I had been named into “Who’s Who Among American Teachers!” three times and two of those nominations have been by minority students (now Dean’s List college achievers), one black and one Hispanic. Those minority 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” the English curriculum (Grammar, Vocabulary, Literature, Writing Skills) to accommodate Accelerated English 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 Supervisor wanted to change and “modernize” the literature textbook program. 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 including 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 famous authors were “white” was a major problem because most of them had been effectively excluded in the newly acquired middle school 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. Older literature textbooks might have featured on their covers works by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh or Leonardo DaVinci but in this day and age those great contributing artists to Western Civilization have been demoted (in public schools) in deference to people like Sam Adoquei of Ghana, West Africa.
I must honestly admit that the new eighth grade administratively selected (and faculty overruled) literature textbook did have a token representation of established white authors. However the bulk of the contributors had names like Gloria Gonzalez (Cuban American), Luci Tapahonso (Navajo Indian), Yoshiko Uchida (Oriental American), Gwendolyn Brooks (Black American), Gary Soto (son of California migrant workers), William Saroyan (Armenian American), Maya Angelou (Black American), Diane Mei Lin Mark (Hawaiian American), Julio Noboa Polanco (bilingual poet), Judith Ortiz Cofer (Puerto Rican), Langston Hughes (Black American), Julia Alvarez (Hispanic), Ophelia Rivas (Mexican), Nereida Roman (Hispanic), Rudolfo A. Anaya (Mexican American), Esmerela Santiago (Puerto Rican), Wing Tex Lum (Chinese poet), Naomi Shihab Nye (Palestinian), Ved Mehta (from India), Paul Yee (American Chinese) and Li-Young Lee (Chinese).
There is no doubt in my mind that Multicultural Education is contributing to socialistically “dumbing down” American public schools. Many of the obscure “authors” being presented to American students in the name of “cultural diversity” have produced works that have weak vocabulary, shallow plots, lackluster characters, non-intellectual subject matter and demonstrably unsophisticated writing skills. Yet these minority writers (I wouldn’t call all of them “authors”) are presented to naïve and impressionable eighth graders as being valuable contributors to literature when their works pale in comparison to those of more traditional great Western Civilization authors that are presently being systematically removed from literature textbooks and gradually being replaced by (in most cases) obscure or lesser known “minority authors.”
The same type of phenomenon is happening in middle and high school “History” classes’ as is happening in Literature courses. When Martin Luther King Day was established as a National Holiday celebrated in January George Washington and Abraham Lincoln had to be diminished in stature to accommodate MLK on the school calendar. The traditional Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday were shrewdly consolidated into “Presidents Day” with “Washington and Lincoln’s regular February birthdays being abandoned to allow room for Martin Luther King Day in January on the school calendar. And February (which used to almost exclusively belong to Washington and Lincoln) is now declared “Black American Month” in schools across the country. It is no wonder that American children now know more about Harriet Tubman, Crispus Attucks, Malcolm X, Jesse Jackson and George Washington Carver than they do about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight David Eisenhower. History (and literature) is being re-written by contemporary re-visionists that are attempting to diminish and discredit the accomplishments of white people and simultaneously magnifying the deeds and works of lesser-known minority figures.
One unique irony of all this Multicultural and curricular craziness is that teachers are now being held accountable for higher standardized test scores and “higher academic performance” when their curriculums are being systematically watered down and diluted to allow for the priority implementation of “Multicultural Education.” Stories (by minority writers) in literature now have simple vocabulary and easy-to-understand (more simplistic) themes, characters and plots. Presently teachers are compelled to “teach down” to the students’ level of achievement instead of challenging the kids seated in the desks to raise their level of performance up to the plateau of superior subject matter content being read and studied in the works of Poe, Twain, Shakespeare and Orwell. And this sort of insane farce is happening in public schools all over America.
