Edu 230

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A Brief History of Multicultural Education by Paul C. Gorski,
Hamline University and EdChange

As conceptualizations of multicultural education evolve and diversify, it is important to revisit its historical foundation -- the roots from which it sprang. What did the earliest forms of multicultural education look like and what social conditions gave rise to them? What educational traditions and philosophies provided the framework for the development of multicultural education? How has multicultural education changed since its earliest conceptualization? The answers to these questions provide an important contextual grounding for understanding the various models of multicultural education evolving today.
The historical roots of multicultural education lie in the civil rights movements of various historically oppressed groups. Many trace the history of multicultural education back to the social action of African Americans and other people of color who challenged discriminatory practices in public institutions during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s (Banks, 1989; Davidman &
Davidman, 1997). Among those institutions specifically targeted were educational institutions, which were among the most oppressive and hostile to the ideals of racial equality. Activists, community leaders, and parents called for curricular reform and insisted on a reexamination of hiring practices. Both, they demanded, should be more consistent with the racial diversity in the country. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the women's rights movement joined this push for education reform. Women's rights groups challenged inequities in employment and educational opportunities as well as income, identifying education as a primary contributing factor in institutionalized and systemic sexism. Feminist scholars and other women activists, like groups of color before them,…...

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