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Thursday, June 28, 2007


There are several school diversity cases before the Supreme Court right now, and it's too bad that Darren from Right on the Left Coast isn't still in D.C. I would love to have gotten some feedback on the chatter around the courthouse. I'm not going to go over the details of each case. Instead, I will be making blanket statements about school diversity in general.

Humans, as powerful as we have become, are still subject to certain constraints on time and space. We simply don't have enough resources or energy available to reach all of society's goals simultaneously. Many times we will be required to choose between doing one thing really well or two things mediocre. The continuing struggle for school desegregation is one of those times.

School desegregation has been a great thing. The days of governors standing at schoolhouse doors are over. Anyone of any race can attend their neighborhood schools and receive the same education as everyone else (in that particular school, of course.) But in the days of accountability, NCLB, and with myriad talk of catastrophe and crisis from both sides, maybe it's time we focus on teaching instead of stirring our melting pot.

If it were up to me, there wouldn't be diversity. I wish there was one single human culture. I don't understand people who want to preserve all of the special little idiosyncrasies that separate us and lament each time a tradition falls to globalization. As far as I can tell, it's the celebration of those historic distinctions based on arbitrary geographic and social boundaries that make it so easy for us to keep killing one another. And I've had just about enough of that, thank you very much.

But that perfectly homogenized, randomly distributed population isn't going to exist any time soon. In the meantime, based purely on scarcity of time and money, I think our nation needs to decide on a tighter focus. Let's work on educating the kids first. Of course, some schools will have an easier time of it than others. Yes, those schools will most likely be affluent suburban schools with limited people of color. Yes, that is a sad reminder of just how much farther we have to go. I believe in many Liberal ideals, but I would just as soon get all the kids to pass their basic skills tests. Then, and only then, can we try to tackle the diversity issue.

1 comment:

Darren said...

I'm hoping to be in DC for next year's CEAFU conference. Look me up then--let's go have a root beer or something.