Document Type

Article in Response to Controversy


I have been asked to address the question “who defines the curriculum?” On one level the answer to this question is quite easy and requires little more than a look at the legal codes regulating education and school boards. On another level it seems to call for a close empirical analysis of decision-making in individual districts and schools. However, since the question is asked by the editors of The Journal of Educational Controversy and partly in response to the banning of the Mexican American curriculum in Arizona, I presume the question is intended to have more bite, and is more accurately interpreted as two questions: First, who has the power to define the curriculum, and second, who should have the power to define it? Reframed in this way it may be read as a rhetorical question where the answer to the first part is the power elite, and the answer to the second part is anyone but the power elite.





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