Multiculturalism in education

The state of education across the world

Multiculturalism in education

Postby Nathan » 02 Jul 2013, 10:27

We've had previous threads devoted to perhaps the secondary aspects of multiculturalism, such as PC in education and others, but reading this article claiming nearly 20% of primary-school pupils in England do not speak English as a first language gave me the idea for a new thread topic.

Just because over a million children in English primary schools don't speak English as a first language doesn't necessarily imply that they don't speak it perfectly well as a second language, I suppose, or that they necessarily bring any cultural baggage along with them, though I'm sure it goes without saying that in many cases this is not true. At its worst, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Westminster have only a quarter of their primary school intake with English as a first language, and this is regardless of ethnicity or cultural background. Nearly three in ten primary school children in England are from an ethnic minority background.

There are also 250,000 extra school places needed for the next academic year, such is our increasing population due to mass immigration of people of child-bearing age from more fertile cultures. When the prevailing ideology moves away from promoting any culture but our own in the name of tolerance and diversity, these people and all their cultural baggage will still be here.

From my own experience, I find this near-impossible to relate to. I never thought I would ever have a particular reason to feel grateful to have grown up at the time that I did, but my quite middle-class primary school in the early 1990s was 100% white English and my grammar school probably around 95%, so still homogenous enough not to have caused any complications. My dad is a primary school headmaster, but in a village school in a region which has mostly been spared mass immigration, so no issues there either.

This is a question going out to anybody with first-hand experience of it: what are the practical implications of a classroom where, firstly, half of the children simply cannot communicate or understand what the teacher or the other pupils are saying, and secondly where half the children have to various extents picked up on their parents' cultural and religious values which may be completely at odds with those of the other children, and which the teacher cannot realistically be expected to fully understand either?

In a school which is, say, 25% white British, 25% Eastern European, 25% Muslim and 25% black, plus language barriers involved, would a five-year-old instinctively gravitate towards those who he or she appears to have more in common with, or is that an adult's way of thinking? What extra resources or concessions are necessary to accommodate those with little/no English, and in the very heavily-ethnic schools, how is 'racist' bullying of whites dealt with compared to whites bullying non-whites at other schools? What happens to the monolingual English-speaking child when the dominant language of the playground is Polish, or Urdu, or Somali?

Do the minority white people stick together in such circumstances in a way you might expect non-white minorities to do at 90% white schools? In schools with stream pupils by ability, what is the racial mix at the top and bottom of the ability range, and how are any blatant over- or underrepresentations explained away? What can be allowed to remain of the Church of England ethos in a Church of England school such as this one, which has a 90% Muslim intake?

When I lived in London I never experienced it first hand, apart from seeing the schools come out in the afternoon and thinking I was at the United Nations, but I did go to a church dinner once where I was at a table with a special needs teacher, a secondary-school teacher, herself from South Africa, and a school governor, all at schools in the inner city.

I can't remember exactly how it went, but the special needs teacher - a very nice and generous man, though hopelessly liberal - was approvingly talking about how because of the kind of people in his school they had held a special celebration for Chinese New Year, and next month they were going to have a special Bollywood film night, etc, etc. I asked him if there were any English children at that school, and what there was specifically for them and what they thought of it all.

I give the man credit for not playing the "But what do you mean, English? They live in England, so they're all English!" guilt-trip card when the door was open for it, but he insisted the white English minority loved learning about other cultures, and thought nothing of it since they were used to it, implying that being used to multiculture was all it took to embrace the idea, and joked that with the way it was going, everywhere would soon be like that.

He probably didn't realise that I held a completely opposite opinion to his on multiculturalism and that I didn't believe at all that the cultural mix caused no problems, but he had got me on the "They are used to it, you are not, so who are you to comment?" point, and it didn't seem to be the time or the place to push him further, so I said nothing.

At this point the school governor, who herself went to school in Cumbria in the 1960s where she will have experienced no multiculturalism whatsoever, said that in her school there were problems with Turks, who knew they were going to work at their family's fast-food places after school anyway and so felt no need to work hard or show a positive attitude to education, and also Somalis (she didn't actually say anything about the Somalis, but left us to use our imaginations).

I pretended to be really shocked, and said that it makes me wonder whyever we were giving ourselves these problems in the first place. The South African lady, whose opinions on such things I would trust to be more based on realism rather than idealism considering where she is from, made a sound of agreement, but the school governor brushed it off with a rather annoyed-sounding "We've always had people come here!" reply. I just knew she had realised from her own experience what a mess we have created for ourselves, but from the tone of her voice, she was just not going to offer her true opinions in public under any circumstances.
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Elliott » 29 Aug 2013, 04:12

This isn't exactly a reply to the OP, but it is relevant. I just happened to look at my old art college's website. This is the place that, ten years ago, was full to the rafters with foreign students such that all cohesion was lost and nobody spoke to each other. Their website has this on its front page:

Places available for September 2013, international applicants only.
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Gavin » 29 Aug 2013, 09:46

I'm surprised that's legal but they'll get more money that way of course - much higher fees for foreign students.

