With regard to multicultural education, definitions count. It can be a constructively inclusive approach to teaching about the cultural ingredients of a unified nation. Unfortunately, the multiculturalism advocated in much of the academic world today downgrades unity in favor of cultural separatism. It encourages minority cultures to shun assimilation and condemns the common culture as the product of centuries of oppression not yet overcome. This ideology is plainly at work in the proceedings of organizations like the National Association for Multicultural Education, which annually brings together K-12 teachers and university professors from all 50 states.
As the situation in Illinois and Chicago illustrates clearly, multicultural doctrine trivializes the teaching of United States history while giving overwhelming emphasis to the heritage of nations, such as Mexico, from which newcomers have come to America in search of opportunity. Meanwhile, bilingual education in K-12 schools encourages the children of immigrants to continue using their non- English languages rather than quickly gaining fluency in English. This further encourages cultural separatism, and could lead to the long-term Balkanization of America.
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