Diversity in Education Essay Sample

Diversity in Education Pages
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Resource 1

Noguera, P. A. (1999). Confronting the challenge of diversity in education: How we respond to the increase in diversity in America will be a challenge for many schools and communities, but it need not be a problem [Electronic version (Web site)]. In Motion Magazine, April 10, 1999. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/pndivers.html.

Summary

                The increasing diversity in schools all over the United States is viewed as a problem. Some school officials who are confronted with the issues brought about by the different needs of the multi-racial and multi-cultural student body are at a total loss on how to respond. Because California is home to more new immigrants than any other state, the impact of the increasing diversity in schools is more apparent.

One of the issues brought about by diversity is new immigrants often speak languages other than English, and in the state, 30, 40 and even 50 foreign languages among the student population. Second, public schools see themselves as the most logical place at which the task of converting foreigners into Americans could be carried out. Sometimes, the cultural differences of students are seen with cultural inferiority which does impact learning. Some have advocated preserving the status quo: measures denying undocumented access to public education, and votes prohibiting bilingual education in public schools. However, instead of treating diversity as a problem, we could treat it as an asset.  If we do so, we can devise ways to enable society to benefit from this pluralism. Indeed diversity not only in public schools but in America as a whole is a challenge, but it need not be a problem.

Reaction

                The author talked about an alternative way for society, and not only public schools, to treat the increasing diversity in America. I agree with him when he said that so far the way we treat diversity is dependent on our view that it is a problem. As such, the measures that society and public schools have taken were geared toward solving this so-called problem. He made sense in suggesting that instead of viewing diversity as a problem, we can treat diversity as an asset. And if we do so, we cease looking for solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist in the first place. With this view, society can redirect its efforts in educating the public on the benefits that society can derive from a growth in diversity. As the author said, it is ironic that communities who are at the forefront of educating Americans of the problems that diversity brings are the most dependent on immigrant labors (immigrants take on jobs that average Americans view with disdain). This article was written in 1999, almost a decade ago. It is a great idea to compare how schools addressed diversity at that time and today. This research can be started in California; after all it is one of the country’s most diverse states.


Resource 2

Scholastic. America, a home for every culture (Lesson Plan and Web site). The Kennedy Center: ArtsEdge. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2316/.

Summary

                The lesson plan is aimed to guide students in an exploration of how various cultures have contributed to the uniqueness and diversity of the United States. The plan is to do this in ten 45-minute sessions. At the end of the sessions, the students are expected to have been able to identify the words that became part of the English language as a result of immigrant groups settling in America, to identify the origin of music and instruments from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, to understand how foods differ from nation to nation by creating a class “Multicultural Family Recipe Book”, and to express understanding of the value of diversity by researching cultures and participating in a multicultural festival.

Reaction

                I think that the methods included such as asking the students to say hello in various languages is a good way to help students understand how diverse the world is, and how fun it is because of that. I think that the teaching methods used in this lesson plan are appropriate for the grades this meant to be thought to: grades 3-4. However, no matter what grade the lesson plan are for, the 450-minute duration is too long for the students; besides, the lessons aimed to be learned at the end of the sessions are just four. We know how difficult to sustain the attention of students no matter how old or young they are. The assessment tools for the students’ performance are good. However, it would still be better if the multicultural views of the students were measured before the lessons, and as such, a comparison of the before and after views can be done so the effectiveness of the lesson can be assessed, too.

Resource 3

Scholastic. Immigrant contributions to America (Lesson Plan and Web site). The Kennedy Center: ArtsEdge. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2317/.

Summary

                The lesson plan is aimed to guide students in an exploration of how immigrants have contributed to how the United States is today – politically, socially, and economically. The plan is to do this in six 45-minute sessions. At the end of the sessions, the students are expected to have been able to use research to demonstrate an understanding of how immigrants affected American society, to understand the challenges immigrants faced assimilating into life in America, to know how diversity encourages cultural creativity, to use a variety of resource material to gather information for research topics, and organize information and ideas from sources in an orderly fashion (e.g., timelines, notes, outline).

