Tag Archives: Benefits of multicultural education in schools

A voice for inclusion: why multicultural education?

Published on Philadelphia Public School Notebook (http://thenotebook.org)

A voice for inclusion: why multicultural education?

by Germaine Ingram

In 1994, Germaine Ingram, then president of the Fellowship Commission and a trial attorney, testified before Philadelphia’s school board on behalf of the proposed multicultural education plan now known as Policy 102. The policy was adopted that year. Her testimony was reprinted in the first issue of the Notebook (Spring 1994).

In the mid-1950s, I was a 4th grader at the Stevens School at 13th and Spring Garden. My teacher had assigned us to select, read, and report on a book about the life of someone we considered a hero. In response to this assignment, I combed the shelves of the children’s department of the public library and selected a biography of President Gamal Nasser of Egypt.

A few days later, my teacher asked what book I would report on and I showed her my Nasser biography. With a look full of disapproval bordering on disgust, she said, “You think he’s a hero?” Before I could even begin to answer, she turned and walked away, leaving me hurt and deeply puzzled.

I was too young, too naïve, too ignorant to appreciate how a person of her family origin and faith might take insult at the mere suggestion that the president of Egypt might possess heroic qualities.

But I dare say that she was too consumed with her own history and belief system to consider how a black child might exalt at finding someone her own color lionized in print as a great thinker and leader. More importantly, her myopic attachment to her own world view prevented her from recognizing a valuable opportunity to challenge me to look beyond the attraction of racial identity and to assess critically the values and deeds of this man that I would call a hero.

The power and promise of a multicultural, multiracial, gender curriculum is that it will help our children choose their heroes carefully…help them recognize that heroes as well as scoundrels come in many nationalities and creeds. That genius comes in more than one color or gender…that righteousness resides in more than one faith…that family values are consistent with more than one family configuration or sexual orientation…that disability is not synonymous with “no ability.”

A multicultural curriculum at its best can be a therapy in the war against the disease that makes us run blindly behind flags marked “race,” “gender,” “religion,” and “nationality” – the disease that makes us prey to dictators and demagogues who manipulate our differences into excuses for exclusion, repression, and violence.

To my mind, the real challenge is not in deciding whether to adopt a multicultural curriculum policy, but rather, how such a policy, now adopted, can be implemented in a way which does not succumb to superficialities and stereotypes, which earnestly plumbs the histories and experiences that reflect our differences, and which illuminates the traditions and values that unite us.

I suggest we move quickly past this threshold issue of whether to have a policy and get on with addressing the real challenge.

About the Author

Germaine Ingram currently works at Philadelphia Safe and Sound.

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Becoming a Multicultural Educator: Developing Awareness, Gaining Skills, and Taking Action (Howe & Lisi)

So excited, finally, after years of work on it, our textbook on multicultural education is due to be published by SAGE in January of 2013 – Becoming a Multicultural Educator: Developing Awareness, Gaining Skills, and Taking Action (Howe & Lisi).

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Columbus – The Hidden History

D.C. high school teacher Julian Hipkins III used The People vs. Columbus, et al. lesson with his 11th grade U.S. history class at Capital City Public Charter School and introduced them to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Four of his students (Jared, Ana Marie, Jonah, and Mayra) were inspired to make a film called Columbus—The Real Story. Using feature film clips and interviews with school staff, the film critiques and analyzes textbook accounts of Columbus. Columbus—The Real Story was selected as a D.C. citywide entry for the 2011 National History Day competition.

Columbus – The Hidden History from Nonchalant Filmmakers on Vimeo.

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Black principals a factor in schools

Sharing skin color with their principal makes life better for many American teachers, according to a major new study from the University of Missouri.

The report, which surveyed more than 37,000 teachers and principals from 7,200 schools across the country, found that black teachers who work for a black principal are generally happier with their jobs, are less likely to leave and say they receive more support, encouragement and recognition from their superiors.

……….. read more

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10 Myths About Immigration

NOTE: You MUST read htis and share!!! Very good article

Published on Teaching Tolerance (http://www.tolerance.org)

Home > 10 Myths About Immigration


10 Myths About Immigration
Number 39: Spring 2011 [1]
Debunk the misinformation students bring to school—and help them think for themselves

Myths about immigration and immigrants are common. Here are a few of the most frequently heard misconceptions along with information to help you and your students separate fact from fear.

When students make statements that are mistaken or inaccurate, one response is to simply ask, “How do you know that’s true?” Whatever the answer—even if it’s “That’s what my parents say”—probe a little more to get at the source. Ask, “Where do you think they got that information?” or “That sounds like it might be an opinion and not a fact.” Guide students to find a reliable source and help them figure out how to check the facts.

