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Emily

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 #1 
Stpauliekad and Anticipation (and anyone else who would like to answer):

I have noticed posts from both of you in the past stating pretty strongly held opinions on school choice and the diversity of a child's environment. I'm the transracially adoptive mom of one (7 year old AA son, adopted at birth), who also hopes to adopt from Ethiopia within the next few years. Right now I'm in the process of planning a move and a possible school change for my son, and I would love to hear your thoughts on what are the most important things to look for in a school or neighborhood.

I'm lucky in that I live in very diverse metropolitan area, so I have a lots of choices to consider, but I want to make my choice carefully.

Thanks!

Emily
stpauliekad

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 #2 
hi emily,

things i think that are good about public schools in an urban enviornment:

diversity in income/economic situations
diversity in nationality/ethnicity/race
diversity in religion
diversity in sexuality
diversity in political views
city kids

not all of these things can be found in private schools - for obvious reasons - or in big suburban schools - especially in Minnesota.

while i did not realize what a huge impact growing up around different types of people (with the qualities listed above) had on me until i was a bit older - i can not imagine being one of few colored students in the school.

i don't want to get too political or judgemental - but in my experience kids a lot of kids at the big suburban schools and private schools out here are:

large white population
medium-large/large income families
know poverty and diversity exist but have no first hand experience with it
know racism/hate crimes exists but still openly use the word nigger and fag in every day lingo
used to getting things they want (clothes, toys, cars, whatever)
materialistic
have no "sense" of individuality/not artistic

i am glad you brought this up - cos i can not imagine growing up in the suburbs or going to a school where everyone looks the same, has the same views, same amount of money . . . sorry this may sound like a harsh opinion - and i know there will always be the odd duckling - but in a general overview, i'd say this is what i see. and it isn't healthy.

i go to the U of MN - Twin Cities and a lot of people think it is really diverse. i think it is moderatly diverse - but we get all the people from smalltowns/suburbs who think the U is SO DIVERSE - whereas the kids I have met from the cities think this aint shiiiiatt.

this post was short and GENERAL and a bit unprofessional/casual sounding - but I guess this is how i would explain it to my friends.

if you have sepecific questions, you can PM or call me.
RYANandBEN

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 #3 
I"m going to chime in just a bit on this topic. I'm not an adoptee, but I DID go to private school my whole life, and I now live in an area where the public schools are awful (very racist, etc). I would encourage you to just check out the schools in your area. you might be surprised that maybe the PRIVATE schools have what you want vs. the public schools. I think it really depends on where you live. We live in the country, so our public schools have lots of white, low income farming families. I honeslty haven't checked out the public schools yet (we still have a little while). We have only lived in this are for 2 years, and hope to move to a more diverse area in the next 2-3 years (I'm SOOO not a country girl... grew up in the city). Anyway, good luck with your decision. BTW- we had MANY asian children at my privatae school, but not as many african-american children.

Ryan


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stpauliekad

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 #4 
I think the only really "diverse" private school around here is SPA - but that's like $17,000 a year. More than my annual college . . .

Also, one of my friends (he is white) grew up in Mankato and the most popular club at his school was Future Farmers of America. I just laughed when I heard this. He hated his school.
Emily

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 #5 
Ryan,

Thanks for your input. There are definitely diverse private schools in my city, although it's many racial and ethnic diversity not socio-economic diversity.

Except for Christian schools, which I'm not really comfortable with at this point, private schools here are extremely expensive, running from 12,000 -- 25,000 a year. Even though we'd probably qualify for financial aide, with potentially 2 kids I think for us it's a better choice to use that money to invest in moving to a neighborhood with strong public schools.

I agree with you that parents need to look at and weigh all the options when making a choice for their children.

Emily
stpauliekad

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 #6 
Socio-economic diversity is a key factor.
kloney

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 #7 
Why do we have to keep judging each other? We've run through APs, KADs, people in the adoption process who have left this forum, people who have stayed, people who have used harsh words to hurt each other, people who haven't defended others when harsh words were used, and now we're judging those who do not grow up in communities that don't fit someone's definition of diverse. I'm sure there are more to add to this list.

