Diversity, Economics and Education
page 1 |
2 | 3 | 4
| 5 |
6 | 7 |
Partnerships with local colleges and universities, such as that between
Rousseau's District I and UCLA, are one way that some school districts
have attempted to overcome their limitations. Rousseau, who taught
as an adjunct in the UCLA education school, also has set up a credentialing
center in partnership with Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Still, many school districts are not within proximity to local
colleges or universities and don't have the advantage of such a
connection. The pressure keeps growing to provide equal educational
opportunities for all students and standardized testing by which
schools can be held accountable for the performance of their students.
But the attempts to equalize the educational experience for all
students and to standardize testing are often among the roadblocks
that prevent schools from making good use of their diversity.
Professor Furumoto cites the Open Court reading program, a highly
scripted program with heavy emphasis on phonics and recitation exercises,
as an example of how curricula sometimes are freighted with good
intentions that lead to bad results. The program has been adapted
by LAUSD and many other school districts around the country for
use in elementary classrooms.
"The argument in favor of Open Court is that it treats all
students identically. It doesn't permit any cultural bias or discrimination
to rear its head," Furumoto says. "The problem is that
it deters academic freedom and flexibility. It prevents teachers
from tailoring their lessons to the needs of their particular pupils.
For instance, in a classroom that is largely composed of immigrants
and the children of immigrants, it makes sense to structure lessons
to take advantage of that for studying cultures, society, history,
geography, economy, etc. It can also help to bring the family and
community into the classroom. But Open Court doesn't allow for that
sort of thing."