Most immigrants are here illegally.
With so much controversy around the issue of undocumented immigrants, it’s easy to overlook the fact that most of the foreign-born living in the United States have followed the rules and have permission to be here. Of the more than 31 million foreign-born people living in the United States in 2009, about 20 million were either citizens or legal residents. Of those who did not have authorization to be here, about 45 percent entered the country legally and then let their papers expire.

It’s just as easy to enter the country legally today as it was when my ancestors arrived.
Ask students when their ancestors immigrated and if they know what the entry requirements were at the time. For about the first 100 years, the United States had an “open immigration system that allowed any able-bodied immigrant in,” explains immigration historian David Reimers. The biggest obstacle would-be immigrants faced was getting here. Today there are many rules about who may enter the country and stay legally. Under current policy, many students’ immigrant ancestors who arrived between 1790 and 1924 would not be allowed in today.
There’s a way to enter the country legally for anyone who wants to get in line.
Ask students if they know the rules to enter the country legally and stay here to work. The simple answer is that there is no “line” for most very poor people with few skills to stand in and gain permanent U.S. residency. Generally, gaining permission to live and work in the United States is limited to people who are (1) highly trained in a skill that is in short supply here, (2) escaping political persecution, or (3) joining close family already here.
My ancestors learned English, but today’s immigrants refuse.
Ask students to find out how long it took for their ancestors to stop using their first language. “Earlier immigrant groups held onto their cultures fiercely,” notes Reimers. “When the United States entered the First World War [in 1917], there were over 700 German-language newspapers. Yet, German immigration had peaked in the 1870s.”

While today’s immigrants may speak their first language at home, two-thirds of those older than 5 speak English “well” or “very well” according to research by the independent, nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. And the demand for adult ESL instruction in the United States far outstrips available classes.

Today’s immigrants don’t want to blend in and become “Americanized.”
Ask students what it means to blend in to American society. In 2010, about 500,000 immigrants became naturalized citizens. They had to overcome obstacles like getting here, finding a job, overcoming language barriers, paying naturalization fees, dealing with a famously lethargic immigration bureaucracy and taking a written citizenship test. This is not the behavior of people who take becoming American lightly.

The reality is that the typical pattern of assimilation in the United States has remained steady, says Reimers. “The first generation struggled with English and didn’t learn it. The second was bilingual. And the third can’t talk to their grandparents.” If anything, the speed of assimilation is faster today than at any time in our past, mainly because of public education and mass media.

Immigrants take good jobs from Americans.
Ask students what kinds of jobs they think immigrants are taking. According to the Immigration Policy Center, a nonpartisan group, research indicates there is little connection between immigrant labor and unemployment rates of native-born workers. Here in the United States, two trends—better education and an aging population—have resulted in a decrease in the number of Americans willing or available to take low-paying jobs. Between 2000 and 2005, the supply of low-skilled American-born workers slipped by 1.8 million.

To fill the void, employers often hire immigrant workers. One of the consequences, unfortunately, is that it is easier for unscrupulous employers to exploit this labor source and pay immigrants less, not provide benefits and ignore worker-safety laws. On an economic level, Americans benefit from relatively low prices on food and other goods produced by undocumented immigrant labor.

Undocumented immigrants bring crime.
Ask students where they heard this. Nationally, since 1994, the violent crime rate has declined 34 percent and the property crime rate has fallen 26 percent, even as the number of undocumented immigrants has doubled. According to the conservative Americas Majority Foundation, crime rates during the period 1999–2006 were lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates. During that period the total crime rate fell 14 percent in the 19 top immigration states, compared to only 7 percent in the other 31. Truth is, foreign-born people in America—whether they are naturalized citizens, permanent residents or undocumented—are incarcerated at a much lower rate than native-born Americans, according to the National Institute of Corrections.

Undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes but still get benefits.
Ask students what are some ways Americans pay taxes, as in income tax and sales tax. Undocumented immigrants pay taxes every time they buy gas, clothes or new appliances. They also contribute to property taxes—a main source of school funding—when they buy or rent a house, or rent an apartment. The Social Security Administration estimates that half to three-quarters of undocumented immigrants pay federal, state and local taxes, including $6 billion to $7 billion in Social Security taxes for benefits they will never get. They can receive schooling and emergency medical care, but not welfare or food stamps.

The United States is being overrun by immigrants like never before.
Ask students why they think this. As a percentage of the U.S. population, the historic high actually came in 1900, when the foreign-born constituted nearly 20 percent of the population. Today, about 12 percent of the population is foreign-born. Since the start of the recession in 2008, the number of undocumented immigrants coming into the country has actually dropped.

