Curriculum and Instruction

Debates

Edited by: A. Jonathan Eakle, Charles J. Russo & Allan G. Osborne Jr.

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    Editors-in-Chief

    Charles J. Russo, University of Dayton

    Allan G. Osborne, Jr., Principal (Retired), Snug Harbor Community School, Quincy, Massachusetts

    Volume Editor

    A. Jonathan Eakle, The Johns Hopkins University

    Advisory Board

    Francine DeFranco, Homer Babbidge Library, University of Connecticut

    Ralph D. Mawdsley, Cleveland State University

    Martha M. McCarthy, Loyola Marymount University and Indiana University

    Mark E. Shelton, Monroe C. Gutman Education Library, Harvard University

    Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    About the Editors-in-Chief

    Charles J. Russo, JD, EdD, is the Joseph Panzer Chair in Education in the School of Education and Allied Professions and an adjunct professor in the School of Law at the University of Dayton. He was the 1998–1999 president of the Education Law Association and 2002 recipient of its McGhehey (Achievement) Award. He has authored or coauthored more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals; has authored, coauthored, edited, or coedited 40 books; and has in excess of 800 publications. Russo also speaks extensively on issues in education law in the United States and abroad.

    Along with having spoken in 33 states and 25 nations on 6 continents, Russo has taught summer courses in England, Spain, and Thailand; he also has served as a visiting professor at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane and the University of Newcastle, Australia; the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; South East European University, Macedonia; the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa; the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and the University of São Paulo, Brazil. He regularly serves as a visiting professor at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University.

    Before joining the faculty at the University of Dayton as professor and chair of the Department of Educational Administration in July 1996, Russo taught at the University of Kentucky in Lexington from August 1992 to July 1996 and at Fordham University in his native New York City from September 1989 to July 1992. He taught high school for 8 1/2 years before and after graduation from law school. He received a BA (classical civilization) in 1972, a JD in 1983, and an EdD (educational administration and supervision) in 1989 from St. John's University in New York City. He also received a master of divinity degree from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York, in 1978, as well as a PhD Honoris Causa from the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University, South Africa, in May 2004 for his contributions to the field of education law.

    Russo and his wife, a preschool teacher who provides invaluable assistance proofreading and editing, travel regularly both nationally and internationally to Russo's many speaking and teaching engagements.

    Allan G. Osborne, Jr. is the retired principal of the Snug Harbor Community School in Quincy, Massachusetts, a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. During his 34 years in public education, he served as a special education teacher, a director of special education, an assistant principal, and a principal. He also served as an adjunct professor of special education and education law at several colleges, including Bridgewater State University and American International University.

    Osborne earned an EdD in educational leadership from Boston College and an MEd in special education from Fitchburg State College (now Fitchburg State University) in Massachusetts. He received a BA in psychology from the University of Massachusetts.

    Osborne has authored or coauthored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, monographs, and textbooks on legal issues in education, along with textbooks on other aspects of education. Although he writes and presents in several areas of educational law, he specializes in legal and policy issues in special education. He is the coauthor, with Charles J. Russo, of five texts published by Corwin, a SAGE company.

    A past president of the Education Law Association (ELA), Osborne has been an attendee and presenter at most ELA conferences since 1991. He has also written a chapter now titled “Students With Disabilities” for the Yearbook of Education Law, published by ELA, since 1990. He is on the editorial advisory committee of West's Education Law Reporter and is coeditor of the “Education Law Into Practice” section of that journal, which is sponsored by ELA. He is also on the editorial boards of several other education journals.

    In recognition of his contributions to the field of education law, Osborne was presented with the McGhehey Award by ELA in 2008, the highest award given by the organization. He is also the recipient of the City of Quincy Human Rights Award, the Financial Executives Institute of Massachusetts Principals Award, the Junior Achievement of Massachusetts Principals Award, and several community service awards.

