Sixty-two years ago, Brown v. Board of Education argued that the desegregation of schools in America would be beneficial for both African American and White children. Since then, educators and social scientists alike have realized that true integration, not merely desegregation, was needed for the benefits of diverse schools to be realized.
The educational benefits of diversity in schools are at this point well established; however, there are a number of social benefits to diversity in education as well.
For the first time in the history of the United States, the majority of students in public high schools are now students of color. While the same cannot as of yet be said for boarding high schools, the fact remains that the demographics of the American workforce has changed accordingly — if students want to get ahead in the working world, early exposure to people of different cultures and socioeconomic standings is incredibly valuable.
Through integration with people of all different backgrounds, students show an increased perspective, increased sense of commonality, and a more favorable opinion of democracy in America. However, the key here is true integration, not just desegregation. For instance, students at diverse boarding high schools would have more opportunities to interact with students of other cultures than students at regular high schools; schools with smaller class sizes and more classroom discussion would also offer increased opportunities for meaningful interaction between students of different cultural backgrounds.
Other demonstrable benefits of diversity in education include: stronger commitment to multiculturalism, higher social self-confidence, higher educational satisfaction, and an increased sense of social responsibility and increased participation in community service endeavors. These benefits were observed for both White students and students of color.
Clearly, the advantages of a diverse student body significantly outweigh any perceived drawbacks of multiculturalism. At boarding high schools such as Wasatch Academy, diversity in education is much more than just an attempt at political correctness — it is a way of life.