Multiculturalism in Education

Princeton University
Multiculturalism in Education

Jennifer Hochschild
440 Robertson Hall, ext 85634
Office Hours: Tuesday, 1:30 5:00pm
email: hochschi@wws.princeton.edu

SYLLABUS

Public education, at least through high school, has traditionally been and continues to be the main route for assimilation of newcomers to the American political, economic, and social "mainstream" (more on that word below). At the same time, the public education system is under pressure from a growing immigrant population, an increasingly isolated group of poor students of color, and increasing challenges to the idea of assimilation into the mainstream. This combination of traditional mission and new circumstances and politics leads to some complicated and fascinating policy problems.

Policy problems we will examine include:

* The political and policy context of multiculturalism

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 passionately committed to denying or minimizing it? What does multiculturalism mean, to begin with? Does support for or opposition to multiculturalism in education map neatly onto a liberal-conservative dimension? How do views of multiculturalism in education relate to views on other policy issues having to do with education, race, immigration, or culture?

* The appropriate content of a multicultural education

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.

* Immigrant populations in the public education system

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?

* Language rights of non-English speaking minorities

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?

* Language rights of non-English speaking minorities

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?

* The responsibilities of higher education with regard to multiculturalism

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?

* Issues of educational governance that affect or are affected by multiculturalism

I save this for last because it is the most speculative component of this conference topic. Should the governance structure of schools and/or universities change to meet the challenges of multiculturalism? For example, should we rethink standard patterns of school finance, school district organization and authority, student and teacher assignment, grade organization, and so on in order to meet challenges posed by the needs and demands of immigrants and distinct ethnic or racial groups? Typically, governance issues are thought of separately from curricular and pedagogical issues, but perhaps that is a mistake. In any case, the conference will spend some time thinking about possible and desirable connections among features of education usually kept separate.

Organization:

As with most policy conferences, we will meet intensively for the first month or so, then sporadically as a group but intensively within small groups for the next six weeks, then intensively again during the final two weeks. During the first month, all students will read from a common syllabus and discuss the readings in common. During the next six weeks, students will concentrate on the issues addressed by their small group, and at the end the class will come together to create a common report. Grades will depend on your participation in class discussions, your individual research and paper, and your contribution to the group project.

Goal:

We will write a report for the Commissioner of Education of the State of New Jersey. In it, we will identify the appropriate policy goals with regard to curriculum, bilingual education, and treatment of African Americans and immigrants from various countries. We will also propose policy goals for institutions of public higher education, such as Rutgers University or Trenton State College. We will lay out the virtues and defects of our proposed goals, focusing on the educational, political, and budgetary implications of the various choices we have made. If appropriate, we will include a minority report(s), with an explanation of why some members of the Conference disagree with the majority on particular issues.

SCHEDULE

September 18: Organizational Session

Sept. 25: Should We, and How Should We, Pursue Multiculturalism in Education?

Required:

*Judith Renyi, Going Public (The New Press, 1993), Parts 1, IV, and V; skim Parts II, III, and IV

Arthur Schlesinger, The Disuniting of America (Norton, 1992), chaps. 35

Michael Lind, "Are We a Nation?" Dissent, summer 1995: 355362

William Watkins, "Multicultural Education...," Educational Theory, v. 44, no. 1, winter 1994: esp. pp. 99-110

Additional Readings:

New York State United Teachers 1991 Education Opinion Survey, Final Report

Nathan Glazer, "Is Assimilation Dead?" and Peter Rose, "'Of Every Hue and Caste'..." both in Interminority Affairs in the U.S., v. 530 of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1993

James Banks, "Fostering Language and Cultural Literacy in the Schools," in Gary Imhoff, ed., Learning in Two Languages (Transaction Pub., 1990)

Christine Sleeter, ed. Empowerment through Multicultural Education (SUNY, 1995)

Francis Ryan, "The Perils of Multiculturalism," Educational Horizons, spring 1993: 134-138.

Gary Clabaugh, "The Limits and Possibilities of 'Multiculturalism'," Educational Horizons, spring 1993: 117-119.

John Higham, "Multiculturalism and Universalism: A History and Critique," American Ouarterly 45, No. 2 (June 1993): 195-219.

Oct. 2: Schools and Immigrants: Rights and Responsibilities

Required:

*Erwin Flaxman, ed. Changing Populations. Changing Schools (U. of Chicago Press, 1993), chaps. TBA

*David Stewart, Immigration and Education (Lexington Books, 1993), chaps. 5-10

Additional Readings:

Ronald Bayer, "Historical Encounters..." and Alejandro Portes and Min Zhou, "The New Second Generation," both in Interminority Affairs in the U.S., v. 530 of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1993

Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory (David Godine, 1982)

Lorraine McDonnell and Paul Hill, Newcomers in American Schools: Meeting the Educational Needs of Immigrant Youth (Santa Monica CA: Rand Corp., 1993)

Oct. 9: Curricular Content and Multiculturalism

Required:

Diane Ravitch, "Multiculturalism: E Pluribus Plures," American Scholar, v. 59, no. 3 (1990): 337-354

Molefi Asante and Diane Ravitch, "Multiculturalism: An Exchange," American Scholar, v. 60 (1991): 267-276

Richard Merelman, Representing Black Culture (Routledge, 1995), pp. 17, 25-36, chaps. 2, 8

Peter Kiang and Vivan Lee, "Education K12 Policy," in The State of Asian Pacific America, In LEAP Asian Pacific American Public Policy Institute, 1993: 25-49.

Additional Readings:

Kevin Brown, "Do African Americans Need Immersion Schools?...," Iowa Law Review, v. 78 (1993): 813-856.

Asa Hilliard, et al., eds. Infusion of African and African American Content in the School Curriculum (Aaron Press, 1990)

Portland [OR] Public Schools, "African American Baseline Essays," 1990

Lisa Delpit, Other People's Children (The New Press, 1995)

Pat Guild, "The Culture/Learning Style Connection," Educational Leadership, May lYY4, v. 51, no. 8: 16-21.

Oct. 16: Bilingual Education

Required:

*Language Loyalties, ed. James Crawford (U. of Chicago Press, 1992), Parts II and V, and pp. 243-257

*David Stewart, Immigration and Education, chaps. 12-15

Additional Readings:

Gary Imhoff, ed., Learning in Two Languages (Transaction Pub., 10)

Masahiko Minami and Bruce Kennedy, eds., Language Issues in Literacy and Bilingual/Multicultural Education (Harvard Educational Review, 1991): Part III.

Oct. 23: Multiculturalism in Higher Education

Required:

John Arthur, ed., Campus Wars (Westview Press, 1995), Parts One and Five

Russell Jacoby, Dogmatic Wisdom (Doubleday, 1994) pages TBA

Merelman, Representing Black Culture, chaps. 5, 6

*David Stewart, Immigration and Education, chap. 17.

Additional Readings:

Becky Thompson and Sangeeta Tyagi, eds., Beyond a Drearn Deferred: Multicultural Education and the Politics of Excellence (U. of Minnesota Press)

Richard Rorty, "Demonizing the Academy," Harper's Magazine, Jan. 1995: 13-18.

Richard Bernstein, Dictatorship of Virtue: Multiculturalism and the Battle for American's Future (Knopf, 1994)

* Available at the UStore, in the textbook section, for your purchase.