    Osborne spends his time in retirement writing, editing, and working on his hobbies: genealogy and photography. He and his wife Debbie, a retired elementary school teacher, enjoy gardening, traveling, attending theater and musical performances, and volunteering at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

    About the Volume Editor

    A. Jonathan Eakle is an associate professor in The Johns Hopkins University School of Education. He teaches and mentors advanced graduate students and conducts research on cross-cultural and international studies in education; out-of-school and in-school literacies; and the interrelations of the plastic arts, printed texts, and other communication forms in museums and classrooms. He supervises clinical practicum at Johns Hopkins. Eakle's work includes translating empirical data to sensible products using novel qualitative research methods. He serves on the faculty editorial advisory board of the The Johns Hopkins University Press—the oldest running academic press in the United States. He has contributed in various ways to international education organizations, major education journals, and high-profile publications. Eakle's coedited book on secondary school literacy is the third volume of a 50-year-old series published by the National Council of Teachers of English. His research on Mexico City museums, identity, power, and education is forthcoming. He resides with his family in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

    About the Contributors

    Donna E. Alvermann is a University of Georgia Appointed Distinguished Research Professor of Language and Literacy Education. Her research focuses on young people's media literacies in digital environments. Her books include Adolescents and Literacies in a Digital World; Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescents’ Lives (3rd ed.); and Adolescents’ Online Literacies: Connecting Classrooms, Digital Media, & Popular Culture.

    Elizabeth B. Bernhardt is the John Roberts Hale Director of the Language Center and professor of German studies at Stanford University. She has spoken and written on second-language reading, teacher education, and policy and planning for foreign- and second-language programs. She earned her PhD at the University of Minnesota.

    Stergios G. Botzakis is an assistant professor of adolescent literacy in the Theory and Practice in Teacher Education Department at The University of Tennessee. His research interests include content-area literacy, middle grades instruction, secondary instruction, and graphic novels, as well as working with struggling adolescent readers.

    Linda E. Brody directs the Study of Exceptional Talent at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. She earned her doctorate in gifted education at Johns Hopkins and has published widely on effective interventions for talented students and on special populations including extremely gifted students, gifted females, and twice-exceptional students.

    John Castellani is an associate professor in the School of Education at The Johns Hopkins University. He is currently coeditor for both the Journal of Special Education Technology of the Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children and the New Horizons for Learning quarterly journal. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of data mining, online and virtual learning, assistive and instructional technology, as well as educational technology leadership.

    Gina Cervetti is an assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on the interface of literacy and content-area learning. Dr. Cervetti completed her doctoral work at Michigan State University in educational psychology and served as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.

    Rosa Aurora Chávez-Eakle is a psychotherapist, creativity researcher, and founder of the Washington International Center for Creativity where she has her practice. After graduating from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, she was a visiting scholar at the Torrance Center for Creative Studies becoming E. P. Torrance's last student.

    Jamie Colwell is a PhD candidate in curriculum and instruction at Clemson University. Her specific areas of interest and research are adolescent literacy and teacher education.

    Bonnie Cramond is the director of the Torrance Center for Creative Studies and Talent Development in the College of Education, as well as a professor, and the graduate coordinator in the Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology at the University of Georgia.

    Margie W. Crowe spent 30 years teaching general and special education in public and private schools before joining the special education faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her interests include assistive technology, differentiating instruction, and curriculum design.

    Marcia H. Davis is an associate research scientist at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at The Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests include the development of interventions to improve content-area literacy in high school classrooms and whole-school interventions to improve student engagement in learning.

    Laurie U. deBettencourt is a professor and chair of the Special Education and Teacher Preparation Departments at The Johns Hopkins University. Currently, she is coeditor of TESE, the journal of the Teacher Education Division of Council for Exceptional Children and has coauthored six textbooks. She has spent 27 years teaching and supervising graduate students in the field of education.

    Jeanne Gilliam Fain is an assistant professor of elementary education and special education at Middle Tennessee State University. She received her MEd from Arizona State University and her PhD in language, reading, and culture from the University of Arizona. Fain's essay in this volume reflects the complexities of teaching practice and English-Only policies.

    Margaret J. Finders is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her research interests focus on early adolescence, gender, and sociopolitical dimensions of teaching and learning. Her published work focuses on how self and relationships are constituted and reconstituted through friendship, family, school networks, and the role of literacy.

    Latisha Hayes taught students with reading disabilities in the primary through middle grades as a special educator and reading specialist. She is currently an assistant professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and teaches courses on the diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties. In addition, she is the coordinator of the McGuffey Reading Center.

    George G. Hruby is the executive director of the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and an assistant research professor of literacy education at the College of Education, University of Kentucky. His scholarly works center on theoretical analysis, most recently of educational neuroscience related to literacy development.

    Marcia Invernizzi is the Henderson Professor of Reading at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education where she also serves as director of the McGuffey Reading Center. She is the principal investigator of Phonological Literacy Screening (PALS), a founder of Book Buddies, and a coauthor of Words Their Way.

