For those of us who are advocates of public schools, this says something about our country’s values … especially when we’re compared to other parts of the world. From the New York Times.
In New York, the affluent typically send their children to private schools. But not the foreign-born affluent. In a divergence, a large majority of wealthy foreign-born New Yorkers are sending their children to public schools, according to an analysis of census data.
There are roughly 15,500 households in the city with school-age children where the total income is at least $150,000 and both parents were born abroad. Of those, about 10,500, or 68 percent, use only the public schools, the data show.
That is nearly double the rate of American-born parents in the city in the same income bracket.
The census data include both immigrants and those temporarily stationed in the city for work. The disparity is even sharper for foreign-born parents with household incomes of $200,000 or more. About 61 percent send their children only to public schools, compared with 28 percent of native-born couples in the same income bracket.
In western Europe, the government funds public schools. And the citizens have no problem with that.
In in certain parts of America, everybody wants to put their children in private schools to ensure separation from “the other.” It’s a separation based on wealth, or race or religion, and in this conscious move toward a new type of segregation, that means public schools, serving the common good, suffered.
And that doesn’t have to be. Affluent neighborhoods have successful public schools. But despite that, people still send their kids to private schools, a total waste of money.
And here we see well-to-do Europeans, arriving in America, looking at the school system and saying, “what’s the problem?”
“When they go to public school, they’re in a whole new world, a whole world of different people and different values, which is what the world is like,” said Lyn Bollen, who grew up in Birmingham, England, and attended — and taught at — state-run schools. “Shielding them from that is doing them a disservice.”
One Indian parent said:
“We’re always back and forth, but our kids will probably be in many more nations, so it’s important for them to be able to deal with multicultural exposure,” she said. “Many more street-smart skills are developed in public schools.”
The rest of the world is aware that accepting diversity leads to a competitive advantage. You don’t put your kids in schools to be with their mirror images. You put them in places where they are exposed to different cultures and ideas.
That’s a lesson plan we should follow.