Politically Rooted

How do you think that school curricula are developed?

Before Reading:

I believe that school curricula is developed by the provincial and federal government. For example, the Ministry and Board of Education. Within those two categories, I would imagine that there are a variety of educated people in different areas who contribute to how the curriculum is developed. Perhaps an anthropologist, psychologist, educator, etc. However, an educator would seem like one of the best resources when creating a curriculum, because they are the ones teaching. There is likely a group of experts who decide what should go into the curriculum based on the present culture, but depending on funding, may not be updated for a period of time.

How are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

After Reading:

School curricula is actually developed by the government on both a federal and provincial level.  They decide what students are expected to know and what they should be able to do with the education that is provided to them. In other words, this is referred to as public policy. Because public policy is rooted in politics, it is safe to say that school curricula is also rooted in politics. On page 8 of the article, Tinder (1991) describes a political system as “a set of arrangements by which some people dominate others” (p.162). If we look at those who are in authority within the political system, it is generally individuals who are white and male. Therefore, this would imply that those with the greatest influence over school curricula are also white and male. As this has been the case for many years it has only brought information and perspectives from a Eurocentric and patriarchal mentality. This is concerning because the people who education effects the most, are the ones who are not part of the curricula development. This is also confirmation that Eurocentric culture has dominated the education system as well.

Page 9 talks states, “every government has to pay some attention to the views of the elites of various kinds, even if not to citizens more generally”. What I gather from this statement is that in order to have some sort of influence outside of the government, if only slightly, is based on hierarchy. Most people that are elites within society are usually those with the most money. Which again, is generally white men when looking at the context of Canada and even Saskatchewan in particular. Page 10 states the despite those in political power, they are also making decisions with inadequate knowledge. With these few reasons alone, leaves a lot of concern because we are putting curricula in the hands of people who only represent a portion of the population. Page 15 mentions how there have been disputes over what history to teach. It is a bit ironic and not surprising at all, as there is only a dispute because the change would mean teaching subjects beyond just a colonial and Eurocentric perspective. 

In its entirety, this is all new to me. I never realized that educators don’t have as much of a role in curriculum development as I thought they did. But what surprised me more is that the students have very little say. I understand that if we look at this from a view of hierarchy, why should students have a decision in the development of curriculum and how it is implemented? Because as time goes by, and culture shifts, and diversity enlarges, as should the way we approach education. Therefore, the students are changing and it is important that we learn new ways to develop and implement curriculum as well. 

source cited: https://www.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upmbinaries/16905_Chapter_1.pdf

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