ERIC Number: ED469367
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
The Social Organization of Diversity: The Changing Faces in Rural America.
Changes in the social organization and context of education were studied in a rural Illinois school district experiencing a rapid influx of Hispanic students. The local meatpacking plant closed, then reopened under a new name and began an aggressive campaign to recruit immigrant and migrant workers who would work for lower wages. In the next 3 years, the number of Mexican American families in the area grew rapidly, and the number of Hispanic students in the schools went from a few to over 180 (out of 1,100 total students). In addition, there was considerable student mobility, as families migrated in and out of the area. The school personnel were unprepared for this sudden change, and many pedagogical and classroom changes were made on an emergency basis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 33 teachers (41 percent of the preK-12 staff) and 3 administrators. All but one had lived their whole lives in the area. The interviews investigated educators' beliefs and attitudes that would function to separate or integrate student ethnic groups, and identified practices that promoted social inclusion. Themes included initial resistance to bilingual education and other changes necessitated by the new students, who were often viewed as "temporary"; initial animosity toward and gradual acceptance of new bilingual staff; some teachers' efforts to influence student attitudes; easier social integration in the elementary grades; conflict resolution between groups of secondary students; special programs for migrant students and their parents; inservice teacher education on intercultural communication and establishing communities of learners; and purposeful attention to the dynamics of social justice. (Contains 29 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Acculturation, Administrator Attitudes, Community Change, Community Relations, Cultural Pluralism, Educational Change, Educational Environment, Educational Practices, Elementary Secondary Education, Ethnic Relations, Hispanic American Students, Limited English Speaking, Rural Schools, Social Environment, Social Integration, Teacher Attitudes
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Western Illinois Univ., Macomb.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Illinois (Central)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Northern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association (Estes Park, CO, October 9-12, 2002). Also supported by Western Illinios University's Research Council.