Schooled in Diversity: Why the push for diversity on TV is greater than in schools

in Opinion by
According to the Washington Post, in 2017, more than 90% of Los Angeles schools are extremely undiverse. (Photo/Emily Anderson)

When thinking about a perfect classroom or workplace, diversity plays a major role. With so many different beliefs, backgrounds and ways of thinking, ensuring the diversity of these places is crucial to encourage awareness. 

In a study conducted by the University of Nebraska, diversity in early learning environments promotes the inclusion of diverse beliefs and cultures, children’s self-confidence skills and a child’s academic and educational success. Although diversity proves to help children in schools, classrooms are still not as diverse as one would think. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 80% of Latino students and 74% of black students attend majority nonwhite schools. With so many of these children attending schools where students tend to be a lot like them, the idea of diversity in schools seems questionable.  

Despite the seemingly lack of drive to promote diversity in the classroom, the opposite occurs in the television industry. In a report from the University of California, Los Angeles, America’s increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film and television content. With such a large percentage of its audience wanting more diverse content, the film industry must cater to the demand to ensure that they continue to profit. 

The portrayal of more diversity on television shows the power the consumer has over the content they consume. The same can’t be said for schools, however. Unlike on TV, the families whose children attend public schools do not have the ability to control the diversity of their child’s classroom. Based on the address of the student, the diversity of schools within a certain area directly affects that area’s schools.

If school districts want to ensure the diversity of their schools, then they need to either rethink how they create each school zone or establish more magnet schools or programs to attract different families into certain schools within an area. Redrawing school zones will allow for students who come from different backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses to attend school with children unlike them. 

As diversity continues to increase on television, these kinds of initiatives are not being put forward in most school districts, leaving schools just as monocultural as they were initially.  

As a junior at Heritage, Emily is trying to face high school as best as she can. At school, Emily can be found playing violin in the orchestra, attempting to recruit members into Dead Poets Society, and frantically sprinting from the 9000 to get to her class on the other side of campus. Outside of school, Emily enjoys writing poetry, repeatedly watching the same movies, and partially succeeding in her goal of reading five books a week.

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