A Look at Inclusive Racial & Multicultural
Education Needs and Risks
―Let us put our minds together and see what life can make for our
Sitting Bull, Lakota Sioux, 1877
Ginger Huizar, Danielle Malan, Claudia Mitchell
CI:581 Issues In Education
November 24, 2013
What Is Multicultural Education?
In todays emerging society it is important to recognize that it is almost impossible to
identify each individual upon appearance only.
For instance, the belief that minority students were once Asian or Hispanic, African
American, etc. has now transcended to a point where we see Caucasian students that
are now identified as multicultural students because they are immigrant born or they
come from non-English speaking homes, such as Russian. Identifying these students as
they enter the education system is important in helping place their education needs.
Our students may be English learners, minorities, mixed races or ethnicities, come from
strict religious backgrounds, or have unseen disabilities, all effecting their education
situation as they come together in the classroom.
Our goal is to enable and empower students and educators to help education better
serve all students, challenge all types of prejudices, and endorse the unique cultures of
all students. Multicultural education practices are designed to ensure that all students
receive equal educational access and opportunities. (2011, Okoye-Johnson).
Is There A Need To Address Multicultural
• We are a nation where 44% of students in public
education are minorities.
• We are a nation where nearly 1 in 5 public school
students come from a home that does not speak English
(predominant languages are Spanish, Chinese and
There have been no significant federal funds to address issues of race in the
schools since the Reagan Administration eliminated the popular federal
desegregation aid program 27 years ago.
That law funded programs that involved training teachers, working on
curriculum, helping students address racial divisions within schools, and
other related issues. It had demonstrated success in both improving school
race relations and raising achievement. Relatively simple techniques such as
Student Team Learning had clear, significant, positive effects on both
relationships and achievement.
The program's funding helped create many new magnet schools that were
both effective and integrated, public schools with autonomy to innovate,
and faculties composed of teachers committed to their special mission.
These were schools with the obviously necessary Civil Rights provisions,
including extensive outreach and recruitment targeting underrepresented
groups, clear desegregation standards, free transportation for all students
who wanted to attend, and no rejection of students with disabilities or
language issues—much better in these respects than many contemporary
charter schools, which typically have no Civil Rights provisions and are, on
average, even more segregated than public school.
• The curriculum presented today is Eurocentric, monocultural, mostly reflecting one race (Nieto, 2001).
• African American students experience a loss of selfesteem after a few years of schooling in the ―traditional‖
educational system. The curriculum used in these
―traditional‖ systems simply do not have adequate
information about the history and contributions of
African Americans and therefore students do not see any
reflection of themselves in the curriculum. They have
become nameless and faceless in the materials they
study (Gay, 2000).
Misconceptions of Multicultural Education:
• Multicultural education is not an additional subject to teach. It is
embedded throughout every subject (Gordon, 2004).
• It is not only the acknowledgment and appreciation of the heroes,
holidays, and traditions of different cultures, nationalities, and
religions (Mordechai, 2004).
• It is not only a history month designated to celebrate one time
throughout the year (Nieto, 2000).
What Does Inclusive Multicultural Education Mean?
• Teachers must be prepared to effectively facilitate learning for
every individual student, no matter how culturally similar or
different from one another
• Every student must have an equal opportunity to achieve their full
• Every student must be prepared to competently participate in an
increasingly intercultural society
• Education must become more fully student-centered and inclusive
of the voices and experiences of the students
Some Effects of Disproportionate Education
• According to the US Education Dept.
African American and Latino students
make up 70 percent of students referred
by school officials to law enforcement in
America’s largest school districts.
• One study by Indiana University suggests
that there's little evidence that African
American children exhibit higher rates of
deviance than White children. This
suggests a cultural causation where a
largely White teaching corps may be
applying hidden prejudices in discipline.
• A study in North Carolina showed that AfricanAmerican students were punished more
frequently and more harshly than White
students for the same offenses.
• Another Indiana University study, meanwhile,
showed that schools that meted out fewer
suspensions had higher achievement scores for
• A study in Texas last year found that suspension
rates were linked to higher rates of
incarceration for minority groups.
Disproportionate Education In Oregon
2 in 3 African American and
Native American Male youth are
not completing a standard high
In Multnomah County the
Achievement Gap for students
reaching state Reading bench
marks in 2010:
Oregon is one of 35 states that got
an ―F‖ in the Southern Poverty Law
Center’s new report on the
teaching of civil rights history.