Reaction

                First, I think that one of the methods used – asking what students think of John F. Kennedy’s “Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life” – is not appropriate. The quote is much too profound for grades 3 and 4 to assimilate. However, the discussion of several well-known immigrants and showing their pictures is commendable. This will result to a better understanding of the contributions of immigrants if the students can relate some of the well-known individuals to their daily life. For example, the teacher could include Albert Einstein in the list, and discuss his more well-known discoveries. Lastly, the assessment tools for the students’ performance are good. However, it would still be better if the multicultural views of the students were measured before the lessons, and as such, a comparison of the before and after views can be done so the effectiveness of the lesson can be assessed, too.


Resource 4

Scholastic. Understanding tenement life (Lesson Plan and Web site). The Kennedy Center: ArtsEdge. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2314/.

Summary

                The lesson plan is aimed to guide students in an understanding of the lives of the millions of poor Irish, German, Jewish, and Italian immigrants in tenements at the turn of the century., and that in spite of the harshness of tenement life, these immigrants had recognized the freedom and opportunity America offered. The plan is to do this in six 45-minute sessions. At the end of the sessions, the students are expected to have been able to appreciate some of the challenges and difficulties immigrant families faced living in tenement apartments, to understand how the families’ lives were shaped by the environment in which they lived, compare and contrast living in tenement apartments to their own living conditions, and to use reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts.

Reaction

                One of the methods – asking the students to differentiate tenement living at the turn of the century with how they currently live – is a good way for the students to appreciate the hardships the immigrants endured. The plan to show a virtual reality movie on tenement living is commendable – this way, students will get a visual experience of how difficult tenement living was. All in all, the lesson plan was designed more than satisfactorily; however, I think that the plan to teach this for six 45-minute sessions is much too long. Lastly, the assessment tools for the students’ performance are good. However, it would still be better if the multicultural views of the students were measured before the lessons, and as such, a comparison of the before and after views can be done so the effectiveness of the lesson can be assessed, too.

Resource 5

Bell, S.. & Entin, J. (2000). Teaching and social difference: Beyond identity politics. Radical Teacher, October 31, 2000, (58), 2.

Summary

                People of diverse background have criticized identity politics and multiculturalism for the classroom. As such, teachers ask who teaches whom – do students fare better with teachers of the same cultural and identity background? What should be taught – should reading materials reflect the diversity of the multicultural student population? Multiculturalism has been labeled as a threat to the core values embodied in the traditional canon.

Reaction

                The article did a good discussion and presentation of arguments on identity politics and multiculturalism, but in the end it didn’t offer a solution on how schools should address this issue. Although it did suggest that to move forward and build our analyses of oppression, we need to continue to take risks in our classrooms, to look resolutely at our practice, and to model and encourage self-awareness within a larger social critique; these are much too general to work on. The historical account of how identity politics and multiculturalism came about was a good way to establish how society came to view these two issues as threats, as problems.

The presentation of the views of different personalities – conservatives, progressives, and activists – vis-à-vis one another allows the readers to decide for themselves who has a point. However, the article didn’t expound on what is meant by core values or extrapolate on whether these core values are still applicable at this time. As a review to several articles on the rise of identity politics and multiculturalism, this article did justice in dissecting the arguments of the authors. Lastly, this article actually is more focused on identity politics which is an offshoot of diversity in the classrooms rather than on multiculturalism or diversity itself.

Resource 6

Leonard, P. & Leonard, L. (2006). Teachers and tolerance: Discriminating diversity dispositions. The Teacher Educator, 42 (1), 30-61.

