We live in a diverse area consisting of whites, blacks, and Hispanics. Our elementary schools are equally as diverse.
Problem: We live in a failing school district. And from what we’ve heard, it’s not only not-great, but it’s one of the worst in the entire state.
So, move, right? But to where?
Surrounding areas are either
a---better educationally, but are drastically less diverse
b---much more diverse, in much worse school districts.
So you might be thinking, what about private school? Even less diverse. Like my daughter would be THE black girl. Or maybe one of two. Not good.
(Funny side note: when I ask parents or teachers of private schools how diverse their school is, they usually say, “Oh, it’s diverse. There’s two black kids in the school. Oh and one Asian girl, too.” Yeah. Ok. Great.)
As a college teacher, I fully understand the impact of a student who is ill-equipped for college due to his or her lack of a good K-12 education. But I also understand, from the little research there is on transracial adoption, that the kids who feel most resentful of their parents and most struggle with racial identity and confidence are the ones who were “the” black/Asian/Hispanic kid in an mostly white town or school.
So what wins? Diversity or education? What is more important?
We still have two and a half years before Miss E can go to kindergarten due to her birthday. She’ll be nearly six when she can go. We have time to decide. But some things just aren’t going to change---like the general racial composition of our town and nearby towns, or the failing school districts vs. the well-to-do/successful ones.
I know I’m not alone in my concerns. While white parents of white kids brush off my worries (particularly when I ask how diverse their child’s school is) saying, “Kids don’t notice race” or “Your child will be fine,” transracial families are rolling their eyes in annoyance right along with me. I know I’m perfectly right and normal to worry about diversity vs. education. I don’t want my daughters, by default, to be “the cool black girl” in their school.
What to do? What to do?
I’m anxious to hear from you. What do you think is more important----diversity or education? Do you find yourself in a similar predicament? What will you do? Would you (have you?) ever move a great distance to find a diverse and good school for your kids, or is that going too far?