Role of the Legislature in Education

The article linked below was brought to my attention by a teacher and it discusses the legislature writing bills that would change school curriculum. Though the main focus of the article is not about the legislature’s role in education, I cannot help but allow my thoughts to drift toward the role that they play. In this time of common core state standards and smarter balanced assessment the question about federal/state vs. local control needs to be at least considered.

Bill Could Nix Foreign Language Requirements

There is no doubt that the school climate is rapidly changing (as I have talked about previously) and technology is the driving force of that change. I am not opposed to change, but it needs to be well-thought out change. I also feel very strongly that the group that should be responsible for change is the group that is most directly related to enforcing that change. That group that I am referring to does not sit in an elected office in Lansing, but rather it is the front line workers that interact with the learning environment everyday.

With the change part being said, I think that one of the changes schools can start making in regards to curriculum and foreign language is recognizing the importance of “computer language”. While I understand that java and C++ are not the same as a foreign language, it can be argued that a school provided background in that language is just as relevant to the future as is a global language. Regardless of your opinion on this thought, who is best to decide that for the students in our school and district, the people who work with our children or legislators that have not been in a classroom since they attended school?

Just because you attended school at some point does not make you an expert on curriculum. I don’t pretend to make laws just because I took government when I was in high school. Leave the curriculum choices to the local district.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What should the government’s role in curriculum be?

  2. Why should or should not the state intervene in the determination of foreign language requirements?

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1 Comment

Filed under education

One response to “Role of the Legislature in Education

  1. Laura McDonell

    1. The government’s role regarding curriculum is something that I do not feel qualified to even begin to suggest. However, as you mentioned Chris, for decisions to be made people need to be active in the process and actually understand and see first hand what is really going on in classrooms, and what students do on a daily basis. It reminds me of all the good teacher movies where the teacher had a plan that was thrown out the window once he or she really became able to understand what the students were dealing with. Only then, could the teacher be effective. I think that the same holds true for political figures.

    2. As far as the changes with Algerbra 2, and foregin language- this is a tough one. High School should be a place where students are able to study a variety and become more diverse in their thinking- not only focused on the exact career that will be studied in the future. Foreign language and algerbra two may not be used every day in a person’s life, but the skills learned, as well as learning how to study something tough is something that we can always benefit from. However, on the other side, I live with a high school math teacher who struggles to get all kids in a diverse innner city environment to pass algerbra 2. So, I agree that there might be benefit in change; but the constant changes that keep coming up make it tough to focus. I would be interested in hearing more perspectives on this issue.

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