Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society

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We are obliged to make sure that every child gets a healthy start in life. With all of our wealth and capacity, we just can’t stand by idly. Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2000

ISBN: 0-536-29978-1

Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society, Seventh Edition, by Donna M. Gollnick and Philip C. Chinn. Published by Prentice-Hall/Merrill. Copyright © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc.



hile he was still in college, Tomas Juarez had decided he wanted to work with children from low-income families. He began his teaching career, however, in a culturally diverse suburban school. The school had been built only a few years before and included state-of-the-art science labs. Students were proficient with computers; they even helped Mr. Juarez develop his skills. Most of the students participated in extracurricular activities, and their parents were active in school affairs. More than 90% of the previous graduating class had enrolled in postsecondary programs. It was a pleasure to work with a team of teachers who planned interesting lessons based on a constructivist approach, engaged students in the content, and developed higher-order thinking skills. After a few years, Mr. Juarez decided that he was ready to take on the challenge of an inner-city school where most students were members of oppressed groups. As soon as he stepped into his new school, he realized that he had been spoiled in the suburbs. First, the smell wasn’t right and the halls were dirty even though it was the beginning of the school year. The room that was to be his classroom did not have enough chairs for all of the students who had been assigned to the class. Not only did the room look as if it had not been repainted for 20 years, but several windowpanes were covered with a cardboard-like material, and numerous ceiling tiles were missing. His first thought was that both he and the students would be exposed to asbestos and


ISBN: 0-536-29978-1


Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society, Seventh Edition, by Donna M. Gollnick and Philip C. Chinn. Published by Prentice-Hall/Merrill. Copyright © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc.

lead poisoning. Outside, the playground was uninviting. There was no grass, the stench from local factories was overpowering, and the football field did not even have goalposts. During Mr. Juarez’s first few weeks, he found that the students were terrific. They were enthusiastic about being back in school. He had only enough textbooks for half the class, however, and no money in the budget to purchase more. Supplies were limited, and most of the audiovisual equipment had been stolen the previous year and never replaced. 1. Why were conditions at Mr. Juarez’s new school so much different from those in the suburban school? 2. How can a teacher overcome environmental conditions that are not supportive of effective learning?

Opportunities for Reflection

3. What are the chances of the new students being academically successful in the same way as the students in the suburban school? 4. Why are students in the urban school more likely to drop out, become pregnant, and not attend college? 5. Why has society allowed some students to go to school under such appallingly poor conditions? To answer these questions online, go to this chapter’s Opening Scenario module of the Companion Website.

Class Structure
“Class is a system that differentially structures group access to economic, political, cultural, and social resources” (Andersen & Collins, 2004, p. 86). It determines the schools students attend, the stores in which you shop, the restaurants in which you eat, the community in which you live, and the jobs to which you will have access. Class is socially constructed by society and its institutions, determining the relationships between families and persons who have little or limited financial resources and those who are wealthy. The two views of equality in U.S. society that were outlined...
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