ERIC Number: EJ1029079
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
The Diversity Dilemma
Petrilli, Michael J.
Educational Leadership, v70 n8 p44-48 May 2013
"A school can't be both paternalistic and loosey-goosey, both structured and open-ended," writes Michael Petrilli. "Students either call their teachers by their first names, or they don't. Either they wear uniforms, or they don't." In this article, Petrilli looks at what poor students and their more affluent peers need and want from a school--and the challenge this presents to diverse schools that are trying to meet the needs of both populations of students. Socioeconomically diverse schools must respond to both academic and cultural diversity. And that, Petrilli writes, is tough. Schools that serve both poor and affluent students tend to have an enormous range in student achievement levels, which makes it hard for teachers to instruct all students together. As for cultural diversity, research has shown that schools that do the best job of educating low-income students tend to favor a traditional curriculum, strict discipline, and a paternalistic environment, whereas typical middle-class schools tend to be less structured and more child-centric. The author concludes that diverse schools will most likely need to eschew progressive pedagogy in favor of a more traditional curriculum, while offering something special to attract parents of all classes and races. The timing is right, the author suggests. As both cities and suburbs become more diverse, there are solid opportunities for greater school integration along race and class lines.
Descriptors: School Demography, School Desegregation, Student Diversity, Racial Composition, Student Needs, Educational Strategies, Change Strategies, Educational Practices, Academic Achievement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A