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Critical Multiculturalism and Education

In the 1990s, multicultural education, and a wider public policy of multiculturalism of which it formed a part, seemed largely unassailable. After all, advocacy for it had had by that time a history of 30 to 40 years, beginning with the U.S. civil rights movement and extending to other Western countries such as Canada, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia. Schools in these contexts increasingly endorsed an overtly multicultural approach—or, at least, its most common variant of liberal multiculturalism—foregrounding respect for and inclusion of ethnic and cultural differences as the basis for teaching and learning. Even critics of multiculturalism conceded its impact on public policy, particularly within education—a wearied resignation most notably captured in Nathan Glazer's phrase, “We are all multiculturalists now.”

How times have changed. During ...

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