What’s the best place for your child to go to school — one with the social lessons of a diverse multicultural school or one that is acadmically challenging? That was the question posed on Twitter Moms by a mother who, like many parents, just wants what’s best for her child http://www.twittermoms.com/forum/topics/debunking-the-middleclass-myth). The answer is easy — it’s a false choice! A well-run diverse school not only has social benefits, but it has academic enrichments, too. Students learn to think more deeply, to question more, to solve problems better when they are in class with peers who’ve had different life experiences. I’ve seen it first hand, and the research backs it up.
Somehow we’ve lost sight of the fact that wisdom isn’t limited to middle-class children or those from the mainstream white culture. I’ve heard the most incredible insights from a student who had to share a lamp with a sister in the homeless shelter, or a teenager who walked 3 miles home from football practice because no one in his family had a car. Teachers in multicultural schools will tell you that immigrant students often have deep respect for education and serve as role models for their American-born peers through their work ethic. Parents whom I’ve worked with in Immigrant Parent Leadership classes are amazing people who show resilience and strength as they ground their children in their own culture while giving them the opportunities of America.
Don’t fall prey to myth-perceptions about diverse multicultural schools. Visit the school. Talk to the principal. Talk to teachers. Talk to parents. You don’t want to deprive your kids of the best education!