African American students in
Portland Public Schools were
4.1 times more likely to be
suspended or expelled than
White students last school year
Caucasian – 85%
African American – 55%
Native American 65%
Asian and Pacific Islander – 74%
Students of color experience
harassment on a routine basis,
with a quarter of them
identifying racial harassment
within the last 30 days either at
school or on their way to school
at a 23% higher rate than their
Latino – 58%
The Census Bureau’s most recent
American Community Survey data
shows that 22% of U.S. children are
classified as poor, and Oregon
consistently ranks at or near the
top in the number of children
facing food insecurity.
In Multnomah County the
Achievement Gap for students
reaching state Math bench marks
Caucasian – 70%
African American – 48%
In Multnomah county only 2-in-5
Latino students graduate in four
years with a standard diploma.
Native American 63%
Asian and Pacific Islander – 66%
Latino – 49%
In Oregon, 49 percent of African
American children, 35 percent of
Latino children, and 41 percent of
American Indian children live in
poverty. This means they live on
less than $430 a week for a family
of four, or less than half of Oregon's
$48,000 annual median family
income. There is a direct link
between poverty and poor
Disproportionate Education In Oregon As
The Reading and Literature
Achievement Gap in Multinomah
County only widens as students
age. These numbers represent the
percentage meeting state
The Math Achievement Gap in
Multinomah County only widens as
students age. These numbers
represent the percentage meeting
Grade 3 – Caucasian: 87%
Grade 3 – Minority: 77%
Grade 3 – Minority: 69%
Grade 5 – Caucasian: 82%
Grade 5 – Minority: 60%
Grade 8 – Caucasian: 75%
Grade 8 – Caucasian: 77%
Grade 8 – Minority: 52%
Grade 8 – Minority: 60%
Grade 10 – Caucasian: 71%
Grade 10 – Caucasian: 59%
Grade 10 – Minority: 45%
Grade 10 – Minority: 38%
White students from higher income
family homes have seen an increase in
graduation rates from 82% to 90%
For minority students the graduation
rate remained linear despite family
income level, disproving that this is a
low income minority problem.
In 2007, college educated minorities
experienced 43.8% higher
unemployment rates than their equally
educated White counterparts. In 2008
this increased to 51%.
Grade 5 – Minority: 68%
Grade 5 – Caucasian: 83%
Affluence does not improve graduation
rates for students of color. Oregon,
Grade 3 – Caucasian: 85%
Helping Close the Achievement Gap through
Multicultural Education – Building a Bridge
The Necessity for Multicultural Education
• It helps close the achievement gap.
• Improves students racial attitudes.
• Produces all students to become
• Improves the representation of
racially, culturally, ethnically and
linguistically diverse students in
programs serving students with
special need or gifted programs.
• Helps students to become more
culturally aware and to challenge
political, social, and educational
systems that continue institutional
racism and discrimination (Mordecai,
Teachers As Culturally Responsive
Agents of Change
Gay (2000) defines cultural responsive
• Using the cultural knowledge, prior
experiences, frames of reference, and
performance styles of ethnically diverse
students to make learning encounters more
relevant to and effective for
them. Culturally responsive teaching as
Gay (2000) describes has the following
• It acknowledges the legitimacy of the
cultural heritages of different ethnic
groups, both as legacies that affect
students’ dispositions, attitudes, and
approaches to learning and as worthy
content to be taught in the formal
• It builds bridges of meaningfulness
between home and school experiences as
well as between academic abstractions and
lived socio- cultural realities.
• It uses a wide variety of instructional
strategies that are connected to different
• It teaches students to know and praise
their own and each others’ cultural
• It incorporates multicultural information,
resources, and materials in all the subjects
and skills routinely taught in schools. (p.
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Key features of culturally responsive
teaching include (Kolzelki, 2011):
• Acknowledging membership in
• Communicating high expectations.
• Learning about the history and
experiences of diverse groups.
• Understanding the assets and
capabilities that student’s families
bring to their parenting.
• Selecting participation structures
for learning that reflect student’s
ways of knowing and doing.
• Exploring personal and family
• Visiting students’ families and
• Visiting or reading about successful
teachers in diverse settings.
• Developing an appreciation of
diversity and home language.
• Participating in reforming the
Teaching Cultural Responsiveness,
1st Hand Perspective:
• Latino teacher discusses his experiences
Multicultural Education Planning
Irvine and Armanto (2001) provide
examples of incorporating multicultural
education into planning multiple subject
• Create learning goals and objectives
that incorporate multicultural aspects,
such as ‘developing students’ ability to
write about social justice concerns.
