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When it comes to multicultural education, there are many strong feelings associated with different opinions and perspectives. The following questions are meant to create an atmosphere where each of us can really think -- perhaps about things we hadn't thought of before.

We would like to know how each of you feels after considering these questions. Please respond to some or all of the questions posed in an email. It does not have to be formal; it only needs to be your thoughts and feelings and perhaps other perspectives to these questions.

1)        Why are some people passionately committed to multiculturalism in education, either as a normative goal or as a description of reality whereas others are equally passionate and committed to denying or minimizing it?


2)       Should schools try to teach something about all cultures that have helped to shape the American political and social system? If that is impossible, which cultures should have priority? Should schools emphasize the history and viewpoints of the children who attend that school e.g. as in Afrocentrism? Or should schools focus mainly on the shared history, values, and practices of "the American mainstream" whatever that is.


3)        Are public schools (and by implication, taxpayers) responsible for addressing the social, cultural, linguistic, and economic complexities that are often associated with new immigrants? If so, how; if not, what should they do about immigrant children with distinct problems? How about illegal immigrant children what are the responsibilities of the public schools toward them? What do immigrant students contribute to the public schools from which the rest of the nation should try to benefit?


4)        What are the pedagogical arguments for and against bilingual education, of various kinds? Who should decide what kind of bilingual education, if any, is appropriate for students? Are there any conditions in which students should be taught solely in English? Solely in their native language? What responsibility should schools take to ensure that English speaking students become bilingual?


5)        The issues discussed so far are mostly relevant to elementary and secondary education; how do these issues change, and what new ones emerge, when we focus on colleges and universities? Do public universities have responsibilities that private universities can avoid, or vice versa? Do almost adult students have responsibilities or options that younger students can avoid or may not avail themselves of?



Respond Here



Hochschild, J (2004) Class Syllabus for Multiculturalism in Education at Princeton University. Retreived on June 3, 2005, at

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