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The Debate over Multicultural Education in America

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:29 AM
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America has long been called "The Melting Pot" due to the fact

that it is made up of a varied mix of races, cultures, and ethnicities.   As more

and more immigrants come to America searching for a better life, the

population naturally becomes more diverse.   This has, in turn, spun a great

debate over multiculturalism.   Some of the issues under fire are who is

benefiting from the education, and how to present the material in a way so as

to offend the least amount of people.   There are many variations on these

themes as will be discussed later in this paper.

In the 1930's several educators called for programs of cultural diversity

that encouraged ethnic and minority students to study their respective

heritages.   This is not a simple feat due to the fact that there is much diversity

within individual cultures.   A look at a 1990 census shows that the American

population has changed more noticeably in the last ten years than in any other

time in the twentieth century, with one out of every four Americans

identifying themselves as black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, or

American Indian (Gould 198).   The number of foreign born residents also

reached an all time high of twenty million, easily passing the 1980 record of

fourteen million.   Most people, from educators to philosophers, agree that an

important first step in successfully joining multiple cultures is to develop an

understanding of each others background. However, the similarities stop

there. One problem is in defining the term "multiculturalism".   When it is

looked at simply as meaning   the existence of a culturally integrated society,

many people have no problems.   However, when you go beyond that and try

to suggest a different way of arriving at that culturally integrated society,

Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what...


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