just sent this off to the new(ish) Head of School. had a tête-à-tête with him last week, and was very impressed. he’s an African American man with a
Masters Doctorate in Education and he knows his shit. we touched on this very possibly inflammatory topic and he asked me to send him an email. so i did.
this could get interesting…
Hi [Head of School],
Thanks again for your time on Thursday morning – it was great to get to chat in person and hear your thoughts about [the school]‘s future.
I wanted to reiterate my concerns and thoughts regarding children of color and their classroom assignments in the [pre-k/k] program.
To be sure, it is a benefit to white children to have children of color in the classrooms. This is one form of the diversity that parents are looking for when they bring their children to [the school]. However, common sense dictates (and I believe research confirms) that clustering children of color together is better for them. They do not take on the burden of being the representative for an entire group or race, they do not feel conspicuous, they have others with whom they share experience, and they feel more safe and “normal”.
Especially in a place like [our whitey-white county], not only is it critical for children of color to have teachers who look like them, it’s vital that they have peers who look like them. And a critical mass of peers is necessary, not a token one or two. Put simply, having six or seven other black kids in a class is clearly a different, and better, experience for a black child than being one of only two or three.
Sadly, there are not enough children of color in the [school] community to form critical mass in more than one classroom (an issue to tackle in another email…)
So the question becomes this: will [the school] cluster children of color together in one [pre-k/k] classroom to best serve those children, or will the school distribute them throughout the three classrooms, to best serve the majority who want diversity?
I feel strongly that the former is the right thing to do. These kids have enough of a burden to carry; we should not ask them to sacrifice their comfort and quality of their educational experience to benefit others.
I hope you agree, though I do understand this topic is controversial at best, and it may be difficult for you to take a public position on it.
Please let me know what I can do to help and advocate for our children of color in the [pre-k/k] program.