Many people also accuse immigrants of having “anchor babies”—children who allow the whole family to stay. According to the U.S. Constitution, a child born on U.S. soil is automatically an American citizen. That is true. But immigration judges will not keep immigrant parents in the United States just because their children are U.S. citizens. Between 1998 and 2007, the federal government deported about 108,000 foreign-born parents whose children had been born here. These children must wait until they are 21 before they can petition to allow their parents to join them in the United States. That process is long and difficult. In reality, there is no such thing as an “anchor baby.”

Anyone who enters the country illegally is a criminal.
Ask students whether someone who jaywalks or who doesn’t feed a parking meter is a criminal. Explain that only very serious misbehavior is generally considered “criminal” in our legal system. Violations of less serious laws are usually “civil” matters and are tried in civil courts. People accused of crimes are tried in criminal courts and can be imprisoned. Federal immigration law says that unlawful presence in the country is a civil offense and is, therefore, not a crime. The punishment is deportation. However, some states—like Arizona—are trying to criminalize an immigrant’s mere presence.

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Source URL: http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-39-spring-2011/10-myths-about-immigration
[1] http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-39-spring-2011

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Multicultural Certificate—Recognizing the Value

The College of Education is teaming up with The University of Iowa School of Social Work to offer an interdisciplinary multicultural education certificate for graduate students.

The Multicultural Education and Culturally Competent Practice Certificate will signify that students chose to take courses with a multicultural focus and will demonstrate students’ commitment to culturally competent practices as they enter the professional world.

Counseling Psychology Professor William Ming Liu was involved in planning and proposing the certificate. He said the certificate provides a response to changing demographics in the United States.

“The demographic changes are not only racial and ethnic, but also include gender, social class, age, and sexual orientation,” he said. “It’s not to say this diversity never existed, but rather to say that people are more open about their identities and our interactions will be more explicit.”

Liu said that the certificate reflects the College’s and University’s commitment to diversity and multiculturalism and also reflects well on students who choose to pursue it.

“This will not only make them more effective teachers, psychologists, counselors, administrators, and other professionals, but will also open them up to be more effective global players,” he said. “It demonstrates to others that this person has taken ‘extra’ time to learn and develop these competencies.”

Other College of Education faculty members involved in conceptualizing the certificate included professors Carolyn Colvin, Linda Fielding, Sherry Watt, Tarrell Portman and Kathy Whitmore. Katrina Sanders will coordinate the certificate for the College. The Office of Graduate Teaching Excellence will manage day-to-day operations.

Associate Dean David Bills said the certificate cements relationships across campus and contributes to a positive University community.

“It lets us reach across the whole campus in ways we haven’t been able to do before,” he said.
Students interested in pursuing the certificate can sign up starting in fall 2010.

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Four Reasons Why Finland’s School Are Better than Ours

America’s latest school report card jump-started yet another wave of panic that our students will never be able to compete on the world stage.The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s release of its annual Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) study, an international comparison of educational performance, placed U.S. kids in the incredibly average group.  

But aside from the fear that our children won’t one day earn enough to prop up our Social Security/Medicare entitlements, the report wasn’t quite a death knell for the public school system.

America’s kids didn’t flunk. Where countries like England, France and Sweden are mired in mediocrity with no signs of improvement, the U.S. posted modest gains.

What’s most interesting about the PISA report, and important for the public school reformers here to focus on, is Finland.

Finland As A Model

Once again, Finnish students topped the PISA report card, but what makes this information worth scrutinizing is that 25 years ago Finland’s school system sat in the same predicament that public schools in the U.S. find themselves now. The Finns scored below average in math and science and had alarming achievement gaps between urban and affluent schools versus poor and rural schools.

So what did the Finns do?

 They began scrutinizing the education policies and practices of more successful countries, took what worked, ignored that which went against the grain and built an educational system where today there is virtually no academic difference among socio-economic groups. Children in Finland can attend school anywhere in the country and be assured of the same quality of education.

The Exact Opposite

 Not surprising to me, as a former teacher, is that Finland reformed its schools and rose to the top by doing almost the exact opposite of what reformers like Secretary of State Arne Duncan and Bill Gates would have Americans believe is the only cure for our ailing schools.

Despite the differences in our countries’ make-ups, (America is far more diverse and has a child poverty rate that is four times higher than Finland) they have much to teach us.

What Did Finland Do?

 First, no child in Finland ever takes a standardized test. The only test a Finnish student takes is the one that determines if he/she will go on to university. In addition, standardized tests are not used to measure teaching ability or to compare schools. Parents, teachers and students assess progress and effectiveness of schools. Any comparison assessment relies on sample-based learning tests, which are low-stakes because the data is simply used in research to determine what works and what doesn’t. The Finns believe that education is a process, not a game to be won or lost.

