Importance of cultural diversity in schools

Paul Cummins, PhD Educator and Author, explains the importance and benefits for kids of having cultural diversity in schools both in the present and in the future
The Importance of Cultural Diversity in Schools
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Importance of cultural diversity in schools

I think cultural diversity is not only important but critical in our education today and all schools say that they are preparing students for the future and that they are preparing them for the bigger world. When students leave their neighborhoods and go off to college or go out in the workaday world, they are not going to find just one culture there. They are not going to find one way of thinking, one way of problem solving. They are going to find richness out there, that if they are not prepared for it, they are going to have a hard time. They are going to have a hard time in their education and in their workaday world but if we can want to ask ourselves what kind of a world do we want to live in. Do we want to live in a world where a few people who come from one race, one country, one ideology have all the power and have all the benefits to this planet and the rest of the world struggles and that's kind of the way it is today so the important thing about cultural diversity is to start teaching students in the school that they go to, how to change the world so that it's more equitable and more enjoyable. I grew up in a very white waspy world where we ate shaken mash potatoes, because I didn't know about sushi and i didn't know about Tacos and I didn't know the cultural diversity. The only music i knew was a sort of pop music, Doris Day and Elephants Gerald. I didn't know anything about the music of the world. This is an extraordinary planet that we live on and there is wonderful diversity and to provide kids with just a little tiny piece of that and call it an education is nonsense.

Paul Cummins, PhD Educator and Author, explains the importance and benefits for kids of having cultural diversity in schools both in the present and in the future


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Paul Cummins, PhD

Educator & Author

Dr. Paul Cummins, President and CEO of Coalition for Engaged Education (CEE), received his bachelor of arts from Stanford University, his MAT from Harvard, and his doctorate from the University of Southern California.  In 1971, he co-founded Crossroads School in Santa Monica and built it into one of Los Angeles’s most successful educational institutions and a national model for innovative, independent schools. 

In 1995, Cummins stepped down as Headmaster of Crossroads and formed New Visions Foundation (now Coalition for Engaged Education) to offer opportunities for Engaged Education to all youth. The first venture was New Roads School, a diverse, K-12 independent school in Santa Monica that has a deep commitment to social justice. New Roads devotes 40% of its tuition budget to need-based student financial aid, guaranteeing access to students from a wide socioeconomic array. Cummins has since implemented a number of innovative programs to help children at risk.

Cummins has published four books on education, including Proceed With Passion: Engaging Students in Meaningful Education (2004), and Two Americas, Two Educations: Funding Quality Schools for all Students (2007), both published by Red Hen Press. His most recent book of essays, Why Poetry? Reflections on Poetry, Writing and Culture, was published in 2009 by Xlibris, in addition to two volumes of his poetry and two children's books published in recent years. He is currently finishing Confessions of a Headmaster: My Pursuit of Joy and Justice in Education (forthcoming from Red Hen Press).

Cummins and his wife Mary Ann reside in Santa Monica. They have four daughters and five grandchildren.

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