On a tangent, I was thinking last night about Blair's tactics again. He threw open the borders and hundreds of bogus "language schools" sprang up all over London, aiding mass immigration. The government only made a token effort at getting them under control a couple of years ago.

Blair also filled the public sector with useless jobs (at great public expense) presumably so he should show unemployment was down. We're paying for that now. Then he made quotas the main priority across all public services, so people "reclassified" and fiddled numbers. He did the same with education so that grades no longer meant what they used to mean - prizes for all, but especially for him. The coalition are having to undo that now.

At the same time his government bloated the welfare state, bankrupted the country, knighted pop stars and encouraged the spread of Islam in the UK so that Labour could get the votes. It all looked good to the Left at the time, but none of it was good.
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Nathan » 22 Nov 2013, 19:52

It's worth reading this letter sent out to parents at Littleton Green Community School in Staffordshire about schoolchildren between the ages of 8 and 11 attending a workshop on Islam for the sinister way in which it is worded. For those who don't have the time to click the link, I will abridge it for you:

Dear Parents,

This is now a multicultural society whether you like it or not. Some of you racist Little Englanders might have thought you could avoid the implications of all that for a while longer by living in a small town, but you are most definitely mistaken.

Being a multicultural society means that your children must have the opportunity to explore Islam. We know you're most likely sick of hearing about Islam every day and probably wish it would just go away, but I would like to take the opportunity to invite you to keep such opinions to yourselves.

Do not even think about trying to wriggle out of this - be aware that your conduct on this issue will remain closely monitored for any potential thoughtcrime, and failure to cooperate satisfactorily will result in sanctions being imposed on your children at the discretion of the school authorities.

This is a final warning.

Yours insincerely,

A Left-Wing Educator
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Grant » 23 Nov 2013, 09:25

Surely someone is pulling the community's collective leg. No school could be that obtuse and painfully earnest? I'm not aware of the governance of English schools but was the principal echoing the sentiments of a similarly-minded school board? Values and morals should be at the heart of all schools but trying to be all things to all people, with the threat of slapping a racist tag on a child and family, is a recipe for moral paralysis and public scorn.
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Caleb » 25 Nov 2013, 01:32

I have two thoughts on this. Firstly, this is testing the waters. They were silly because they pushed it a little too far, a little too soon, (though see an alternate hypothesis below). Ten years from now, when resistance could be lower if they had taken a slightly less intense approach now, they would have been able to succeed. Do not doubt though that this is the thin edge of the wedge though.

My other thought relates to what I consider a revision of strategy. I am actually not only glad that the school overplayed its hand, but I even think that it didn't go far enough. If I had been working at that school, I would have been whispering in the principal's ear to actually make it compulsory to participate in a Muslim religious ceremony. Why? Because I think that there's a fundamental difference between people like us at this site and the general populace. The general populace will endure all sorts of petty insults, thus allowing their culture to be gradually changed over time. However, if you are right in their face in a big way, they will react before it is too late to do so. By analogy, if you ask someone to pay $1 every day for a particular thing, they will probably fork over the cash because they will not see it as very much. However, if you ask them for nothing every day of the year and then come to them on the last day of the year and ask for $365, they will get very upset about it. This is how credit cards/car finance schemes make their money. The net result is the same, but psychologically, people react very differently to each situation.

Of course, the danger with the above strategy is that of bargaining. When you bargain with someone, you don't begin at your end position, you bargain from a more extreme position so that it looks like you're "compromising" and then you get what you wanted anyway. Then, a little while later, you take that as the new starting position and argue for a more extreme position, and "compromise" again. That's how the [imgd=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window]Overton Window[/imgd] has been continually shifted to the left over recent decades.

Regardless of whatever happens, I think people need to wise up to what's happening and look at how any or all of these seemingly disconnected things fit together. Two people I think who are probably quite worth reading (I'll get around to them sooner or later) are Antonio Gramsci and Saul Alinsky. I suspect that a true understanding of what has happened for the past fifty to one hundred years cannot be understood without understanding the operating methods of the left. The good news on that though is that because the former radicals have become the establishment, we can attempt to use the very tactics they used as radicals against them now that they are the establishment.
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Caleb » 30 Nov 2013, 04:56

http://www.leasticoulddo.com/comic/20131027/

(Gavin: I wasn't sure how to resize this image properly. I tried using the imgd= button and the squiggly brackets, but that didn't work. At some point, would it be possible for you to make an instructional post similar to the Youtube thread in the Essential Reading sub-forum?)
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Mike » 01 Dec 2013, 00:25



Ha! That's brilliant.
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Nathan » 07 Dec 2013, 19:12

I know this kind of stuff has been going on 25 years if not more and should surprise nobody, but a primary school in Lancashire has banned Enid Blyton's books so that it could win a Race Equality award from the council.

The article says that Lancashire County Council's race award is given to schools which 'eliminate discrimination, promote equal opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups.' Checking the picture page on that school's website, it looks like this effort has been made on behalf of a grand total of just one child who is not white.
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Nathan » 30 Mar 2014, 09:00

No doubt there's more where this comes from...