 Second, Finland put time and money into elevating the teaching profession. Parents and politicians regard teachers in the same manner they do doctors. In fact, the Finns trust schools more than any other institution except the police.

 Teachers come into the profession with advanced degrees and they work with autonomy. Teachers are key players in determining curriculum and assessment, which might explain why the teaching profession attracts the best and brightest. After all, who wants to go into a profession where it is assumed you graduated in the bottom half of your class and couldn’t get into any other discipline at university?

 Third, administrators from principals to school superintendents are all former teachers. No one is allowed to oversee the education of Finnish children in any role who hasn’t the educational training and experience. There are no exceptions. The idea that a business person or politician, who never taught, understands the learning process or should be in charge of reform would puzzle a Finn.

Fourth, Finland does not promote the idea of educating its young as a competition. Schools work in tandem and cooperation is the rule rather than the freakish exception. Interestingly, Shanghai – whose students bested Finland in math and science this year – also shuns the competitive model of school reform. In Shanghai, low performing schools are paired with and mentored by high performing ones with the emphasis on sharing techniques that work. Closing schools and firing teachers is simply not a choice.

What Could Americans Do?

How can American education reform benefit from Finland’s success?

First by admitting that what amounts to reform here isn’t “best practices” in the most academically successful countries in the world. When Finland began its reform, it took some cues from the United States but ignored those things that were fads or had no compelling long term data to support their effectiveness.

Perhaps it’s time that those who wish to make a difference in educating American children admitted that what we are doing is the same things over and over in slightly different packaging, and it isn’t working.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/four-reasons-finland-s-schools-are-better-than-ours.html#ixzz1QNnPAE8J

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A Minority Majority Among Young Americans

A Minority Majority Among Young Americans

80 percent of Americans over 65 years old is white; among American aged 45 – 60, 75 percent are white. But within just about half a century, the US population will be quite different: For the first time, more than half of the children under 2 years old in the US were born to minorities who will one day — one day soon — become the majority.

These figures offer a preview of data from the 2010 US census and indicate nothing less than a “changing social order,” says the Associated Press. Says Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation:

“We’re moving toward an acknowledgment that we’re living in a different world than the 1950s, where married or two-parent heterosexual couples are now no longer the norm for a lot of kids, especially kids of color.”

Non-Hispanic white children now comprise just under half of children under 3 years old; in 1990, they made up more than 60 percent. Further, in twelve states and the District of Columbia — Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Mississippi — fewer than 40 percent of children under the age of 5 are white. If the current demographic trends continue, seven more states might “flip to ‘minority-majority’ status among small children in the next decade: Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, South Carolina and Delaware.”

Already in my home state of California, minorities comprise 58 percent of the population and are truly the minority no more. In 2000, 51 percent of California’s population were minorities.

Much of the “race change” is due to young Hispanic women having more children than white women, who generally have fewer children and who, as a group, are moving beyond their childbearing years.

As William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the data says, the new census data “will show a minority majority of our youngest Americans, makes plain that our future labor force is absolutely dependent on our ability to integrate and educate a new diverse child population.” Indeed, the new figures are appearing in a climate of rising hostility to immigrants, with some states — Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina — passing laws that require schools to report students’ immigration status to state authorities.

We live in northern New Jersey just across the Hudson River from New York City and have definitely seen these demographic changes, in the streets and in our classrooms. My husband teaches at a university in Manhattan and I teach at a college in Jersey City, a far smaller city that is said to be one of the most racially diverse in the world, with a large Kenyan population, the country’s largest Egyptian Coptic population, large numbers of Indian and Filipino residents, among many other groups. I grew up in the Bay Area in northern California and remember often being the only Asian in my elementary school classes. I’m quite sure things look very different now — what a change a few decades can make.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/a-minority-majority-among-young-americans.html#ixzz1QNmNy8yM

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Benefits of racial diversity in K-16 education

School Diversity
We are committed to generating and synthesizing research on key civil rights and equal opportunity policies that have been neglected or overlooked.Why Segregation Matters: Poverty and Educational Inequality
Gary Orfield and Chungmei Lee. January 13, 2005 One of the common misconceptions over the issue of resegregation of schools is that many people treat it as simply a change in the skin color of the students in a school. If skin color were not systematically linked to other forms of inequality, it would, of course, be of little significance for educational policy. Unfortunately that is not and never has been the nature of our society. Socioeconomic segregation is a stubborn, multidimensional and deeply important cause of educational inequality.

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