Cultural Diversity in the Modern Classroom
There is a mutual dependence which exists between parts and whole. Without parts, there can be no whole; without a whole, the concept of parts makes no sense. The idea of "whole is predicated on parts, but these parts themselves must be considered to be wholes comprised of their own parts.
The American educational system has failed to effectively teach the ever-changing and diverse student population in our schools. It is no longer a choice but a necessity to include diversity into the content of the modern classroom.
The racial and ethnic makeup of the United States is in a state of constant change. Today, nearly 31% of the population is of non-Anglo descent. One factor is that 8% of the population of the United States was foreign-born (U.S. Census, 2000). This causes significant problems with language. Many of our students simply do not speak English and the majority of our instructors only speak English. The other major issue is that of the African-American and Hispanic students. African-Americans and Hispanics make up 26% of the population of the U.S. (U.S. Census, 2000). According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (2000), only 15% of the teachers in the United States are from ethnic groups other than Anglo-Saxon (Johnson, 2002). This disparity not only makes it harder for students of culturally diverse backgrounds to find role models among teachers, but more importantly makes the understanding gap between student and teaches very broad.
Cultural differences do not only fall upon racial lines. Much of the diversity can be seen in the structure of the families of diverse student populations. According to Schwartz (1999), there are several types of diverse families in urban schools. The first of these is single-parent households. The children from this environment often lack the support needed to achieve because of the high stress-levels of