In the thick of admissions season, as I read NYC private schools’ websites and brochures, I am struck again and again by how often elite schools emphasize their “diversity”.

Certainly private schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Riverdale and Westchester are trying to broaden their ethnic makeup, and reach kids who live in different places and have parents with all kinds of jobs.  But true diversity?  No.

  • Elite private schools routinely reject and counsel out students who are stuggling socially and academically, even when students have siblings at the school .
  • Society is composed of people with all kinds of challenges, and indeed all of us will face disability at some point.  So exposure to people with diverse abilities is a critical learning experience, just as important as meeting people from different backgrounds.  Until schools commit themselves to educating all kinds of people, they are not truly diverse.
  • NYC private schools cost about $40,000 a year to attend.  While schools offer financial aid,  the bulk of the student body has to be parents who can afford to pay tuition and other fees.

Certainly top NYC private schools offer innumerable benefits, but true diversity is not one.  For true diversity, look to many public schools and to some less competitive private schools.