Presentation Title

Influences on the Modern American Curriculum

Location

Room 2905 B

Session Format

Paper Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Education & Learning - Curriculum & Instruction

Abstract

Curriculum, according to Burke (2000), “is a metaphor from classical athletics. Like the ‘course’ it is the route around which the students had to run” (p. 90). For today’s students the reward for completing the course is a certificate, diploma, or degree. However, the course they run is far different from the one ran by students in classical Rome. Who has chosen this new course for America’s students? The answer to that question is both enormous and complex.

Many people, ideas, and organizations have influenced the development of modern America’s curriculum, including religion, race, politics, philosophy, and other successful educational systems. Religion has been a great influencer of curriculum, from the formation of schools to the regulation of information. Those individuals who shaped religious beliefs and practices, often through reformation, contributed to the formation of a modern American curriculum. The handling of race issues and cultural diversity in America’s schools has also had a significant influence on today’s curriculum. Schools of philosophy influencing America’s curriculum include mental discipline, humanism, the child study movement, social efficiency movement, social meliorism, and progressivism.

Another influence on America’s curriculum is the success of other nations. Much to the nation’s chagrin, other nations have surpassed America on international academic achievement ratings. The public wants a better education system for both the benefit of the individual and of the nation. However, great controversy surrounds the means to which schools can achieve this goal. Finland is one of the nations that can claim a substantial positive transformation of their educational system. By analyzing their success and considering how similar reforms could transform America’s educational system, Finland’s success could positively influence America’s modern curriculum.

Finally, one of the most enduring and influential factors shaping today’s curriculum, political power has exerted a tangible force over the field of education and the development of curriculum. Unfortunately, those authorized to participate in influential reports and regulations are not restricted to those with training in education, and individuals with priorities other than what is best for students can impact this important institution, which affects the future of our country through our children.

The driving force of the nation’s educational policy cannot be a greedy desire for consumption or for power. America claims to be a country founded on the tenets of a public empowered with freedom, choice, and voice. Once the conversation has moved past assigning blame, and the education community has the freedom to make choices about the path it will take and an opportunity to voice its ideas, only then will America’s curriculum finally become unstuck from the mire into which it has been steadily sinking.

Keywords

American curriculum, History of curriculum, Religion, Educational philosophy, International education, Race, Politics

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-24-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

4-24-2015 5:00 PM

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Apr 24th, 4:00 PM Apr 24th, 5:00 PM

Influences on the Modern American Curriculum

Room 2905 B

Curriculum, according to Burke (2000), “is a metaphor from classical athletics. Like the ‘course’ it is the route around which the students had to run” (p. 90). For today’s students the reward for completing the course is a certificate, diploma, or degree. However, the course they run is far different from the one ran by students in classical Rome. Who has chosen this new course for America’s students? The answer to that question is both enormous and complex.

Many people, ideas, and organizations have influenced the development of modern America’s curriculum, including religion, race, politics, philosophy, and other successful educational systems. Religion has been a great influencer of curriculum, from the formation of schools to the regulation of information. Those individuals who shaped religious beliefs and practices, often through reformation, contributed to the formation of a modern American curriculum. The handling of race issues and cultural diversity in America’s schools has also had a significant influence on today’s curriculum. Schools of philosophy influencing America’s curriculum include mental discipline, humanism, the child study movement, social efficiency movement, social meliorism, and progressivism.

Another influence on America’s curriculum is the success of other nations. Much to the nation’s chagrin, other nations have surpassed America on international academic achievement ratings. The public wants a better education system for both the benefit of the individual and of the nation. However, great controversy surrounds the means to which schools can achieve this goal. Finland is one of the nations that can claim a substantial positive transformation of their educational system. By analyzing their success and considering how similar reforms could transform America’s educational system, Finland’s success could positively influence America’s modern curriculum.

Finally, one of the most enduring and influential factors shaping today’s curriculum, political power has exerted a tangible force over the field of education and the development of curriculum. Unfortunately, those authorized to participate in influential reports and regulations are not restricted to those with training in education, and individuals with priorities other than what is best for students can impact this important institution, which affects the future of our country through our children.

The driving force of the nation’s educational policy cannot be a greedy desire for consumption or for power. America claims to be a country founded on the tenets of a public empowered with freedom, choice, and voice. Once the conversation has moved past assigning blame, and the education community has the freedom to make choices about the path it will take and an opportunity to voice its ideas, only then will America’s curriculum finally become unstuck from the mire into which it has been steadily sinking.