Let's try and learn what we can from each other, but value each other and everyone's experiences. We are all unique individuals with a unique history, but we all have something to offer. Whether you were the president of FFA(Farmers), FLA(Leaders), the debate team, gays and lesbians rights groups, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, International Adoptees Congress, and the list goes on and on - I VALUE YOU ALL!

Kristin - A former suburban white kid who sees poverty daily, has witnessed racism, can express myself creatively and artistically, has never used the "n" word and won't even write it because I know that as a white person I cannot begin to understand the hurt of that word, is not accustomed to getting whatever I want, and is not materialistic - evidenced by the fact that not only did I become a teacher, but I married one.

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Kristin
Mom of Evan(3), home forever 11/03
and Adam Jae, home forever 12/27/06
JodiK

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 #8 
Kloney - Thank you for your post! I grew up in a farming community on a farm. The largest town in our area was 10,000 people. I went to the public school and my high school sweetheart, whom I married, was president of the FFA. We now live in a more urban area, we both have Masters degrees, and my dh owns his own financial planning business. We had A LOT of diversity in the small town I went to school in. I don't think it's a fair statement to say all small towns have little or no diversity.
kloney

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 #9 
Thanks Jodi!
And I also want to add that even if a person did grow up in a completely homogenous community, that in no way, IMO, makes them less than someone who grew up in complete diversity. They, too, have insights to offer.

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Kristin
Mom of Evan(3), home forever 11/03
and Adam Jae, home forever 12/27/06
stpauliekad

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 #10 
You all misunderstand me. I am not trying to deem any person better than another. I have said that many times.

There is one huge difference between me and you. I am not white. A lot of times white people think something is very diverse - where someone of color would not think it is so diverse at all.

That is all I will say.
Cheryl_in_SW_USA

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 #11 
I honestly think you need to look at more than just diversity, quality of education would be my #1 priority. I would NEVER send my children to public school where I live, they are HORRIBLE! If the quality of education is similar then I would probably go for the most diverse but I would not send my child to an inferior school (public or private) just for diversity. There is more to our children's lives than just school so if they can't attend a school that is diverse I would get them involved in other activities that are.

We live in a very diverse area of the country (our neighborhood and friends are probably less than 50% "white") and our family is also very diverse so diversity isn't super high on my list of things I have to think a lot about like it would be if we didn't live in a very diverse area. Our Korean population is growing very fast too, we have several Korean restaurants and it's rumored that we will soon be getting a large Korean Market due to the surging Asian population :D One thing we did in the past and plan to do again is to host Korean foreign exchange students, it was such a wonderful experience!

Anyway, I think you have to take a lot of things into consideration and do what you feel is best for your children depending on your individual circumstances.

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Cheryl
Sibling Call 8/8/08
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RYANandBEN

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 #12 
"We live in the country, so our public schools have lots of white, low income farming families"

I apologize if this is the sentance that offended some of you... but in my area, it's true. I don't have a better way of saying it.

Ryan

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Elaine, Micah, and Arie
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Travel call: 9/8/06
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KT_meehee

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 #13 
Hmm...

This is a tough subject, and I dont really understand the whole spectrum b/c I never went to a private school at any point in my educational career (except a private college for freshman year, which I ran from like a bat out of hell b/c it was so racist!!! But that's another tale for another time! :rolleyes: )

But I have to say, honestly and candidly, that I HATED my high school. Just hated it. Absolutely hated it. And the problem wasn't lack of friends, it was truly lack of diversity. I lived (and still currently live, BAH!!!) in an upper class suburban city, and high school was so upper middle class stuck up kids that it was horrible there. The minorities were few and far between (I think in my high school class of 560 there were probably 20-30, and only 3-4 were korean, maybe 2 including myself were adopted) and I had so many run ins with racism and racist slurs.

The worst part was it was the "covert" stuff, like people muttering "stupid chink" under their breath, or "go back to where you came from". When stuff is covert like that, it makes you feel like youre going crazy...like, am I imagining this stuff or is it really happening?

I started dating my fiance at that time (sophomore year of high school) who is white, and he and I began collectively receving racist remarks for being an interracial couple. I thought I had died and gone back to the pre-Civil Rights movement era or something.

