Cultural Proximity in Academic Achievement Standards Essay

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Cultural Proximity in Academic Achievement Standards

The social fabric of our country is built on the foundation of culture. All cultures contribute to the main culture that is thought to be subscribed to by the majority. (Sturt) As of 2006 Florida was second in cultural diversity becoming a melting pot. Multiple shared beliefs and customs attempting to maintain group identity while creating blended communities. Diverse means different and culture is a shared set of values within a group and together they create cultural diversity. Cultural diversity has increased in the classroom having a profound effect on education. According to U.S. Department of Education statistics, over 45 percent of public school students were Black and Hispanic. Florida’s current method for tracking academic performance has created achievements gaps within the diverse student population. Expecting less from one demographic and more from another based on cultural diversity is an injustice. The mythical norms of ethnic diversity in education perpetuate the cultural proximity in academic achievement standards of diverse students based on language, student behavior, and curriculum. Attempts to rectify this cultural bias in education has the Florida State Board of Education scrambling to catch students up to national standards and was recently criticized for declaring that diversity has no bearing on the academic achievement. Cultures produce many native languages that become the primary source of communication for different ethnicities. Culture determines the language or languages used at home and the frequency of use. The predominant language used in public schools is English and students are expected to master the convention of standard American English. Programs such as (ESL) English as a second Language were created in response to the rise in cultural diversity with the ultimate goal of creating bilingual students. However ESL is a progressive controversial method because instruction is mainly in English with little or no use of the learner’s native language. The myth is that diverse students do not understand the English language; therefore they are less intelligent than native English speaking students. Diverse minorities are thought less intelligent if they are unable to communicate properly in English. Viewing language differences as handicaps and not resources and as of 2010 forty-eight percent of foreign-born immigrants ages 5 and older were considered limited English proficient (LEP) here in Florida. Proving George Herbert Mead and Herbert Bummers’ symbolic interactions theory. That the “self” is the product of messages used as communication within a culture focusing on how language produces” who’ we are and how we behave. (Warren and Fassett) (Stevens, Uqdah and Tyler)
Realizing that a student’s behavior has everything to do with culture is key in teaching a multi cultural classroom. History shows, our everyday communicative actions and inaction help change or reaffirm the social structures around us. (Warren and Fassett 193) All behaviors are demonstrated in all cultures, originate at birth and cultivate in the home. Cultural differences and heritage influence behavioral patterns. Uniformity in a classroom comes at a disadvantage to students whose cultures teach them behaviors or beliefs that are different from traditional norms taught in school. Student behaviors are the actions and reactions students’ display in certain situations. These actions are influenced by culture and the reaction depends on the culture and past experiences. We have been disciplined to do them; they are embedded in our experiences. (Warren and Fassett) For example some teachers at Galaxy Middle School in Volusia County labeled some Hispanic students as “ loud or “antsy” until they were informed that they are naturally exuberant and social by culture. Which proves George Herbert Mead and Herbert Blummers’ symbolic interactionism theory. That the “self” is