Re: Diversity in Democratic Schools

Alan Klein (AlanKlein@gnn.com)
Mon, 02 Sep 1996 22:46:40

K. Sundaram wrote:

>Shouldn't we all get back to what it is that we are doing? Providing a
>democratic learning environment for the "students" of the school to
>discover the trials, tribulations and joys of functioning in a working
>society. Why is there a need to impose the messups of our adult society
>and make the kids create the solution? I think that the best situation
>is for the democratic school to operate true to its founding principles
>based on mutual respect and rights. Our school in Santa Clara is highly
>diverse. A major reason I refused to send my kids to public school was
>the divisive nature of multiculturalism. My children live in a home
>where two cultures come together and are appreciated, not dissected for
>their differences, but embraced for their gifts. I don't want anyone to
>destroy that appreciation by suggesting there are deep and dividing
>differences. An environment of respect and appreciation will draw all
>people of all backgrounds together.

I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that it is appreciation of what others
bring to our lives that is what is important. It is all too true that the
true value and values of "multiculturalism", like those of reading or math or
science, can be (will be) spoiled when imparted through a coercive system.
If something I wrote made it seem that I was suggesting there are deep and
dividing differences between diverse people, then I apologize. I do believe
that there are often real differences in the life experiences of groups of
people based on how society at large treats those groups of people and that
to suggest otherwise is to be blind to those folks' realities. That said, it
is only through appreciation and celebration of those differences that we
make a strong, healthy group and a vital place in which kids (and the rest of
us) can learn.

Alan Klein ... AlanKlein@gnn.com
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