• Use a frequency matrix to ensure that
the teacher includes a wide variety of
curriculum materials and instructional
• Introducing different ethnic groups and
their contributions on a rotating basis.
• Including several examples from different
ethnic experiences to explain subject
matter concepts, facts, and skills.
• Showing how multicultural content, goals,
and activities intersect with subjectspecific curricular standards.
Teaching Diversity and Tolerance Education
Teaching tolerance in elementary schools reduces the
incidence of hate crimes, racism, discrimination, and
Children are aware of racial and gender differences at
a very young age, and by age twelve they have formed
stereotypes. In fact, recent studies show that
tolerance education is most effective between the
ages of four and nine years.
Educating students about other cultures, races,
religions, and gender helps them understand people
different from themselves. Understanding ultimately
leads to greater tolerance. Instilling critical thinking
skills, role-playing, and cooperative learning have
proven effective teaching tools.
Successful Multicultural Education Outcomes
Hale (1990) described cognitive gains achieved by children in a
multicultural pre-school program was the result of integrating
materials on African American culture throughout the curriculum.
Zaslavsky (1988) demonstrated how elements of African and other
cultural traditions could be used to teach complex mathematics
concepts to inner city students (Howard, 1989).
An early childhood education program, the Visions Program, aimed
to facilitate the intellectual development and academic
achievement of African American preschool children while
strengthening their self-esteem and identity as African Americans.
Children in the control group attended a high quality day care
center with a highly trained staff. In addition, program
participants in the two cohorts of the Visions group scored higher
than control subjects on subtests of the Metropolitan Readiness
Test, taken before Kindergarten entry, and the Stanford
Achievement Test (SAT), taken before entrance into the first
grade. Visions Program participants scored significantly higher on
the visual recognition and vocabulary subtests of the SAT. (See
Visions for Children: African American Early Childhood Education
Program. Phase Three Evaluation by Janice E. Hale in 1990.)
Gollnick’s and Chinn’s (1994) study supports Brown’s premise because they
have found that infusing a curriculum with the broad cultural perspective of
each child accompanied with raised expectations and new teaching
strategies resulted in economically disadvantaged African American and
Latino students outperforming students from other social economic groups in
Language Arts, Reading, Mathematics, and other subjects.
A Phi Delta Kappan research study (1988-1994) of nearly 22,000 elementary,
middle, and high school students of various ethnicities, also found students
reaped positive personal academic benefits from the use of multicultural
A study (Fulton-Scott, 1983) using three elementary programs for Latino
children not English-proficient revealed that the math, reading, and
language scores of students in bilingual and multiculturallyintegrated English as a Second Language programs were significantly superior
to scores of students enrolled in bilingual ESL without the multicultural
Successful Multicultural Education Outcomes
The Paul Robeson Academy in Detroit, Michigan, a highly regarded
school with a multicultural and African-centered curriculum, showed
concrete evidence of African American student achievement in an
environment that applies the seven (7) principles of Kwaanza each day
as a part of a broad curriculum infusion of African American history,
culture, and contributions. The academy has utilized an Afrocentric
focus in an integrated curriculum that included teaching about Ancient
African History, the Diaspora, and African American History. The
curriculum integrated African American contributions in all subject
areas. The results include the fact that while 92% of the students
qualify for free and reduced lunch, 75% live in a single person head of
households, and 92% live in poverty, the academic achievement
showed these students exceeding the national and state averages in
Math and Language Arts, including Reading and Writing. The majority
of students have scored in the 75th percentile each year with over 20
per cent in the 90th percentile. Johnson, the principal, presented his
results to the attendees of the African American History Summer
Institute in Palm Beach in the summer of 1999. (Johnson, 1999).
In 1992, the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division (YLD)
launched four Tolerance Education pilot projects in elementary schools,
middle schools, high schools, and colleges throughout the country. The
programs featured education about the law, open discussions, and mock
trials. The South Carolina Bar YLD operates a tolerance education program
for third and fourth graders in which attorneys go into the classroom and
teach the students. According to one participating lawyer, both the students
and the teachers loved the program, and the school invites the program
back year after year. In fact, the YLD is currently working to implement the
program in more South Carolina schools. At the conclusion of the program,
it is evident that the students have a greater understanding of
discrimination and prejudice. In fact, one of the third-grade students
confronted his parents about their bias toward people unlike themselves.
Other states are beginning to adopt the program as well.
