Multiculturalism - Education for the Nineties an Overview

By Pyszkowski, Irene S. | Education, Fall 1993 | Go to article overview

Multiculturalism - Education for the Nineties an Overview


Pyszkowski, Irene S., Education


As we know, America's school population is marked by diversity and multiculturism. Students attending schools in the United States come from many different kinds of families; single parent, teen-age parent, extended family and traditional nuclear family. Moreover a wide array of cultural differences reflected in racial and ethnic diversity exist in many classrooms today. The "melting pot" concept has been replaced by cultural pluralism. How can the needs of a pluralistic society best be met and how can stereotyped opinions of any culture be countered in our classrooms today?

In the first half of the 20th century educators tried to give students a national identity through the melting pot approach; a concept promoted in a play written by Israel Zangwill in 1908. Zangwill advanced the idea that the entire U.S. population would assimilate and form a unique American character. This ideology, so widespread at the time, became an integral part of the American educational system.

The aim of the schools was to "melt" ethnically different children into the American culture as quickly as possible (Banks). To expedite assimilation children were forced to forget their native customs, languages and heritages and to adopt the culture and language of a new nation of people (Berry).

Education for all students centered on Western culture, a "Eurocentric" view of the world and its culture. The bulk of immigrants coming to the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were from European countries; particularly southern and eastern Europe.

Textbooks used by children of these immigrants contained ideas of western civilization with emphasis on Anglo-Saxon history and literature. A curriculum incorporating these concepts was developed over the years establishing a singular American culture and identity. Indeed ethnicity was suppressed. But the fact was that racial and ethnic stereotypes were perpetuated in the core curriculum and its accompanying texts while students were rapidly assimilated into the American mainstream.

Yet ethnic identity could not be easily dismissed. Most ethic groups still clung to their language, customs and culture. Glazer and Moynihan wrote, "Individuals, in very considerable numbers to be sure, broke out of their mold, but the groups remained." (Glazer and Moynihan). The notion of an American persona; the "Americanization" of all ethnics became less appealing as the century wore on.

Hannah Arendt, the great intellectual of the mid-twentieth century is reported to have described the United States as "an a-national republic ---." She conceived of the United States as a place where the melting pot was not even an ideal, and that is what she liked about it (Shweder).

The diversity movement is a phenomenon resulting from the pronounced shift in the ethnic makeup of America's population. Auster writers, "Christmas has been replaced in many schools by a non-denominational Winterfest or by a new African-American holiday Kwanza, while schools in areas with large Hispanic populations celebrate Cinco de Mayo" (Auster). Ethnic groups revitalized their heritage as cultural identity and ethnic pride gained respectability.

The momentum of the "Black Movement" of the 1950's when Afro-americans fought for equality in the social, economic TABULAR DATA OMITTED and political arenas fueled the sparks for cultural pluralism. Impressed by the gains made by Afro-Americans; Puerto-Ricans, Mexican-Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans and other minority groups worked to bring about change in mainstream America.

As the twentieth century draws to a close, America's immigrant population has shifted from white European to non-white Asian and other minority groups. "It is estimated that by the year 2000, 33 percent of the U.S. student population will be from so-called minority groups," reports Francis Roberts. According to the 1990 census figures, Asian-Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing minority, accounting for 2. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Multiculturalism - Education for the Nineties an Overview
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.