The Urban Review

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 189–205

Cultural problems in minority education: Their interpretations and consequences—Part one: Theoretical background

  • John U. Ogbu

DOI: 10.1007/BF02354397

Cite this article as:
Ogbu, J.U. Urban Rev (1995) 27: 189. doi:10.1007/BF02354397


Culture has featured prominently in minority educational research, policies, and intervention since the early 1960s. It is receiving even more attention today in minority education discourse due to the emergence of cultural diversity and multicultural education as popular national issues. A careful analysis of the new discourse suggests, however, that the issue has shifted from how cultural differences enhance or deter the school adjustment and academic performance of minority children to the problem of cultural hegemony and representation in school curriculum and other domains of education. But cultural diversity and multicultural education are only a partial solution to the problems of culture in minority education. This essay is in two parts. In part one I argue for a reconsideration of the earlier question about how culture affects minority school adjustment and academic performance. I also proposecultural frame of reference as a new level of analysis of the cultural problems that confront minority students at school. In part two I illustrate my points with two case studies from Minority Education Project in Oakland, California.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • John U. Ogbu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley