race and color matter? and that there not good enough to go to any school they want to?

Sherri - posted on 02/18/2011

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I don't think it matters we have a 97% white rate in our school system and only 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian, 1% Black. No one could care less.

Jenn - posted on 02/18/2011

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I can't say it's something I would even think about at all - around here you just go to the school where you live. It's quite uncommon to send your child to another school - unless it's to go to a Catholic school or a language school (French Immersion for example). Now, if I did live somewhere where you had to decide what school to go to, I would be looking at the academics and course offerings and nothing more.

Brandi - posted on 02/18/2011

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Ah, just as I said. The school that my children go to, mostly Latino, is rated a 4 out of 10!!!! But, the school a few miles away is rated a 9 out of 10, mostly white. Just a thought. Not saying that race has anything to do with it, but around here, you can kind of tell which parents are more helpful to their children.

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[deleted account]

@ Brandi:
We are in Missouri and it is the same here as it is in Georgia for you. We live SW of a city that has HORRIBLE schools and they are predominantly black and mexican depending on the area. We moved 2 yrs ago and we looked at the schools rankings rather than the diversity factor. We finally moved to one of the highest ranking school districts in western MO. We liked it well enough though because our children are advanced the schools still couldn't teach them at their own level. (we have since started home schooling.)
Anyway, I totally agree that when looking at schools you should look at the rankings and not at the "diversity". However, as in Georgia our higher ranking schools are predominantly white as well.

Becky - posted on 02/18/2011

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Well, unless we want to send our child to an alternative language or educational program, or a private school, the school they go to is determined by where we live here, we don't really make that choice. I hope that their school is diverse because I want them to be exposed to all types of people, but no, it wouldn't really be a factor in what school we send them to. Given the location of the school they'll be going to, I suspect it will be fairly diverse.

[deleted account]

As I don't live far from Carol, we're in the same boat. Although, the city I live in compared to Carol, probably isn't AS diverse, but still good mix.

Johnny - posted on 02/17/2011

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Academics here for sure. It would be impossible for me to find a school anywhere within an hours driving radius that wouldn't be extremely ethnically diverse. High end private schools right down to inner-city schools. There are a few places where the population of the school is almost exclusively Chinese. Probably 20 years ago it was a bit of an issue because there was so much ESL that it was problematic for English as a first language kids to socialize and keep up with students from other places, but now the kids of those ESL students have grown up speaking English, so it just doesn't matter. The school beside us will be just fine. It's a small school with a very broad mix of ethnicities and everything from people fresh off the boat to those whose great-great-grandparents built the railroads. I haven't really thought about this too much. From day one, every program my daughter has been in has had a very diverse mix.

[deleted account]

Brandi, you probably already know this website, but try greatschools.org. I used to be a teacher and before that, spent many many hours in many different schools as part of my teacher education. I've found this website to be pretty accurate with all the schools I have experience with.

[deleted account]

For us, diversity of race did not play a part in our decision. The main factors for us were academic performance, parental and community involvement, cleanliness/condition of the school (studies show that children perform better and are happier in a well cared for school), and overall behavioral issues and methods for dealing with issues.

His school is not very diverse at all (8% Black, 3% Hispanic, 8% Asian, 6% Middle Eastern, and 2% Other), but I don't really care because he has a very diverse group of friends outside of school.

Stifler's - posted on 02/17/2011

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Where I live, 'white' has always been the majority. There are no schools except for maybe in the Northern Territory where there are more indigenous than caucasian kids. Or Sydney where I hear there are schools where the majority are other races. I don't remember a lot of racism or anything as a kid, mostly because all the white kids were scared of a certain Indigenous woman.

Brandi - posted on 02/17/2011

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yes, where I am, the schools are ranking pretty low (only lived here for a year) but we are trying to move, and I am online looking at everything about the schools in neighborhoods we like. Then, I plan on touring the schools, seeing 1st hand what it is like. Then, we will decide on which house is best for us because our kids can only go to the school which they are districted for. But, if it turns out that the school is mostly black, or mexican, I am fine with that, as long as the bullying is pretty low in the school.

My children have already been victims of bullying at their current schools and the school does nothing about it.

[deleted account]

Brandi, school performance has more to do with socio-economic status than race. Unfortunately in the South (I'm in Louisiana, I believe you are in Georgia?) low socio-economic status and being a minority go hand in hand. It's part of our long history going all the way back to slavery, reconstruction, segregation, Civil Rights...we are still affected by it all. That's the short and very broad explanation of why schools made up of minorities are typically low performing. I'm right there with you. I have no problem sending my child to a school where she would be the only white girl. What I do have a problem with is that those schools are the ones that are failing. We are fortunate to live in a unique community that is pretty diverse with a very high performing school. Well...we basically pay private school tuition in the amount of property taxes we pay for these schools, but that's way off topic.

Brandi - posted on 02/17/2011

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I am not suggesting that my children go to an all white school, I think some of you got that impression. My children actually go to a school now where white is the minority and mexican is the majority. I have no problem with the school, except for a couple of issues. BUT, when I check out the rankings for that school, it is very low. SO, for my curiosity as we are moving, I checked out the schools in our area that we are looking for houses, and it just so happens that the ones ranked highest are the ones where whites are the majority.

I have no problem with people of different races, OBVIOUSLY MY KIDS ARE MIXED RACES, but it seems around here at least, that those schools are more effective and successful. So, yes, in MY OWN PERSONAL CASE, I will be looking for a school with both of these things.

And to answer Nicole, No, if the school was better and it was mostly black, or Mexican, or whatever, I would send my children there. I would also look into things like bullying and crimes though. If they have a high bullying rate, sorry, but my kids will not go there.

Nicole - posted on 02/17/2011

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@Sara- I agree with you completely. Kids will find something to pick on you about if all of them are even of the same color. I was trying to figure out someones so called rational decision on finding a school for her daughter with enough different people so she wont get picked on. I just don't comprehend that.

@Angela. You have good points. And i grew up in a very unaccepting society based on the fact that my mom is white and my dad is black. But it wasn't the kids that were mean.....it was the adults towards my mom that were disrespectful. But my question wasn't about how to teach our kids to be proud. cause god knows i have to be comfortable in my own skin in order to make it thru day to day (even now) But should parents avoid schools that aren't diverse enough solely based on that factor? Even if the (for example) predominately white school is better academically than the school that has more kids of different color?



If you all could get up and buy a house anywhere, and you went looking at schools....would lack of diversity keep you from choosing a certain school for your kids even though it was better academically?

Bonnie - posted on 02/16/2011

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One of my kids started school this year. It wasn't really a decision that needed to be made. We just sent him there because of the type of school it is and where it is located in the relation to our house. Children need to be taught that everyone is equal and to treat the other kids as they would like to be treated.

Angela - posted on 02/16/2011

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The deciding factor on what school to send your child too should be academics and location,and I agree with you 100% on that Nicole. However,thats not always the case.

Theres too much of an emphasis on color and race now a days and its ruining our children.
Iam Cuban,Italian and Mexican and when I was growing up that was not the first thing I thought Of myself when I was waking up in the morning and getting ready to go to school or getting ready to start my day,you know what I mean? was I proud culture(s)? ABSOLUTLEY!

Now I have a 4 1/2 month old and her Daddy is Scandinavian,so she is Mixed,bi-racial,whatever you want to call it, and when she starts attending school,She will be taught that color doesent matter,but in turn we will teach her about her culture and teach her to be proud of diverse and beautiful she is.

And demographically it may matter what race you are,but we live in California and California is a huge melting pot of many races,cultures,colors and so on and so forth.

My ultimate point is that children should not be taught to judge people on their color and that Problem stems from the home,They have to learn it somewhere,and when The parents see Color,race etc. The children will too.

