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#1 of 33 Old 08-28-2007, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My white daughter just started kindergarten at a school which has a racially mixed demographic, roughly 50% white kids and 40% kids of color (10% decline to state). this was a factor for me; I wanted my kid to go to a school that came close to representing the racial diversity of the city we live in; this school was a bit whiter than what I wanted but I love a lot of the other things aobut the school and figure dit would be ok. However, it turns out her class of 18 kids has only 4 kids of color in it; all boys.

it's one thing to grow up surrounded by white kids when you live in a community with no families of color, as I did as a child. But when you live in a veryr acially diverse city, it seems, well, it seems messed up.

I already am ambivalent aobut the school because it is a charter and although this particular school has a great mission, follows emilio reggio style teaching, and is a noprofit, controlled by a board of directores chosen from the community (and also has open admission- they do a lottery- and is free), I do believe charters are a key peice of the vast right wing plot to destroy public education, so, that was already a compromise for me, a compromise that I thought would be ok given that everything else was great. But...I hoestly am concerned about this. and sad, too, that if she stays in this school her ability to form close freindships with kids of color is going to be quite limited, and that's not what I want for her.

so, I'm wondering if other folks who understand why this is important to me could help me think it over and talk it through. What do you think? Is it possible for her to grow up with a hands on anti-racism in such a situation? If every single other thing is fabulous, would it be wrong to change her school for this reason only? What are other ways that I can address this?
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#2 of 33 Old 08-28-2007, 08:32 PM
 
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Does your school have a diversity committee?
Can you bring it up at the PTA or equivalent? Take it to the principal?
It should be a priority of the school to look at balancing race, gender, and learning abilities in the classes. For the benefit of all students.

I would also look at what your other options really are. We are currently homeschooling and I'm quite dismayed at how undiverse our community is, even living in an extremely diverse city. Sadly even 4 children of color in our homeschool group would be a welcome thing.
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#3 of 33 Old 08-28-2007, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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there is a diversity committee at the school, and I do plan to attend one of their meetings and potentially ge tinvolved. however, that's not going to change the make up of my kid's class, you know? And the school overall is a lot more racially diverse than this one kindergarten calss; although it makes me wonder if the school is gentrifying; I saw this when i did school tours; some schools had good mixes on paper, but when you actually looked, it was the older grades that were racially diverse, and the younger classes were whitening up.

I know the school has a commitment to trying to "diversify," and it will be interesting to see what their efforts look like. also I am curious how diverse the diversity committee itself is.

Yeah, actually one of the main reasons I decided not to try to homeskool was the racial and economic makeup of the homeskool community (well, the non-religious homeskool community).
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#4 of 33 Old 08-29-2007, 12:02 AM
 
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That sounds exactly like our situation -- times 2. My son attends a wonderful Expeditionary Learning charter school that's in a rapidly gentrifying "urban" neighborhood. The school is majority children of color, but the lower grades are majority white. I am part of the diversity committee, and part of the affinity group for parents of black students (DS is black, I'm white), and we're working on those issues but it's hard. For example, we're doing a lot of outreach to preschools that serve children of color, and making sure that adults of color are more visible in the leadership of the school. We're also looking to build connections between families of color, so that families don't feel isolated, and to reach out to prospective families with "recruitment" type activities. In my city, there's a lot of "white flight" from the public schools for a variety of reasons, and the school now has the reputation as a good place to "fly to", we're really working hard to recruit families of color for the lottery, to balance out the increasing number of white families but it's an uphill battle. One issue is that as the school gets better, and gets a better reputation, they attract more families who have the resources to "choose" a school. Of course the solution to this problem is not to stop improving.

I also work at a different charter school in the same neighborhood. It's newer, and at this point is still majority kids of color in all grades, but again the lower grades are "whiter" than the upper grades, and we're worried about what's down the road. The school is actually relocating to a majority black neighborhood next year (about a mile from our current neighborhood) and we're hoping that that helps. We're also very focused on putting in place supports for low income kids (in our city low income children are very disproportionately children of color), and kids whose family speak Spanish or other languages (Amharic and Tigrinyan being the most common). For example, we offer free summer programing and free before and after care to kids who receive Free and Reduced Price Lunch. These efforts have been pretty successful so far. I'm really pushing my son's school to adopt the same policy of increasing access for low income families as a way to build diversity.

