Before reading Benjamin Levin’s article Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools, I had the general understanding that, while politics and governments contributed to the development of curriculum, experts did most of the development. People who have a vast knowledge of each subject area as well as an expertise on the actual practice of teaching. The experts know what does and does not work in a curriculum in order to change it accordingly.
Now that I have read the article, I have a greater understanding of the influence that public policy and politics have on the development and implementation of curriculum. As Levin (2008) points out in his article, “Policies govern just about every aspect of education – what schooling is provided, how, to whom, in what form, by whom, with what resources, and so on” (p. 8). One of the purposes of education is to create “good” citizens. Therefore, it would make sense that governments use curriculum to help shape the citizens that they believe will sustain their society. Issues that are the concern of the society become the concern of curriculum. One issue that Levin (2008) brings to light in regards to curriculum development “…is the balance between subject matter expertise and larger perspectives on the role of a given topic in the overall school program” (p. 16). This is particularly surprising to me because of my previous understanding of curriculum development. The focus should be what is best for the students’ development as opposed to pushing public opinion. Therefore, experts should be relied on more than public policy. However, as Levin (2008) states, “Curriculum decisions are often part of a much larger public debate that often extends beyond education to larger questions of public goods” (p. 22).
Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should Be Learned in Schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Curriculum and Instruction (pp. 7 – 24). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Available on-line from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf