Depends on how you define diversity

    In a recent letter from a proud parent of a private school student, the claim was made that "the school of our choice has a very diverse student population" which is "as diverse as in any public school."

    If the writer only means that her daughter is exposed to the same percentage of students of different ages and different sexes, then perhaps her statements are true. But as far as I know, there isn't a private school in the area which provides services for severely handicapped children in the same building with nondisabled kids. Nor is there any private school in our area which has a percentage of ethnic minority students that comes close to that found in the public schools. Nor is there a mix of children from high-, middle-, and low-income families in the private schools that represents what is found among the diverse population of Fort Smith.

    If you choose to spend the extra money to enroll your child in a private school, that's your business. Fortunately, the majority of local parents recognize that the public schools in our area provide excellent, wholesome, and equal educational opportunities for children of all socioeconomic backgrounds and all levels of learning potential.

    Good kids taught by good teachers in good schools is what makes our community great. Every citizen should recognize that our community is only as healthy as our public schools. What have you done lately to improve the quality of public education?

Michael S. Cole, M.D.
2 October 2002
Southwest Times Record