Minority Education: From Shame to Struggle
Edited by: Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Jim Cummins
In both Europe and North America during the past 20 years, controversy has surrounded the education of children from linguistic minority backgrounds. An increasing number of minority children are experiencing difficulties at school and many leave school with no formal qualifications. There are fears among many educators and policy-makers that an entire generation of alienated youth with no future prospects is being produced by western educational systems. This book analyses policy issues regarding the education of minority students in western industrialised societies and presents a number of case studies of programs that have been successful in reversing the pattern of minority students' academic failure. A central theme throughout the volume is that the causes of minority students' academic difficulties are rooted in the power relations between the dominant and subordinate groups in society. Schools have typically reflected and reinforced these power relations through strategies such as punishment of children for speaking their mother tongue at school with the result that minority students have not developed confidence in their own cultural identity or academic abilities. Reversal of minority students' school failure requires that educators set out to enable both minority students and communities to empower themselves. The presentation of case studies in which this empowerment has been successfully achieved is complemented by the perspectives of individuals and minority communities who have been involved in the struggle for educational and linguistic rights of minority children.
ildren in Denmark"), 1983 (with Birgitte Rahbek); Bilingualism or not: The education of minorities, 1984; Minoritet, sprak och racism ("Minority, language and racism"), 1986 (in collaboration with Ilka Kangas and Kea Kangas, Tove's daughters) (Finnish translation Vahemmisto, kieli ja rasismi, Gaudeamus, 1987); Linguicism rules in education, 1986 (with Robert Phillipson). Jim Cummins was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1949. He carried out his doctoral research in Canada on the effects of bilingualism on children's cognitive development and obtained his PhD from the University of Alberta in 1974. He subsequently worked in the Educational Research Centre in Dublin where he conducted several studies relating to the consequences of Irish—English bilingualism and bilingual education. He returned to Canada in 1976 and carried out research on cognitive processing and reading difficulties at the Centre for the Study of Mental Retardation in the University of Alberta. He currently works in the Modern Language Centre of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto and is the author of Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy (Multilingual Matters) and Bilingualism in education: Aspects of theory, research and policy (Longman; with Merrill Swain).