Election Day at School

Bell students

I was probably a bit too grumpy when I wrote my post about waiting in line for 1.5 hours to vote this morning. On the upside — and this has been noted before — one of the best things about voting is getting to spend some time inside a local public school. This is especially important in mixed-income, multi-racial neighborhoods like mine, where many affluent white parents have negative stereotypes about the level of disorder inside public schools.

I voted at Bell Multicultural High School in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of D.C. School was in session, and the students were just amazing. One group was doing a stats lesson by issuing exit polls as voters left. Another was filming a documentary, asking voters how they felt about complex issues such as the role of Obama's race and McCain's age in the election.

In a neighborhood that is one-third white, Bell is 25 percent black, 68 percent Latino, and 6 percent Asian. Signs for cheerleading auditions were posted in three languages. Every student at Bell is required to take two advanced placement classes. It's a challenging school serving its neighborhood well. It's a shame it doesn't fully reflect that neighborhood's diversity.

cross-posted at TAPPED

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