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This paper addresses the relevance of multicultural education in rural areas, particularly rural schools with a majority white population. Multicultural education does not lend itself to a single set of methods nor to a single curriculum. For example, one approach enhances the educational opportunities of members of minority groups, while another approach addresses diversity within the larger society and the world. In the past two decades researchers have found that rural residents were less tolerant than urban dwellers toward civil liberties, sexual nonconformity, religious and political nonconformity, support of minority office-seekers, and racial and ethnic minority groups. Additionally, rural white residents tended to view education about minority groups as irrelevant to their communities. Population trends indicate increasing growth in metropolitan areas and decreasing growth in rural areas. With this population shift, the gap between rural and urban incomes has widened. Rural schools could become instrumental in improving rural economies but have been criticized as being inadequate in preparing students for changing economic and social realities. Multicultural education could become instrumental in rural school reform by sparking examination of teaching strategies, curriculum, staffing, and school organization, and by addressing respect for cultural and ethnic diversity. Further research examining possible links between rural schooling and multicultural education are discussed. (LP)

Descriptors: Bias, Cultural Differences, Cultural Pluralism, Educational Change, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Multicultural Education, Racial Attitudes, Relevance (Education), Rural Education, Rural Population, Rural Schools, Rural Urban Differences, Stereotypes

Autor: Ayalon, Aram


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