Multicultural curricula needed to fix American educational system
Before enrolling in Introduction to Education at Rutgers, I had many preconceived notions about the “broken” state of education in America but not a lot of ideas on how it could be fixed. I had hoped that the class would set the groundwork for a potential career in the realm of educational policy, and while I can’t say that this hope has entirely died out, it has certainly transformed throughout the semester. Before this class, my opinions when considering the problems that America’s educational system faces were coming from a very sheltered perspective. I only considered the divide between “academic students” and “vocational students” that existed in my largely Caucasian, southern New Hampshire school district.
Introduction to Education opened my eyes to the racial and socioeconomic struggles that students and families face every day navigating the educational system in America. The problems that exist are problems that I previously thought existed only in history books. However after learning about unfair school funding, tracking and especially the use of “traditional” curricula, the harsh reality of inequality in America became impossible to overlook. Despite governmental attempts (such as the No Child Left Behind Act) to ameliorate unequal education in America, deep-rooted systematic and institutional racism and classism (which leave unprivileged children at an astounding disadvantage to their rich, white peers) should be relieved through the implementation of multicultural and multiethnic curricula.
From what I have learned in this class, I believe that multicultural education is the necessary first step that must be taken in pursuit of true academic equality for all students. I think that it is often easy to suggest that we must revise national standards and curriculum in order to create a better education system. The implementation of multicultural curricula would provide all students with an equitable, educational opportunity, fight against stereotypes, prejudices and discriminatory behavior, promote open-mindedness and the ability to analyze things from multiple perspectives, and give students the tools necessary to critique society with the goal of social justice in mind.
Looking to countries like Finland, Korea and Singapore, we see incredibly successful educational systems and wonder if we could ever emulate it here in America. I would love to believe that the answer is yes. I believe that although our nation has serious racial issues (and people who still deny those very issues), we can succeed in creating a system that is fair and equal for each and every American child through the implementation of multicultural curricula.
Aven La Rosa is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in anthropology and French.