    Jennifer Jones is an associate professor of literacy education in the College of Education & Human Development at Radford University in Virginia. Her research has been published in many journals and has received teaching and scholarly activity awards within her college and university.

    Christopher Knaus is an associate professor in the College of Education at California State University, East Bay. In addition to developing urban youth voice, Knaus creates educator pipelines that develop culturally responsive urban educators of color. Knaus earned his PhD at the University of Washington.

    Judith T. Lysaker is an associate professor of literacy and language education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Purdue University. Her research focuses on reading as a dialogic, relational process and how reading fosters the development of social imagination in children.

    Ralph D. Mawdsley holds a JD from the University of Illinois and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. He has authored over 500 publications on the subject of education law. Mawdsley was president of the Education Law Association in 2001 and was awarded that organization's Marion A. McGhehey Award in 2004. He has received two Fulbright Awards, one to South Africa and one to Australia.

    Carol J. Mills is the senior director for Research and Counseling Services at the Center for Talented Youth at The Johns Hopkins University where she received her doctorate in psychology. The author of many scholarly articles, Mills's research includes cognitive and personality development, education of highly gifted students, and twice-exceptional children.

    Timothy E. Morse is an associate professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he directs the Mississippi Department of Education's Autism Project. In addition to having taught undergraduate and graduate special education courses at the university, he has worked as a public school special education administrator and teacher.

    P. David Pearson is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He has authored numerous seminal articles and books and edited The Handbook of Reading Research and Reading Research Quarterly. Pearson has been presented with prestigious awards in education for his contributions to literacy education research and practice.

    Katharine Rasch currently serves as Unit Assessment Research Director at Delta State University. She is dean and professor emerita at Maryville University-St. Louis and has worked with accreditation for 25 years both at her institutions and chairing two of three of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education's (NCATE) boards during her service. Her research focuses on partnerships and professional practice.

    David Reinking is the Eugene T. Moore Professor of Teacher Education at Clemson University where he provides leadership in pursuing the institution's goal to enhance its national standing. In that role, he has observed how current approaches to national accreditation inhibit authentic innovation and improvement in programs of teacher education.

    Loukia K. Sarroub is an associate professor of education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln whose work focuses on literacy, linguistic anthropology, and youth cultures. She is the author of All American Yemeni Girls: Being Muslim in Public Schools and has published her research in journals such as Harvard Educational Review, Reading Research Quarterly, and Ethnography & Education.

    Marc L. Stein is an assistant professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Education. His research focuses on the social context of education and educational policy. Specifically, his research interests include the social and organizational contexts surrounding public school choice, summer learning, and teachers’ instructional practice.

    Lisa Patel Stevens is an associate professor of education at Boston College. Her work is with recently immigrated youth and draws on participatory action research knowledge frames and approaches to explore themes of race, education, and capital. Prior to working in academia, Stevens was a high school teacher, a journalist, and a state-level policymaker.

    Mark A. Templin is an associate professor of education specializing in science and middle grades education at the University of Toledo. His research interests focus on understanding relationships among political theory, philosophy of science, and science teaching practices.

    Peggy Whalen-Levitt is the director of the Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World where she coordinates the center's co-research program for educators, The Inner Life of the Child in Nature: Presence and Practice. She holds a PhD in language in education from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Ellen Winner is professor and chair of psychology at Boston College and senior research associate at Harvard Project Zero. Her research focuses on the arts and cognition. In 2000, she received the Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Research by a Senior Scholar in Psychology and the Arts from Division 10 of the American Psychological Association (APA).

    Michelle Zoss is an assistant professor of English education at Georgia State University. Her research in education focuses on integration of visual arts and literacy for secondary students and teachers, an enterprise that began with her experiences teaching visual art and English language arts in elementary and high school classrooms.

    Introduction

    Education and the Design, Production, and Enactment of Curriculum and Instruction

    Education in the United States is multifaceted. It can be an object of politics and law and a stage of different cultural values and conflict. Education is a means of employment for people in various occupations and settings. Public schooling provides many children with the few good meals that they are served each week, and schools can be their refuge from harsh weather. Similarly, schools strive to keep children safe—sometimes from dangers of surrounding neighborhoods where crime and violence are wide ranging. Nonetheless, although schools can mean many different things to many people, when all is said and done, education is about the learning that takes place among teachers and students.

    The volume in hand is about this learning—the what, how, and by whom knowledge circulates and is dispersed in local education settings. This diffusion of knowledge (e.g., of subject-specific content and strategic learning processes, ways of conduct, cultural rules) formally unfolds under the umbrella phrase curriculum and instruction—the overarching topic of and in some cases the point of departure for the following chapters. The goal of these chapters is to present a few key issues in curriculum and instruction that take place in contemporary schools in the United States and different perspectives on those issues.

