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Understanding Cultural Diversity and Learning

John U. Ogbu
Educational Researcher
Vol. 21, No. 8 (Nov., 1992), pp. 5-14+24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176697
Page Count: 11
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Understanding Cultural Diversity and Learning
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Abstract

Core curriculum and multicultural education are two major approaches advocated in the current school reform movement. This article argues that neither of these approaches adequately addresses the problem of those minority groups who have not traditionally done well in the public school. Core curriculum advocates falsely assume that as a result of instituting a core curriculum, demanding higher standards, and patching up supposed individual deficiencies, all students will perform as expected. Multicultural education advocates inadequately design their program to focus on cultural differences in content and form. This article contends that the crucial issue in cultural diversity and learning is the relationship between the minority cultures and the American mainstream culture. Minorities whose cultural frames of reference are oppositional to the cultural frame of reference of American mainstream culture have greater difficulty crossing cultural boundaries at school to learn. Core curriculum and multicultural advocates have yet to understand and take this into account.

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