Who influences curriculum and is it the right people?

For our blog this week we were to write our thoughts about who creates curriculum before we read our readings.  Then we were to read the selection and share our thoughts on it, hence the before and after sections.

Before reading

I have always known that the government creates the curriculum, however I am very unclear of the process of developing the curriculum.  In a class I took in the winter of 2017, we had a representative from the Regina Catholic School Board (RCSB)come in and talk to us about new curriculum development. He indicated that teachers were instrumental in developing and writing curriculum.  I found myself wondering what teachers contributed. Is it lesson plans that meet the curriculum or is it curriculum outcomes and indicators or a combination.  What I did find interesting from RCSB rep was that they did confer extensively with Elders in the vetting of the new curriculum.

After reading:

After reading our selection for this topic, I found it very enlightening at just how many influences there are over curriculum. I am an optimist, in that I always hope that children’s’ best interests and education overrides all else, so I found it a little disconcerting to have it brought front and center that educational policy makers seem to be influenced by so many lobbyists and special interest groups and that may drive their decisions rather than what is best for the students.  I don’t mean to suggest that I didn’t know the influence of outside groups played a role, it is one of those things that just lurked under the surface of my knowledge and that I hoped wasn’t as influential as it was made out to be.

Research is also an influencing factor, however that is often very skewed and not truly unbiased.  Most research is conducted with a purpose to prove something, and that purpose is often dictated by those who are funding the research or want something to change.  Research is then conducted in a way to prove the purpose.  We often see our Canadian students compared to other countries and then we hear studies that prove this country or that is better in math or science than Canada.  Then everyone is up in arms and we must do something to compete.  What the studies or research fails to tell us is why other countries excel in academics over Canada.  They fail to consider cultural aspects of it.  When we try to implement similar strategies in Canada they often fail because our Canadian culture does not function in a way to support those strategies, or our research tells us that for a random example that our Canadian students begin to fall behind in Grade 5 in math.  So, to correct and keep our students from getting behind, we make the changes to the grade 5 curriculum, when the changes need to occur in Kindergarten or even before, so the changes are built on.  Research also doesn’t consider or minimizes the impact of resources that are allocated, in the different schools in an area or even across provinces. Research often shows that students in poorer schools do worse in academics, so the curriculum is adjusted to make them more successful, rather than addressing the underlying causes, such as funding to the schools, perhaps the teacher’s abilities, and the outside influences, poverty, family lives etc.

I don’t know what the real solution is, but my ideal would be for all the policy makers when it comes to education is to make decisions based on what is going to benefit all students rather than who threatens to not vote for them or fund their campaigns.  It would be nice if one day education policy would be free of politics.

 

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