The current face of American education has undergone a major facelift. Years ago, Martin Luther King had a dream that all men and women would be equal and all students would be equal. Our laws and progression of civil rights and immigration has changed the United States Public Education System. Racial inequality and color prejudice has affected the American education system through legislation that was meant to help students. Educational theories and classroom practices have taken new forms in order to conform and meet the educational needs of the global societies.
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Educators and teachers are being expected to share views and recognize values from different cultures, races, societies and ethnic groups. They are expected to move outside the system and custom of the dominant society and incorporate beliefs other than those they are accustomed with. Our laws and progression of Civil Rights and immigration has changed the United States public education system. The challenges that face our nation’s children relates to the civil right movements and immigration laws that have guided us to a direction of multicultural education.
Persity and inclusion in the United States is very much apparent at schools and universities. However, though the school population is becomingly more perse, most of the schoolteachers and educators are white and female. Record shows that 87% of the teacher population is white (Banks, 2001). This is why adding multi-cultural education to the curriculum is so important. Schools are struggling to teach English to both African and Latino students because the first evident reason was that Latino students spoke Spanish at home. Multiculturalism was proposed to expand culture for American schoolchildren. Educators wanted students to respect racial and ethnic minority groups and they wanted the self-image of the minority children to be changed (Stotsky, 1999).
In 2001, President George Bush signed into law his No Child left Behind Law, which consolidated the US Department of Education’s bilingual and immigrant education programs. The plan focuses on teaching English to student as quickly and effectively as possible. Senators from Utah and Illinois Orrin Hatch, a republican and Richard Durbin, a democrat, proposed the DREAM Act in July 2003. Under the Senate’s proposed DREAM, which stands for Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, students who graduate from high school would be eligible for a green card. There are those who want to reform the way we educate illegal immigrants, saying that the total K-12 school expenditure for illegal immigrants costs the states enough to buy a computer for every junior high student nationwide. The tax dollars that it is costing Americans to pay for educating illegal immigrants is costing American students academically.
Immigrant children have the right to an education, as do all children. The links between illiteracy and illegal immigration is astounding. Hispanic immigrants come to the United States without having the basic literacy skills needed. Teachers in Texas are finding that their classes are mostly English language learners. Bilingual assistants are there to translate to students and teacher regarding teaching information and notes; they are also there to translate during parent teacher conferences. The state of Texas requires that each local school district establish a “language proficiency assessment committee” to review the proficiency and achievement-level for each student whose primary language is not English. The committee classifies the student and recommends placement and help to benefit the student (Stewart, 1993).
It is noticeable that one main agenda of the proposed multi-cultural education agenda is to unite the perse American population. The important goal is to help people achieve and acquire the much needed skills, confidence, and knowledge to function effectively in the pluralistic society (Gay, 2000). It should help students to be armed with respect and dignity, whatever his or her background, in facing a moral community that is striving for a common good.
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