Summary

                This is a qualitative study aimed to examine the diversity dispositions of a group of preservice and inservice teachers participating in a multicultural education course at a university in the deep southern region of the United States. Data were collected in several ways. At the end of the study, the researchers found out that there are three major diversity dispositions: cultural consciousness, intercultural sensitivity, and commitment to social justice. Furthermore, the study also illuminated the challenge inherent in critically examining and sharing diversity dispositions when considering issues of discrimination, prejudice, and segregation in a multicultural setting. Lastly, although limited in scope and generalizibility, the findings provide insights into ways of framing tolerance sensibilities and for improving educators’ capacities to reassess candidates’ diversity dispositions.

Reaction

                This presented a different way in studying diversity in education. As a matter of fact, this is the first article that I’ve read that used quantitative approach. As a result of this, the findings of the researchers are much easier to grasp, and much easier to believe. I can say that the results of this research study can greatly contribute in the development and improvement of the teachers’ continuing education particularly on handling issues such as multiculturalism and diversity in the classroom. Also, the result will help educators assess how effective accredited teacher education programs are in cultivating diversity dispositions in teacher candidates and in practicing teachers. As such, I think that a research on the impact of this study’s findings on accredited teacher education programs would be appropriate. What I mean is that whether the findings of this study resulted to the redesign of the accredited teacher education programs.


Resource 7

Downing, R., Lubensky, M. E., Sincharoen, S., & Gurin, P., et al. (2002). Affirmative action in higher education. Diversity Factor, 10 (2), 15-20.

Summary

                The authors argued that affirmative action issues in higher education today are far more contentious than affirmative action issues in employment. The authors argued that the infrastructure of affirmative action differs between education and employment; the systemic problems in the nation’s approach to education undermine the role of affirmative action; and the difficult-to-capture nuances of concerns and attitudes play a role in the nation’s view of the effectiveness of affirmative action programs in general. However, the effects of any affirmative action plan in employment can readily be measured in the straightforward calculation of costs and profits, whereas profits are irrelevant in education.

Reaction

                The focus of the article is on Latino students. I do think that although Latinos make up a large portion of the diversity in the United States, there is a disproportion on existing literatures. A majority of studies on diversity in education and multiculturalism are devoted to Latinos. I believe that the other races composing the United States population are as important, and hence research time must be equally devoted to these other groups. However, I am not belittling the efforts of the authors in this study. As a matter of fact, I think that they did a great job and contributed much in our understanding on how to deal with diversity and multiculturalism in education. Lastly, this research study makes a good reference for further study on diversity in education.

Resource 8

Hopinks, C. (1999). The whitewashing of higher education: A California University regent threatens to end Chicano studies and similar programs. If successful, will this become a national trend? Hispanic, June 1999, 34.

Summary

                Just as French and Russian studies — standard staples at universities across the United States — promote a better understanding of other world cultures, ethnic studies help Americans better understand one another. However, University of California if UC Regent Ward Connerly, the man who spearheaded Proposition 209 and eliminated Affirmative Action at UC, he wrote to the then president Bill Clinton on expressed his views on ethnic studies programs in colleges and universities. An excerpt of his letter said that: It is the academicians who have been using race in an obscene matter that’s now coming to light…It is the academicians who gave birth to separate ethnic and race-based graduation ceremonies, racebased scholarships and outreach activities, resegregated dormitories, and the proliferation of ethnic studies programs which sometimes amount to segregated curricula.

Reaction

                The article did a good job in presenting arguments rebutting University of California Regent Ward Connerly’s views on the ethnic studies of colleges and universities. I agree on some of the arguments presented by the author specially that ethnic courses benefit on-ethnic students from learning about the cultural and ethnic diversity that makes our country rich and strong. And through this learning, America can combat the ignorance that is responsible for racial inequality and racism. All in all, the paper is a good reference. However, I do think that it is incomplete somehow. I would like to know what the response of the then president Bill Clinton and his administration on UC Regent Ward Connerly’s letter. The article didn’t discuss this. As such instead of just reading this article, another would need to be looked at to assess the Clinton administration’s actions on UC Regent Ward Connerly’s letter and arguments.

Resource 9

Granados, C. (1998). Top ten cities for Hispanics: Latino-friendly communities nationwide welcome diversity. Hispanic, July/August 1998, 18.

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                The article took a look at where Hispanics are settling in the 1990s, and discovered that more and more have been looking to the Southwest for better quality of life. The study found out that in 1998, it is San Antonio, Texas that is the number one place for Hispanics to live in the United States. It also fund out that San Jose, California, not only lost its number one position in the list, but also spiraled off the top ten list altogether. The author reasoned out that the factors that contributed to this are the Propositions 187 (anti-immigration), 209 (anti-Affirmative Action), and 227 (anti-bilingual education), all of which make for a hostile environment for Hispanics. To complete the top ten list are Denver, Colorado; Albuquerque, Mexico; Tucson, Arizona; Tampa, Florida; Cleveland, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; and Honolulu, Hawaii.

Reaction

                The article is a very interesting reading. I enjoyed reading why the top ten cities are there in the top ten list. It would still be more interesting if a similar research can be done today to enable if any of the top ten cities for Hispanics in 1998 remained in the top ten. However, as a resource in the study of diversity in education, this article might not be a lot of help. The selection of the top ten cities was based more on the job opportunities the cities offered to Hispanics rather than on how well these cities’ handle diversity in schools. Perhaps a research on top ten cities in the United States have the best education system on diversity in education be conducted. The identification of these cities will surely help the rest of the nation program its educational system.

Resource 10

Porter, R. P. (1990). Bilingual is a trap/in the name of ethnic diversity, we’re condemning millions of children to lives poverty and frustration. San Francisco Chronicle, October 28, 1990, p. 13 Z. 1.

Summary

                The article related that sometime in November 1988, Con Edison, the public utility company of New York City, gave an English-language aptitude test to 7,000 applicants for entry-level jobs. Only 4,000 passed – and not one of those was a graduate of the city’s bilingual education programs. The article used the Con Edison example in arguing for the ineffectiveness of keeping more limited-English children enrolled for more years in native-language classrooms. The article pointed out the irony in the results of the impact of bilingual education and the actions of the country’s Department of Education “despite its own studies showing that bilingual education fails the very children it is meant to help – continues to direct the major portion of federal money for language-minority children into these same bilingual programs.”

Reaction

                This paper was written almost two decades ago. I think that a similar study needs to be done to update the findings of this study and from there more updated actions and decisions can be made. Furthermore, I suggest that a survey on how many public schools in the country do have bilingual education, and then to compare the performance of these schools’ students to the students of schools which use English-only format. From there, the reasons on the difference of the students’ performance can be made, and the question on whether bilingual education promotes its aim to make minority children equally literate in two languages while at the same time preserving their cultural identity is correct. Lastly, the findings presented in the paper are very insightful, but I wonder on their usefulness today: the article was written so long ago.

Resource 11

Brown, G. (2007). Best choice is diversity in schools. Winston-Salem Journal, April 21, 2007, 15.

Summary

                This paper addressed the issue on whether the racial makeup of a student’s school impact on that student’s performances on standardized tests. It specifically studied the performance of black students in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County district. However, the paper also argues that contrary to expectations, school choice does make a difference in student performance. The author defended this statement by stating that the homogeneity of the system creates unequal opportunities. She also pointed out that the level of performance of black students in the system is well below that of white students. She said that the reason for this is the emerging resegregation of schools: schools that are majority white and majority black. This leads to racial isolation which the results to a diminishing access to other racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups for students and parents. Brown argued that all these may have an impact on black students’ high educational aspiration and access to community resources and contacts.

