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Multicultural Educational System Essay

1733 words - 7 pages

Multicultural Educational System

Historically, The United States has been a racially and ethnically a diverse nation. Since Americans represent a variety of cultures and have a variety of viewpoints, we share many cultural traditions, values, and political ideals that cement us together as a nation. Children can develop their ideas and their identity at early stages in schools. Education should stress the value of diversity and avoid portraying one culture or group as superior to others. A multicultural educational system would not only educate the students in a classroom, but also enrich the teacher and society. The definition of multiculturalism is education that focuses on providing equal opportunity for students who’s cultural or language patterns make it difficult for them to succeed in traditional programs. (Oxford)

Some discuss multicultural education as a shift in curriculum, perhaps as simple as adding new and diverse materials and perspectives to be more inclusive of traditionally underrepresented groups. Others talk about classroom climate issues or teaching styles that serve certain groups while presenting barriers for others. Still others focus on institutional and systemic issues such as tracking, standardized testing, or funding discrepancies. Some go farther still, insisting on education change as part of a larger societal transformation in which we more closely explore and criticize the oppressive foundations of society and how education serves to maintain the foundations such as white supremacy, capitalism, global socioeconomic situations, and exploitation. The melting pot theory is the Americanization process brought about by teaching everybody English and American social ideals from European Ethnic Culture. (Levine 168)

There are a number of misconceptions surrounding both the intentions and purposes of multicultural education. (Guthrie) The first major misconception is that multicultural education is an entitlement program for African Americans, Hispanics, women, the poor, and other victimized groups. In actuality, the multicultural movement is designed to empower all students to become knowledgeable, caring, and active citizens in a deeply troubled and ethnically polarized nation and world. Another harmful misconception is that multicultural education is opposed to the West and the history of Western civilization. On the contrary, multicultural education is thoroughly a Western concept that grew out of the civil rights movement. Multicultural education is grounded in democratic ideas, such as freedom, justice, and equality. Throughout the history of education, there have been persistent advocates of the concept that schooling should concentrate on the “great books of the Western Civilization”. Reading and discussion on the great books that consist of Plato, Aristotle and other great thinkers could provide a common background of shared ideas and values. (Levine 163)

In 1954, Brown vs. the Board of...

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