Re: Diversity in Democratic Schools
Tue, 3 Sep 1996 23:24:17 -0400

Yes, Tammy Welshon. Yes, Jeffrey Bradford. Yes, K. Sundaram. But let's
just all breathe for a minute and contemplate a few facts.

It may be that some of the up and running schools wish there was more
diversity in their student bodies and their staffs. BUT:

It is terribly difficult to convince anyone at all that this is a sensible
way to educate children. We all take any family that can pay tuition and can
manage to pretend at least for a while that they can deal with the worry that
having children play all day brings to them without going over the edge.
They don't really have to support the philosophy, as Romey wishfully says.
They have to hope that they can long enough to get us a student body.

There is no real money available. Grants are not available to schools so far
off the grid. At least not yet. That means that the poorest people most of
us can accomodate are people who can manage to prioritize a very small income
to get what they find most important for their kids. Now, most upper middle
class people won't do this. Yet consistently we find people who are
definitely not even middle middle class, and who really can't afford it,
sending their children.

If we don't get/keep these schools going, who possibly could? If we don't
create these schools, then no children at all will be able to go to them. If
we don't create models no one will be able to see that it works, so it won't
spread more deeply into the society and eventually be available (and
acceptable -- by far the biggest problem) to a larger segment of the
population. So maybe it will be time to worry about whether or not to
massage the right mixture into the student and staff group someday (I hope
not, it is odious to me), but not now: any mixture at all will suffice.