Multicultural Education Means Mediocre Education

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Multicultural Education Means Mediocre Education

Let me begin this essay by stating that I am a retired English teacher of 34 years experience and believe that I have treated all of my students fairly and equitably.

Three times I had been named into “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” and two of those nominations have been by minority students, one black and one Hispanic. Those students realized that my classroom standards were just as tough on them as they were on the majority Caucasian students and that I gave them no favoritism, slack or handicap for their minority-status ethnicity. I had always refused to “dumb down” my curriculum (Grammar, Vocabulary, Literature, Writing Skills) to accommodate students that lacked motivation, desire, curiosity, cooperation, respect for teacher authority and a willingness to learn.

A year before I retired in 1999 my Middle School’s English Department had a special curriculum meeting and the Administration and my Department Supervisor wanted to change and modernize the English curriculum’s literature textbooks. The choice eventually narrowed down to two distinct textbook series (grades six-to-eight) and my school’s nine English teachers voted on which company’s series to incorporate into the school’s English curriculum. Obviously administrative fiat (and pressure and trends from the State Department of Education) was more important than teacher democratic input and the English Department’s overwhelmingly selected first choice was abruptly discarded because the other more “politically correct” literature textbook series from the administratively preferred company happened to have “more cultural diversity” and subsequently was more “multicultural.”

For thirty-four years I had loved teaching imaginative literature featuring such accomplished authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Jack London, Alexander Dumas, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, Washington Irving, Jules Verne, Mark Twain, S.E. Hinton, George Eliot, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, O. Henry and James Thurber. Apparently the fact that all of the aforementioned authors were “white” was a major problem because most of them had been effectively excluded in the newly acquired literature texts. The old literature texts and program were too white-oriented and were not consistent with New Jersey and USA politically correct trends in “multicultural education.”

The new eighth grade literature textbook featured on its cover a painting of Sam Adoquei’s Portrait of Rockney C. A statement inside the text indicated that Sam Adoquei was born in the West African country of Ghana and that Adoquei was a contemporary artist that loved painting landscapes.
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