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Superintendent ‘inflates’ what diversity actually means
A few weeks ago, District 87 Superintendent Dr. David Larson wrote an article (Opinion page, April 27 issue) about the importance of “diversity” in our public schools. In the article Dr. Larson elevated “diversity” to a constitutional principle equal to the original principles stated in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. “That all men are created equal” and “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” Let’s not inflate what diversity means. The Webster dictionary’s definition of diversity is “the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.” Diversity occurs from legal immigration which our elected officials establish by laws. The U.S. government establishes quotas for the number of individuals permitted to legally emigrate from approved foreign countries to the United States each year. To graduate from Glenbard East High School in 1970, all students were required to pass the Constitution test. I don’t remember diversity being discussed as a Constitutional principle or a right. And I don’t recall any Supreme Court cases recently addressing diversity since the 1970s. But Dr. Larson took liberties and elevated diversity to a Constitutional principle. I hope the Constitution test is still a requirement for graduation and the subject matter is being taught accurately and correctly. There are other problems when individuals elevate the importance of diversity. One is diversity causes self-segregation in identity, making us hyphenated citizens of America. We are not Americans but African-American, Irish-American and such. This doesn’t help with the inclusion of immigrants. I have often found that when the word diversity is used, it is soon followed by the word fear, and Dr. Larson didn’t disappoint me. This is a tactic used by individuals to slam the door shut on any debate or disagreement. If you don’t agree with diversity you must be afraid of other peoples’ culture or race. A better word to follow diversity would be assimilation. I can respect your culture, heritage and history but let’s all remember immigrants should also immerge themselves into our culture and way of life. I would like to suggest a future article for Dr. Larson to write. He could address the issue reported in the Lombardian that same week. The article’s title was “Illinois spends $518 per student on administrative cost, second highest in the country”. I am confident that taxpayers would be interested in how he plans to lower his overhead to avoid more tax increases. Dr. Larson, do it for the taxpayers.
Tom Hebda Lombard
Fifth-graders submit award-winning letters
Editor’s note: Many fifth-graders from Lombard elementary schools participated in the Lombard Historical Society’s annual Sheldon Peck Letter Writing Contest. The winners of the 2017 contest were recently announced. The students’ letters are written using language appropriate for 1848, as well as facts from the era. The following letter is the first-place letter:
I am a professional painter and an abolitionist. My name is Sheldon Peck. Let me tell you a little about myself. I was born in Cornwall, Vermont on August 26, 1797, as the ninth child in my family. My parents’ names were Jacob and Elizabeth Peck. My father made a living as a blacksmith, and he was also a private in the Revolutionary War. My house was used in the Underground Railroad and as a school for the neighbors’ children and children of my own. I hired a teacher named Almeda J. Powers and she taught up to twenty children at a time at my home. We have moved multiple times from Vermont (where my oldest children John and Charles were born), Jordan, N.Y. (where George, Abigail, who died, Alanson, who died, and Watson were born). Next we moved to Chicago (where Martha was born), and now to Babcock’s Grove in IL (where Henry, Susan Abigail and Stanford were born). I married my wife Harriet in 1825, in Vermont. My family and I lived in a wagon for two years while I built our house in Babcock’s Grove on the 80 acres of land I bought. Like you, I find your interest to abolish slavery very wise. All people should be treated equal, and like I said, my house was used in the Underground Railroad and along the way I helped many slaves passing through. I think that you need to make it a law that no one can own slaves. People who own slaves should be ashamed of themselves. They make innocent people work for them because they are too lazy to do all the work themselves. I am a self-taught painter and I have painted portraits of families, as one person, two people, people and their pets and even more. I paint for a living. So, Mr. Lincoln, would you like a painted portrait of yourself, or of you and your family? Well if so, I’d be delighted to paint a portrait for you. Just send me back a litter telling me yes, or no, and if so where and when. Sincerely, Sheldon Peck
This letter, awarded first place, was written by Maya Reinheimer of Pleasant Lane School.