One thing that hampers us, even though I think it's the only way to go, is the lottery -- by law we can't balance our classes, or give any kind of preference other than sibling. I strongly support this policy, but do realize the downside to it.

As to moving -- right now we're staying put. For one thing, I like the way the school celebrates diversity -- at my local public school, which is probably equally diverse racially/linguisticially, but not diverse economically, the curriculum is very "traditional" particularly in social studies, and tends to exclude voices of color. At my son's school they spent 5 months last year studying the water crisis in Africa -- which I love. The year before they studied fitness and the human body and examined recipes and exercise from around the world -- they learned Capoeira, Salsa, and Yoga for example. There's also a lot of diversity in the staff, again something that's not true in my home school.

Sorry, that was a really rambly way to say that I understand where you're coming from, and that yes, other parents and teachers are concerned about the same thing and are searching for solutions.
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#5 of 33 Old 08-29-2007, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Momily, that was a great reply, thank you so much. It's really interesting to hear your situation and it makes me wonder, to what extent is this a trend within charter schools? Now that I'm part of a charter school community (EEEEEEK!) I think I need to start reading up on charters, eh?

So, re: why you're keeping your kid where he is, I sometimes wonder aobut this...if the goal is to raise an anti-racist child (in the case of white kids in particular) or a kid who's identity is valued and who learns to value themnselves (in the case of kids of color especially), is it always better to be in a racially diverse setting, or is it perhaps better to be in a setting committed to valuing diversity and honoring all races, nationalities, identities, etc?

When I ask myself that question i can't help but wonder if I am, on some level, trying to find a way to be ok with the current situation...but I also think it's a fair question.
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#6 of 33 Old 08-29-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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You might ask at the school how children are placed in classes. Many times it is random. Not a certain number of each race. If your child is not going to stay with this particular class for all of her elementary years, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Next year's class composition may be different. Children may transfer in and out of the school and that will affect the classes too. At my child's school, the teachers team teach. That means two classes are combined, then sorted by ability to form reading and math groups. Therefore, the children in my child's original homeroom class may not all be in her math or reading class. My children have made friends based on common interests, I don't think friendships are something you can force. Certain children naturally gravitate towards one another, I think it's more a personality thing, not a race issue.
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#7 of 33 Old 08-29-2007, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by jennlyn View Post
You might ask at the school how children are placed in classes. Many times it is random. Not a certain number of each race. If your child is not going to stay with this particular class for all of her elementary years, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Next year's class composition may be different. Children may transfer in and out of the school and that will affect the classes too. At my child's school, the teachers team teach. That means two classes are combined, then sorted by ability to form reading and math groups. Therefore, the children in my child's original homeroom class may not all be in her math or reading class.
Hmm, I'll check on that. i don't know the demographics of the other kindergarten, nor do I know if the classes mix it up year to year.

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My children have made friends based on common interests, I don't think friendships are something you can force. Certain children naturally gravitate towards one another, I think it's more a personality thing, not a race issue.
I had no thought of trying to force any kinds of friendships; but if there are no girls of color in her clas and only a small number of boys of color, then there is a certain amount of restriction on what kinds of kids she can be friends with, isn't there. I know there's no guarantee that even with a broader range of racial demographics, there's still no saying who she'd befriend, but I am sad about there being very little options. I think that there is a greater chance of kids who have a racially diverse set of friends as kids continuing to have a racially diverse group of friends as adults. so many white folks don't have that range of friendships, and I think it diminishes us. i want her to have a different experience than mine.
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#8 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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I just got in from Vacation... and just put my kid to bed at midnight... but I'm gonna scratch my brains on this and come back...

Sadie, it's good to see you and I do respect the challenge you are struggling with.
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#9 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 01:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks, kama!

