An article on The Punch this morning argues that kids should be exposed to people from all walks of life. The author is writing about the positive effect for kids at schools in Inverbrackie who will now be exposed first-hand to children seeking asylum:
Some of the asylum seeker children now living in Inverbrackie will be going to local schools.
It would be a fair bet that the children already in those schools will have absorbed the community’s conflicting messages. Who knows what that does to a young mind, which can be curious and welcoming but can also be full of fear of the unknown.
So with any luck that fear will be eradicated once they’re meeting the asylum seeker children in the playground, sitting next to them in the classroom, sharing their food and their stories.
Evolution has left us with a tendency towards tribalism, a tendency that should be overcome through education, starting with children.
Isn’t this also one of the critical arguments against religious schools? Keeping children in their own little religious tribal group, not exposed to those from different backgrounds? It’s not just that it’s wrong to indoctrinate kids with one particular philosophy without exposing them reasonably to alternatives; it’s not even just that it limits their ability to find out about rights they have that their community might not want them to know about – it’s simply this: that part of growing into a healthy, reasonable human being involves being regularly exposed to those different to yourself.
And yet we’ve divided our education system into little ghettoes – the Roman Catholic, the Jew, The Exclusive Brethren, the Muslim, the secular; and the rich and the poor. That’s how to divide a community, not bring it together.
I can’t see it happening in the short term, but surely it would be a positive long-term goal to create a single, unified education system in which all our kids – regardless of their parents wealth, race, or creed – learn together. Why should that be controversial?