Back in 2013, The Atlantic published an article that explored the placement of minority and lower-income students into elite private schools and the impact this has on the psychological and emotional development of the students.
I found this article while researching the discourse of reparations in present-day America. One of the arguments in support of reparations advocated for reparations in the form of school grants that would be given to black students in order to give them exceptional educational opportunities. While this article doesn’t discuss reparations, it does discuss the misconception around the “ticket to upward mobility” elite institutions supposedly grant.
Despite the educational opportunities, private schools simply don’t provide a healthy and psychologically sound environment for minority and lower-income students, who are met with an overwhelming sense of discomfort. This discomfort stems from an environment that stereotypes, degrades, and alienates minority students, who are often the only students of color in their classes. And while private schools, like The Dalton School, are making the effort to diversify their student bodies, more consideration needs to be placed on making the transition for these students an easier one.
In class, we’ve explored not only what counts as a living laboratory, but also the relationships and workings of each living lab. In this case, elite private schools serve as living laboratories that harbor an oppressive environment, impacting the health of the minority students who attend these institutions. The negative relationship between the students’ health and academic environment is one that reflects a history of degrading and belittling people of colors’ appearances and intelligence.