LOL, kids to bed at midnight is always...interesting.
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#10 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 03:13 AM
 
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I have been trying to find a way to put my experiences into words but for the life of me cannot. So I will just say it and hopefully it comes out as I intend.

I grew up in a city that is not at all very racially diverse, up until high school, almost all of the kids in my school were white or hispanic, or both. ( I am both ) The few children of color that I was friends with were IMO no different than me, yes we looked different, but we had the same interests, were involved in the same activities and lived in the same area. As an adult I can honestly say that I don't see people in terms of race.

My DH had a very different experience and this is what is hard for me to put into words because it is not my own. His school district bussed to try to achieve better racial diversity. His hometown is not very racially diverse and the majority of people of color are economically disadvantaged. DH is not very racially sensitive, if that is the proper term.

I guess I am wondering how the socioeconomics vs race factor. I think children see more in terms of we are similar because we have and do the same things, our parents do the same things. I think we are able to better understand the socioeconomic differences as we get older (middle/high school age) and the "have and do the same things" don't really matter as much as long as we have the same interests and values.

Does that make any sense?

My DS started kinder at a private school this year and I didn't even think to take things like this into account. There is only one kindy class with 18 students, 3 of which are of color. I just checked out the school's demographics though and they are 90% white. DS went to a very small pre-school with one class per age level and there were only 8 kids in his class, none of them of color. I think overall there were only 3 families of color, in the entire school.

I apologize for not being very eloquent, or knowledgeable on the topic but I found it very interesting and kind of eye opening. It's got me wondering if I am not just "hoping" that DS will turn out like me and that there is more that I should be doing.
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#11 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 08:30 AM
 
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I post this without having read all the replies and so feel a bit uneducated about all the issues that have come up so far. But are you basing the concept of diversity only on race? Does your child's class have children with physical diversity? Religious diversity? Socio-economic diversity? Because, in my mind, it doesn't matter what kind of diversity there is, as long as there is diversity. This said, we are in a rural, white community and so my definition is stretched to include more types of diversity. Anti-bias education can come from more than just racial diversity.

I can't wait to come back to this after work today!
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#12 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 11:12 AM
 
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I guess I don't really understand why this would be a concern at such a young age. My children have gone to both diverse schools and schools with no almost diversity and they prefer the diverse schools. They've chosen friends based on personality and common interests, not race. Honestly, would you feel any better if your child was the minority in a classroom and then chose to bond with another minority child rather than someone of a different race? If your child is exposed to other children, this gives her a chance to be comfortable with them which is what is important at her age.
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#13 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 12:19 PM
 
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We too had an extremely hard decision to stay in the community we are in because it is VERY VERY VERY white. Our local areas seem to be very segragated with some communities being more integrated than others. However we moved into this area years ago without really knowing much about it and soon we wanted out because of the lack of diversity and excess of money. We don't want our children growing up thinking this is what the world is like, however we are also around the best schools in the state and tons of private schools so even the public schools have to be on their toes because they will lose kids easily because most people have the means, we don't.

So we had the choice to stay for the schools or leave for more diversity and maybe not as good of a school. The other dinamic where we live seems to be if you get more diverse, you also get a more shall we say "close minded" crowd. So you get the diversity, but you also get the ones who are so prejudiced against it and it almost works against you if that makes sense. I had a hard time staying here because of the money and "whiteness" of the area, but I also didn't feel comfortable in the areas outside of it that seemed to be more uneducated to the differing cultures of the world. I've come to realize that were we live parents seem to value education more so, even if they don't parent or go about it the way we do, but at least they try. I am NOT a fan of the communities around us who have the diversity but seem unwilling to accept it.

So all that to say, we are using the opportunity to travel and explore differing cultures and also as many outside acitivities that are in more diverse areas (music classes etc) to let them see the real picture. It's a hard decision I know, but it depends on how your communities in your area treat the diversity as to if it's a benefit (in our case it wasn't). I dont' know if it's the past history of our town or what but it's so sad for me to see how it could be so much better.
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#14 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for all the replies and the discussion! It really helps me to have dialogue instead of just chasing my own throughts around inside my own skull!