Teachers are being coerced into propagating a system of American public school education that is both designed and destined to fail. Teachers are not only accountable for teaching “weaker subject matter content” with low-academic challenge; they are also now held accountable to the State for students acquiring sufficient subject matter skills for the learners to pass state sponsored “academic standardized tests.” Whatever happened to individual (student) responsibility?
“Multicultural Education” should not be eliminated from the curriculum but it should be diminished in influence to allow for a more accurate perspective of Literature and History to be presented to American school children. Crispus Attucks and Harriet Tubman should not supplant George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in February as equals sharing common historical prominence. And furthermore M.E. should be a part of regular traditional public school history, literature, math’ and science courses and not the entire curriculum in core subject areas.
And there’s no way that Sam Adoquei is in the same league as Picasso or that Gloria Gonzalez and Yoshiko Uchida are the literary equivalents of Mark Twain and O. Henry. Our great American culture is being distorted and perverted enough by MTV, VH-I and by the Comedy Channel without ineffective social engineering and an excess of Multicultural Education polluting our American public school students and also our public schools already ambivalent academic standards.
I have been scrutinizing and studying Multicultural Education for four decades now and have heard too-many-times the lackluster educational jargon originating from college professors and from misguided advocates of M.E., and quite frankly those “elitist arguments” have become rather redundant, hackneyed and monotonous, and to think that I once wholeheartedly espoused those ethereal Multicultural Education principles as an idealistic teacher beginning my career back in September of 1965.
Despite the “Happy Face” that supporters of Multicultural Education are attempting to promote and propagandize, one distinct adjective comes to mind whenever I think about Multicultural Education and that particular word is “insidious.” To the unsuspecting layman or college student “Diversity through M.E.” is a nifty catch phrase that sounds awfully noble and pleasant to the ears upon hearing its utterance but the process is actually quite detrimental to the implementation of effective American education. I deliberately describe the scourge as insidious because over the past forty years M.E. has imperceptibly and very cunningly been introduced, advanced and perpetuated by its militant proponents without the American public realizing exactly how harmful, how treacherous and how detrimental the seemingly benign terminology appears to be.
Multicultural Education never clearly defines and identifies itself to the American public for what it really is. U.S. citizens automatically equate and associate M.E. with Bilingual Education and ESL (English as a Second Language), which the clever campaigners for M.E. never lucidly delineate and differentiate. Bilingual Education and ESL are indeed definite, positive, beneficial and necessary programs in our American public schools. Those two activities encourage and facilitate the cultural “Melting Pot” ideal whereby immigrant and certain minority students learn English and ESL and are hopefully successfully assimilated into regular grade-level classrooms after two-to-four years of exposure to a new language and a new culture.
But Multicultural Education is the complete opposite and inverse of Bilingual Education and ESL. Here’s what Multicultural education really is: It is an attempt to manipulate history, English, literature, math’ and science to make those subjects appear to all students in all classrooms that blacks, Hispanics and other minorities have contributed as much (if not more) to Western Civilization than Einstein, Jefferson, Washington, Thoreau, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Hugo, Twain, Newton, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Poe, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Abraham Lincoln and other noteworthy Caucasians have. Multicultural Education attempts to diminish the great “White” benefactors of the Western World while simultaneously elevating the works of obscure minorities to their plane. And the entire student body is exposed to and forced to suffer through this ruse in their various core curriculum textbooks and it’s not just ESL students and Bilingual Education children being exposed to the ongoing brainwashing. And once the American public fully recognizes that important concept’ separating M.E. from Bilingual Education and ESL, Multicultural Education will finally be satisfactorily challenged and ultimately rejected.
Although the Multicultural Education academic elitists claim to be “visionaries” they are in effect revisionists. Their impractical goal is to create a Utopian future by first rewriting the past and next changing the present. First relegate icons like Shakespeare, Cervantes, Jefferson and Newton and then give equal or greater stature to James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Jesse Jackson and George Washington Carver. It is true that George Washington Carver remarkably found over three hundred applied uses for the peanut but the Multicultural Education activists want us to believe that the black scientist is just as important to American culture, science, technology and history as is Bill Gates and Thomas Edison. I don’t think so!
This is not to say that minority inventors and authors are not to be studied in public schools. As a teacher I remember enjoying reading terrific biographies of Louis Armstrong, Harriet Tubman and Ralph Bunche with my literature classes but if Multicultural Education advocates had their way that type of minority-oriented reading should constitute the bulk of the literature, history, math’ and science curriculums taught in our schools. And I truly admire the accomplishments of Colin Powell, Condie Rice and Clarence Thomas because they didn’t need any cause, movement or national organization to inspire them to excellence. They (according to the American free enterprise tradition) reached down inside and motivated themselves “as individuals” to strive for greatness but many liberal socialistic Multiculturalists will call the three cited black achievers “Uncle Toms” since they have succeeded in the American competitive capitalistic culture on their own without a massive crusade or national “special interest agenda” advancing their individual attainments.
To get their way the M.E. elitists must shrewdly label and demonize traditional curriculum by calling it “Eurocentric,” which automatically connotes a bad moniker. The long-range objective of the M.E. masterminds is to first condemn “Eurocentric” history, literature and science and then to systematically dismantle “Western Civilization,” which in reality is what the stereotype “Eurocentic” means.
I have eight elementary questions that pertain to significant developments in the history of mankind to ask the Multicultural elitists:
1) Where did the concept of Democracy begin? (Clue: the city is the capital of Greece)
2) Where did the Renaissance happen? (Clue: a country that has cities Florence, Rome and Venice)
3) Where did the Age of Exploration and Discovery begin? (Clue: cities like Genoa, Lisbon and London)
4) Where did the Age of Enlightenment have its roots? (Clue: Cities are found on rivers Seine and Thames)
5) Where did the Protestant Reformation take place? (Clue: Main players were Martin Luther of Germany and Henry the VIII of England)
6) Where did the Industrial Revolution get started? (Clue: a country that has cities named Manchester, Coventry, Sheffield, Leeds and New Castle)
7) Where did the Atomic Age happen? (Clue: the country has an eagle and an old chap named Uncle Sam as its symbols)
8) Where did the Computer Age have its origins? (Clue: corporations named IBM, Microsoft, Intel and Apple inspired it to happen).
The phenomenal freedoms that Americans enjoy today are outgrowths from the eight Eurocentric eras enumerated above. The concept of Democracy had originated in ancient Greece. The Renaissance liberated the human spirit and gave birth to cultural creativity. The Age of Discovery and Exploration sent men on great adventures to distant continents. The Age of Enlightenment swiftly led to the development of modern-day political philosophy. The Protestant Reformation loosened church authority and created an atmosphere where thinkers could contemplate and publish their works, where scientists could freely experiment and where inventors could create.
This newfound freedom of thought and expression eventually led to the development of Constitutional governments where the rights of citizens were protected under law. This fantastic newfound revolutionary “Western Civilization” liberty led to freedom of thought, which led to discovery, which led to technology, which led to progress and to our contemporary American (and European) way of life and high standards of living. But if the determined Multicultural Education zealots had their druthers the eight important eras of Western Civilization would be diminished and relegated because they are “Eurocentric” while the accomplishments of minorities will be elevated, given accolades and praised in our public schools, thus dooming our students to perpetual mediocrity.
Now knowing the above-mentioned salient facts the majority of adult Americans would prefer having their children exposed to the same kind of “Eurocentric” education that they had received and understood as “Western Civilization.” Every mature U.S. citizen with any scruples wishes to have the culture and history of America expertly transmitted to the younger generation, for that particular function is the central purpose of schools besides teaching students vital skills in reading, writing, speaking, mathematics, science and thinking. But if the adamant M.E. crusaders had their way teachers would have to pretend that Western Civilization never happened and that minorities were equally (if not more) responsible for the prosperity, economy and government that America presently maintains and enjoys.
The goal of Multiculturalists is to make every public school student into a (tribal) member of a UN model “global village.” This is why Multicultural Education is both un-American and unpatriotic. And those stubborn Multicultural Education advocates are very inflexible and quite obstinate too. They want you to believe that M.E. is a powerful new “science” and not a topic that should be comprehended as a “controversial issue” having an opposing point of view.
I had submitted a critique of M.E. to a college professor that maintains an “Essays on Multicultural Education” Internet website. The academic elitist refused to post my article on the basis that it was a prejudiced and biased view of Multicultural Education based on “stereotypes.” Well now, isn’t that a wicked contradiction! The M.E. proponents suddenly take on a “ban-the-essay censorship Fascist mentality” when someone who values Western Civilization dares to present an alternative position on their pet subject. And this is perhaps the greatest danger that will materialize should intellectual democratic elitist educators get their way: intolerance to other people’s points of view and a blatant violation of First Amendment freedom of speech rights. And the irony of it all is that Multicultural Education is masked, marketed and sold as “democratic education.” Such a canard is advertised as making American public school children more aware of “diversity.” I suppose that specific definition does not include diverse opinions or contrary philosophical positions about Multicultural Education.
Once the general public fathoms the true nature of the Multicultural Education fanatics’ motives I am convinced that the adherents and their movement will subsequently be soundly defeated. Their agenda (and they do have an agenda) is disguised as and masquerades as a necessary feature of “Educational Socialism,” which conceals itself under the mantle of “Educational Democratic Equality For All.” But if all students are equal, therefore no student could ever become more academically superior, more wealthy’, more outstanding, more achievement-oriented or more creative as long as he or she remains in a public school under the dominion of “Educational Socialism.” In the Multicultural Education Universe there can be no Valedictorians or Salutatorians because that type of academic honor discriminates against the masses and makes the average student (minority or otherwise) feel inferior. “Just try and blend in with everyone else! Let’s have a Melting Pot or giant salad!” is the watchword of the M.E. enthusiasts.
Educational Socialism and Multicultural Education are conveniently bolstered in classroom subjects with the implementation of a Neo-Industrial Education Factory-Oriented Classroom Model. As has been alluded to before, our American public schools are run like factories. Administrators and supervisors are the bosses, boards of education are the boards of directors, taxpayers are the stockholders, teachers are regarded as the employees in the system and the students are the products of a twelve-year-long manufacturing process. This educational factory model has been in existence for over a hundred years now and as long as it persists and as long as administrators are influenced by state-supported mandates like Multicultural Education, then mass mediocrity will in the final-analysis be the result. Schools are operated like factories and Multicultural Education will still guarantee a very nondescript product (the homogenized “salad-Melting Pot students” constituting the entire student body).
Now here’s where and why I believe that Multicultural Education will ultimately be vanquished. Multicultural Education proponents are generally also Educational Socialists. In addition to desiring to dismantle Western Civilization (calling it “Eurocentric”) they absolutely loathe capitalism, the indispensable economic engine of America. If it weren’t for “free enterprise” (capitalism) and the economic security that the accumulation of personal wealth affords and provides then our great American democracy would be vulnerable to eroding, then decaying into civil unrest and gradually heading in the direction of anarchy. Think about it! Our free enterprise economy is what makes Americans truly free and the essential economic idea of “risk-reward” is hardly ever taught in our public schools because it involves free enterprise and individual achievement.
