HILL: Want true ‘diversity’ and ‘equality’ in your child’s education?

Fairfax County Public School buses are lined up at a maintenance facility in Lorton, Va., Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A private school north of the Mason-Dixon line with a tuition of over $62,000 per year recently sent out a notice to alums about the changes they are making to their school policy and faculty engagement that includes the following:

  • Training for all students in implicit bias, anti-racism, bystander and intervention strategies.
  • Education on the school’s existing options for registering instances of misconduct, racial bias and microaggressions, including anonymous reporting portals.
  • Updated Mission and Statement of Values to ensure that student and employee handbooks reflect institutional commitment to creating a school culture in which every community member feels equally welcomed, respected and valued.
  • A robust anti-racism resource page on the school’s website that provides easily accessible and continuously updated anti-racist tools.
  • Diverse School Meeting speakers facilitating diversity of thought across various fields.

“A robust anti-racism resource page on the School’s website.”  How 21st century.

There is another, much less expensive way to achieve the same goals with much less effort:

Send your kids to public schools.

Seriously. If your top concern about your child’s education is helping them learn to live with others who do not look like them, public schools are the answer.

Put your children in the same classroom and school building with children of other races across the board for 8-10 hours per day for the entire school year. That will do more to break down racial barriers than having a “robust” website page no one will ever look at.

It is a big game to “talk” about racism. It is entirely another game to actually do something about it.

I spoke to a rather large group of concerned parents about public education long ago in Washington, DC. When I asked how many of them had their children in public schools in North Carolina, not one single hand was raised. Every kid who was born to that group of parents, including a couple of affluent African-American parents, was enrolled in a private school either in North Carolina or Virginia.

Yet, they were “concerned” about public education in North Carolina and willing to do anything possible to help improve it… except put their children in it.

The primary reason to have an education system is to prepare our children for the challenges of the future. We need to make sure they understand the fundamentals of math, science, history, civics and literature, so they can make the most out of their lives as responsible citizens and in their chosen career.

Not every child will go to college or graduate school. But they should all get a great classical liberal arts education from kindergarten to 12th grade, no matter what the color of their skin is or how much money their family makes. As one friend said recently, “We need philosophers to be sure. But we also need welders and electricians who can think philosophically.”

If you want to help public schools get better, and help large numbers of children of all races, send your children to a public school nearby your home. Charter schools count. Not only will they learn how to live with others not like them, your involvement in the PTA or contacting friends you help get elected to the school board might be the key to making sure all the children have the chance to become the next Albert Einstein in the classroom, if they have the ability and are willing to do the work.

People who have never attended nor sent their kids to public schools should be very cautious about lecturing the rest of the country about how to deal with racism in America. Maybe private school faculty and administrators can take sabbaticals to teach in public or charter schools and help solve the problems, including reducing racial tension and inequality, at the core level on the ground.

Sending your kids to public schools will do more to reduce racial conflicts than any page on any website will ever accomplish.