a footnote on diversity

Dannyasher@aol.com
Thu, 5 Sep 1996 21:38:59 -0400

From: Dan Greenberg, Sudbury Valley School

Some time ago (it seems like ages, but it was actually September 2!) Romey
Pitman wrote, as part of a longer discussion, the following sentences:
"Similarly, a Sudbury model school in a given community which contains only a
specific category of people from that community . . . will not, for me, hold
the same promise as a solution to wider educational problems as one which is
more representative of that community -- in all ways. That's part of the
reason that Danny [Greenberg], in his writings, makes such a point of the
political diversity of people attracted to SVS, unlike other "alternative"
schools."
Without entering into the discussion of diversity, which I believe has had
as wide an exposure to different views and arguments as any subject can
possibly have, I would like simply to correct the statement that attributes a
certain reasoning to me. I had absolutely no interest in the question of
diversity, or of encouraging diversity, in the school, when the subject of
politicization came up. I was talking about the uncompromising position
taken by the Sudbury Valley community not to associate itself with any
particular political viewpoint or party (or with any particular religion or
set of beliefs). The aim here, as in every aspect of our completely open --
and hence in principle non-discriminatory -- enrollment policy was not to
exclude anybody, or make anybody feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, which is
fundamentally different from having the goal of actively seeking to include
everybody, or every type of person. Thus we were careful not to create
institutional barriers to people with any particular set of political
beliefs, any religion, any ethnic background, etc. I noted in my writings
that this policy has in fact succeeded in making people of all sorts and all
persuasions comfortable at the school; but that is not to say that the
proportional representation of any particular group (e.g., Republicans or
Democrats or Libertarians or Anarchists) mirrors that of the population at
large.
I just thought I'd clear up what I meant when I wrote what I wrote.