Mention the term diversity to most people and chances are they will assume it refers strictly to race. But in actuality it can also mean socioeconomic diversity or academic diversity (“NYC’s school diversity plan could lead to another ‘white flight,’ “ New York Post, Sep. 29). The differences in meaning create different reactions from people – and for good reason.
Parents want the best education for their children. Racial and socioeconomic diversity has proved to be beneficial, which is why parents tend to support that goal. What they don’t support, however, is academic diversity because it undermines quality. For example, efforts are underway in New York City, home of the nation’s largest school system, to open the doors of its academically rigorous high schools to students who want to go there. The trouble is that students who are unprepared for the tougher curriculum will fail.
What will no doubt happen then is that they will drop out or standards will be lowered to accommodate them. If the past is any indication, it will be the latter. As a result, parents will likely pull their children out of these schools and enroll them in either private school or in charter schools. I don’t blame them. They’ve made great sacrifices to provide their children with a quality education. If academics are to be undermined in the interest of other considerations, they will do what’s best for their own.
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