Facts: Lack Of Diversity In Independent Schools May Effect Economic Prosperity

April 14, 2015  |  

Low levels of cultural diversity at independent schools may have a long-term, negative effect on America’s future workforce and economic prosperity, according to insight from Resources In Independent School Education (RIISE), a lifestyle organization that bridges the gap between families of color and the culture of independent schools.

Culturally diverse school environments provide pupils with richer perspectives that will leave them more prepared to excel in the global workforce.  Yet, recent figures[1] show that students of color currently make up a low 27.5 % of the total number of students enrolled in America’s independent schools (inc. Asian American 8.3 %, multiracial American 6.8%, African American 6.1% and Hispanic American 4.2 %). On a global scale, America is one of only three advanced countries where the government spends more on schools in rich areas than in poor ones (the other two are Turkey and Israel)[2], adding further to the diversity divide.

To help tackle the diversity issue, RIISE will host its 4th annual Parent Power Conference 2015:Encouraging Diversity In Independent School Education, on April 25, 2015 in New York.  The conference is specifically aimed at families of color who want to learn about and better understand how to navigate the independent school system.

Gina Parker Collins, founder of RIISE, parent advocate and school advisor, comments: “The mission statements of independent schools often allude to their duty of care to create and maintain a diverse school environment. However, there is still work to be done before our independent schools truly reflect the diversity of American society. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it also makes economic sense. America’s business and academic leaders need access to the brightest, most innovative talent in order to compete globally and this only is possible when future leaders from all backgrounds have been invested in.”

Keynote speaker at the upcoming RIISE Parent Power Conference 2015 and founder of the White Privilege Conference, Dr. Eddie Moore Jr, comments: “The gap between rich and poor in America is bigger than anywhere else in the developed world. This is having a direct impact on independent schools which are now fully geared towards the wealthy. Families of color are disproportionately affected by America’s inequalities. We need to ensure families proactively equip themselves with the best knowledge and skills to ensure they are preparing their children with the best opportunities to deal with the huge societal challenges we are still tackling in relation to education, achievement gaps, diversity, power, privilege and leadership.”

RIISE’s 4th annual Parent Power Conference will take place on Saturday, April 25 2015, 10:00 am 2:00pm at The Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 W 138th St, Harlem, New York.

Registration is FREE. RSVP required: RIISEPPC15.eventbrite.com

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About RIISE

Founded by Gina Parker Collins in 2009, RIISE is a lifestyle network set up to bridge the gap between families of color and the culture of independent schools. RIISE works closely with member families and member schools to help achieve goals for diversity in quality education. The network actively promotes awareness, access, application and retention of independent school education.

Please visit: www.4riise.org for more detailed information about RIISE.


[1] The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS):  Facts at a glance: http://www.nais.org/Articles/Documents/NAISFactsAtAGlance201213.pdf

[2] America’s new aristocracy: The  Economist, January 2015: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21640331-

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