Beyond Diversity: Is There A Seat At The Table For Me?


From The Mind of Dr. Mack T. Hines………….


One of the most recurring themes in the field of education is diversity.

Schools and school districts spend lots of time, resources, and money on diversity. The term pops up in mission statements, vision statements, and other messages that advocate for all children.

Yet real diversity remains an elusive goal for many teachers, principals, and other school personnel.
Why? The reason is that diversity yields celebratory outcomes that fail to foster full inclusion of all children.

The facts are clear.
In racial terms, students who are not White are most likely to experience racial alienation and isolation in schools. On the social class front, low income students are often treated with high levels of disrespect and disdain. In other words, marginalization is the order of the day for many culturally diverse children.

Fortunately, there is a way to address this issue. My suggestion is that we, as educators, get beyond diversity-more so in the rhetorical sense. Now is the time to facilitate the full inclusion of culturally diverse students.

My best analogy for this premise is seats and tables. Seats come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. But seats have special value when they are matched with the right table.

Students come from different races and social classes. And they ought to be able bring those differences to the table of inclusion. In this vein, inclusion is the vast array of opportunities and resources that propel students to success and achievement.

It is one thing to see this table. But it’s another thing to be welcomed with open arms and without stipulations. It’s one thing to be welcomed to the table. But it’s another thing to have a say at what goes on without any stipulations. It’s one thing to have a voice at the table. But It’s another thing to have access to specific resources and opportunities.

This design should be a part of all students’ schooling experiences. This will help to reduce students’ tendency to wonder if their schools’ offer seats at the table for everyone. They will know by the way in which they are treated and seated.

Table Anyone?

2 replies
  1. Rae
    Rae says:

    I agree, it is important to be intentional in our efforts to promote inclusion along with diversity. Having a diverse body of students is only half the battle. We must genuinely work to communicate to students of color and low income students that they matter. It is important to acknowledge needs and make the appropriate resources available.


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