Through Students' Eyes: Combating Racism in United States Schools

Through Students' Eyes: Combating Racism in United States Schools

Through Students' Eyes: Combating Racism in United States Schools

Through Students' Eyes: Combating Racism in United States Schools

Synopsis

This book explores racism in American schools and provides possible solutions to this widespread problem. Dr. Donaldson documents recent incidents of racism and explores the manifestations of racism and its toll on our society. The major part of Donaldson's work focuses on the role of the arts in antiracist/multicultural education. She brings together the views of leaders in multicultural education with her own insights to substantiate the importance of the arts in fighting racism. Dr. Donaldson focuses her research on high school students, discovering that even high achievers perceive racism as a deterrent to their learning. The students most often perceive racism as a problem caused by adults, and Donaldson shows that multicultural arts can empower students to stand against this racism. Finally, Donaldson explores the reeducation of teachers in an antiracist, interdisciplinary curriculum development and implementation pilot study.

Excerpt

Multicultural education has developed as a discipline in important ways since its modern-day reappearance in the early 1970s. This growth has been especially impressive in the 1990s, and it will doubtless continue given the convergence of a number of conditions in our society: the dramatically increasing pluralism in schools and communities; a recent commitment on the part of a growing number of teacher education programs to include a more focused approach to diversity; and the burgeoning number of scholars devoting their professional lives to research in multicultural education, especially those from Latino, African American, Asian American, and Native American backgrounds who were almost nonexistent just two decades ago. These conditions bode well for the discipline. Although multicultural education was perceived as a fad or passing fancy just a few years ago, it is now building a solid base in theory and research.

In spite of the tremendous growth in the conceptual development of multicultural education, however, there continues to be a dearth of research that focuses on practices and approaches for making schools and classrooms truly multicultural. The research reported by Karen Donaldson in this book is among a small but growing and vital number of studies that will help fill this void. It will help answer questions such as: What does antiracism mean in practice? How does multicultural education fit into the entire school curriculum? What can teachers do to engage students in discussions of pluralism and prejudice?

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