We are in the process of buying a new house. We found one that we absolutely love and the sellers accepted our offer, but I'm stressing about the school situation. The assigned school is lacking in diversity, and it's just mediocre to begin with. There is a very good charter school just two blocks away, however, the student population is only 7% black. You're probably wondering why we'd buy a house without considering the schools... well, there is the lottery system here. There are a few decent, diverse schools in our city and we may enter the lottery. Although, there are no guarantees our son would get into our top choices. And, we'd have to drive our son across town to get to these schools. We found this house by chance and we fell in love - that's how we got where we are.We have an opportunity of buying a different house (from a friend) just a block away from a diverse school (45% black) with a good reputation. It is our ideal school. However, the house is small and more money than we are hoping to spend. Although it's expensive, it's less money than other houses in that area. (Basically we couldn't afford to buy a different house in that area.) My husband thinks this house isn't as much our style and we'd be cramped, but my thought is we should focus on our son's well-being first. My husband doesn't think we'd be as happy as a family living there, and he may be right. But at least our son would be in a school we felt good about.Currently, our son is in a diverse preschool and I love that he's always around people who look like him. I know that this is important.
My brother told me that we need to stop worrying about how diverse a school is, and instead focus on sending him to the best school possible. "He's going to have to deal with being different/a minority as an adult and he should learn to handle it from an early age", he said.
Here are our options:
I do feel okay with the high school that's assigned to the house we put an offer on - although, the smaller house does have a slightly better high school assigned to it.What are your thoughts? If your child is in a non-diverse elementary or middle school, how has your experience been?Thank you in advance!
These are all great questions that we struggle with arent' they? Maddening as they are.
I think this end up playing out differently for every family. I think being aware of the non black factors in our kids life is one step in the right direction. So many will simply say 'the best school and everything else doesn't matter' when we read over and over how very much it does. So consciously going from that as a start point in important. I've had black men who live here (northern freaking maine) tell me NOT take him to more diverse areas. That this is the place that he will get what he needs to grow. (add it to the pile of information overload)Here's my thoughts: Live where and how it works for your family. Yes. Your son is a part of the family. But not the whole part. In addition to the anecdotal and studied experiences of black children in schools and other transracial adoptive kids, that show us that they want/need to 'not be the only' and of course we want them to have diverse mentors/educators/admins--- there is also an element of graduation rates. There are studies that show graduation rates of black men are much higher in the less diverse areas. (and yes. A great deal of that equation is the craptastic inequality of school resources in neighborhoods with high black populations... but it isn't the only factor). Studies. There are a lot of them. How you weigh them is up to you....
And for me what it really comes down to is this... where am I going to best be able to continue to build relationship with my family? Cause it's true that comfort and spacial features matter. (i'm not referring to socioeconomic stuff-- more-- what does my kid/myself need- one floor or two? are stairs a problem? outside neighborhood... am I going to have to be on him about being up in the neighbors business, or taking care of his clothes etc... or is the set up managable etc...)One final add, cause I feel I'm rambling: But this may be my biggest weight in this equation: A Wise Woman once reminded me: school is just one aspect of any of our lives. She made piece with her son not being in the majority in his family, nor in his neighborhood, nor his school. But she can make sure to go out of her way to get him the extra time on a daily, everyday living basis in other ways. Where you play soccer, basketball, dance etc.. that all matters too. Good luck. If the house is the one you posted pictures of-- it looks so warm and inviting! I hear laughter already
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