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I guess I am wondering how the socioeconomics vs race factor. <snip>

It's got me wondering if I am not just "hoping" that DS will turn out like me and that there is more that I should be doing.

Yeah, socio-economics...but of course it's hard to seperate socio-economics and race... but I also wonder about that.

As for hoping our kids turn out allright, well, I think i was raised by relatively progressive parents who consider themselves not racist, yet I had (and sure, still have) a ton of work to do to become actively ANTI racist; so my approach is that if I want to prepare my kid to be a citizen of a multi-ethnic, multi-racial world, and to be an anti-racist white person, I have to be pro-active.


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I post this without having read all the replies and so feel a bit uneducated about all the issues that have come up so far. But are you basing the concept of diversity only on race? Does your child's class have children with physical diversity? Religious diversity? Socio-economic diversity? Because, in my mind, it doesn't matter what kind of diversity there is, as long as there is diversity. This said, we are in a rural, white community and so my definition is stretched to include more types of diversity. Anti-bias education can come from more than just racial diversity.

I can't wait to come back to this after work today!
One of the shortcomings of the term "diversity" is how coded it is...it CAN mean just race and often does...but then again it can be broader. At this school, I believe they also include economics, sexuality, gender, religion/spirituality. I want my kid to have a really broad exposure to all the diffeent types of folks there are in the world; but I'm specifically focused on race because my kid is a white kid and thus will have a ton of pressure on her (scietally) to ignore race and racism and to preteend she doesn't benefit from systemic white supremacy (but every white person in the usa does).

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I guess I don't really understand why this would be a concern at such a young age. My children have gone to both diverse schools and schools with no almost diversity and they prefer the diverse schools. They've chosen friends based on personality and common interests, not race. Honestly, would you feel any better if your child was the minority in a classroom and then chose to bond with another minority child rather than someone of a different race? If your child is exposed to other children, this gives her a chance to be comfortable with them which is what is important at her age.

Kids start forming their racial opinions early. I want my kid to grow up in a racially diverse setting so that racial diversity is normalized for her, and so she is comfortable with people from different racial backgrounds, and so she knows from experiences that racial steretypes and bogotry are bunk. It's not too early to consider this; in fact, judging from studies, kindergarten is maybe rather late to start considering this kind of stuff.



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We too had an extremely hard decision to stay in the community we are in because it is VERY VERY VERY white. Our local areas seem to be very segragated with some communities being more integrated than others. However we moved into this area years ago without really knowing much about it and soon we wanted out because of the lack of diversity and excess of money. We don't want our children growing up thinking this is what the world is like, however we are also around the best schools in the state and tons of private schools so even the public schools have to be on their toes because they will lose kids easily because most people have the means, we don't.

So we had the choice to stay for the schools or leave for more diversity and maybe not as good of a school. The other dinamic where we live seems to be if you get more diverse, you also get a more shall we say "close minded" crowd. So you get the diversity, but you also get the ones who are so prejudiced against it and it almost works against you if that makes sense. I had a hard time staying here because of the money and "whiteness" of the area, but I also didn't feel comfortable in the areas outside of it that seemed to be more uneducated to the differing cultures of the world. I've come to realize that were we live parents seem to value education more so, even if they don't parent or go about it the way we do, but at least they try. I am NOT a fan of the communities around us who have the diversity but seem unwilling to accept it.

So all that to say, we are using the opportunity to travel and explore differing cultures and also as many outside acitivities that are in more diverse areas (music classes etc) to let them see the real picture. It's a hard decision I know, but it depends on how your communities in your area treat the diversity as to if it's a benefit (in our case it wasn't). I dont' know if it's the past history of our town or what but it's so sad for me to see how it could be so much better.
thanks for this; you get what I'm talking about eh? The school is AMAZING. how do I balance ths=is stuff? I mean, ultimately, we'll ahve to decide asa family if we're going to do anything (although i doubt very much my aprtner would be willing to remove ehr from this school; he's very into it; but also is concerned about how white her class is).
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#15 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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I'm very confused about how the school can have relatively good diversity, but your daughter's class does not.

