Re: DSM: [SVS Discussion Board] questions

Tina (
Thu, 13 Apr 2000 00:23:55 -0400

Let me address this from my eight years observation as an SVS parent:

The school has more minority representation now than it did 8 years ago,
but it is still primarily a white, middle-class student body and staff. My
feeling is that this has nothing to do with the school or its policies, but
with three outside factors:

1) The area is predominantly white, middle-class. The school is in the
middle of Yankee country, after all :)

2) Minorities in general are less likely to attend private schools of any
kind because of financial and transportation issues. SVS may be less
expensive than most private schools, but it still costs more than public
school. And playing car-pool mom just bites, frankly, but at least we live
relatively close to the school, have two cars, and my job allows me time to
make the drive.

3) This last reason is much more difficult to put your finger on, but it's
one I've been interested in for some time as I come from a somewhat "mixed"
background - 1st generation American on my Hispanic father's side and
eligible for the Daughters of the Revolution on my WASP mother's side.
Many minorities tend to be very conservative about schooling because they
tend to be very conservative about family issues in general. Further, for
families and/or minorities new to this country, assimilation is a high
priority (and rightly so in my opinion, but that's another discussion), and
traditional schooling fits into this.


At 10:19 PM 4/12/00 -0400, you wrote:
>Mims and Scott David,
>While I applaud almost all of your answers to Tom's questions (and thank you
>for taking the time to do so), I think you are being a bit evasive in regard
>to his question about the multicultural makeup of the student body at SVS.
>Scott's answer (paraphrased) was that, since all of the students act as
>individuals, everyone is a culture unto themselves. Mims responds that SVS
>doesn't have a test for ethnic background. I think Tom was asking something
>more basic; something that is highly observable without "tests" of any type.
>I believe that he was simply asking you (and, by extension, all of us who
>are or who have been involved in democratic schools) to look around in our
>minds' eyes at our students and to gauge the balance of various racial and
>ethnic groups. Nothing definitive...he wasn't asking for a census...just a
>rough estimate.
>My concern is that by appearing evasive, we appear defensive when there is
>(hopefully) nothing to be defensive about.

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