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Pet Sins November 2007

Constrained racial categorizations on public school enrolment form

I am the parent of a child who has recently begun attending 1st grade in Pueblo, Colorado. In the process of enrolling my daughter, I was disturbed to discover that, despite the Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind educational commitment, the enrollment form made it clear that my daughter was not going to be accepted "as she is." Let me explain, my daughter is adopted and her biological parents are of different races, thus my daughter has a mixed racial heritage--as do an enormous number of American children. However, the constrained ethnicity designations that have been mandated by the No Child Left Behind policy do not permit my daughter, and, I would hazard, a great many other children, to be completely accepted in America's public schools.

If the Bush Administration is seriously committed to including all children in its educational vision, then its school enrollment forms should demonstrate a more enlightened level of inclusiveness. Despite the appalling racism evidenced in our nation's history, my family has always emphasized the value and beauty of all human beings: no one should be considered "less than" others because of their racial heritage, nor should anyone be considered as an "other" because they do not fit neatly into unidimensional racial categories. As my daughter embarks on her educational career, I will not permit the educational system to imprint narrow-minded, destructive historical prejudices upon her sense of self. Thus, I urge you to join me in calling upon the Bush Administration to reevaluate its commitment to the children it is willfully leaving behind. Let's work together to accept and educate every American child equally.

T
2003