My lack of posting is not for lack of post-worthy activities, I’ll have you know. The day after school ended we attended a performance here, where Kid will start Kindergarten in the fall. It totally reinforced my belief that diversity benefits all kids – and their grown-ups. It is hard for me to write anything about school – this school in particular – without ending up on my soapbox. I am a fervent evangelist for the notion that children in diverse schools are less likely to develop racial stereotypes or prejudice than kids in racially isolated schools. Research bears out that they are more likely to have friendships with people of other races and they are more open to living and working in integrated settings as adults. I think diversity is important enough that I prioritize it about “good” test scores, smaller classes, more enrichment and other things that parents in my social strata typically use as criteria when picking a school. (When I say “I”, I mean “we” – Guy and I are on the same parenting page here … because we have the same values. How do people get and stay married who don’t? I don’t think I could. That whole Carville-Matalin thing? I don’t get it.) The way I (we) see it; Kid is the product of two college-educated, affluent, white Americans. She is going to be fine practically anywhere she goes to school – it’s Kindergarten for chrissakes. So we might was well pick one where she will soak up the blue-state-urban values that are so important to us – where she will osmosize (a word?) tolerance and respect for other kinds and cultures by being part of the whole mix. Besides, it is a great school! A lot of [white, affluent] parents see certain statistics (WASL scores below 90%, non-white enrollment above 80%, kids qualifying for free / reduced lunch above 60%) and assume they correlate to the quality of education. Not true! This is a school with a fantastic principal and staff and a really committed parent community that wins awards for “closing the achievement gap” … plus, they're starting a Mandarin program! (And frankly, between you and me – because I always feel guilty talking about this point – poorer kids with more needs bring more money and services to a school. So, class size is probably lower than at other public schools, there are more community-based social service agencies and non-profits running programs in these more “challenged” schools and it is easier to get grant funding for them. There. I said it.) Anyway. This post wasn’t supposed to be about all that because – around here at least – it is an issue that can be divisive and talking about it can cause hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Suffice it to say it was just about the cutest thing: the current Kindergarteners up on stage wearing tie-dyed tees and some sort of construction paper crown-ish things, singing and signing “What a Wonderful World” with all the parents craning with their cameras and beaming at each other. I always get a little choked up when I hear that tune since it was my wedding walking-down-the-aisle song, so I was all emotional anyway – but it felt great to feel so comfortable in a community of people and thus vindicated by the whole scene.
What was this post supposed to be about? Ah right, summer activities thus far. Next on the itinerary was this! Since I spent so much time on my soapbox, I’ll just have to leave you with the photos and tell you more later.