Ten questions with Mike Petrilli about Mike's new book, The Diverse Schools Dilemma. This post was originally published on Education News.
1. Why did you write The Diverse Schools Dilemma: A Parent's Guide to Socioeconomically Mixed Public Schools?
Three years ago, when I started working on the book, I was struggling with the “diverse schools dilemma” myself. My wife, my young son, and I lived in Takoma Park, Maryland—a wonderful, urbanized city adjacent to the District of Columbia with walkable neighborhoods, a great sense of community…and socioeconomically diverse schools with lackluster test scores. I wanted to understand the pros and cons of such schools, and I decided to share what I learned with others.
2. You show that as cities change, middle-class families are returning to culturally vibrant urban neighborhoods for the first time in decades and considering sending their children to the diverse local public schools. What are the upsides of socioeconomically mixed public schools for middle-class children?
First of all, they get to become friends with kids with diverse backgrounds and experiences, with enriches their lives and, some research shows, will make them more comfortable in a multicultural America in the future. To be sure, getting to know people from different cultures or income levels can be stressful, but some amount of stress can be good for kids as they learn and grow. Second, living in the city can be great for kids, with less driving, more friends nearby, lots of...