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Paper about education and educational system in US

The question of the curriculum in the United States has been a significant one since the beginning of formal education during the colonial period. A main feature of the curriculum has been the involvement of teachers in its development. In all systems of education teachers are in the forefront of the development of the curriculum as they are the ones who come into direct contact with students. “A curriculum can be defined as the planned educational experiences offered by a school which can take place anywhere at anytime” (Todd, 1965).

http://meenbeen. com/education/Curriculum_Design. pdf. Although the development of the curriculum has also implicated university professors and politicians, classroom teachers have played a significant role in its structure. Teachers have likewise been involved in developing resource materials that are required to aid the implementation of the curriculum. “The development of any country depends upon its educational system. Any type of development is possible through education” http://www. floweradvisor.

com/lifestyle/technology/technology_education/562/curricular_changes_in_teacher_education/. The basic thinking behind this practice is that teachers discern best what the learning needs of their students are, and teachers can best prepare students for effectual roles in society. “Educational policy-making in the United States occurs by means of a multilayered and largely decentralized system in which both decision-making processes and the boundaries of authority are indistinct” (Karen Seashore Louis; 1998).

William van Til views that whereas some school systems attempt curricular uniformity, the notion of local development is still practiced as the idea of control of the curriculum by any agent other than local authorities is against American traditions. “A mark of a good high school curriculum is maintaining balance among the important priorities and purposes”. http://www1. indstate. edu/coe/van_til/pdf/17%20What%20Makes%20a%20Good%20High%20School%20Curriculum. pdf. This suggests that the development of the curriculum regularly takes into account political considerations. It has become a recognized and accepted practice that since the U.

S. Constitution relegates education to the states, the states in turn consign it to local school boards (Gerald Gutek, 1991). This is the setting in which teachers play a significant role in developing the curriculum. To have a clear understanding of the development of the curriculum in the United States, one needs to observe events that began to unfold during the colonial period. Because education had two main purposes–to enable students to function and survive in the wilderness and to impart religious and moral values–the development of the curriculum was a result of cooperation between the church and the state.

One can see that the curriculum envisioned by Jefferson, Franklin, and Webster began to take on political dimensions that were significant to shaping the country. Today political dimensions seem to take two forms that use important influence on the curriculum: international events and national developments. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 by Japan demanded a change in the core curriculum to suit conditions imposed by the war. Seeking to understand development of the curriculum in the United States is best done from a historical viewpoint.

The curriculum has been intended to serve the needs of students and society in response to transform in social conditions at various stages in history of the country. The classical curriculum that came into being as a consequence of the Yale Report of 1828 was considered significant because education was intended to prepare an elite class who would run the country in diverse ways. Development of the curriculum in the United States should also be viewed from two critical perspectives. First is the socioeconomic factor.

The demand for reform of the curriculum of the 1950s originated partly from the demand for equality. This in itself was an outcome of the civil rights movement and partially from a new approach to educational issues through research. A number of cognitive psychologists together with Jerome Bruner went beyond Jean Piaget’s concept of developmental stages to suggest, among other things, how children learn. “The United States must introduce standards and assessments to have an appropriately educated work force” (Harold Stevenson, 1993, 63-65).

The central argument that emerged from this thinking was that, though the curriculum had changed significantly following the era of progressive education, education was still restricted in content. Educational psychologists and researchers began to argue that minority groups did more inadequately in school as they lacked access to an educational environment that promoted their strengths, and that this was a consequence of racial discrimination. While stacked against the preponderance of statistical data obtained through research, it was hard to refute this conclusion.

America had entered a new phase in the procedure of thinking about race and ethnicity. The second factor is the political factor. The decade of the eighties produced some outstanding black athletes whose capability caused problems for people like Jim “the Greek” Schneider and Al Campanese. Both men appeared on television to make racial remarks that were considered offensive. Jesse Jackson has taken the situation that if black Americans can become star athletes, then there is no basis why they cannot become academic stars.

What this suggests is that the notion of black mental and intellectual inadequacy has finally been laid to rest. “The recent movement towards standardization of the Curriculum standards in the United States can be traced back to 1983, when the U. S. Department of Education released a controversial report entitled “A Nation At Risk”, which asserted that the country’s public education system was being “eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity. “” http://wiki. idebate. org/index. php/Debate:Should_we_standardize_the_curriculum_of_the_Unidted_States_education_system%3F

Affirmative action and Head Start programs were put in place as a result of the national call to end discrimination in education. Part of the effort was aimed toward eliminating the effect of past discrimination in economic life. The decision of the Bush administration in December 1990 that scholarships offered completely to minority students might constitute invalidate discrimination was a cause of great concern among members of the minority community. However, during the height of the struggle for social parity and educational opportunity the curriculum went through a dramatic period of change.

Black studies, urban studies, women’s studies, multicultural studies, and bilingual education all found a significant place in the curriculum of institutions of higher education. It is doubtful that, were it not for political action reformation such a curriculum would not have come about. Minority students and women were taught to have respect for them and to value their potential as individuals and the contribution they were competent of making to the course of national development. Black students found in Alex Haley Roots an inspiration they did not find elsewhere to learn more about their background.

Trips to Africa became part of the curriculum anticipated to enhance their understanding of themselves, both as individuals and as a people in search of an identity in a complex world. Jane Fonda, Joan Baez, and Angela Davis took center stage in promoting the notion of feminism and its contributing to national character. The American curriculum had been transformed undyingly. The education that it represents is now more inclusive. More changes have been made in the educational process than Dewey’s concept of progressive education ever predicted.

The curriculum at institutions of higher learning at first developed according to disciplines, such as mathematics, social studies, science, and literature. In recent years, though, a trend has been developing toward interdisciplinary studies to allow flexibility and to eliminate stringency in selecting areas of concentration. This flexibility has not been limited to institutions of higher learning but has also distinguished the curriculum in the high school, making it feasible for more students to attend college.

In most institutions of higher learning today football or basketball scholarships have become a significant part of the curriculum. In a similar way vocational education programs, such as those offered at community colleges, have added a critical dimension to the curriculum. As a consequence, American education has gone through a transformation. This is how the curriculum has been used to win success for humanity, as Horace Mann advised in 1859. Work Cited Calkins, L. M. ( 1994 ). The art of teaching writing (2nd ed. ). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Gerald Gutek, An Historical Introduction to American Education ( Prospect Heights, Ill. : Waveland Press, 1991), p. 17. Harold Stevenson, “Why Asian Students Still Outdistance Americans,” Educational Leadership 50 (5) (1993): 63-65. http://meenbeen. com/education/Curriculum_Design. pdf. http://wiki. idebate. org/index. php/Debate:Should_we_standardize_the_curriculum_of_the_Unidted_States_education_system%3F http://www. floweradvisor. com/lifestyle/technology/technology_education/562/curricular_changes_in_teacher_education/. http://www1. indstate.

edu/coe/van_til/pdf/17%20What%20Makes%20a%20Good%20High%20School%20Curriculum. pdf. Johnston, P. ( 1989 ). Constructive evaluation and the improvement of teaching and learning. Teachers College Record, 90, 509-528. Karen Seashore Louis; “A Light Feeling of Chaos”: Educational Reform and Policy in the United States, Karen Seashore Louis; Daedalus, Vol. 127, 1998. Moss, P. ( 1994 ). Can there be validity without reliability. Educational Research, 23(2), 5-12. Scales, P. C. (2000). Building students’ developmental assets to promote health and school success. The Clearinghouse: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues, and

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