I realize this’ll get me hate mail

But I think school diversity is overrated. I realize the history and the struggles, etc. but I think we’ve done, over all, a disservice by breaking up neighborhood schools in the name of racial diversity.

When we look around, it’s just a simple bit of the human element that we like to keep to our own, whether it is rich v. poor, black v. white, Scientologist v. Hari Krishna, Mac v. PC. That’s the way humans are.

And now there is a Harvard study that shows diversity for the sake of diversity is more harmful than positive in the near and intermediate term and the study really has to stretch to show long term positives for diversity.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it is important for kids and adults to intermingle with people other than themselves, but I also think there is a great deal of value in putting kids in classrooms with their neighbors than busing them all the way across town to maintain a racial balance that has never really been proven to be beneficial.

And what happens when they get to college? More often than not, the kids dare to segregate themselves. Oh the horror.

I think we need to just deal with human nature instead of forcing diversity down a 5 year old’s throat. But that’s just me. Feel free to disagree.

20 comments

  1. Bill Simon says:

    We are “forced” to embrace diversity right here on Peach Pundit…big-city Atlanta politicos have to contend with you South Georgians every day.

  2. Demonbeck says:

    No, EducationMan, but I am sure they found that north Georgia starts in Forsyth.

    Maybe you should check harvard.edu or something.

  3. July 2, 2006

    Dear Erick,

    I hope the length and depth of this doesn’t make anyone’s white, Gerogia head explode. 🙂 You are a short-haired-ethnicity-unknown-republican-lawyer-blogger, I am a long-haired- scot/irish/dutch/welsh/german/italian/french/english demican-son of a lawyer-with african american cousins-blogger.

    You and I have lived within two blocks of each other for almost two years.
    Yet the only time we have accidentally met face to face was at a political event in the Phantom’s loft of the Cox Capitol Theatre, when I handed you a shoe to autograph. Which, BTW was auctioned off to benefit the Mentors Project and purchased by a Georgia-House-Candidate-Democratic-Italian daughter of an Italian-Quaker-Ohio-Global-Activist, who was awarded a proclamation by US Congress for his activism, which included smuggling radioactivity detectors into USSR elementary school systems during the Chernobyl disaster.

    The white flight to private school segregation of our Central Georgia USA school systems has greatly diminished interaction, understanding
    and osmotic, mutual benefits between the races in our community. Before that, a large majority of our community’s white children were raised by black women who worked for sub poverty wages in our Mother’s kitchens; often without paying into the social security system, therefore depriving them of quality time with their children and late life medical benefits. Before that, there was, well,,, just socially accepted, public policy slavery. My point here is that 30 years of opportunity for African Americans is not going to overcome 300 years of missed opportunity, due to apathy, ignorance & fear. (hate is fear in disguise)

    The solution?: Make a concerted effort to get out of our technology driven comfort zone and meet for dinner or in a community garden with those that we call “different & diverse.” Internet addiction is not easy to overcome but you can do it if you try. I’ll give you a personal invitation to the next Center for Racial Understanding and/or Pleasant Hill Youth Activities Task Force Event.

    If you still don’t believe cross-cultural interaction makes a difference, take a look at these pics:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgiaimproper/sets/72157600309185154/detail/

    That’s my current observation, what’s yours?

    God Bless America, we’re in war induced fiscal trouble…

    Victor Jones
    Fifth Generation, Macon, Bibb County Georgia USA
    p.s. Griftdrift is the only one here who knows Georgia Geography. 🙂

    Here is an article that cited your “it ain’t workin” assumption.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7e668728-5732-11db-9110-0000779e2340.html
    Excerpt:
    October 9 2006

    -Prof Putnam stressed, however, that immigration materially benefited both the “importing” and “exporting” societies, and that trends “have been socially constructed, and can be socially reconstructed”.
    http://www.bowlingalone.com/

    Pluralism studies at Harvard:
    http://www.pluralism.org/pluralism/what_is_pluralism.php
    Excerpts:

    First, pluralism is not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity. Diversity can and has meant the creation of religious ghettoes with little traffic between or among them. Today, religious diversity is a given, but pluralism is not a given; it is an achievement. Mere diversity without real encounter and relationship will yield increasing tensions in our societies.

    Second, pluralism is not just tolerance, but the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference. Tolerance is a necessary public virtue, but it does not require Christians and Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and ardent secularists to know anything about one another. Tolerance is too thin a foundation for a world of religious difference and proximity. It does nothing to remove our ignorance of one another, and leaves in place the stereotype, the half-truth, the fears that underlie old patterns of division and violence. In the world in which we live today, our ignorance of one another will be increasingly costly.

    Third, pluralism is not relativism, but the encounter of commitments. The new paradigm of pluralism does not require us to leave our identities and our commitments behind, for pluralism is the encounter of commitments. It means holding our deepest differences, even our religious differences, not in isolation, but in relationship to one another.