Teachers 'assaulted and marginalised in Islamising plot’
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Gavin » 12 Apr 2014, 10:28

I think this is an important and interesting post by Nathan here (but there are so many on the forum). I was just reflecting on the same topic on my walk.

I wondered: how can a national history be taught in schools now? When we were growing up, we learned the history of our country and we felt an affinity with it. How do they manage that these days? Does a Pakistani, Somali or Chinese person sit in the school and have respect for the achievements of, for example, Alfred the Great? Does he look at wartime Britain and feel an identity with the people who fought during that time, with the language, culture and heritage of those people?

Sometimes, to some degree, they might "buy into" the identity, I dare say. But very often not. Very often they proudly retain their foreignness, this leading to division in our country. You might remember me mentioning that I did not see a single person of another ethnicity at this major historical event. This suggests, of course, that newcomers feel no such affinity.

So I wonder how they manage this in English schools now. It would be interesting to have a teacher explain. Is it even acceptable to put any emphasis on English history any more?
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Nathan » 12 Apr 2014, 12:58

I've searched for statistics on the ethnic composition of people studying British history at university compared to the composition of the relevant age group in the general population.

I haven't been able to find exact figures for the ethnic breakdown at the 18-21 age group, but 20.1% of UK-domiciled first-year students for the academic year 2012-3 were from an ethnic minority, and the figures for those studying "Historical & philosophical studies" (the nearest I can get data for) is 8.7%, so less than half what you would expect if we were all the same and were equally intrigued in our national story regardless of ethnic origin - and that's not even broken down into those studying British history in particular.

Even before I found the statistics I would have absolutely bet my life on this level of under-representation being the case. I can't blame people from ethnic minorities for not feeling able to relate to our history, really. If your parents had moved to India and you had grown up there, could you meaningfully claim the Vedas and the Mughals as "your" history that had anything to do with creating the mental world that shaped you?

It perhaps won't surprise many of us that ethnic minorities are over-represented in law (32% of all first-year entrants), medicine / dentistry (31.7%), and business studies (29.4%). We all know how being a doctor carries such a high status among Indians, and how entrepreneurial some of our immigrant groups can be. It is worth pointing out too that ten in every hundred Pakistani students is studying law as opposed to three in every hundred white students.

Considering how high those numbers are it is striking how little connection people living in Britain but whose ancestors farmed far away from here feel towards the land in this country and the animals living on it: the two subjects which have the biggest ethnic under-representation are agricultural sciences (4.1%), and veterinary science (3.5%).

http://www.hesa.ac.uk/content/view/3129/#sub
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Nathan » 07 Jun 2014, 09:16

I thought this one was a spoof when I first saw it:

Devon primary school deemed "too white" organises sleepover at London school to teach children about other cultures

The London school will also get a trip to Devon to see how English people live.

Usna Hakimi, 19, who was picking up her two sisters up from Smallberry Green, said: ‘They’ve just told me about the sleepover and they’re quite excited to meet other children from a different part of England. It’s good for them to learn about other cultures.
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Nathan » 23 Jul 2014, 18:30

The details of this aren't particularly clear, but the University of Wisconsin - Madison's “Framework for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence” (I shuddered as soon as I saw the title!) has called for "proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades".

One professor at that university has claimed that it would mean having to adjust grades upwards for "historically underrepresented racial/ethnic" students, but apparently according to the Chief Diversity Officer (oh dear God!) at UW Madison "nothing could be further from the truth".

Professor Patrick Sims, Chief Diversity Officer at UW Madison wrote:This proportional and equitable distribution of grades arises (without intervention at the time of grading) by fostering living and learning spaces that are inclusive of historically marginalized students so that they can do their best learning and earn better grades; not through the “redistribution” of artificially-enhanced grades.


Whatever all that means in practice though I have no idea...

All those professors must be too clever to realise what was obvious to Aristotle all those years ago:

Aristotle wrote:The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.


http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=5781&app=cro
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Re: Multiculturalism in education

Postby Jonathan » 24 Jul 2014, 01:04

Nathan wrote:
Professor Patrick Sims, Chief Diversity Officer at UW Madison wrote:This proportional and equitable distribution of grades arises (without intervention at the time of grading) by fostering living and learning spaces that are inclusive of historically marginalized students so that they can do their best learning and earn better grades; not through the “redistribution” of artificially-enhanced grades.


Whatever all that means in practice though I have no idea...


Professor, I'd like to have a little word with you about your Advanced Calculus class... just a little informal chat, nothing official! Nothing official! It's just that it's been six years since we've completed the Five Year Diversity Outreach Equitability Enhancement Plan, and I couldn't help but notice that a significant proportion of the Grading Diversity Inequality comes from this particular class...yes, yes of course there can be no question of intervention at the time of grading, but if we miss our Diversity Equitability targets three semesters in a row you know what that means? Another inquiry by the Chief Diversity Officer - so much paperwork! Umm... yes yes but we all have a duty to reduce the institutionalized grade oppression in our courses, right? You've done all the required Diversity re-education courses, right? Yes, tenure is so hard to get these days. Well, I'm off to another meeting, see you at lunch, right?
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