Have we plowed under our Quaker Utopia and salted the earth?
I have been eldered at times, for saying that "Quaker" schools are elitist and exclusive. Well, I must say, on one hand, I have a certain pride that the Obama family has chosen Sidwell Friends. On the other, I feel positively reinforced by NBC and CBS referring to the school as elite and exclusive.
Now, I find myself thinking, what part of simplicity and equality is described by elite and exclusive. Even if our schools were exclusive to Quakers, they would not be in keeping with the Quaker spirit. But, as they are so exclusive to exclude our own children should they not be clever or wealthy...
We are a utopian faith. It is the utopian nature of our faith that gave some Friends the strength to challenge the establishment of their day, including the elders of their own Meetings, to set about on a journey several hundred years ago, with others, not of our faith, a journey that resulted in there being a president elect, Obama. We dreamed above the prejudices and realities of our days. We dreamed an impossible dream, that we could end slavery, because it was simply wrong.
Today, we bend to both the "realities" of our day, and the prejudice based on testing and expectations, to exclude from Quaker schools, Quaker children for a variety of reasons. How sad, that we realize the best of our dreams for the rest of the world, while selling so cheaply the most understandable dream of our spiritual foreparents, that no Quaker child would be denied a Quaker education.
We are the artisan who makes something so precious we cannot own it. Unfortunately that things is close to the center of our faith - and means so much to the future of that faith. We cannot raise our children in this particular village, as we are in the process of selling it to the wealthy neighbors.