    Curriculum is a blueprint, design, or plan of a course of study that is to take place. Typically, it includes concepts, procedures, and processes deemed important by a government institution, school administration, education community, and so forth, for teachers to teach and for students to learn during a particular period of time and in a specific place. To set the foundation for subsequent chapters, in the following pages, theories of curriculum and instruction of U.S. public education are briefly examined. Over the years, there have been diverse conceptual camps bearing different names that have come out of these theories. For the present purpose, it is convenient to think of curriculum and instruction operating in a continuum between two poles. At an extreme end of this continuum, there is the tendency to hold fast to, preserve, maintain, or recapture what is believed to be the traditional dimensions of curriculum and instruction; often promoters of these practices advocate to conserve ideas that have stood the test of time.

    The other extreme of the curriculum continuum is a progressive one. Sponsors of this side insist that the goal of curriculum and instruction is to advance education beyond what is already known. In the subsequent section, theoretical sketches are provided to situate the reader in reading the remains of the volume. The sketches function in a middle zone between the two extremes of progress and conservation yet draw from each side. That section is followed by one about how the reader may use the concepts from the sketches to examine the current state of curriculum and instruction in the United States and subsequent chapters of the present volume.

    Theories of Education and its Design and Practice

    Although at first blush there might seem to be a degree of uniformity in U.S. curriculum, untangling how it is actually conceptualized and implemented shows its many fragments. One source of this fragmentation is the different stances in the field of education in general and the formation and application of curriculum in particular (Ornstein, 2007). These diverse perspectives sometimes reflect historical developments; for example, some standpoints echo the education practices of the Ancient Greeks, as reinterpreted through more contemporary points of view. For instance, deductive analysis—Socratic inquiry typically guided by a knowledgeable elder—and instruction in traditional values are general hallmarks taken from antiquity by educators. Further, from the Greeks and through the subsequent waves of humanism and the establishment and evolution of national and local laws and policies eventually came notions of contemporary education in the United States, which at its root is based in democratic concepts.

    Democratic Education

    Education in the United States has not always been wedded to the basic constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and justice. Until the 20th century, education was principally for economically privileged white males, yet as society and cultural values in the United States changed, so too did its education practices. A democratic approach to curriculum and instruction that reemerged during modern times that was appropriated from the Greeks and incorporated Socratic inquiry is Paideia, which in its modern form borrowed from the progressive education theories of John Dewey. A central tenet in Paideia is equality, and it provides for a general and shared liberal arts curriculum for all citizens (Adler, 1982). The democratic notion of the Paideia curriculum, as with its Greek predecessors, was a reaction against distinct schooling tracts paralleling different socioeconomic strata and workplaces, which marked hegemonic periods of Greek culture as well as those of the Industrial Revolution, among other times.

    Rather than placing children in one track that was directed toward higher education and a relative life of leisure and another track that was designed for laborers who needed to be taught manual skills useful in settings such as a factory or farm, a democratic education curriculum purportedly makes all possibilities—and the material assets that come along with those possibilities—available to all students regardless of their backgrounds and stations in life. In short, Paideia curriculum, akin to the founding ideas and documents of the U.S. Republic, set forth an education system which valued a broad foundation in the arts and sciences and cultivated individual qualities alongside a responsibility of the individual to the local community, nation, and beyond.

    In its pure, utopian form, Paideia curriculum from antiquity to present is based on assumptions of freedom and equality. This made the express idea of Paideia align well with the notions associated with various civil rights movements, school desegregation, the Great Society, and other progressive notions of the latter half of the 20th century. These historical developments contributed to the formation of dozens of schools, a national center, and so forth that explicitly follow Paideia concepts and pedagogies.

    One of the hallmarks of how Paideia curriculum unfolds is through its practice of dialogic seminars, which have at least three general characteristics: (a) teachers relinquish much, if not all, instructional authority; they may, nonetheless, facilitate discussions with open-ended questions or serve as coaches to encourage seminar participant perspectives or to help them articulate their ideas; (b) the choices of what is deemed as important to the topics at hand during the Paideia seminar are not fixed and are decided upon by all discussants; and (c) an understanding of materials under discussion is developed by the seminar groups, not given by the teachers to the students (Billings & Fitzgerald, 2002). As suggested by this framework, freedom and equality are notions threaded through the participant roles, format, and delivery of the Paideia curriculum, which more often than not are composed of open curricular content grounded in an authentic purpose, such as, for example, questions revolving around the benefits, drawbacks, and challenges of green technologies or the uses and abuses of virtual reality schooling environments.

    This fundamental utopian notion of democracy in curriculum and instruction of U.S. schooling has crystallized through other ways and in other places and at other times. The open, egalitarian approach embedded in Paideia's core, for instance, was taken literally and to extremes in what is known as the open school movement. It, too, professed qualities of equality and freedom in curriculum and encouraged instruction that displaced authority to center on the child rather than on the adult teacher. In addition, part of this decentralization involved breaking open classroom containers where children could be free to explore, exchange a free flow of ideas, and move about large open spaces unfettered by walls and other obstacles (Proshansky & Wolfe, 1974). Nevertheless, the result of these open arrangements was often chaos, and although the reasons for the disorder had been debated, in the end the open school movement fizzled.

    Similarly, other dimensions of what was once considered to be hallmarks of democratic education in the United States, such as free play and hands-on inquiry, have also sputtered—a theme that threads through many of the subsequent essays of the present volume. To be sure, in rhetoric this is not the case. Conservative education movements have turned words such as the word reform that were once the battle banners of progressive educators toward their own purposes. In this vein, who could, for instance, divorce equality and justice from statements such as “no child left behind”? These issues are some of the most salient ones in current education policy and practice and are taken up in earnest in the essays found in the chapters that follow.

    Yet beyond the reform rhetoric, there are great undemocratic divides that have arguably widened in recent years through U.S. public education policy, education funding, and the resulting curriculum and instruction of all of the nation's children. Nel Noddings (2005) suggested that education reform as it is presently conceived limits education to only a slim portion of what it could actually be. In fact, many education scholars and practitioners argue that the pedagogical slice that is being most effectively promoted by reformists is the one that concentrates on limited proficiencies in limited subject areas (e.g., math and reading), which are measured in limited ways. The education of the whole child—a popular term that suggests qualities beyond just cognitive ones' instead involves notions that have been touchstones of democratic education during most of the 20th century: “(1) health; (2) command of the fundamental processes; (3) worthy home membership; (4) vocation; (5) citizenship; (6) worthy use of leisure; and (7) ethical character” (Kliebard, 1995, as cited by Noddings, 2005, p. 10). In addition, educating the whole child has more often than not involved dimensions that are elusive to scientific measurement or not easily determinable by other means. For example, Waldorf Education, an admired and widespread pedagogical approach especially in parts of Europe, works to cultivate qualities of soul and spirit, dimensions that in the least escape the quantitative research criteria professed by some scientists and the new education reformers. To be sure, these matters are at the heart of what it means to be human, and aspects of what counts as democratic dimensions of education, how it is defined and is practiced, or not, are touchstones to following essays of the present volume.

    Education and Privilege

    The liberal arts curriculum and its democratic rhetoric that have been at the core of most modern U.S. public schooling are evident through various levels of society and its institutions. Nonetheless, how it is actually implemented greatly differs depending on context. A great divide in U.S. schooling is based on economics, and often economics create other spatial divides, such as school and housing districts separated by barriers that mark territories of racial difference (Eakle, 2007). In short, and well outside democratic concepts, there have been flights to schooling alternatives based on class, race, national origin, and so forth, especially since landmark legislation was created that was designed, in the abstract, to end inequalities and create, as Lyndon Johnson described it, a Great Society.

    Flights to public education alternatives can take many different paths. Some flights are motivated by ideological or religious purposes and the curriculum that goes along with such purposes. To be sure, sometimes choices among curricula are complicated ones. For instance, Svi Shapiro (1996), a Jewish leftist academic in education leadership who supports critical pedagogies and public education, when faced with the dilemma of enrolling his daughter in public or religious school chose the latter. In this vein, and as suggested in the previous section, the education of what is known as the whole child leads some parents to curriculum such as Montessori. As a rule, being able to select specialized education curriculum is tied to the ability to pay for it. However, as detailed extensively in other volumes of the present series, payment notions have crept into education through school vouchers, tax credits, and so forth. And along with capital concepts and the ability to pay for education comes privilege and elitism.

