Policy and Curriculum

The article by Levin, “Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools,” discusses school curriculum and how it is implemented and developed. Levin defines curriculum as “an official statement of what students are expected to know and be able to do” (pg 8). The article was a pretty dense read, and some concepts became hard to grasp. Towards the beginning of the article, there is a discussion on how the government in power is thinking about ways of being reelected—in other words, trying to do what voters want. Outside of government, the article also talks about how almost everyone has attended school, so everyone has an opinion on the education system. Curriculum politics tend to involve many people with “some combination of national, local, and school participation” (page 15). Policies can cover topics like who teaches, where they teach, how they teach, what resources are to be used and who they teach. Many of the decisions are made within the education system are made with little outside attention. Public voice is minimal. I believe that the curriculum needs to evolve and change with social norms and expectations continually. I understand that this is a near-impossible idea, being that curriculum is the way it is for a reason. It would take a great deal of time and effort from many people to make and keep up with the changes. I hate to say that something is impossible, but it is hard to see what one person can do to make the necessary changes as an individual. The article does touch on taking “account of emerging knowledge in the field,” so someone, somewhere, is trying to keep updated. I am glad that there is research being done to evolve the curriculum. 

There are connections between Levin’s article and the Treaty Education Outcomes and Indicators document by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education in the political approach to curriculum. The document states that there is a sub-committee responsible for the development of the curriculum. The document shows that the province of Saskatchewan is starting to include Treaty and Indigenous education in our school systems. There is a long way to go in this area of our education system. There was a late start to including Indigenous knowledge, but now that is included, I hope that we can build a robust curriculum including Indigenous culture, treaties, history and traditions.  

This post is written based on the following articles:

One Comment

  • Riley Girodat

    Hi Danielle,

    You mention that “many of the decisions are made within the education system are made with little outside attention,” which in certain cases may be true, but the article goes into how there are many external factors influencing curriculum development, such as politicians, special interest groups, voters, the media, universities and professors, etc. Levin states that all of these external factors complicate the process of creating and revising the curriculum and I think the curriculum could likely be changed much more easily without the external factors, but I don’t think this would be a great option as it would create situations where “many of the decisions are made within the education system are made with little outside attention.” Despite the added complications, what sorts of benefits do you think are created by having external factors like the media or voters influencing the curriculum decisions, and what might some of the drawbacks be?

    What sorts of challenges do you think may have been faced by those who developed the Treaty Education document? Now that it has been drafted and implemented, do you think things will run mostly smoothly or might there be additional challenges further down the road?



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