Education: Of, By and For - Whom?

Race and ethnicity are the battlegrounds of history class

The families of eight black students in New York City have filed a class action against state education officials, charging that the absence of a multicultural history curriculum perpetuates a "lack of self-esteem and self- worth" among African-American students. That, in turn, they argue, contributes to blacks' poor academic performance, high dropout rate and "antisocial behavior." By contrast, 28 prominent scholars, including historian William Manchester and educator and psychologist Kenneth B. Clark, are protesting a proposed revision of New York State's public school history curriculum, which, they say, risks reducing history to "ethnic cheerleading." In California, meanwhile, the state curriculum commission...

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