    An exemplar of privilege in public education is found through the Boston Latin School (BLS), the country's oldest public school and a longtime feeder school to Harvard University. Established in 1685, BLS boasts of prestigious students, which include Samuel Adams, George Santayana, and Joseph Kennedy. Over the years, the school's curriculum has centered on the humanities with emphasis on rhetoric and classical subjects, and up to this day, the school requires years of study in Latin and exercises in declamation (oral recitation compositions and practices). This pedagogical discourse—squarely embedded in BLS's curriculum—has prepared scores of its students for entry into Ivy League professional schools, among others. It is also a discourse of wealth and privilege; and, despite its efforts in achieving a diverse student body the school has educated a disproportionally upper-class student body (Katnami, 2010).

    The issue of class is not a new one in schools such as BLS. Alluding to his own BLS experience, an adolescent Benjamin Franklin (1722) wrote about a passage through the temple gate of education that was attended by a porter of “Riches … [and] many who came even to the very Gate, were obliged to travel back again as ignorant as they came, for want of this necessary Qualification” (para. 5). Arguably since its inception there has been at least two distinct tracks in U.S. schooling—one traveled by those who have and the other by those who have not and curriculum in one way or the other has been designed to accommodate these two pathways.

    The BLS population shows other, and sometimes related, tracks of U.S. schooling—ones that are divided along racial, ethnic, and gender lines. Not surprisingly given the colonial times that BLS came into being, it was exclusively composed of white male students and faculty, which was a practice generally carried forward well into the 20th century; it was not until the 1970s that coeducation was practiced at BLS. Additionally, BLS as well as many other affluent schools has been disproportionately composed of white students and teachers. To combat this inequality, in 1976, as reported by Samar Katnami (2010), BLS was ordered to reserve 35% of its seats for black and Latino students, a practice it continued years after the courts had relinquished control of the school's quota system. However, over a decade ago, other court rulings against affirmative action caused BLS to abandon its practice of minority quotas; thus, its minority population has plummeted. It is reasonable to assume that in part this is because a main criterion for school admission is the ability to score well on standardized exams that are often shown to be biased against minorities (Unzueta & Lowery, 2010). Therefore, to this day, the rigorous, classical liberal arts curriculum and resources of BLS, and schools like it, are in large part the exclusive property of families from majority groups.

    Mentorship, Education, and Disciplinary Knowledge

    A well-rounded liberal arts education curriculum is deemed by most educated people in the United States as important to prepare children for university and beyond. Certainly, if K-12 curriculum and instruction is in lockstep with that of higher education this makes sense. Nonetheless, an underlying assumption of this historical continuity is not without criticism. Another way to think about education is that it should foster creativity and innovation—arguably one of the most important education tasks to meet the challenges of contemporary life. As addressed later in the present volume, one way in which creativity can be cultivated is through a modified curriculum that offers accelerated content to students who are determined to be capable of managing it. In this vein, constructivist curriculum and instruction is an approach wherein students are taught at a level that is challenging to them. However, to those who have advanced this idea (e.g., Piaget, 1976; Vygotsky, 1978) to discover what is demanding, yet not too difficult nor too easy, for students is not simply something that can be derived from a formula or a test that can be applied to all children. It requires a good teacher who has the resources and background to determine and meet his or her students’ needs and to help them discover their talents and interests.

    Howard Gardner (1999), a Harvard scholar well known for his theory of multiple intelligences popularized in the 1980s, drew on these classical notions when describing various disciplines (e.g., of science, art, religion) and disciple-ship. From these stances, which have roots in the rites and practices of tribal cultures, classical antiquity, and the centuries-old craftsman guilds of Asia and Europe, he argued that students often learn best when engaged in domain-specific and authentic experiences provided under the guidance of an experienced mentor. For instance, during a time long past, aspiring attorneys would seek out a willing mentor lawyer who would take them under wing and allow the novice to “read the law” in their library. The master would oversee their fledgling's arguments in court until they were ready to leave the mentor's nest and practice law on their own. Providing such authentic support experiences remains a hallmark of good teaching practices in some U.S. schools; budding educators are taught by experienced practitioners in teacher preparation programs, complete internship experiences under the watchful guidance of a certified teacher leader, and then are paired with teacher mentors as they assume their first classroom assignments with children.

