In a school that mirrors the socio-economic, cultural, and racial diversity of Los Angeles, New Roads students are challenged daily to question their own worldview, assumptions, perspectives, and righteousness. New Roads was founded with inclusivity and access at its core. In the article "Diversity Makes You Brighter
," Sheen Levine, a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, and David Stark, a professor at Columbia University, found that an authentically diverse community stimulates cognitive friction in and out of the classroom, which “prompts better [sharper] critical thinking.”
New Roads’ students themselves further substantiate the findings of Levine and Stark. Our academic and co-curricular programs require our students to engage, make sense of and synthesize multiple and diverse perspectives. Middle and Upper School Speech and Debate teams advocate for a position while acknowledging the arguments of the opposing side. Upper School Drama and Humanities students grapple with the humanity of characters with conflicting views in The Laramie Project. Math students are asked to approach problems from multiple perspectives to identify the most effective and efficient solutions.
We are inspired by the promise that our students represent for the future of democracy. At New Roads, students understand the validity of opposing positions on critical issues so that they can develop the habit of formulating complex solutions to the opportunities and challenges their generation will inherit. It is our hope that our students will move us beyond gridlock and onto a road where diversity and respectful debate will be at the center of the next chapter in the American story.
Authentic diversity must start at the top. When an institution is committed to being a place that represents the voices and experiences of everyone in the community, it must lead by ensuring a diversity not only of students, but of leadership, administration, and faculty. Additionally, it must use its resources to democratize the opportunities within its walls, using financial assistance to ensure equity in education. These statistics highlight those two essential New Roads commitments: