I received this interesting letter about the Two Tour pledge from a Cloaking Inequity reader.
The Two Tour Pledge
Now that the presidential election is over and a new secretary of education has been named, it appears that school segregation will only continue down its ugly path – unless…
Unless we CHOOSE otherwise. Unless we parents make a different kind of commitment for our children. Unless we come to grips with the reality that the schools we choose for our children actually build the world they will live in as adults.
And since many of us are in the midst of deciding where our kids will attend school next Autumn, here is one tiny thing we can do.
Take the TWO TOUR Pledge!
The pledge reads:
As a Parent-with-Choice in support of the fundamental premise that all children have the right to a quality education, and with the belief that in choosing a school for my child I am also building the world they will live in as an adult,
- I pledge to tour 2 schools that serve a majority of students from different racial/socioeconomic backgrounds than my family. I will tour these two schools regardless of their test scores, reputation or any “bad/scary” stories I have heard about them. I will tour these two schools with an open mind and heart.
- I will find at least 2 positive things to say about each.
- I will tell 2 parent-friends about those tours & the nice things I found.
- I will encourage 2 parent-friends to also take this pledge.
- Furthermore, I pledge to ask 2 questions (or more!) about socioeconomic, racial/ethnic and linguistic diversity at all the schools I tour/consider for my child (and register your pledge at IntegratedSchools).
That’s it. The pledge isn’t asking you to enroll your children at either of these schools, or zealously recruit your friends to enroll their kids there. It’s simply inviting you to check out two schools that you weren’t considering – schools that might have a reputation that caused you to dismiss them as not the “right fit” for your family – and ask yourself if you could envision your child there. Ask yourself if maybe this school could be good.
As for that last item… when you are touring the schools that were already on the top of your list, the schools with the robotics labs and the PTA sponsored Musical Theatre club, and all the fancy programs that affluent-segregated schools provide… ask them two questions about the socioeconomic AND racial-ethnic diversity at that school. (Here is a sample of some questions to ask and here is a resource if the school doesn’t give tours)
How does this help build a more unified future for our country?
Our public schools are more segregated than ever before and unless we make conscious and deliberate decisions, our children will most likely attend school with kids just like them. While that might feel “safe” and comfortable now, the world that prepares them for is a continuation of the polarization that our country is currently experiencing.
There are piles of research showing that middle class kids are not academically harmed by attending a high-free/reduced-lunch school, and the benefits for kids of all backgrounds being educated together are transformational for kid and country, now and in the future. All children win when all children are together.
Read the research, hear the stories (we have compiled some resources here). Integration doesn’t have to be sacrifice.
Because YOU – not any school – are the most influential thing in your child’s life, because you are not only choosing the school that will help your kid become a successful, empathetic and well-adjusted adult, you are building the world they will live in.
What do you want that world to look like?
Take the pledge.
Courtney Everts Mykytyn, Ph.D, Founder IntegratedSchools.org