    Discipline and Control Models of Curriculum and Instruction

    Also in the vein of experience, John Dewey (1902), who was trained in the first national psychology lab at The Johns Hopkins University, suggested that experience is not only a quality possessed by adults in an educator role. In fact, for an educator to teach a prescribed set of concepts and procedures reduced to the memorization of minutiae, according to Dewey, pitches the interest of the child against the curriculum. In such cases, curriculum operates through an absolute teacher authority that holds and dispenses the knowledge of basic skills to pupils, such as how to properly pronounce and scribe discrete parts of speech and successfully accomplish basic processes, such as, for example, how to correctly group numbers into various sets. Curriculum and instruction of this ilk represents that which is commonly referred to today as traditional, back-to-basics, teacher-centered pedagogy. Of this, and as suggested in subsequent chapters of the present volume, the teacher center has, as of late and in some cases, evolved into a mere conduit function, where the core of the curriculum is actually displaced to a spot far from the classroom to a central county administration, or a state or national office. And, routinely, these government offices receive their marching orders from think tanks and authoritative resources that profess purportedly neutral “what works” scientific practices (see Institute of Education Sciences, 2011). In short, the teacher is sometimes cast by government and neoacademic authorities to the role of a puppet, who merely delivers a one-size-fits-all script of discrete facts to, borrowing from Karl Popper (1972), fill the empty buckets of children's minds.

    Implicit in puppet and bucket modes of education, the words disciples and discipline take on other meanings in the settings where some contemporary U.S. schooling takes place. By definition, a disciple is a follower. If following is consistent with many steadfast notions of learning, then the teacher's goal is to sooner or later give some degree of freedom to the pupil. On the other hand, strict discipleship models can be a means of simply producing faithful and permanent followers. Rather than freedom, instruction can be targeted to meet compliance standards and other objectives. This can function in several ways under the watchful eyes of school and government authorities (cf. Foucault, 1975/1977). For example, through rules and repetition, physical bodies are controlled, such as by the arrangements of desks in neat classroom rows and by formations of military-like lines where students are expected to follow decorum when moving from one setting to another, among other times.

    In turn, the actual content of learning material can be restricted to control students, as well. For instance, history can be slanted to highlight some points while casting other matters to the side; a common example of this is why wars were fought and how wars were won. In addition, the level of complexity that is provided in content-area material and curricula can also assure followers as well as leaders. Divisions based on privilege and rank, as described in earlier sections of the present introduction, can translate to some students being challenged with ideas and problems that prepare them to advance toward higher education curriculum and to occupy top rungs of employment. All too often divisions of curricular content mirror the resources of the immediate community; as a result, the rich get richer and the poor, poorer.

    As suggested earlier in this section, the delivery of the curriculum in a disciplinary model of education can be a depleted one in various ways, and children are not the only ones affected. Teachers, administrators, and local education offices are increasingly required to do more with less, especially those people who serve in the most challenging school and community environments. For example, as student to teacher ratios are increased to remarkably high levels, as has been the case since the recent U.S. economic downturn, control becomes a paramount issue—particularly in places that experience comparatively unrestrained and high levels of crime and violence. As a result and as of late, schools in some high-risk urban areas have begun to resemble prisons with lockdown protocols, surveillance cameras, and armed security officers.

    Rounding out the discipline and control approach to curriculum and instruction is the practice of examination. As with a military fitness test or medical assessment, students in public schools are periodically and systematically evaluated to survey their fitness to go forward in academics. On the face, holding children accountable for their learning seems reasonable. However, as suggested by an entire volume of the present book series devoted to standards and accountability, and subsequent chapters of the text in hand, testing is central, frequent, and carries high stakes in contemporary U.S. public schools. The examination can also serve as a means to expose, sort, and control. And current trends are toward increasingly applying similar measures to areas of education besides the child—to teachers, administrators, and those who prepare educators for public service.

    Those who advocate for disciplinary and controlling curriculum and instruction frequently level arguments that anything less direct and forceful leads to willy-nilly methods that contribute to ongoing achievement gaps. In this respect, John Dewey (1902) suggested that children, if left strictly to their own experiences and preferences, are more likely than not to meander like will-o'-wisps. On the other hand, much is to be learned from children as they participate in learning activities “on their own” in informal learning environments such as museums (Eakle, 2009). Curriculum can remedy this fleeting aimlessness but only if it sets out in broad strokes what is useful for children to know and is shaped by a teacher to align with a student's specific experiences and needs. Thus, a counterpoint to the arguments for discipline and control in schools is that education should be centered on the student and the transformative dimensions of education rather than merely on competencies in gaining standardized sets of knowledge and processes. In short, rather than producing compliant subjects, education in the hands of wise teachers can lead to divergent thinking, creativity, and innovation.