It could just be a fluke, and that's the way it turned out. If that's the case, and her grade level is more diverse, I wouldn't worry about it. Classes generally get mixed up every new school year, and after a few years in school, my kids are as likely to hang around with other kids who are in a different class.

There could also be something funky going on with it being kindergarten. For example, in my district, only one school has full day K. Many working parents jump through all sorts of hoops to get their kids in that school. That could mess with the demographics for K, but things tend to even out in later grades.

I guess what I'm saying is that if it were me, I'd look more into the demographics of the entire school, rather than just going by how your daughter's class is.

Although, I also share your concerns about charter schools and for me that would be the dealbreaker.
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#16 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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the school is growing in reputation and popularity, which means more people, and especially more white people, will be applying, and then that means more white folks will ge tin through the lottery. That's what I thinkis happening; that the school is gentrifying.

I ahve to say it's nice to know there's someone else out tehre who's not down wity charter schools. I keep saying I need tog et the ehck over it, obviously, since I'm in one now...but, basically I am sacrificing my values and beliefs in the belief that it is the right decision...but I'm not exactly proud of that. On the other hand, if all charter schools were like this one (ie, if there were no for profit charter schools), I'd have a different opinion.
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#17 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 05:27 PM
 
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Maybe it is gentrification, as you say. But one thing I've seen in my kids' school is that year to year, demographics for the incoming class can be quite different. My oldest is 10. The class before hers and the class after hers are significantly more diverse than her class is. It just happened that way.
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#18 of 33 Old 08-30-2007, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll take a look at the grade by grade breakdown; maybe it'll be like that and I'll calm down some, lol.
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#19 of 33 Old 08-31-2007, 12:49 AM
 
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What is your neighborhood school like?
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#20 of 33 Old 08-31-2007, 12:50 AM
 
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yet I had (and sure, still have) a ton of work to do to become actively ANTI racist; so my approach is that if I want to prepare my kid to be a citizen of a multi-ethnic, multi-racial world, and to be an anti-racist white person, I have to be pro-active.
I went to a conference in HS by the Anti-Defamation League. One of the best quotes I heard there (by Warner Saunders, a local newscaster) was that we are ALL racists. The difference is that some of us are "recovering racists." I know people argue that you can only be a racist if you are in power, but I thought that was an interesting point of view.

Anyway, this thread popped into my head at my DD's "curriculum night." While the diversity in her room is OK (both in terms of race and SES), I am not thrilled with how I think multicultural ed will be handled. I suspect that it will be APART from the curriculum vs. interwoven. Totally different from my schooling, though my school only concentrated on Latino cultures.

My thing is . . .the school will be giving her art, music, PE, math, and science. (HOPEFULLY they will give her LA at her level, but that remains to be seen.) It's going to be my job to fill in the gaps. School only lasts 6 hours a day, I get her for 18.

 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif

 

 

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#21 of 33 Old 08-31-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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[i don't have much to say but ... will she be able to mix with other kids who are not necessarily in her class at recess or lunch? if so then the specific ratio in her class might be tempered by that.
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#22 of 33 Old 08-31-2007, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is your neighborhood school like?
they don't really do neighborhood schools here; you submit a list of your top 7 choices in the entire city, and then there's a lottery. We actually got our first choice, and would have been happy there, but liked this school a bit better because, well, one hour each of dance, music, AND art, every single week? project based learning in a (semi) public school? small, diverse (I thought)?

sigh.

Anyway, though, today they had the school wide community meeting, and I noticed that the other kindegarten class is still majority white but a lot more kids of color, maybe almost half? And the school as a whole has a lot more racial diversity; although I did notice that while there are a lot of african american kids in the upper grades (the school is k - 8) there are not so many in the lower grades; the african american population in this city is dwindling due to gentrification, AND the african american kids are de facto mostly segregated into the less desired schools. so, to me, having a decent african american population in the school is different than having a diverse student body *except* african americans.
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#23 of 33 Old 08-31-2007, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[i don't have much to say but ... will she be able to mix with other kids who are not necessarily in her class at recess or lunch? if so then the specific ratio in her class might be tempered by that.
I'm still not sure; I do know that she'll be wioth a bunch of kids from other classes in the after school program, so, that should be good.
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#24 of 33 Old 08-31-2007, 03:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sadie_sabot View Post
they don't really do neighborhood schools here; you submit a list of your top 7 choices in the entire city, and then there's a lottery. We actually got our first choice, and would have been happy there, but liked this school a bit better because, well, one hour each of dance, music, AND art, every single week? project based learning in a (semi) public school? small, diverse (I thought)?

sigh.

