At the turn of the twentieth century, multicultural children were beginning to gain distinctive experiences by adapting to new ways of living in terms of their increased awareness of challenges, such as politics, business, education, human rights, and leadership in America. One of the main challenges for these children was the struggle and construction of new models of gender identity and ethnic characteristics in American schools.
Most of the immigrant children had to go through acceptance of new culture and the society’s norms as a matter of bridging the societal gap in America thus adapting to America’s education system. Moreover, most of the multicultural children had to accept the fact that they “could be productive in the society and could cater for further education that they desired” (Balderrama and Rodriguez 35).
Poverty and Unemployment among the Multicultural Families in America
When multicultural families moved into the United States, they were not skilled or qualified for white-collar jobs. They did menial jobs for their survival. These jobs included spreading fertilizer in farms in America, trimming hedges of the farms, helping in tomato harvesting, and pulling garlic heads. They also used to work at construction sites, because most of them had certain construction skills in, for instance, masonry. Later on, these immigrants organized their own firms which they could contract to their clients. These Italian American immigrants worked very hard and were very honest in most of the work that they were assigned to do.
However, numerous barriers hindered multicultural families in acquiring other jobs in the United States this is why “acculturation changes occurred in every immigrant family” (Nahari, Lopez, and Esquivel 124). There existed a language barrier because most of the employees could not understand the American language. In addition, there was much prejudice to jobs that existed in America. These immigrants were also restricted by their levels of education. There were some job opportunities that existed in the East Bay economy. They included food canning, janitorial services, washing windows, and trading in garments.
With time, the Italian American immigrant children started going to schools and colleges. They gained skills and knowledge in various fields like medicine, nursing, teaching, hospitality, design, and even engineering. After some time, American employers started hiring skilled multicultural people. Many American employers started scraping off pension plans and also reduced health coverage costs for employees. Employers tried to limit the costs that they incurred so that they could get maximum profits. These employers were supposed to provide good and decent benefits to employees to motivate them but they never bothered.
Many Americans started feeling that the immigrants were taking away jobs that they were supposed to do. There were moments when the job opportunities were regionalized. For instance, a person had to be from the region of Genoa to secure a job in such an industry as Oakland Scavenger. In addition, multicultural employees faced discrimination in securing jobs and their children were also discriminated against in schools and colleges.
According to a survey conducted by the National Survey of America’s Families, disparities did exist among the ethnic groups; it was reported that inequality was practiced where Americans discriminated against other races and were “lack of available work made immigrants live in abject poverty” (Grimm 44). The National Survey of American Families also revealed that multicultural children faced the threat of poverty in America; this poverty was a result of low incomes obtained by their immigrant families which led to the children’s inability to attend high-class schools and, correspondingly, get a proper level of education.
Although there are the rich and the poor at every scale, within the American communities, cities, countries, and regions, it is generally the rich who are said to take the prerogative to solve the problem, even if they are connected with education; thus, they usually come up with unfavorable policies from which multicultural children in American schools can hardly benefit. These problems have been occurring daily as a result of the non-involvement of the poor multicultural families in decision-making. Most externally propagated alternatives did not provide the kind of solutions that were anticipated. It is argued that the development interventions which sought to deal with a single issue, no matter how well designed, were not able to deal with the reality that multicultural children had needs that were multi-faceted and interconnected. This is why “very few resources were allocated to the problems affecting the multicultural families” (Magnet 105).
Multicultural children usually become alienated due to the assimilation policies that are imposed in schools. Normally, these policies are meant to break the conversion of culture and language from an older generation to a younger generation; this leads to the alienating of the native children from their society and stimulates the identity crisis within their societies. This alienation can lead to social isolation which, in its turn, may result in depression through “stress, anger, and fatigue which distract the students from performing in schools” (Mallon and Hess 15).
The case of discrimination has been depicted to have taken a large proportion of the minority members of the society who are classified as an underclass, for instance, the multicultural children. However, certain means have been developed to reduce this issue of race discrimination, such as positive action which was implemented by schools and other institutions; using positive action various people have been engaged in fighting for equality and just in the whole world. Discrimination has a diversified effect on the students that normally differ in “spiritual upbringing, language background, cultural influence, and personality style” (Chuang 36); these factors hurt the students’ performance, especially when a school administration fails to address the needs of its students.
This problem may be dealt with using formulating the curricula which take into account the special needs of multicultural children and the peculiarities of their language and culture. Inability to form such curricula results in multicultural children’s losing their interest in studying, getting lower grades, and even dropping out of schools, which, in its turn, may lead to high illiteracy rates in the multicultural society.
