Educational Equality for All Students

Introduction

The United States has for long been referred to as a “melting-pot country.” This metaphor refers to the situation in the country that has been due to the accumulation of immigrants from different regions across the historical timeline. Immigration is thought to be among the main reasons that have contributed to the U.S. being diverse and multicultural. The effect of this has been experienced in schools, which find themselves admitting different students every year from different racial and cultural backgrounds. This situation demands the availability of an education system that addresses the needs of all students and ensures a seamless learning process. The public schools in the country should approach this issue with the attention it deserves to ensure that they offer top quality education and in a set-up that allows for social justice to students from all cultural backgrounds (Alghamdi, 2017).

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Alghamdi (2017) defines multicultural education as “an educational system that follows a standard process to deliver basic education concepts that are suitable for all students.” In order to have an education system that accommodates students from different cultural backgrounds, it calls for reforms to deal with some forms of discrimination and racism widespread in the schools and community at large. This prompts changes in the schools’ curriculum and strategies applied in the delivery of lesson and the manner of interactions between school personnel and students. The multicultural education system should handle the diverse characteristics of students such as physical and mental abilities, gender, ethnic and racial orientations, socioeconomic classes, languages, religions, and sexual orientations (Alghamdi, 2017).  Accordingly, in this paper, we will carry out an evaluation of Bank’s four approaches to the integration of multicultural in the K-12 education system. We will analyze the factors that establish that color blindness is not the solution to racism in classrooms. Further, we will design a scholastic program that will incorporate multiculturalism and come up with the techniques needed to incorporate a school-wide positive behavior management system and restorative practices. 

Bank’s Approaches to Integration of Multicultural and Global Content

Contributions Approach

The contributions approach involves the inclusion of the ethnic heroes into the curriculum. It is observed that the mainstream curriculum is quite stable in its basic structure, goals, and salient characteristics (Banks, 1989). The Heroes and Holiday Approach, that stems from the contributions approach, focuses on special days and months related to ethnic events and celebrations among them being Martin Luther King’s birthday, Cinco de Mayo, and Black History Week. The contribution approach allows the teachers to add in the curriculum some ethnic content. Among the heroes to integrate into the Grade 10 curriculum include those of African American History including Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and the Underground Railroad, those of Hispanic background include Octaviono Larrazolo who was the first Hispanic US senator, Sylvia Mendez who influenced the school desegregation in the U.S. One of the events to include in the curriculum would be the International Food Festival aimed at exposing the students to the different foods served in different cultures such as enchiladas from Mexico. Under the contribution approach, the teacher will have an opportunity to incorporate the ethnic material into the curriculum. This will offer the grade 10 students an opportunity to identify the contribution of people from different ethnic background to the society and culture of the United States. 

The Ethnic Additive Approach 

This approach seeks to integrate the ethnic content into the curriculum through the inclusion of content, concepts, themes, and perspectives in a manner that does not change the structure, purpose, and features of the curriculum. This approach offers an opportunity for the teacher to inject ethnic content into the curriculum without restructuring it (Banks, 1989). This is time-and-effort demanding and requires training and deep thought of the aims, characteristics, and objectives of the curriculum. In teaching the course of World History to the 10th Graders, there should be an inclusion of the cultures, geography, and history of humankind. Among the issues that can be incorporated may involve; the early man sites in Africa, the kingdoms in Egypt and their relationship to Pyramids, Early education among the Greeks, The Rise and Fall of the Roman empire, colonization, Agrarian revolution, and the Industrial Revolution in Europe and America. This inclusion of ethnic content into the curriculum would offer an opportunity to the students to appreciate the contribution of other cultures. 

The Transformation Approach

This approach involves introducing a shift in the basic assumption of the curriculum. This provides an opportunity for the students to understand the concepts, issues, themes, and problems from various ethnic perspectives and point of views (Banks, 1989). This approach does not just include the inclusion of ethnic heroes and their contribution, but rather allows the integration of different perspectives, frames of reference, and content. Such a setup is bound to allow the students to have an expanded understanding of the nature, development, and complexity of the US society. In teaching the Grade 10 class, a course of Advanced Placement World History, about the evolution of global processes, contacts and the interaction between different societies, is important to include into the curriculum, and the perspectives of the Native American, Caucasians, and the Africa-Americans. This will help the students understand how each community viewed and reacted to the initial contact with other ethnic groups and how this evolved to shape the current U.S. society. 

Decision-making and Social Action Approach

This approach is similar to the transformation approach but also includes a requirement for the students to be involved in the decision-making process and acting on the issues taught in a certain unit (Tabatadze, 2015). This approach prompts the students to study a social problem through data collection, analysis, identification of alternatives, and choosing the option that best solves the social problem. Among the social problem that the Grade 10 students may seek to address is, “What are the best approaches to reduce the stereotypes based on religious beliefs?” This approach equips the students with the ability on political efficacy. 

