June 2, 2006

Homogeneity, Happiness, and $78,000 in annual tuition:

Does diversity make us unhappy?
By Mark Easton Home editor, BBC News

It is an uncomfortable conclusion from happiness research data perhaps - but multicultural communities tend to be less trusting and less happy.

Research by the Home Office suggests that the more ethnically diverse an area is, the less people are likely to trust each other.

The Commission for Racial Equality has also done work looking at the effect of diversity on well-being.

Interviewed on The Happiness Formula, the chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips accepts that people are happier if they are with people like themselves.

"We've done work here which shows that people, frankly, when there aren't other pressures, like to live within a comfort zone which is defined by racial sameness.

Meanwhile, here's an amusing story out of San Francisco, usually considered the most liberal, politically correct city in America:

Many reluctantly choose private schools
Heather Knight, SF Chronicle Staff Writer
Fourth in a Six-Part Series

Mark Lauden Crosley describes himself as a "passionate believer" in public education. The 54-year-old homeowner in San Francisco's Castro district believes it's critical that children of all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds be educated together. The software designer said he has never voted against any education measure in his life.

But, he said, he believes that even the city's best public schools are overcrowded and underfunded.

And despite his belief in the importance of public education, he must do what's best for his three daughters -- so he sends them to private schools. "There's very little in life that's as important to me as my kids' education. It's a sacrifice you make, and it pays off," he said, noting he nonetheless has nagging concerns that his daughters aren't experiencing diversity in their classrooms. "I don't want my kids in an elite, privileged environment where they don't spend time with people who are different from them. ... But that's the reality, and it bothers me." ...

His twin eighth-graders, Andrea and Danica, go to Katherine Delmar Burke School near Lincoln Park. He sends sophomore Elinor to the Urban School of San Francisco in the Haight. Crosley and his wife, Claudia Stern, a financial consultant, get some tuition assistance to cover the total bill of about $70,000 a year.

Next year, all three daughters will be attending Urban School, where the tuition is $26k, so his pre-aid bill will go up to $78k annually.

Crosley isn't alone in feeling uncomfortable about private schools while choosing them anyway. In San Francisco, families choose private and religious schools in higher proportion than in any other major city in the country. Last year, 29.3 percent of the city's school-age population went to private or religious schools. About 10 percent of children nationwide and 8.7 percent of those in California attend private or parochial schools. Marin County has the second-highest rate in the state at 18.7 percent, followed by San Mateo at 15.4 percent and Napa at 13.4 percent...

But $26,000 does not buy everything. Several Urban students said on a recent morning that they sometimes wish they had an educational experience beyond what they call the "private school bubble," a bubble populated by other teens from pricey, revered private high schools in San Francisco -- and nobody else. "It's a lot of rich, white kids," said Marshall Hendrickson, a blonde, blue-eyed junior at Urban, as he lounged on a sofa with classmates during downtime.

"I can't imagine it's that much different than a public school group of friends, but there's a boundary. Private school kids don't interact with public school kids." Junior Zoe Harris nodded, saying, "It's too bad we have to have private schools. Sometimes I regret I've never been to a public school."

Similar angst-filled discussions play out in households across San Francisco every year as families debate whether to send their children to public or private schools. ...

Other parents told The Chronicle they don't want their children to be around students who wear "saggy pants" or who "curse on Muni" or who may be "rotten apples." A few said they can see big differences between public school students and private school students just by watching them walk in and out of their respective schools.

I bet they can!

There are few things funnier than liberals kvetching about how their children aren't getting enough Vitamin D (Diversity!), but what can they do about it?

Actually, it's really not that hard to get more diversity in your kids' diets -- all you have to do is stop paying $78,000 annually in private school tuition!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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