Reaction

                I agree with Brown on her assessment that the school choice does make a difference in student performance. The school’s environment will form part of the student’s life for several years, and yes it will impact on the quality of that life. The arguments she posted make sense. However, the integrity of the author in postulating her arguments might be put to question – after all, she, herself, is black. People who believe that the public education system in the United States is well designed for diversity might argue that Brown’s arguments are bias toward blacks. As such, it would be nice if similar studies be made for other races: say, to study the performance of Latino students on standardized tests, or even Asian students. The results of these similar studies might support that of Brown’s, and hence stronger arguments can be made.

Resource 12

Henderson, T. B. (2002). Attitudes toward cultural diversity, attitudes toward multicultural education and communication effectiveness in early education centers. Howard University.

Summary

                This is a dissertation for the Doctor of Philosophy of Howard University, and its full title is “Attitudes toward Cultural Diversity, Attitudes toward Multicultural Education and Communication Effectiveness in Early Education Centers.” In this study, the student recognized the importance of the role of early education centers, and as such the attitudes of the directors of early education centers toward diversity and multiculturalism affect the way they communicate with their publics, the way they do business, and the way they design programs of education and care for children of all cultures. More specifically, the research study explored questions such as what are early education directors’ attitudes toward cultural diversity, what are center directors’ attitudes toward five approaches to multicultural education, are early education directors’ attitudes toward cultural diversity related to their attitudes toward the approaches to multicultural education, and what effect do center directors’ attitudes toward cultural diversity have on their perception of communication effectiveness in their own center?

Reaction

                First, I think that the research study explored relevant questions toward diversity in education. I particularly like the fact that it attempted to find a relationship between the early education center’s directors’ attitudes toward cultural diversity and their approaches to multicultural education. Because of this, the findings of the study can help the government better address diversity in education by affecting the attitudes of early education centers’ directors. This was further supported by the result of the study that positive attitudes toward cultural diversity and toward multicultural education affect one’s perception of communication effectiveness in conversations with persons from other cultures. As such there is an incentive for the government to foster early education centers’ administrators’ (who will become directors) attitude on diversity. All in all this research study is insightful.


References

Bell, S.. & Entin, J. (2000). Teaching and social difference: Beyond identity politics. Radical Teacher, October 31, 2000, (58), 2.

Brown, G. (2007). Best choice is diversity in schools. Winston-Salem Journal, April 21, 2007, 15.

Downing, R., Lubensky, M. E., Sincharoen, S., & Gurin, P., et al. (2002). Affirmative action in higher education. Diversity Factor, 10 (2), 15-20.

Granados, C. (1998). Top ten cities for Hispanics: Latino-friendly communities nationwide welcome diversity. Hispanic, July/August 1998, 18.

Henderson, T. B. (2002). Attitudes toward cultural diversity, attitudes toward multicultural education and communication effectiveness in early education centers. Howard University.

Hopinks, C. (1999). The whitewashing of higher education: A California University regent threatens to end Chicano studies and similar programs. If successful, will this become a national trend? Hispanic, June 1999, 34.

Leonard, P. & Leonard, L. (2006). Teachers and tolerance: Discriminating diversity dispositions. The Teacher Educator, 42 (1), 30-61.

Noguera, P. A. (1999). Confronting the challenge of diversity in education: How we respond to the increase in diversity in America will be a challenge for many schools and communities, but it need not be a problem [Electronic version]. In Motion Magazine, April 10, 1999. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/pndivers.html.

Porter, R. P. (1990). Bilingual is a trap/in the name of ethnic diversity, we’re condemning millions of children to lives poverty and frustration. San Francisco Chronicle, October 28, 1990, p. 13 Z. 1.

Scholastic. America, a home for every culture (Lesson Plan and Web site). The Kennedy Center: ArtsEdge. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2316/.

Scholastic. Immigrant contributions to America (Lesson Plan and Web site). The Kennedy Center: ArtsEdge. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2317/.

Scholastic. Understanding tenement life (Lesson Plan and Web site). The Kennedy Center: ArtsEdge. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2314/.

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