Re: A meeting on diversity in svs-model schools

Welshon@aol.com
Tue, 3 Sep 1996 14:58:30 -0400

This is Larry Welshon from Alpine Valley School

Alan Klein wrote:

"School Meetings place their attention on many things. I don't see why
paying
attention to this aspect of school life is any more mission-diverting than
deciding on staff members, for example."

If the school meeting wants to devote energy and time on this sort of
activity, that is one thing. (Although most School Meetings confronted with
artificial topics and motions probably deal with them accordingly.) The
original statement referred to staff engaging in social engineering - not
the School Meeting. Having not yet been involved in a school like this that
is operational, perhaps I'm wrong -- however, I'll go out on a limb here for
the sake of debate. I cannot imagine the group I'm involved with spending
time and energy on racial, religious, etc. diversity when we are operational
(much less in a startup mode). We will be far more interested in making sure
the school is functioning in such a way as to insure personal freedom for the
students.

Alan went on to say:

"Your assumption is that the staff has a social engineering bent, rather than
a simple desire for a school population that represents as closely as
possible (within the school's mission) their area's population."

Actively seeking to make the school represent the area's population is social
engineering. It's roots are found in the coercive nature of government whose
only tool is the hammer. Government used a hammer to keep the races apart
during and immediately after slavery, and used a hammer to put them together
in this century (1954).

Alan said:

"What would "artificiality" look like here? Does every decision of the
School
Meeting constitute an artificial act?"

I consulted the OED and found the following definitions helpful in explaining
why one action (taking actions to correct a perceived lack of diversity in
racial composition) is artificial and why another action (most if not all
actions done by School Meetings) is not artificial.

Artificial
I Opposed to natural
1. Made by or resulting from art or artifice [defined as skill in
designing and employing expedients; cunning, trickery]; contrived, or brought
about by constructive skill, and not spontaneously; not natural .

Alan, this is the basis for my opposition to spending time on this issue.
More words would simply muddy the waters. I agree, it has been an
interesting debate.

Larry