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July 11, 2019

We All Belong

Author: Doug Virtue

We all belong

It is sometimes the case that we can learn more about ourselves from others than from looking in the mirror. As a company founded in 1950 to support America’s public schools, Virco has been fortunate to participate in one of our country’s finest and most emulated institutions. But we also sell furniture to international schools around the world, and one of the things we find most interesting is their desire to imitate the appearance of American schools in the hope of reproducing the impact of American schools.

This is not merely an aspiration for higher test scores or full employment. Those are viewed as desirable side effects of the real genius of American Public Education, which is inclusion. It is this genius that continues to attract immigrants from around the world to become U.S. citizens; it is this genius that inspired the founders of this nation, who themselves were immigrants.

Inclusion is more optimistic than diversity. Inclusion doesn’t just notice our differences, it welcomes them as a source of strength. Inclusion means sincerely inviting people with different perspectives or abilities to participate responsibly at all levels of civic and social life. We believe this sense of welcome can be quietly conveyed through things like school furniture. The message is: We all contribute. We all belong.

“We all contribute. We all belong.”

Multiple studies have suggested that successful early education confers lifelong benefits. But it is also true that without a safe and welcoming school setting, some students will feel excluded. We are proud to offer an expanded line of student seating and desks to support a broad range of learning styles without the stigma of highly specialized designs. Especially fun is our new Zuma Floor Rocker.

Among our proudest recognitions are personal letters from students and their families detailing how these products have encouraged full participation in coursework, collaboration, teamwork, and responsibility. These tacit lessons of a public education don’t necessarily show up in test scores. But they are essential to a respectful and productive civil society.

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