In fact, multicultural education represents a response to the dynamically changing demographic situation observed in the United States. According to the most recent projections, by 2020 approximately 46 percent of the whole public school student population will be children of color and more than 20 percent will be from poor families (Banks, 1997). Evidently, addressing the diverse learning needs of such population is a pressing task faced by the US educational system.
However, the monocultural approach that has traditionally been the cornerstone of American education mostly focuses on the values, instructions and content of middle class Eurocentric student population. Such focus substantially complicates the process of learning the academic knowledge for students of different cultural and social background: the incompatibility between the culture of ethnic and social minority students and the educational approach based on the values of majority seriously affects achievement and contributes to academic failure of students (Nielson, 1991). Therefore, an increasingly multicultural student population in the US stresses the need to address the systemic, curricular, and pedagogical barriers that negatively affect academic performance and achievement of minority students. Furthermore, the concept of multicultural education also recognizes that "an increasingly multicultural nation and a shrinking and contentious planet at the edge of the twenty-first century demands a people who are critical thinkers and able to deal with the complexities of multicultural differences" (Hanley, 2002).
Many believe that multicultural educational...
This paper approves that many believe that multicultural educational policies help students develop new human capabilities and new identities in order to properly respond to the increasing need to recognize cultural diversity. Multicultural education promotes the ideals of cultural and educational equity, social justice thus enabling students to reach their fully potential in learning the curriculum. The idea of multicultural education looks extremely attractive as an effective tool to reinforce the democratic multicultural society and at the same time respect the inclination of different ethnic groups to preserve their cultural traditions.
This essay makes a conclusion that multiculturalism definitely has the potential to become a serious tool in reducing discrimination and inequalities in the realm of education. Multicultural education practices often fail to address the difficult task of unifying the society without neglecting the cultural and ethnic traditions of minorities. Moreover, the constantly changing society creates new challenges that can hardly be addressed within the existing framework of multicultural education.
However, failure to achieve certain goals does not mean that the concept of multicultural education is futile per se. On the contrary, it should create additional motivation for scholars and teachers to look for innovations and new opportunities to meet the challenges of these days and correct the previous mistakes. Multicultural education must be changed seriously to effectively respond to the needs of this epoch.