Thursday, October 29, 2009

If There Had Been "Multicultural Education" in The Early 20th Century, My Parents Would Have Been Failures

Over ten years ago, when I began taking my EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teaching seriously, getting licensed etc, I first heard of Multicultural Education.  In a nut shell, it takes the "pressure" off of children of various cultures and immigrant groups and allows them not to fully integrate into the dominant culture.

My father and his older brother started school, in Brooklyn, NY, in the middle of the 1920's.  They spoke only Yiddish when they entered school, but their parents instructed them to learn English well, so they could be the English teachers at home.  Their job was to make the family as American as possible.  My father, uncle and aunt (a few years younger) were all successful and got university educations.  Their story isn't unique.

All immigrant groups to whatever country know that the key to success is learning the language and the culture of their new country, integrating, not staying totally different.  Multiculturalism holds them back.

It's interesting to note that one of the big pushers, ideologues of the opposite approach, multiculturalism, is none other than Bill Ayers, Obama mentor, former Radical Left wing leader of Students for a Democratic Society which was the major student anti-war organization for most the of the 1960s.

Today, adults in the work force know well that education is the key, and if they didn't learn what they need to know when they were younger, they go back to school.  The community colleges are packed and offering classes before and after work, just to give people a chance.


Keli Ata said...

So true! Most immigrants to the US did not want their children to look like they "just came off the boat."

Talk to people from virtually every ethnic group in the US and that phrase probably still resonates with them. You look like you came right off the boat lol.

In my community getting an infant girl's ears pierced was an old country tradition that many immigrants abandoned in the US because they didn't want their kids to look like they just came off the boat.

Learning English and American culture was critical to success in the New World. Remaining isolated in old country ways kept people in poverty.

The multiculturism push is all about brainwashing people to tolerate the absolute worst of some cultures.

Batya said...

It also presumes "dumbness" of newcomers as if they're incapable of living in two worlds.

Keli Ata said...

Right. And most immigrants to any new country seem to manage to learn the language and culture and become succesful while at the same time cherishing those aspects of their old country such as the food, music etc.

I am always impressed how he was able to switch back and forth between English and Italian with his mother. He and his siblings learned English in school and it helped their parents adjust to live in the US.

They were crucial at interpreting English for them. I can only imagine what it would be like to entire a foreign country not speaking the language.

Happy Balagan's blog has been an eyeopener for me in this regard. He often rights of having difficulty at times finding the right Hebrew words for things--such as tin foil which he said is literally the Hebrew words for shiny paper. Neither tin, foil or aluminum.

BTW: I heard that to make aliyah more successfully it helps to have a Hebrew vocabulary of about 1,300 words. Is that true?

Anonymous said...

this is why it bugs me that govt offices have a russian option. hebrew and arabic are the national languages. english i can tolerate grudgingly as it is the international language. but russian? who are you helping?

Batya said...

Keli, Learning the language is the key. Not living with lots of others who use your old language helps, because then the kids adjust more quickly and you have a chance to socialize with Hebrew speakers or those you must use Hebrew with.

a, Davka the Russians master Hebrew quickly, and the English speakers don't.