But Ivory Tower Educational Socialists think that “capitalism” and “competition” cause students to become selfish and greedy without sharing with others. They frown upon capitalism as being a negative influence because it engenders students becoming too egocentric and arrogant and therefore capable of being distinguished as achievement-oriented individuals from the rest of the group (their student comrades). In M.E. classrooms students are discouraged from thinking outside the box because then they would be an obvious danger to the system and a threat to the dominance of Educational Socialism. Blend in and be exactly like everyone else in the great Melting Pot. Be an average pepper, carrot or onion in the Giant American Salad. Don’t aspire to accomplish more than your fellow students and never be exposed to the evils of capitalism and free enterprise. “Now let’s eliminate grades so that everyone can think and be on the same level at all times because we’re all equal.” That is another immediate goal of these educational socialistic maniacs.
Capitalism (a wonderful concept of Eurocentric Western Civilization) is the great hope and foundation of any free and democratic society. Capitalism (Wall Street and Main Street) is what gives the United States of America its stability and security. Heaven forbid if our entrepreneurs and risk takers are ever silenced! They employ people’, and these ambitious pioneers open new frontiers and establish new dynamic businesses and corporations. It’s all quite simple and “Elementary, dear Watson!” as Sherlock Holmes often states. Without capitalism there would be no profits, no employees, no taxes being paid, no companies, no businesses, no government programs, no public schools, no colleges being financed and contributed to, and no wealth being created. Without capitalism the United States’ flourishing economy would soon deteriorate and go the way of the Soviet Union.
Thank Heaven that free enterprise is still the most vibrant and productive force in America! But please remember: college professors in general are liberal-minded and many of them are elitists that despise free enterprise while advancing the causes of Educational Socialism and of Multicultural Education.
Instead of endorsing a hypothesis that postulates that America is a great Melting Pot where all public school students are equal (the same) American Education needs to get on the right track and instruct its students, “If you want to achieve individual prosperity become a capitalist and not a factory or office worker. You have the potential to become an employer and not settle for just being an employee. Pursue excellence and work hard towards everything that you attempt or do and never simply settle for being just like everyone else in a cultural salad! Dig deep down inside yourself and produce more than your peers! Become an individual and don’t be satisfied just being referred to as one!” But that inspiration will never happen on a broad scale as long as Educational Socialists (that hate American capitalism) and Multicultural Educationists (that resent “Eurocentric” history and literature) are at the academic helm and wielding tremendous influence over the fate of millions of American public school students. “Ambition” is now an absolute dirty word in American education! It suggests that an aggressive self-motivated child will distinguish himself or herself from his or her fellow students and learn to grow and excel as an individual.
The elitist critics of free enterprise again use labeling to endeavor smearing and debunking capitalism, accusing the greedy method of being “trickle down economics!” But will someone please explain to me how gravity could be successfully defied by having “trickle-up economics?” And I boldly venture to state that most Multicultural Education elitists are also Educational Socialists.
In conclusion only free enterprise (and our students’ awareness of and their belief in its greatness), a continuation of the teachings of Western Civilization and some sober realistic thinking will ensure the future of the United States of America. The public must first become aware that Multicultural Education is the problematic antithesis of this country’s past glory. But as long as Multiculturalists are powerful elements performing their egregious harm inside American Educational Philosophy and Psychology, our public schools are destined and doomed to mediocrity.
There’ will be no future Multicultural Utopia produced by the Educational Aristocracy (college professors, school administrators, school supervisors, curriculum coordinators, and State-Mandated Programs) as the academic boyars would like us to believe. Multicultural Education isn’t even a placebo let alone a civilization-saving elixir. Our only hopes for a prosperous future are Free Enterprise (capitalism) and the preservation of Western Civilization, two extraordinary disciplines that the educational elite (in general) ignore, abhor and reject. Please remember that the opposite of the phrase “Cultural Unity” is the phrase “Multicultural Diversity.”
And it was principally because of that “politically correct and multicultural” new literature textbook series that had been administratively imposed on my middle school’s English Department that convinced me it would be expedient for John Wiessner to retire from the teaching profession after thirty-four years of dedicated classroom instruction.
Jay Dubya (author of 41 books including So Ya' Wanna' Be A Teacher!)