Successful Multicultural Education Outcomes
• An example of a more comprehensive
multicultural program is Project REACH
(Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritage)
which has gained prominence as an
academic discipline-based program for
middle school social studies and which now
includes over 60,000 students and hundreds
of teachers in twelve states. REACH infuses
information on the history and culture of
various groups into the regular curriculum.
It is a multicultural curriculum and teacher
training process, managed on a school or
district wide basis, organized around four
1.) Human Relations Skills: Students participate in
activities on self-awareness, self-esteem, interpersonal
communication, and understanding group dynamics.
2.) Cultural Self-Awareness: Students conduct research
on their personal culture, family history, or community.
3.) Multicultural Awareness: Students study from
booklets on American History from diverse points of
4.) Cross Cultural Experience: Historical and cultural
information in the booklets is made personal through
dialogue and exchange with students and adults from
different ethnic groups. (Howard, 1989)
What Is Oregon Doing?
• Multnomah Youth Commissioners Against Violence is currently focused on
Anti-Gay and Gender, Cyberbullying, Gang Violence, Police Violence, Home
Violence, School and Bullying Violence, and Sexual and Dating Violence.
• Last year was the first Rob Ingram Youth Summit Against Violence to try and
change the way violence was talked about and dealt with in our community.
This year, with the generous support of State Farm's Youth Advisory Board
grant, YAV hosted their second annual summit on March 16, 2013. This allday event brought 400 youth and adults together to talk about different
forms of violence and possible action plans. Youth and adults worked in
partnership to come up with action steps and commitments that built on
the policy recommendations from last year’s summit. Currently, YAV is
working in conjunction with two Portland State University capstone groups
to evaluate the data collected at the summit, and to support our servicelearning projects throughout Multnomah County schools. These projects will
create a lasting change in schools and the larger community, while building
capacity and leadership among students that the MYC hosted.
Oregon’s Solution: The Principal’s Story
The Principal's Story
Lead for Literacy
Harvard University has studied and developed a language diversity and literacy development program. The importance of this is that they are targeting
non-English speaking youth. Teachers are not trained to teach non English speaking students, yet 1 in 5 Americans do not speak English in the home, age
14 and older.
These languages are most prevalent amongst Spanish, Chinese, and fast rising Russian speakers.
The Lead for Literacy study investigated the development of Spanish-speaking English language learners’ reading comprehension skills from elementary
through middle school. They looked specifically at the contributions of Spanish and English componential skills (e.g., vocabulary, word reading) to
English reading comprehension.
Design: 87 native Spanish-speakers (majority U.S.-born children of Mexican-American immigrants) were followed from 4th through 8th grade. Each year,
measures of English and Spanish language and reading. The participating children were enrolled in biliteracy classes, from kindergarten through
5th grade; they were instructed in both Spanish and English for a portion of each day.
Findings: The data from all years and with Spanish and English measures demonstrate a striking dissociation between word-level reading skills, which
were in the average range, and comprehension, in the below average range and influenced by low oral language skills. They found that oral language
skills, especially morphological awareness skills and understanding connective words, are especially important for effective reading comprehension for
this population, yet for many students these skills are underdeveloped.
Implications: The results underscore the profound need to enrich oral language competencies, whether in Spanish or in English, to improve Spanishspeaking students’ reading comprehension outcomes. This instruction must focus on promoting the breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge, with
attention to the interrelatedness of content-area knowledge and academic language, understanding and acquiring new knowledge from text, and the
need for students to be equipped with strategies to learn words independently while reading text.
Lead for Literacy
• Harvard University has designed a step by step 16 ―Memo‖
comprehensive outcome designed to address language and literacy
in one program. This is becoming a growing problem in our country
as non English speaking homes have jumped 10% in less than 10
year, and schools continue to face declining budgets that cut
English language programs, further targeting these students, from
achieving education equality to their English speaking peers.
• Their website and program:
Language Diversity and Literacy Development
We recognize that teachers and teacher educators have the
potential to function as agents of change in their classrooms,
schools, and communities. Through critical, self-reflexive practices
embedded in our research and our teaching, we can work against
racial, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic inequalities by
creating humane classrooms where students and teachers learn to
use language and literacy in critical and empowering ways.
