Defining and Designing Multiculturalism

One School System's Efforts

By Pepi Leistyna
Foreword by Peter L. McLaren

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, The Social Context of Education
Paperback : 9780791455081, 352 pages, November 2002
Hardcover : 9780791455074, 352 pages, November 2002

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Table of contents

Multiculturalism Revisited: Pepi Leistyna's Politics of the Concrete
Peter McLaren


Part One: Theoretically and Historically Contextualizing the Study

1. Critical Mulicultural Education: What is It?
2. A History of Changeton and its Public Schools
3. Facing Oppression: Youth Voices from the Front
4. The Formation of the Multicultural Central Steering Committee (CSC): Its Basic Processes, Functions, and Structures

Part Two: The Work of the Multicultural Central Steering Committee

5. The Development of the Multicultural Central Steering Committee's Mission Statement
6. Professional Development: Raising Consciousness among the Faculty and Staff
7. Curriculum Development and Instruction
8. Diversifying the Faculty and Staff
9. Creating a Partnership between the School and the Public

Part Three: The Impact of Multicultural Education in Changeton over the Years

10. In the Aftermath: A Dialogue with Three Changeton Teachers
11. Two Letters to Changeton Educators
12. Challenges for the Future

Appendix / Research Methodology

An activist group works to bring a multicultural education program to an urban public school system.


Just outside a major urban center on the east coast of the United States an activist group struggled to create a system-wide multicultural education program. Through a seven-year qualitative study, Pepi Leistyna documents and interprets—via a critical pedagogical lens—this group's work with professional development, curriculum and instruction, faculty and staff, and community outreach. Through engaging examples, stories, and participant voices, Leistyna offers a comprehensive, accessible ethnography with implications for others who might attempt similar sorts of systemic change.

Pepi Leistyna is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is the author of Presence of Mind: Education and the Politics of Deception and coeditor (with Arlie Woodrum and Stephen A. Sherblom) of Breaking Free: The Transformative Power of Critical Pedagogy.


"An active engagement with Leistyna's work will help educators, administrators, and community activists to break ranks with the misleading conceptions of mainstream multiculturalism, and to lay the groundwork for the development of a critical multiculturalism. " — from the Foreword by Peter L. McLaren

"What does it take to make a school system truly multicultural, in reality as well as in name? Few scholars have taken on this difficult problem, and Leistyna is one of a handful we can turn to for direction. With both insight and generosity, Leistyna points to the tensions and possibilities inherent in designing a school system that affirms all students and their families at the same time that it confronts difficult and troubling questions of structural inequality and deep-seated biases. " — Sonia Nieto, author of Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education, Third Edition and Language, Culture, and Teaching: Critical Perspectives for a New Century