Letter: Diversity concerns 2nd to a good education
Op-Ed · January 18, 2013

In letting my mind wander to our big-sister community to our west and its being diverse about diversity: the Iowa City Community School District needs to make every school in every neighborhood a school that is second to none.
Thus far it has not been made clear how transporting some children from one place to another under the moniker of “diversity” is functionally related to improving anything: be it childhood learning, the schools someone attends, the neighborhoods in which people live, or the overall operation of the school district. It appears to be a good intention that is out to lunch and thus as wanting as is this bad pun.

My being long past school age and living over here and not there, why would I care about what goes on over there? Because way-back-when in my hometown folks provided me a more plentiful educational opportunity than I thought I needed — I was sort of into light lunch. Anyway, I somehow came to think it is ever the old folks responsibility in each our turn to pass opportunity on to the next generation of kids.

I grew up going to a small school with 16 classmates who if we lived in town walked home for lunch and if you were from the country you brought one in a pail. The school days were not perfect, but going to school seemed to be more about something other than what you ate over the noon hour. However if anyone would have known that one of us kids did not have something to eat, they would have made sure we did. It is hard to learn much of anything with a rumbling stomach. Currently it is not being made very clear why rumbling tires on a diversity transporting bus would be any better.

As for rumblings of my mind, I am all for diversity if it means growing up with classmates who remain for life interesting friends because each and everyone came from diverse beginnings, and the more diverse the more interesting and enlightening. This made more so because our school was ours regardless of how much money your folks had, where you did or didn’t go to church, what kind of accent you brought from home to school, or what you looked like. You learned that good looks and being a good person are more than skin deep and what can be seen on the surface.

We were not just brought together, we came together and most of that came about in our homes and neighborhoods and unintentionally just brought to school. I don’t think it would have worked too well if others had tried to do for us what we did for ourselves together. What others did do was provide us a great community of experiences that included spending a few hours a day, a few days a year in school.

So I am all for promoting diversity, but I think it involves more than rearranging the deck chairs for a closer lunch on the Titanic.

It seems to me that Hilary Clinton had it mostly right when she quoted an African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Thus so, more needs to be done about where kids and their families live than just putting them on a bus to someplace else. Meanwhile, here in our village we may soon get back to squabbling over sidewalks and our kids just walking to where they ought to go.

Sam Osborne, West Branch

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