Curriculum Issues in Americas Schools

Developing a curriculum for schools in America is no small task. It cannot be done by the average citizen on the street. Research and extra study will not form a foundation for such an undertaking. Establishing a curriculum for one grade is a huge task, so to do so for K-12 is monumental. Professionals assigned to this job must be very well educated, and for best results they should be educators themselves.

There have been several failed attempts at this huge undertaking. Some of them fall under the title of “Standardized curriculum,” “No Child Left Behind,” and Standardized testing.” The next, or most current attempt, “Common Core,” could possibly follow in the footprints of failure. One main reason for their failure is their creators. The bottom line is that those programs are basically dictated by the Government. Those who set the standards are not educated in the field of teaching, and they have not been teachers. They just don’t qualify. They cannot know what should be contained in a working curriculum.

Core curricula must be designed by educated educators with strong credentials.  “ideology-driven political rhetoric and it’s clear that, decade after decade, institutional performance nationwide changes little.”  Even schools considered models and pointed to with pride – upscale, beautiful, well-staffed, shipping high percentages of their graduates off to the Ivy League – send most students on their ways with talents and abilities unidentified or undeveloped. Few graduate with their natural love of learning enhanced or even intact.”

Core curricula, language, arts, math, science, history and social studies, have been taught since the beginnings of this nation. This is the center from which the full curriculum is organized. These subjects are ever expanding, and changing as new knowledge is gained. To form a curriculum plan, one has to include, or at least consider, the vast differences in the way people experience life in different parts of the country, and the world. It would appear that a core curriculum in the north could be different in many ways from that of the south, or the southwest.  There can be no single standard other than the subjects themselves, that are included in the curriculum plan. Agriculture may be significant in parts of the nation, and including that topic while teaching math, science, and reading, etc., may be appropriate. Other parts of the country may include an emphasis in industry, a particular set of cultural topics, or even some religious coverage. With that said, it would seem that core curriculum would not necessarily be the same across the country.

“Right now, the biggest, heaviest assumption on the reform truck has it that, when the Common Core State Standards Initiative is complete – when somebody has decided exactly what every kid in every state is supposed to know in every school subject at every grade level — the education reform truck will take off like gangbusters.

It won’t. If all the reformers’ flawed assumptions are corrected, but the traditional math-science-language-arts-social-studies “core curriculum” remains the main organizer of knowledge, the truck may creep forward a few inches, but it won’t take the young where they need to go if we care about societal survival. The mess from this generation’s political paralysis and refusal to address looming problems can’t be cleaned up using the same education that helped create it.”

“There’s an alternative to the core as an organizer of information and knowledge. We use it from birth to death, and we didn’t learn it in school. It’s the key to an order-of-magnitude improvement in learner performance.”

The following is very clear and explains the natural learning process that existed before we started school.

“… consider how much we learn and how fast we learn it long before we walk through school doors. Starting from scratch, we figure out how to meet personal needs; learn what’s acceptable and unacceptable behavior; construct explanatory theories; master one or more complex languages; adapt appropriately to many different personality types; absorb the foundational patterns of action and premises of one or more cultures; and much, much else.”

“Our “natural” knowledge-organizing and integrating system’s main components are those we use to create the most complete and sophisticated models of reality known – stories. To make sense of any and all reality, we seek answers to just five questions – Who? What? When? Where? Why? All knowledge is an elaboration of one or more of those five distinct kinds of information.”

The question becomes, who would need to be assigned the task of writing the curriculum? It is already established above that the writers must be well educated educators. It is possible that each state can have a staff to develop the curriculum for their state. In some cases, state writers might join with each other in a regional format to work together in an effort to brainstorm and share information. Information sharing can be very beneficial.

It is possible that something that should not be included in the equation is “Standards Initiative”. Some good reasons for disallowing this system to continue are:

No constitutional or statutory basis for national standards, national assessments, or national curricula.

No consistent evidence indicates that a national curriculum leads to high academic achievement.

Developed national standards are inadequate for basing a national curriculum as planned by the administration. 

No body of evidence recommends a “best” design for curriculum sequences in any subject. 

No body of evidence justifies a single high school curriculum for all students.

In summary, there are many issues involved with establishing a workable curriculum in America.  Start with developing a curriculum that is practical. That  work must be done by highly educated educators. Schools have to return to teaching people, and not subjects. The curriculum has to take into account real life experiences of the learners. The curriculum needs to be adapted to the regions for which it is developed. A common core curriculum has proven to be a failed plan, and possibly should be scrapped and replaced by that which will use the very natural learning skills that people develop before ever entering a school.