Guest Viewpoint: Supporting DEI

Dear Editor,

It certainly was uplifting to read former Clarkston Community Schools graduate Justin Osborn’s comments in support of greater DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) in Clarkston Schools (Clarkston News, May 25, 2022).
Osborn points out that his own educational experience in Clarkston Schools failed to prepare him to deal with the new, diverse cultural experiences he would encounter while pursuing advanced education at one of the nation’s premier universities.
But the eloquence and insights of Osborn’s recent letter to the Clarkston News indicate that he has built upon his local educational experience, and undoubtedly guidance from his family, to become the kind of inquisitive, intelligent and accomplished citizen so important to America’s success in an increasingly open, diverse and competitive world economy.
His parents and Clarkston teachers must be very proud.
Clarkston Community Schools leadership, too,  can take much credit for Osborn’s development and success. The district’s long-standing emphasis on respect principles has proven effective. It surely prepared Osborn to be open to new scientific and social insights.
Still, it must be extremely frustrating and disheartening for dedicated administrators, educators and school board members to be confronted and impeded by politically motivated, fearful,  misinformed and untrained community members who fight efforts to advance student understanding and skill in addressing diversity and inclusion.
Sadly, a school board candidate, Amanda Love, has emerged in an attempt to lead the charge in the fight to keep our children from adequately preparing for the changing world. Love ignores the science of implicit bias.
Love is mired in old political talking points; she offers no insights into how our children can be fully prepared for success in a newly emerging, rapidly changing  global economy. Her style of “leadership” is sure to relegate them to failure.
Of course, reading and writing are important technical skills, and parents can and should do more to promote them at home.
But social and critical thinking skills are emerging as more crucial tools to move society forward, and these skills are more likely to be developed in school environments empowered by intelligent, supportive and progressive educators, politicians and parents who recognize the limitations of their own earlier educational and socialization experiences—and who want more for their children.
They are not stuck in an outmoded past.
Love’s unsupported claim that most of us oppose DEI efforts, and her citing of the Clarkston Parents United group as her source for ideas and inspiration are particularly alarming.
Most of the district’s brightest students probably know this.
Hopefully, their parents are open to science, new ideas, and progress.

Mike Fetzer

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