Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Minority Rights from Will Kymlicha and Philosophy Bites

Philosophy Bites is a podcast by Nigel Warburton that interviews philosophers on specific topics. As a former philosophy student, this is kind of like candy to me.

His interview[listen] of Will Kymlicha speaks particularly to the issues facing education. He states that it is necessary to grant specific rights to minority groups, which might seem at odd with the equality that most liberal western democracies might be founded on.

He divides minority groups up into three broad types and determines that each group has grounds for requesting different sorts of rights.

1. Indigenous groups
2. Immigrant groups
3. Language groups

The reasons he states for needing these special rights are to right historic wrongs and to recognize the inherent advantages the dominant groups receive in society and government. This interview creates the theoretical basis for discussing minority group rights in schools.

These minority rights are incredibly important when thinking about education. We must recognize that students do not come to school with the same set of experiences, skills and expectations. Our schools are beginning the process of providing additional support for specific groups. The St. Louis Park High School has been particularly successful with this, with a number of support groups to help African-American students succeed and challenge themselves in school. There is still a lot of room to grow though. We have to continue to show and argue that minority groups require additional support in an educational system that favors the dominant white culture here in the United States.

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