Is Curriculum a Public Policy?

My understanding of curriculum after this week’s readings is that curriculum is a document which specifies what students are to know and be able to do. There are general objectives in curriculum and then there are more specific outcomes for different grade levels and subjects. Although teachers, principals, and experts on subject areas are involved in the curricula process it is still more often than not a political matter in which government has complete control.

Although I knew that education was controlled by the government I had never really thought about the impact that could have on curricula. No one is completely impartial to what they would want to be taught in school, and unfortunately people are always going to have their own biases; like Kevin Kumashiro always says (who my professor Michael Cappello often quotes): “What does it make possible and what does it make impossible?” If someone’s decisions are very rooted in Religion what could the curriculum look like? What things may be given special attention and what items might be omitted? I think this is important to remember when analyzing curricula as well as when voting and taking part in democracy. The government has the power to make every final decision on curricula even if experts on education have put in hours of research and their expertise into creating it. It is concerning to me that we entrust the government with such power because of possible biases, but also because they do not always know the demographics and diversity of students in each school across the region they govern. 

I believe if the public is aware of the power the government has in terms of education, more people will be encouraged take part in the conversation about schools and more specifically this topic: curriculum. If more people voice their opinions and concerns, more groups of people will be represented, and hopefully the government will see the need to be much more mindful when making decisions on education.

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2 thoughts on “Is Curriculum a Public Policy?

  1. I appreciate the nuance here – I wanted to clarify that I am quoting Kevin Kumashiro when I talk about (im)possible. I like the spaces for thinking that you’ve allowed by persisting with this idea. The religious example is a relatively easy one. Can you give a different example that would be harder to trace? What about those people who claim neutrality?

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    • Edited! I’ve been thinking about the possible conflicts with claiming neutrality and what comes to my mind is that our students are not neutral. Although neutrality potentially allows for no students to feel marginalized it could also make an opportunity to learn from other cultures, religions, and worldviews impossible. I think that this question of neutrality fits well with one I’ve heard: “Should schools and teachers be ‘Colour Blind’?” I am looking forward to our seminar this week!

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