Also, it was odd, but my friends and I (who were mostly multicultural students--my best friend who is biracial, another friend who was a Korean intl student) know for a fact that it was NOT acceptable for people to date interracially. It was like this upspoken rule at our school (which was a public high school, mind you...but it DID NOT have that nice diverse environment) It was so sad...those two close friends of mine NEVER dated during high school and it wasn't for a lack of beauty or intelligence. It was almost certainly b/c they were students of color. I know that I would have probably not dated at all in high school too if I had not met my extremely open minded fiance.

Its just sad when a teenage girl is reduced to questioning the content of her character and her beauty b/c the school she attends has a majority of students who wont even consider her attractive b/c of her race. Its a horrible feeling that I hope none of you (who have KAD daughters) ever experience.

That being said, it really didn't matter that it was a public school--it was the city, it was the community--Just things to keep in mind, also.

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*~KT MeeHee~*
Korean Adoptee
Adopted in 1984
Returned to Korea in Spring 2000, Summer 2002, and Summer 2006
Cheryl_in_SW_USA

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 #14 
KT Mee Hee - I think you are so right that schools are the reflection of the community. Thank you for sharing what you went through, it makes me so sad that you had to experience such treatment. It is such a sad commentary on our society that so many people feel they are superior to others based on their ethnic heritage, I think it is a prime example that "white" is NOT the superior race!

My children are home schooled so the issue of public vs private is not one that we have to make but if we were to put our children in school at some point both our public and private schools are very diverse so thankfully diversity wouldn't be an issue us. I would never put my children in a local public school because the public schools here are terrible, even if our private schools weren't diverse I would still choose private over public. One really neat thing is that the private school my children would attend if we ever stopped homeschooling is the school that the Korean foreign exchange program sends it's students too. We are actually in the Independent Study Program at that school so my children can be involved in any of the sports/band/etc at the day school and take some classes at the day school in Jr High and High School if they want. Our ISP is very diverse too, there are families of many ethnic backgrounds and there are many adoptive families so my children's school activities (clubs/field trips/social gatherings) are very diverse.

There are things I don't like about where I live but I do like the diversity, it was never something I thought about before we adopted Bethany but if we ever move diversity will definitely be a deciding factor in where we choose live.

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Cheryl
Sibling Call 8/8/08
Age Waiver 9/29/08
ATK/HSTK 10/24/08
I-600A 11/18/08
Legals 12/3/08
I-600 12/5/08
NVC In 12/16/08
NVC Out 12/18/08
P3 12/24/08
VI 1/7/09
TC 1/7/09
MN3plus1

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 #15 
I find this post very interesting and I really appreciate the input of the KADs in regards to this. I find it incredibly helpful to hear about your school experiences as I have children in school and although their experience may be different, I also want them to be aware of how other classmates may feel and teach them to be sensitive to that.

I myself went to Catholic School in a semi-large midwest town until I went to 9th grade and then I was bussed. The young people on this thread may not remember the time in our country that it was felt that busing middle/upper class caucasian kids to lower income, diverse areas would help balance the education in the schools. My race was the minority in the school and it was a good experience for me. While my parents taught us that everyone is equal in God's eyes, interacting with kids that did not share my neighborhood helped me understand where they were coming from and who they were. While I am not sure bussing (sp?)is really the answer, I think it had a huge impact on me.

Now about those MN suburban schools, they are very diverse, at least where we live. We live in a middle class neighborhood but I would say that our suburb is considered upper middle class. Our kids go to a school that is very diverse and this is really celebrated. Like I have said in the past, my ds connected with friends who were Hmong. He felt "accepted" by them and I was just happy that he found good friends. I learned alot from my ds's friends and their parents. Mostly I learned, that we really shared the same hopes and fears, just at different levels. My dd, who is also Korean and is in high school has a different set of friends although she will tell you, she wants to be friends with everyone. Her mom thinks she needs to be more selective. ;)

In looking at my experience and my kid's experience, the only thing for me that makes sense is that I think it is good that kids are exposed to diversity whether at school or in your community. I think it helps, maybe in a small way, understand where others come from. Same can be said for economic diversity as well as religous diversity.

Please don't flame me!!!

Thanks for everyone's input.

Barb
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