Learning Community Essay

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Introduction

There are an endless number of acronyms and common terminology that is used on a routine basis within the inner realms of the education discipline. One of these terms that carry an exorbitant amount of attention is the term known as curriculum. What exactly is curriculum and why does this particular element of the educational system receive such grand attention? The first stages of understanding the wide scope of importance of curriculum would first be to attain an adequate definition of the term. Curriculum simply put is a plan for achieving goals (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013). Merely defining such terminology is not sufficient enough, fully engulfing its perceptions, the magnitude of the role it plays, inception of curriculum, curriculum mapping/planning, also have to be taken into consideration. Curriculum derives from the Latin word which means “a course for racing” ("Teacher's mind resources," 2011). Professionals such as teachers, administrators, among others within the profession truly embrace this derivative of the term curriculum especially in current times when our “curriculum” is driven by state and federal mandates as well as holding individual schools, teachers, and administrators accountable via legislation such as No Child Left Behind, and tying curriculum goals and outcomes to standardized testing such as the American College Test(ACT) and the Scholastic Aptitude test(SAT) both are mainstay instruments that measure a schools performance; curriculum based performance. The question remains as we define and explore curriculum, who sets the plan or curriculum? How is it organized? Are there philosophies that segregate unique perspectives?
American public schools have seen multiple changes in standardized curriculum throughout the history of the public school system. These began as early as the Common School (1770-1890), to the present course of action (Archung, 2006). It is the responsibility of those within a society to set the tone, to declare the goals of their set curriculum, expectations, and most importantly the outcomes they expect within the public school system. One such time period that dramatically changed the standard curriculum of basic reading and writing (past) occurred during the period in history known as the Cold War. During this time period two distinct philosophies were competing head-to-head for world dominance. These two philosophies of course were Communism and Capitalism, the United States of American and the former USSR or Soviet Union, and their goal(s) were to achieve the feat of sending the first explorers to space, among other first that drew heavy dependence on its citizens. The main emphasis during this time period was a paradigm shift from traditional reading and writing to a greater emphasis on math and science. Of course we all know the outcome of the goals of the curriculum during this time period, both ideologies were able to achieve their goals, but it was the Americans who were...

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