RE: DSM: [SVS Discussion Board] questions

Joseph Moore (
Thu, 13 Apr 2000 10:58:07 -0700

I think Mimsy is on to something very important here - whatever words are
used to describe it, one HAS TO "judge" people somehow in order to even talk
about "diversity" - diversity of what? Well intentioned people can end up
preferring this kid to that kid because, when it comes right down to it, one
kid's skin is darker than the other, or his parents speak with an accent, or
drive a beat-up car, or - ? Whatever criteria you use, you're still judging,
and in a most dehumanizing way.

Any attempt to actively favor diversity (as opposed to doing your best to
make whoever happens to show up feel welcome)is going to have to set up some
people as judges of other people. There's no practical or even logical way
around this.

Also, exactly what is the goal, here? We all need to learn to get along
peaceably with whomever we happen to find ourselves sharing the world with.
Sudbury schools are uniquely great at this! Our kids are learning self
control, self respect, and respect for the rights of others. This translates
to the real world better, I would think, than any artificially arranged

Make people feel welcome. Run a truly democratic school. Allow people to be
most themselves. Do what you can to keep the costs down (that's the primary
way to lower the tuition hurdle). Spread the word everywhere.

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Klein []
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2000 6:00 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: [SVS Discussion Board] questions


In answer to the question in your first paragraph, no. Socio-economic class
is one of the factors, as is race (as are a number of other factors) that I
see as part of the kind of mix of people I look for. I am not interested in
"judging" the diversity of the student body, just as I am not interested in
"judging" their age. But, I daresay that if SVS all of a sudden had only
eight year olds attending, you would be putting some energy into figuring
out why that is and in creating to opportunity for more diverse ages to
attend. Am I correct about this?

I don't get the full meaning of your last sentence.


----- Original Message -----
From: <>

> I don't really agree with you, Alan. Does the fact that our student body
> far from lily-white in skin color mean that they are more diverse than the
> fact that some student's parents scrape by with incomes that are far too
> to allow them to afford any private school (and yet they do) and others
> to school in new cars mean? Not to me. Scott's answer was correct. The
> diversity lies in neither of the above things but in their incredibly
> set of interests and of ways of going about satisfying them.
> Were we to take your tack, what factors would we consider for "diversity"?
> Skin color? Parents (children) from other countries? I don't know how to
> judge this, and furthermore I am not interested in judging it. Allowing
> one's child to attend a small private school (even a cheap one) where kids
> are very much in the mainstream culture and not in an isolated academic
> culture is contradictory already to some people's way of thinking. . .

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