If multicultural communities are going to participate centrally in the development processes which affect them in America, there has to be a process of education in an organization and mobilization to prepare them psychologically. When they face a problem, they need to understand that problem and then examine all the available options in the context of their own lives and the larger social environment.
In most cases, lack of motivation leads to absenteeism, poor performance, lack of involvement in activities, and dropout cases in schools by multicultural children. Most students are said to be undergoing various challenges while at school. Some of these problems may include fear of failure, lack of academic success, social pressures, lack of confidence, misplacement of papers and books, frequent absenteeism, lack of motivation, and inactivity at classes due to racial discrimination. Teachers are therefore asked to focus on the multicultural children’s problems culturally, linguistically, and socially and, at the same time, encourage these multicultural children to choose subjects which they are interested in.
These children should also be allowed to choose a unit of their study whereby the teacher can relate the children’s preferences of the subjects by asking those questions on the subjects they like and those they dislike but not based on racial factors. In this case, school instructors should be engaged in educating this category of multicultural children in learning institutions by applying the teaching techniques they have acquired to motivate these multicultural children to achieve their goals in school. From this case, each child, irrespective of his/her origin, should be involved in “every meaningful learning while at school” (Chuang 76).
School safety accountability programs that the schools in America need to implement should include policies that will favor multicultural children national wide. The school accountability programs need to incorporate various key elements. Some of the principles that form the basis of accountability programs in school safety include emphasizing the involvement of multicultural children in schools since there is no school safety program that can be successful if it does not involve all students irrespective of their races.
Even if the program is well developed and implemented, it will not enhance school success without incorporating all the students. Many district schools enhance school safety by giving parents “contract” forms to sign. These forms are supposed to administer and regulate the children’s conduct both academically and also socially. The “contract” forms are created by students together with their parents under the guidance of school teachers and other personnel of the school. To maintain school safety, multicultural children should report cases of indiscipline to the authorities; at this, school counselors play an important role in “counseling such children on an individual basis” (Nahari et al. 335).
Safe schools are schools that take all safety measures following the requirements of the commissioners of schools. To ensure safety in school, particularly for multicultural children, the school’s administration needs to build capacity that will support safety. The schools also have to communicate to students clear and direct messages about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in school. School authorities should make the students understand that they are supposed to be responsible as they become more accountable and take safety measures in their decisions.
In accountability, it is also important that the students should be taught critical thinking techniques which enable them to carefully consider their decisions. Though, according to research carried out for this program, it is important to accord students psychologists together with counselors. When students are well counseled their up becoming conduct such as violent activities against multicultural children reduces and they become more responsible.
Several multicultural students are reported to be bullied by other students. For a school to be safe, it has to implement measures and safety rules that would guard multicultural students against such treatment. School safety programs should be used to bring about safety in schools and incorporate multicultural children together with parents in instilling the safety measures that are undertaken by the school.
The US Education Department has sanctioned funds under the Migrant Education Program (MEP) which takes in the number of migrant students in a school and expenditure per student. Since 1966, a large part of these funds has been directed toward teacher training programs, parent advisory services, tutoring expertise, and community-based health services so that multicultural students were not deprived of any opportunities offered by the American school system. Families can make use of a “toll-free hotline that will put parents in touch with programs for multicultural students” (Balderrama and Rodriguez 33).
Apart from the abovementioned, there are funds allotted federally to migrants studying in schools or elsewhere. The High School Equivalency Program (HEP) provides funds to colleges, organizations, and universities to help migrant students obtain a General Educational Development Diploma (GED), to develop workplace and study skills. The Migrant Head Start (MHS) category is aimed “at preschool and programs for daycare” (Chuang 56). The Migrant Education Even Start (MES) provides migrant families with the opportunity to avail school or adult education so that they could get freed from the bonds of poverty and illiteracy. There is a fund in place to help migrant students in the first year of college, should they need it.
It is evident that some multicultural families have lived in abject poverty and had to work hard to meet their basic needs. Lack of education and vague policies implemented by the American institutions that do not cater to their educational interests were mostly major contributors to their living conditions in America.
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Chuang, DJ. Asian American Youth Ministry. New York: Lulu. 2006. Web.
Grimm, Robert T. Notable American Philanthropists: Biographies of Giving and Volunteering. New York: Greenwood Publishing group, 2002.
Mallon, Gerald P. and Hess, Peg M. Child Welfare for the Twenty-first Century: A Handbook of Practices. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
Magnet, Myron. The Millennial City: A New Urban Paradigm for 21st-Century America. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2000.
Nahari, Sara G., Lopez, Emilia C., and Esquivel, Giselle B. Multicultural Handbook of School Psychology: an Interdisciplinary Perspective. New York: Routledge, 2007.