Factors that Determine Color Blindness is not the Solution to Racism in Classroom

Color-Blindness as an Ideological Buttress form of Structural White Supremacy 

The main assumption of color-blind racism is that it has a strong institutionalization that leads to reproduction of white power and privilege. It has been indicated that colorblindness is a cultural recursive accomplishment based on the epistemology of ignorance. This is a process of knowing designed to produce not knowing based on white privilege, culpability, and structural white supremacy. A comparison of color blindness is done with the racism that had been promoted using Jim Crow laws, which had sought to defend the brutal system of racial oppression. Unlike the Jim Crow, color blindness is an ideology that works to maintain the white privilege without actually appearing to do so and without naming those it subjects to oppression and those rewarded (Mueller, 2017).

Color blindness is Counterproductive

Sociologists have made arguments that the ideology of colorblindness is part of the mechanisms that propagate racial inequality through a means of legal segregation. The tendency under the color blindness where the students are required to not be concerned about the race implies that they ignore manifestation of continued discrimination. This implies that racial and ethnic discrimination issues are not addressed. The concept of color blindness is counterproductive in that it causes an action that leads to segregated skills, which is fueled by soft skills (Wingfield, 2015).

Even with Color Blindness, Disparities are Prevalent

The general notion in the promotion of the ideology of colorblindness is that it is essential to the people of color as it affirms to them that the race does not matter. Promoting this concept in a classroom of 10th Graders may be awkward. This is because, in the society, the cases of discrimination are still common. The minority teenagers have come to learn firsthand that race matters and that it affects the opportunities, income, and treatment in the judicial system. Color blindness in most cases attempts to individualize conflicts and vices, rather seek to understand the issue from a broad perspective comprised of cultural differences, stereotypes, and values (Williams, 2011). It would be illogical to make attempts at having students adhere to the ideology of colorblind while they continue to witness the discrimination of the African American by the Police. In the wake of movements such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Take a knee”, it is not easy to convince the student that the current society is colorblind. 

Instructional Strategy to Address Race in Classrooms

Instead of turning blind to the different racial backgrounds, it is important to assist the student to appreciate the cultural diversity within the classroom. In order to achieve this, it is first important to break the common cultural and ethnic stereotypes held. This will allow the students to see each other for who they really are rather than what stereotypes indicate about their race. This should then be followed by activities to ensure that every classroom is culturally responsive to the needs of the diverse students. This would require the use of a culturally responsive mode of teaching. This is a form of teaching that would make use of the cultural knowledge, past experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of students from different ethnic backgrounds, thereby ensure that the learning experience and encounters are relevant and connects to them (Gay, 2013).

Scholastic Program for Integrating Multiculturalism

The main objectives of multicultural education program include ensuring a safe and successful learning environment, enhancing awareness on global issues, improving cultural consciousness, improving intercultural awareness, teaching students about different historical perspectives, enhancing critical thinking, and reduce existing prejudice and discrimination. For the Grade 10 classroom, it is important to teach these teenagers about multiculturalism and diversity. In teaching the Grade 10 student about multiculturalism and diversity, I will engage the students in reading and analyzing the professional articles on multiculturalism and diversity. This is designed to assist them to gain a better understanding of the concept of multiculturalism and how to exist in diversity cohesively. 

I would use lesson activities that would be informative on the different ethnic and racial background. I plan on setting out sessions for internet field trip structured to bring out holiday stories from different places and celebrate the place where every student in the class has an attachment. To celebrate the cultures of different places all over the world, I would assign a country to each student and require them to research the cultural practices common in the country. This would be presented during a class cultural day where students would be dressed in a prop that matched the culture assigned to them. The cultural day would be a fun way of ensuring that the students appreciate the different cultures all over the world.

An important element of this program would be the section seeking to address the culture and change of the American cultural groups. In understanding the black history, it would be essential to have the students’ research about iconic African Americans. The students would also be required to write an article on the personal thoughts related to the rich heritage of the African Americans. The students need to understand and celebrate about the Hispanic heritage. Among the famous way that I would use is to have the class practice the salsa dance that is mostly associated with people of Hispanic orientations. 

Teaching the historical perspective of a multicultural society would not be complete without the inclusion of the story of the immigrants. The great American culture has been shaped by the interaction of different immigrants. I would have the class brainstorm on the contribution of the immigrant to the American culture and the general economy.

Summing the teaching program on multicultural and diversity, I would have the student express what they had learned in form of art. This would include the painting, sculpture, carving, dancing, singing, cooking, or storytelling. This would help the students internalize all that would have been covered in promoting multiculturalism in the society. 

