In big and small ways, people throughout Philadelphia and the country are “doing” multicultural education in efforts to improve the quality of education in our schools.
Yet rarely do people reflect about what it means to “do” multicultural education well and why it is integral to good teaching and learning.
The terms multiculturalism and multicultural education have been used in so many contexts that one can easily dismiss them as buzz words that simply encourage the affirmation of our diversity.
Speaking many languages and hailing from over 100 countries at the School District’s last count, the immigrant and refugee families who have come to Philadelphia in recent years create vi/pant cultural diversity in our schools.
While all children in Philadelphia are entitled to receive the same quality of education regardless of where they or their parents were born, there are many barriers to complete access. This prevents students, families, and teachers from making the most of our strong multicultural community.
In 1967, African American students all across the nation’s college campuses were shutting down classes and sitting in administration offices to demand Black Studies and the recognition from university faculties that history is not synonymous with the doings and viewpoints of white Europeans.
The students were part of a broader movement for “Black Power”– for an end to the exclusion of African Americans from those institutions that control their lives.