There has been a growing amount of federal influence in education. Whether through incentives or curriculum legislation, the federal government has become too central in education. The problem doesn’t lie within the intentions of the government, but the curriculum that is being promoted by it. First and foremost, curriculum should be decided at the local and state level. This allows students the best opportunity because the curriculum they are provided with is catered to them.
As a country, we typically follow a general curriculum set out by national guidelines. This can be good in the sense that we know as a nation, every child is getting the same education (although that doesn’t incorporate the actual amount of learning occurring in the classroom). However, this national guideline often conflicts with the interests of the students. We must engage students in order to encourage learning. On March 5th, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) agreed to a new a state law that mandates black history be taught in all public schools. This not only extends a history that isn’t taught enough to students, but allows students who are African-American to relate to the curriculum being taught. Instead of talking only about African-American history during brief periods of American history or during Black History month, students will have an opportunity to learn about their ancestors and their past.
In large Latin American regions, I personally think school districts should encompass a Latin American history class for Latin American students and those interested to learn about the history of Latin American people. What we often forget about in the social studies curriculum is that America isn’t just made of Europeans, however students only learn about the white America in textbooks. There is a lot of diversity throughout the states, and I think students so be given an opportunity to study it.
In regards to math, science, and English, it would be within a local school district’s best interest to access the amount of time needed in these subject areas based on the demographic and results on tests (although the tests I propose is something similar to a previous post of mine Truth Behind Testing). Schools that don’t need to spend additional time in these subjects can allow their students to take classes outside the core requirements, and those schools that access that their students need more time in these subjects should do so without pressure federally.
As for testing, a national test is ideal in that everyone is assessed equally, however I see potential pitfalls in that area. The standards regardless being set locally or federally should challenge the students, but be held as simply an ideal benchmark. There needs to be testing to understand where students could use extra work and apply these results to the school curriculum.
Overall, a curriculum in the hands of a local government allows schools to be more flexible the way they teach, and can cater towards students needs and desires. There is a slight need for federal assistance in the economics of education, however with regard to setting curriculum they need to take a step back.
- The Truth Behind Testing (moderndaychris.wordpress.com)
- CPS will teach more African American studies in the fall (wbez.org)
- Breaking: Center School Race and Gender Curriculum Reinstated – Mostly (slog.thestranger.com)
- Curriculum must be designed to motivate (mysanantonio.com)
- Changing Lives, Changing Communities (about.taylorwimpey.co.uk)