Sorry this is so drawn out....

Stifler's - posted on 02/16/2011

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I think closeness to my house is the main deciding factor! Denison SS is down the street, that's where my kids are going. If we moved to north side they'd go to Emerald North.

[deleted account]

I taught grade 4 in a pretty diverse school. I had a little boy that was a Japanese/Black mix. A little boy that was second generation Vietnamese (parents spoke broken English and he spoke with a slight accent). The rest of the kids were some sort of Black mixture (it seems that most African Americans have something in them other than African) or Caucasian. There was also a little boy with half an arm. A kid with severe ADHD. Another kid with an immune disorder. A girl that was already fully developed at age 9. A boy that regularly pottied on himself at age 9. A girl with severe eczema. Two with dyslexia.



My point? There is always something for a kid to be picked on for. The kids that had the most friends were the ones with the best personalities...which included the Japanese/Black boy and the boy with half an arm. The kid that pottied himself actually gained empathy from several of the more compassionate children...despite being picked on by other children. The other kids didn't see the labels I put forth in my first paragraph. They saw other kids. And even the kids that were picked on "survived".



And yes, I am in the South...what of it? =)



Oh yeah, one time race was brought up in class. But it was more of a jealousy issue among friends. A white girl was being accepted into a friendship circle among a few black girls while another little Black girl in the group had been "shunned". The shunned one shoved the white girl and made an ugly comment about race. That issue was quickly resolved and wasn't really about race at all.

[deleted account]

Race most certainly is an issue w/ some people. We have a mixture of races here, but whites are definitely a minority.... Hawaiian, Japanese, and Filipino are much more prevalent. That's all over the island though, so there isn't really a school to send my kids to where that wouldn't be an issue. THEY know that skin color makes no difference to what is in a person's heart. I just hope that when they get to middle school and high school they are around enough people that feel the same way.

Academics and location are the key factors for me when it comes to schooling since race is pretty much equal to being an issue or not regardless of which school they attend.

Brandi - posted on 02/16/2011

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Well, yes I definitely think academics are important, but I am house hunting now, and I am looking at both, academics and races. That sounds a lot worse than I actually mean it. Right now my oldest is in a school where he is by far the minority. But, if you look at a lot of schools in Georgia the schools that are ranked higher are actually the prodominantly white schools. That's in Georgia though, I don't know about the rest of the country.

Nicole - posted on 02/16/2011

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no matter where you put your kids they are going to get picked on. its what kids do. I didnt pick the school my daughter is in in fear of her "not fitting in" i picked it cause it was high ranked for its academics. Unlike my parents who didnt really have a choice where i went to school (im a military brat) and even going over to japan and syria (the schools there were more diverse in race than the school i went to in the states), i got picked on more because of my parents choices (one being black and one being white) than i did down south in the states. When i went to high school i still got picked on but not cause of my race its just cause kids are mean. But what if a parent passes up a school that is good for a child academically purely because they want their kids to be around different colors of kids?

Now im not saying its not important to have friends as a kid, but i was taught to be comfortable in my own skin, and im teaching that to my daughter. My husband on the other hand hates the area we live in because we are the only family of any color for miles (he's puerto rican) but who cares. i like our house, our neighborhood and our neighbors. lol. If we wanted her to go to a diverse school we wouldve ended up on a bad side of town.

Brandi - posted on 02/16/2011

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I do think that race is an issue... Not because I am prejudice but because kids are mean. Yes, I think academics are important, but I also want my child to like where they are going so that they are not picked on.

My children are a strange combination, they are black, white, and Chinese. My ex husband's mom was white but his dad was black and chinese. So, my kids have Asian features, and my youngest has black people hair. So, yes. I want them to fit in. We tell them it doesn't matter what color you are, you should be nice to everyone, but that everyone won't be nice to them.

Wouldn't you want your kids somewhere where they are less likely to be picked on for something stupid such as race?

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