This post originally appeared on +SocialGood.
Education is a tough business. Teachers, principals, and schools are tasked with preparing our children to thrive for the rest of their lives, wherever their paths may take them. No small or easy task, that’s for sure.
As moms, I think we can all agree on the importance of getting education right for our kids. Whether we’re tiger moms, helicopter moms, soccer moms, or another stripe of mom altogether, we all want what’s best for our kids.
To help prepare our kids to be great citizens and the global leaders of tomorrow, diverse classrooms and schools can help us (and our kids) get there.
The education nonprofit where I work, Education Pioneers (EP), works to bring in and advance talented leaders from diverse personal backgrounds who can help support the important work of teachers and principals. (Research has shown that administrative leadership is second only to teaching when it comes to the school-based factors that determine what kids learn at school.)
At EP, we strive to ensure that the leaders who work in education reflect the racially and socioeconomically diverse student communities we serve, and nearly half of our 3,000+ leaders are people of color.
Diversity is incredibly powerful. In the private sector, companies that have teams made up of people of different races and ethnicities, cultures, genders, and more, are those that come out on top. They perform better financially, compete more effectively for talent, make better decisions, reduce employee turnover, and develop a competitive advantage over organizations that aren’t as diverse.
While our schools aren’t companies, they can reap the benefits of diversity for our kids. The same reasons why diversity makes companies better can help in the classroom, too. Here’s why:
Diversity makes us smarter. As professor Katherine W. Philips points out in “The Scientific American,” people working in non-homogenous groups tend to assume that the others in the group don’t have the same perspectives or opinions (where they might in a group where everyone looks the same).
That means they push themselves harder to share their own point of view, and are more likely to consider differing or dissenting views more thoughtfully. For our kids to learn together with others from different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences is critical for all young people to learn more and stretch their own ways of thinking.
Diversity enhances creativity. Philips notes, diversity “encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving.” When we work in groups with other people who are different from us, we don’t assume we have all the answers.
That’s where creativity and innovation lie – in the unexplored space that we can best access as members of a diverse working group. Kids will be able to ramp up their creativity and search for new ideas when they don’t assume that they, or their peers, have the solutions already.
- Diversity causes growth. Our kids are growing in so many ways every single day. And if we can ensure they grow, learn, and play with kids who are very different from them, they’ll benefit even more.
The world our children will live in as adults will be even more connected than our global society already is today, so it is especially critical that we equip them to have broad perspectives and curious minds.
Our children need to learn and grow as fully as they can, and exposing our kids to a diverse group of people and diverse perspectives helps. When we have classrooms as diverse as our modern world, we’ll be able to ensure that all kids gain the broadest perspectives, brightest ideas, and most fervent curiosity that they need to thrive now and for the rest of their lives.
Julie Cruit Angilly is the Vice President, Marketing Communications, where she is responsible for building the Education Pioneers brand, raising awareness about the importance of strong leadership and management in the education sector, and managing marketing and communications for the organization and organization's product offerings. Julie believes deeply that all children can achieve at high levels and is inspired to advance public education solutions.