ERIC Number: ED381887
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Multicultural Education Policy in the United States: A Social Foundations Analysis.
Washburn, David E.
This paper presents a reconceptualization of multicultural education for the 21st century through a critical analysis of the current status of multicultural education. Based on Milton M. Gordon's theory of racial and ethnic group relations and assimilation, the paper identifies three ideological systems for viewing assimilation--"anglo-conformity,""the melting pot," and "cultural pluralism." It describes in detail the following types of multicultural educational policies--anglo-conformist, culturally pluralistic, liberally pluralistic, and corporately pluralistic. An anglo-conformist approach upholds the status quo, has absolutist standards, and attempts to assimilate the multicultural masses into the mainstream. A culturally pluralistic approach is relativistic; it accepts the many worlds of human reality. The formation of educational policy depends on political power, and the current power structure favors the anglo-conformist perspective. However, the paper argues that the social reality is structural pluralism along "ethclass" lines with some acculturation occurring along the margins (Milton M. Gordon defines the "ethclass" as "the intersection of the vertical stratifications of ethnicity with the horizontal stratifications of social class"). It advocates the practice of democratic citizenship to create national unity. Because the institution of education alone is not equipped to reconstruct the social order, the United States must commit itself to a social compact among its major institutions. It should move toward a liberally pluralistic multicultural approach with a core of democratic studies, which includes culturally sensitive early intervention, school desegregation across ethclass lines, an equitable funding formula, teacher training, and ties to economic equity in the public economic sector. Contains 34 footnotes. (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A