Techniques for Incorporating a School-Wide Positive Behavior Management System and Restorative Practices to Promote Culturally Respectful and Responsive School 

Cultural responsiveness refers to the ability to learn from and relate to an individual’s cultures and those of other individuals. The key to developing a culturally responsive school is having culturally responsive educational systems based on the belief that the culturally and linguistically diverse students can excel in their academic ventures granted the required support and resources. Culturally responsive practices entail the use of cultural knowledge, life experiences, and learning methodologies focused on the culturally and linguistically diverse students to make learning more meaningful. In creating a culturally responsive school, there is need to establish an environment that supports diverse and establishes a cultural lens through which the normative behavior and learning expectations would be established (Bank & Obiakor, 2015).

Among the important technique that can be applied in making the school culturally responsive is through supporting the teachers’ capacity to be culturally responsive. The school can have a school counselor who would assist the teacher in tackling different cultural oriented issues without creating feelings of discrimination. The school counselor would, in this case, portray a degree of advocacy and leadership. The teachers and the counselor being an integral part of the school system, have a critical role in the promotion of multicultural competence through the development of a core curriculum aimed at having standardized learning objectives.

Another technique of promoting culturally responsive school is through focusing on teacher education programs. It has been noted that most teacher education programs fail to adequately deal with the elements of identity and cultural context of the students. These programs fail to take a closer look at the cultural biases and assumptions. The teaching strategies also fail to be customized as per the needs of the culturally diverse students. The teachers ought to adhere to a learner-centered teaching approach. This entails methods such as inquiry learning, discovery learning, and project-based learning. 

Another important technique that could be adopted for making the school culturally responsive is Transforming School Counselor Initiative developed by the National Center for Transforming School Counseling. This initiative seeks to promote awareness on the achievement gap that is prevalent in the low-income and non-dominant students in the public school system. The public education system is thought to be a social equalizer but, in most cases, non-dominant and low-income students are disproportionately affected by funding issues, lack of access and limited school resources (Schulz, Hurt & Lindo, 2014).

It is important to develop favorable school policies that treat diversity as a great asset. The policy needs to accurately represent the students’ culture and offer support for closing the gap between the school-home cultural divides. The school program will need to identify and deal with the needs of their culturally diverse students. Among the main implications of the school policy will be to reduce the class size. In the schools, the teachers and principals are an integral part of attaining the cultural competency in the schools. The school policy will also seek to address the development of an equitable disciplinary policy. The disciplinary actions should ensure that they do not target the minority students. These measures will be focused on setting reasonable and culturally sensitive standards of behavior (Hannover Research, 2014).

Another important technique is the use of Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS). This aims at providing an opportunity for enhancing should school safety. The components of this model involve an individualized and sustainable decision-making, planning, and problem-solving (Bank & Obiakor, 2015). All these endeavors are carried out with an objective to achieving behavioral expectations. The approach adopted by this model is a school-wide prevention and intervention model, which aims at proactively enhancing school behavior. This will, therefore, affect the cultural competence of the entire school. The PBIS model assumes that effective behavior change needs to not only reduce inappropriate behavior but also need to enhance suitable behaviors (Bank & Obiakor, 2015). The school should prepare the students to face life even after school. The main focus of this model is to bring out change on problem behavior. 

Conclusion

The United States is considered as a melting point due to its multicultural status. Immigration has been indicated to be among the main reasons that have contributed to the U.S. being diverse and multicultural. This has seen schools admit different students every year from different racial and cultural backgrounds. Bank’s Approaches to Integration of Multicultural and Global Content include; contributions approach, transformation approach, ethnic additive approach, and decision-making and social action approach. Color blindness has noted as not being the solution to racism in the classrooms. 

References

Alghamdi, Y. (2017). Multicultural Education in the US: Current Issues and Suggestions for Practical Implementations. International Journal of Education9(2), 44-52.

Banks, T., & Obiakor, F. E. (2015). Culturally responsive positive behavior supports: Considerations for practice. Journal of Education and Training Studies3(2), 83-90.

Banks, J. (1989). Approaches to Multicultural Curriculum Reform. Trotter Institute Review.

Gay, G. (2013). Teaching to and through cultural diversity. Curriculum Inquiry43(1), 48-70.

Hannover Research. (2014). Strategies for Building Cultural Competency. Retrieved from https://www.gssaweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Strategies-for-Building-Cultural-Competency-1.pdf

Mueller, J. C. (2017). Producing colorblindness: Everyday mechanisms of White ignorance. Social problems64(2), 219-238.

Schulz, L. L., Hurt, K., & Lindo, N. (2014). My Name Is Not Michael: Strategies for Promoting Cultural Responsiveness in Schools. Journal of School Counseling12(2), n2.

Tabatadze, S. (2015). Teachers’ approaches to multicultural education in Georgian classrooms. Journal for Multicultural Education9(4), 248-262.

Williams, M. T. (2011). Colorblind ideology is a form of racism. Psychology Today27.

Wingfield, A. H. (2015). Color-Blindness is Counterproductive. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/color-blindness-is-counterproductive/405037/

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