    Fourth, pluralism is based on dialogue. The language of pluralism is that of dialogue and encounter, give and take, criticism and self-criticism. Dialogue means both speaking and listening, and that process reveals both common understandings and real differences. Dialogue does not mean everyone at the “table” will agree with one another. Pluralism involves the commitment to being at the table — with one’s commitments.
    —Diana L. Eck

  4. Dadgummet Icarus, i ain’t gonna tell you this again, there ain’t no gnats in Macon.

    There ain’t even anymore Skipper butterflies in the fall because the environmentally ignorant crew at Bibb County sends these evening spray trucks out to poison the kids that play at dusk

    & the the Fall Equinox Skipper butterfly count on my Pineapple sage has dropped from several hundred to less than a half dozen since they started spraying for skeeters. Even before that, there were no gnats in Macon… Gnats start down near Jeffersonville-Twiggs County, which is the egocentric geographic epicenter of Georgia…

  5. griftdrift says:

    Central Georgia. North Georgia begins at High Falls. Unless you consider Atlanta its own separate entity. Then it begins somewhere around Ball Ground.

    Maybe I should write a book. I’d make a mint!

  6. Icarus says:

    I guess it depends on where you start from. My Marietta co-workers always considered anything south of I-20 “Florida”.

  7. Darth Mike says:

    Bill Simon, you have it wrong when you said “We are “forced” to embrace diversity right here on Peach Pundit…big-city Atlanta politicos have to contend with you South Georgians every day.”

    Unfortunately, you have it backwards. Those of us in the State of Chatham County (Savannah to the rest of you GA residents) embrace diversity at a much greater level than those of you in any other region of the state. We have to listen how Atlanta is the center of the world, and how important everything is around the rest of the state. It forces us to embrace the diversity and try to look at things from y’all’s perspective.

    We look upon you Atlanteans and we chuckle and smile at your self-importance that you must develop sitting in 2 hour traffic waiting to get home at 7 pmish when you left work at 5:15. We tolerate your opinions with a sense of humor as we know that they are sometimes tainted with roadrage.

    We look at those from Maconga and we tolerate your opinions from Middle Georgia because we know that when the wind blows the wrong way, well, that darn paper plant smell can affect the entire city. Too bad we only have the fresh ocean breezes down here. But hey, you have that nice hot August weather,and the lack of the coolness of an ocean breeze or the mountain air, so we can understand how y’all don’t always think straight and can be hotheaded at times.

    We look at North Georgia (that is anyplace north of Roswell/Alpharetta) and say how do you like having those roads ice over in the mountains? We have to deal with being on the beach and being a 4 hour drive to Boca Raton or Orlando. So, we understand that at least you have plenty of days in the winter to stew at home because you cannot drive on the icy mountain roads and so you blog away. We are understanding sort of folks down here.

    We look at Columbus and Albany, and kind of say to ourselves, well, some of their opinions are not their fault. After all, they are so close to Alabama that we know that much of their thought processes have to be tainted at times.

    As for the Augusta area, aren’t y’all really part of the greater Columbia, South Carolina region? We understand when your opinions are tainted by the rigid stances developed by standing up to damn yankees like Martha Burk.

    Now, if you excuse me, I am leaving work now to go embrace diversity at my favorite downtown tavern. It is 5:25ish, so I better plan on leaving now so I can drive the 7 miles in 10 minutes to get there. Oh yea, that 7 mile drive is always 10 minutes because we do not have rush hour here.

  8. Erick, is that thunder or did you set your chemistry set back up?

    John Berendt summed it up best in his Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil

    In Augusta, they ask you what your grandmother’s maiden name was.

    In Macon, they ask you which segregated church you attend.

    And in Savannah they ask you how much radiation you would like added to your cocktail.

    it’s a shame he left out ATL, ALB and COL…

    Grfit, take a shot at filling in the last three blanks…

  9. jm says:

    Erick:

    “diversity for the sake of diversity is more harmful than positive in the near and intermediate term and the study really has to stretch to show long term positives for diversity.” Harmful in terms of what? What was the impact measured, how was it measured, and in what context (HS, college, elementary?)

    Diversity is good if your goal is to foster good relations between people of diverse backgrounds. If that is your goal, then diversity is a good thing.

    Diversity, however, can have negative effects on academics. Time magazine had an article a while back…African American students in predominantly white schools do not take advanced academics such as AP classes as much as similar students (same socio-economic status) in predominantly minority schools. They probably cited some of the same researchers that you read about.

    For example, I taught at a majority (99%) African-American school in DeKalb. We had a large number of kids take AP courses – Calculus, English, US History were our strongest, but we had about 12 courses total. We did extremely well, winning three national awards from the College Board this year. Many of our students go on to excellent schools – Harvard, Duke, Vanderbilt. My AP biology class was small, but every student had a full ride somewhere (GATech, Claremont-McKenna, Morehouse, UGA, Hampton, Spelman, Wash U. )
    Again, we are not a diverse schol, but we had academics on par with any of the better public school.

    In fact, there are some that want to create some public minority only schools…and these people are minorities. There is already a single-gender classroom push for middle schools in this area (Atlanta Public schools has one school each, boys and girls… Gwinnett just turned down an all-girls charter school until there can be an all boys school as well). These establishment of these schools, by the way, was driven by gender research in education.

    So this idea is not necessarily conservative, it may be actually progressive….we’ve moved from separating color (pre-1950’s) to being color-blind (1960’s to 1980’s) and since the 1990’s, in education, there has been a movement to be color conscious, to make good decisions that do in fact take race and ethnicity into account, that one size does not fit all.

  10. Bill Simon says:

    Darth,

    “Unfortunately, you have it backwards. Those of us in the State of Chatham County (Savannah to the rest of you GA residents) embrace diversity at a much greater level than those of you in any other region of the state.”

    Well, that’s mighty white of you to “tolerate” us Georgia Yankees.

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