Special Thanks to Danel Malan’s Class Who
Wrote and Composed This Piece:
• Fool Stay in School
In my humble opinion…
When I was much younger, I quickly learned that the educational system’s ultimate goal was to
assimilate students like me. Back then diversity was not acknowledged nor celebrated, but perceived
as a challenge and nuisance since my native language was different than the rest. I specifically
remember my PE teacher who despised his students for speaking Spanish as we played sports. He
reprimanded my friends and I by forcing us to run additional laps. He reminded us that we were in
the United States and we needed to speak English only. Aside from him being discriminatory and
racist, I attributed his actions to his own ―fear.‖ Experiencing an influx of children like me changing
his classroom, school, and world was frightening. I believe students should learn English, but student’s
native language should not be ignored as it has been proven high gains in their learning. I am relieved
that I was able to hold on firmly to my native language and cultural identity, as my parents only spoke
Spanish at home and taught us the value of being different.
If we want students to be reflective and analytical we need to teach them an array of realities. It
upsets me that I truly did not get an education until I was in college. What was presented in the
textbooks, about the ―New America,―our Spanish Conquistadores, Mexico, and the United States (etc.)
in essence was partial or even false at times. I would like to remain positive and believe that times
have changed and improved. But there is still much to do as misconceptions need to be demystified
and stereotypes need to cease. A few years ago, I mentioned to one of the Preschool teachers I
worked with that I was going back to school. She hugged me as she was genuinely excited for me and
said, ― I am so happy your are going to get your GED.‖ I smiled; I already had my bachelors in
education with Bilingual, Spanish, and ESOL endorsements.
- Claudia Mitchell
Humble opinions continued…
In the last thirty years of having changed from being the only Mexican
family in our neighborhood to being 10% of the city population, I guess I
have to feel somewhat a sense of relief that people’s ears don’t spike up
so much when they hear the name Gonzalez. My daughters had a rough
go of it growing up in Portland and always were somewhat embarrassed
for getting pointed out as being different, in more ways than one. My
daughters are biracial and as such, grew up feeling neither accepted by
the Latinos or the Anglos. My oldest dropped out of high school, since
she didn’t feel like she belonged. She eventually found that sense of
belonging in a small alternative school with a mixed racial class. My girls
eventually gravitated towards other kids in the classes who were also
biracial, the 20th century minority group if you will, created out of
liberal beliefs that are still years away from general acceptance.
As a founder and manager of the only Latino Cultural Center in the
Northwest I am able to win many battles for the greater good, but
struggle with always providing my daughters with safe passage for their
future. I am so proud of them for the pioneers that they have become.
• Dañel Malan
I grew up in rural Oregon (Lane county) before Mexicans had really started to move into this state. I am mixed races – my mom is White
and Sioux Indian and my dad is Mexican. My parents were both military so I spent a good deal of my childhood with my great
grandparents here in Oregon. I am only 30, even so I spent most of my childhood defending my place as an American when children told
me to ―go back to Mexico‖ because of my darker complexion, and teachers just observed the behavior. While my parents served for
this country, it left a nasty taste in my mouth to say the least. Growing up with my White grandparents I did not learn to speak
Spanish, I did not learn much about my cultures, or where I came from. I felt very displaced, so when I was a teenager I decided to
leave home early. I dropped out of school at 15 even though I was a straight A student. I had family in California and when I moved
with them I was immersed into an entirely new perspective of who I was as a young woman and what that meant. As I found myself I
eventually found my way back to Oregon. Five years ago I decided to go back to school and get my GED. Here I am hoping to complete
my graduate program and turn some of our failing minority schools around as a future principal in a few more years. I think these
statistics and studies speak of my own story. I was one of these students, and I know how many students started out the same way, and
never find their way back. It is not an issue of not being capable, it is an issue of not feeling motivated and important enough and
In the years since I moved to Portland and have been happy to start my own family here and finally see that minorities are beginning to
make their way here. It is a beautiful state, but children should never have to feel like they need to hide because nobody looks like
them, understands them, or stands up for them. My children are multiracial as well, half African American. I raise them to be aware of
all sides of their family history, so that they do not feel the way I did as a child. We have chosen a good school and neighborhood in NE
Portland to reside. It is one that has embraced us, our children, has mixed families of different cultures and religions, and has been
able to help my children be better individuals as well as be better supported. But, I know not all areas are this lucky. Here is a picture
of my middle daughter for Halloween in full Dia de Los Muertos costume.
Even with the positive there is still adversity that is faced. My first day at PSU I sat at a table and listened as two girls sat across from
me complaining how you can not get a scholarship if you are White, as they cut their eyes down at me. Last year at Christmas as we
walked out of the store a man bumped into my husband and called him a ―Nigger‖. Before either of us responded my son who is nine
asked what that meant and why he said that so angrily. My daughter is six and has been teased at the park for having ―dirty‖ skin.
Thank you for sharing in our experience and
Claudia, Danel, and Ginger
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