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The History Of Multicultural Education Essay

1737 words - 7 pages

During the late 1960’s, America had entered into a period of cultural definition especially with the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement. Although the term “multicultural education” had not come into play yet, the idea that the U.S needed to reexamine their efforts of educating diverse groups was emerging. During this time inequality especially among minority groups in comparison to the white dominant culture became a social issue (Banks 1999). Before the arrival of this reform multicultural education was displayed in the classroom as having minorities adapt to the predominant culture. Teachers during this time felt it would be more beneficial for minorities to adapt. However, many parents of these minorities begin to argue that the cultural difference must be a present force in the classroom as well and so this as their civil rights as being denied.
A few years after this, women joined this fight as well because they believed that their “culture” was being suppressed in the classroom. “The women’s rights movement of the 1970s articulated and publicized how discrimination and institutionalized sexism in education limited the opportunities of women and adversely affected the nation” (Banks 6). America’s public school system came at the forefront of the argument. Many believed that if since their tax dollars help to fund the public schools, then they should have a say about the education of their child in the classroom. The textbooks in schools were more often than not dominated by White men; essentially leaving out many women and people of color.
Many rallied behind the effort for the change in education. “The constancy of their efforts for achieving for achieving was the force that rang the bell for action for children” (Beck et De Melendez 178). Their efforts proved successful. Many began to take their efforts and concerns to take place in the federal and district courts. These cases helped to shape multicultural education during the 70’s. In 1974, the Lau vs. Nichols case was brought about by Chinese students in California who claimed that they were not achieving in school because of their limited proficiency in the English Language. The students argued that not enough was being done in school to help overcome this challenge and felt it was because of their culture. The judge ruled in favor of the students and the case established the right of language minority students to educational accommodations. This verdict helped to make way for the 1979 case of Martin Luther King Elementary School vs. Ann Arbor School District. The suit was brought about by Black students who believed that the district did not seriously take their speaking of non-standard English seriously and this inadvertently caused them to obtain low reading scores. The judge ruled that the school district was responsible for identifying Black English speakers in the schools and must use that knowledge in teaching such students how to read Standard English. One key case that...

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