Forces Affecting Education in the Twenty-First Century
Practices regarding education in America have changed from one generation to the next. Our perceptions about child development and learning styles change as new studies and findings present evidence to confirm or modify one theory or another. Evolution is natural and ongoing as research and empirical studies continue.
In addition, social changes, political forces, economic pressures, plus beliefs and values continue to develop in our country. These are bound to influence educational practices. Futurists study signals and societal trends and make sobering pronouncements about what will come about in future decades and generations. As writers of this text, we resist any urge to speculate on how new movements will fit into this overview of historical patterns of philosophical outlooks. As observers of current practices and new developments, however, we conclude that the following topics will likely have a significant impact on future school objectives.
The rapidly expanding mix of culture and ethnicity in America will continue, and the changing demographics will affect U.S. education. Although some legislation and judicial decisions that affect amounts of immigration, employment practices, and educational opportunity in the United States exist, these guidelines will be revisited in the years ahead. American culture has changed rapidly since civil rights legislation was passed in the 1960s, and most agree that minorities, recent English-language learners, and foreign-born residents meet greater acceptance in the majority culture and find more positive responses than before.
Ethnocentrism is less prominent than in previous generations, and most Americans are confident and positive about the “tossed salad” quality of American communities in the 21st century. Multicultural curricula and pointed attempts to foster antibias programs have made a positive impact on American schools and neighborhoods (Derman-Sparks, 1989; Edwards, Derman-Sparks, & Ramsey, 2006). Emphasis will continue, and partnerships formed by families, schools, and communities are the best possible ways to promote the advantages of diversity and demographic change.
© ______ 2008, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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