Anyway, though, today they had the school wide community meeting, and I noticed that the other kindegarten class is still majority white but a lot more kids of color, maybe almost half? And the school as a whole has a lot more racial diversity; although I did notice that while there are a lot of african american kids in the upper grades (the school is k - 8) there are not so many in the lower grades; the african american population in this city is dwindling due to gentrification, AND the african american kids are de facto mostly segregated into the less desired schools. so, to me, having a decent african american population in the school is different than having a diverse student body *except* african americans.
Now I'm really confused, but for me that's not unusual! If everybody makes a request for their top 7 schools, I'm not sure how the segregation is taking place. Do you think that the school officials are deliberately giving African Americans the poorer schools? Or are you talking about your district getting "whiter" compared to other districts in your area?
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#25 of 33 Old 08-31-2007, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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the district is not getting whiter but it is getting less black...but the majority of white children with economic privilege in this city don't go to public schools.

but with the lottery, the way the segregation plays out is, fiorst of all, white and clas sprivileged asian folks don't want to send their kids to school in the southeast part of the city; and those schools are less requested but the folks who live there maybe want their kid to go to a "better" school but also wanttheir kid to be able to walk there, so that's one factor; the other factor is that socioeconomic status plays out in how people request schools. If you don't submit a list to the lottery, you get assigned a school, and of course you get assigned to a school with openings...which means a school nothighly requested.

It's crazy, I think the lottery is supposed to desegregate the schools, but it doesn't work. I'm sure folks more familiar with the district could offer more ideas on why, but the truth is, african american kids are mostly segregated to a handful of schools; latino kids as well, although they are in high demand for language immersion...that is, the white folks want their kids in spanish immersion programs, which only work if half the kids' first language is spanish, so a lot of latino kids benefit second hand from the white desire for spanish language...I'd be real interested to see what effect being in psanish immersion has on the spanish speaking kid's ability to learn english and learn more generally. but that's a whole nother issue.

Anyway, though, white flight from the public schools has lead to asituation where there is very little funding, so schools only get programs like art, phys ed, music, etc, if the parents are organized to fundraise, which means schools with a high population from poorer communities have less resources and become less desireable, which keeps them that way. I think the system here is just screwy.
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#26 of 33 Old 09-06-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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I'm bumping this up because 1. I think it's a serious concern because a lot of school systems are now considering lotteries, etc... so these are things that should be considered, and 2. I want to know how Sadie's feeling now about her daughter's classroom situation.

This is not the same as forcing friendships, as someone had suggested. It's not the same as seeking out a black family to befriend just because they are black. When I first started elementary school, there were two black kids in the entire school and neither were in my grade level. I had a friend who lived in the nearby city whose best friend was black and so sometimes--a couple times a year--I'd play with her. My dad was close with one of his co-workers who was black and he and his family were over sometimes, but their son was much older. So, I had no peers who were black; none of the teachers in the school were black; and, I've since learned that the principal I'd adored in first and second grade is a nasty racist. Actually, the entire county was pretty bad, and my friends came to school repeating what they heard at home and so, even though I didn't hear that crap from my parents, I absorbed it at school. And I didn't question it because it was everywhere. It wasn't until I made a few comments at home that my parents realized there was a serious problem. Because of that, we moved into the city before I finished my second grade year. They wasted no time. I was pissed as hell at the time because I didn't understand their urgency, but I get it now. My parents didn't seek out unnatural situations; they simply changed the environment and let me make my own friends. That was so much better than someone just telling me that racism is wrong. You don't internalize words the same way you do experiences. In addition to the school being close to 50% black, there were black teachers and black administrators. Even though it was even more important for my black classmates to have these role models, it was also important for me and for other white students so we wouldn't assume that the stereotypes we'd see in the media were reality. Our daily reality disproved what we saw on television.

