The Public School Parent's Network                    
A Resource Guide and Information Source for Parents






Cultural Sensitivity

The Changing Face of America
and our Public Schools

Valuing Diversity in the Schools: The Counselor's Role. ERIC Digest


The valuing of diversity in the schools is no longer merely a social goal. With the make-up of the student body changing so rapidly, school counselors, teachers and administrators realize that they are now required to learn new techniques and skills for understanding, motivating, teaching, and empowering each individual student regardless of race, gender, religion or creed. We are a nation of diverse populations and groups. The future of our society depends upon our ability to effectively talk with one another, to reach mutual understanding, and to realize that in diversity there is strength.

By the year 2056, the "average" U.S. citizen will trace his or her descent to Africa, Asia, the Hispanic countries, the Pacific Islands--almost anywhere but white Europe (Wittmer, 1992). Obviously, the United States is changing significantly. By the year 2000 the population of the U.S. will be 43% people of color. In 1990, over 30% of the public school students were either African-American or Hispanic. The statistical meaning of the word minority is quickly losing its significance, especially in America's classrooms. And by the year 2075, African Americans, Alaskan Natives, American Natives, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans will be the statistical majority in the United States (Locke, 1992).

School counselors can serve as catalysts to insure that teachers, students and others learn how to value diversity. That is, the valuing of diversity can be taught to others and should be a major part of any school's comprehensive guidance program.


University of Indiana Safe and Responsive Schools:       
Minority Overrepresentation and School Discipline       
Minority Disproportionality: 
(excerpt) Yet the unequal treatment of African American students in school discipline is by no means a new issue. Rates of school punishment for black students that exceed rates for white students have been documented for over 25 years. Nor does the problem appear to be lessening; recent research reports continue to find disparities in discipline in office referrals, suspension, expulsion, and corporal punishment6. There can be little doubt that African American students are in general subjected to higher rates of school suspension and other school punishments than other students.

Indiana University, Office of Communications and Marketing:  Disproportionate suspensions of African Americans by schools not due to misbehavior, new study finds

Developing Cultural Sensitivity within Public Education, An Essay in Modern Humanism
by:  Dr. John L. Godwin, Ph.D. 


Office for Civil Rights
bullet Ensuring that nondiscriminatory practices are followed in the placement of minority students in special education and access to gifted and talented programs;
bullet Ensuring that English language learners are afforded access to English language instruction, as well as content courses and other educational benefits;
bullet Ensuring that elementary and secondary students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education;
bullet Ensuring that students are not subject to a racially hostile environment;
bullet Ensuring nondiscriminatory student disciplinary policies and practices; and
bullet Ensuring equal opportunity for male and female students to participate in athletic programs.
How to Contact Us

Many OCR offices have customer service teams that respond to questions from our partners, stakeholders and members of the public. (see Appendix A) OCR also serves the public through its web page at and its toll free telephone line [1-800-421-3481] that is staffed during business hours, eastern standard time.                                                                    Teaching Children Tolerance                  

As parents, we contribute to the moral development and civic virtue of our children in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis. While we are not totally responsible for our children's beliefs and actions, we certainly play a powerful role in shaping them through our own attitudes, actions and inactions, and the climate we create for our children in our homes. 



Cultural Sensitivity

Prejudice & Discrimination
Language Barriers



What to Tell Your Child About Prejudice and Discrimination


US Dept of Education
Extended Learning Time for Disadvantaged Students


Christian Science Monitor
Black history: best taught in February or all year long?
Cultural  Competence
in Education
(National Public Radio)
Educating Latinos:
 An NPR Special Report
A Five-Part Series on a
Crisis in Education
The Color of Discipline

US Dept of Education:
Office of Civil Rights

Acting White
























































































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