Civil rights leaders, such as Evers and King, publicized the unfair treatment of African Americans and other people of color, and the spotlight turned on education reform (Allen, 1996, p. 162).
Since 1965 many further efforts have been made to update and improve the education system, but it's similar to plugging up leaks in a dam--eventually, the dam will fall apart through lack of structure and foundation. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, signed into law by George W. Bush, is the present administration's effort to rebuild the dam before it's too late, but will politics and business interests create invisible cracks during implementation Is this Act the ultimate answer and does it take into consideration the global issues that presently exist in the 21st century
As America continues to evolve as a nation, the influence of the Internet on communication between countries makes it clear that education must include multicultural education, not specifically from the viewpoint of Americans with no knowledge of other cultures, but with input from those who can share their native language and their way of life with others. We live in a country of immigrants, but somewhere along the line we chose to establish a nation based on white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant tenets, ignoring the rich mix of cultures that make us who we are. According to Sonia Nieto, "Multicultural education cannot be understood in a vacuum but rather must be seen in its personal, social, historical, and political context" (1996, p. 1).
Addressing Education Reform
During the 1950s in the United States, the family unit seemed solid and pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock gave mothers credit for knowing instinctively how to raise their children. This was in contrast to behaviorist John Watson's method of rigid discipline, and Spock's book The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946) was so popular it led to gradual erosion of the rules of behavior. In the meantime, a 1954 Supreme Court ruling that public schools must be integrated was virtually ignored until 1957 when nine black students were enrolled at a previously all-white school in Little Rock, Arkansas. This was the beginning of the public's introduction to cultural differences, and it was compounded by what was known as the "Red Threat," or communism. When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik first, it was decided that American children needed a better educational foundation, especially in math and science. This created what was called at the time an "informational flood" with children and their reading becoming the focus of big business. With this increased production, "children's books became less a branch of literature and more a gainful product" (Allen, p. 132). The increasing focus on children's education made its shortcomings more evident, and it was clearly necessary to address segregation and unequal educational opportunity due to poverty.
The problems inherent in the education system as it existed in the 1960s called for drastic measures. Francis Keppel, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Education and crafted the ESEA of 1965 in an effort to address the issues that extended