Don't know if any of that made sense. My whole point was that Sadie has reason to question and to be concerned. She's not trying to create a false environment.

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My thing is . . .the school will be giving her art, music, PE, math, and science. (HOPEFULLY they will give her LA at her level, but that remains to be seen.) It's going to be my job to fill in the gaps. School only lasts 6 hours a day, I get her for 18.
But at least 8 to 10 of those hours, maybe longer, she'll be sleeping. So you get her for 8 hours. For me, as a child, those eight hours apparently didn't cut it. Just as a general observation, not about the member who posted what I quoted, way too often I think parents underestimate how deeply school influences our children. Six waking hours, five times a week, is a long time.
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#27 of 33 Old 09-06-2007, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the bump and the feedback, Missy.

I'm feeling...I don't know. My daughter is liking school a lot; I am seeing challenges. I doubt she's going to learn overt racism at this school, because it's within a progressive community and all, but...well, the 4 kids of color in ehr class are all boys and so far as I can see (i've spent a bit of time in the classroom) one of the msot disruptive boys is one of them, and two of the otehr boys of color are dealing with what seems to be some otehr challenges, not that I can say that *for sure*, but it looks that way based on behavior. SO now I'm really concerned about what she is going to learn if these boys are her primary interactions with kids of color.

I hope to haunt her afterschool program at some point because it may be that that is a more diverse situation, since the kindergartenres ar ein with 1st and 2nd graders there. But even there, there is the regular afterschool, and there are the clubs, which cpost more money. DD is in the clubs because after what we were paying for preschool, the clubs feel affordable, but I am owondering how taht braks out...who goes to the clubs (yoga, spanish, clay...) and who stays in the aftercare space.

So, I'm still feeling pretty ambivalent. I am hoping to find someone in the school I can discuss this with; there is a diversity commmittee and maybe I can go to the meetings and see who's involved and find someone who's been around longer than I ahve who shares some of my perspective who can help me place all of this into context.

I think it could be very, very easy for me...for any white parent at this school...to just "forget" about this stuff, about demographics and race, because in so many many ways the school is so awesome. But, I'm determined not to because I owe it to my kid, and to all the people she will be interacting with thoughout her life.

so...that's where I'm at with alla this.
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#28 of 33 Old 09-06-2007, 10:38 PM
 
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I wonder of there are scholarship for the clubs. Or of there should be. That might be something you could tackle if you want to do something concrete. Another is getting you and some of your like minded confederates to form a grass roots effort to educate and assist people in understanding and exploiting the lottery system.
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#29 of 33 Old 09-06-2007, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm defnietly thinking about if there is no scholarship, looking into creating one. As for the lottery system, oi, that's a tall order!!! Not that I'm ruling it out, mind; it''s just a massive system. parents for Public Schools actually offer tips on how to best submit your choices and whatnot so, some work is being done on that front.
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#30 of 33 Old 09-07-2007, 06:34 AM
 
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Sadie,

Does the Parents for Public Schools program structure their workshops to accomodate the needs of familes that are low income, English Language Learners and/or families of color? What I find here is that those kinds of workshops don't take into account the needs of families -- no child care, scheduled right after work with no food available, in locations that aren't easily accessible by public transportation, advertised by email/listserve/website etc. . . Then people are suprised when the meetings are overwhelmingly middle class, and majority white.

At my school kids qualify at the beginning of the year for Free/Reduced price lunch and everything else follows from that -- how much summer school costs, the fees for afterschool clubs, how much it costs to attend the school camping trip etc . . . I think it makes a big difference that families don't have to ask over and over again for help, but just once and then it's automatically offered.

The downfall of this system is that things like the clubs have mostly the kids at both ends of the economic spectrum. The lowest income kids get scholaraships, and the middle class and upper class kids pay the tuition, but for the families in the middle it can be a stretch.
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