    How to Read What Follows

    The volume is predicated on the assumption that education involves polarizing issues. As with wider cultures and their values, certain topics stimulate bold contrasts while others vary along a scale of gray between black and white. Indeed, there are instances in the subsequent essays that represent salient education issues in intermediate tones that span a broad range. In this vein, sometimes particular points converge to overlap with counterpoints and, at other times, points disperse and move apart. Organizing the essays that follow bearing in mind these possible divergences and convergences across the authors’ ideas is one way to read the chapters.

    Charting how each essay conforms with or opposes the various curriculum and instruction theories and concepts laid out previously in the present introduction can be a useful means for readers to gain insights from the two debates set forth in the succeeding chapters. For instance, to what extent does the author advocate for freedom or constraint in curriculum and instruction? Is the focus on the individual teacher and student, or is the attention placed on larger units, such as the school district or on widespread education policy? To what extent are cultural and individual differences considered in relation to the topics addressed by the authors? Is the author's viewpoint taken from traditional notions or from novel concepts?

    Each piece begins with a short introduction that endeavors an overview of the topic. The overviews are designed to place the reader in the middle ground of the topic, yet, even so, that middle ground is not intended to give the impression that it occupies a strictly neutral zone. In fact, as Brian Street (2003) suggested, all texts are created with a purpose, and the acts of reading and writing texts are social ones, involving not only the background and perspectives of the author but also those of you, the reader. Nonetheless, working from the middle through the overviews affords a tactic for the reader to navigate to the left or right while interpreting the arguments presented in the essays.

    While reading from the middle and to either side of the two debates, readers can approach the essays like a juror might do—weighing one side against the other and seeking a preponderance of the evidence that supports the claims of the authors. For those readers of the volume who are new to the field of education, perhaps the essays will help to develop your own perspectives and allow you to have a voice in the matters that you will encounter in the future. For experienced readers of the volume, perhaps what you encounter in the following chapters will help you reaffirm your positions or adopt new ones—or, in the least, show you recent developments surrounding salient education issues.

    Education reform is an issue that threads through the present volume, and it is one that likewise ebbs and flows through modern education debates. Thus, a guiding question for the reader of the following chapters is simply, what does reform mean? A reform issue in the 1950s was how cognitive psychological insights could be used in structuring rigorous curriculum to, in part, address the perceived threat of communism and its military arsenal. Following a national distrust of institutions, Watergate, and the Vietnam War, in the 1970s to 1980s education reform meant the development of “whole” character traits in whole children through holistic curricular design and instructional methods such as whole language and open education. In the 1990s to early 2000s, institutional faith was renewed in some corners of education through the production of scientific truth statements of what is predictably reasonable to assume—or statistically proven to work—in curriculum and instruction, or not, under certain conditions using particular populations. These truth statements have led to reform initiatives with scientifically endorsed standards, education policies, and packaged curriculum and instruction programs that like home appliances carry a scientific seal of approval and that displace the individual in favor of the statistic. Through these various reform movements, however, achievement gaps among the poor and the privileged and among those of different cultural heritage have continued. Therefore, as of late, because the scientific reform movement has purportedly solved some of the curriculum and instruction problems in schooling, it has trained its sights on educators and local administrators and teacher education programs as the sources of the ongoing disparities in schooling. Thus, notions of accountability that were once applied to student performance are now encompassing a wider surveillance of teachers, principals, other frontline educators, and the institutions and manners that educators are prepared for and placed in service.

    The ebb and flow of education issues, that have led to debates such as the ones presented in the following chapters, suggests another way to read the text in hand: to transform it for your own purposes. Education reform initiatives, for example, are predicated on assumptions that ideas can be put to practice. By extension, U.S. education is based on concepts that curriculum and instruction is a main source of empowerment in a democratic society and can lead to what Thomas Jefferson identified as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, a bedrock notion underscoring that all texts can be read and ideas transformed that lead to revolutions of thoughts and actions in schools and beyond.

    A. JonathanEakleThe Johns Hopkins University
    Further Readings and Resources
    Adler, M. J. (1982). The Paideia proposal: An educational manifesto. New York: Macmillan.
    Billings, L., & Fitzgerald, J. (2002). Dialogic discussion and the Paideia seminar. American Educational Research Journal, 39(4), 907–941.
    Dewey, J. (1902). The child and the curriculum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Eakle, A. J. (2007). Literacy spaces of a Christian faith-based school. Reading Research Quarterly, 42, 472–511.
    Eakle, A. J. (2009). Museum literacies and adolescents using multiple forms of texts “on their own.”Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(3), 204–214.
    Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish (A. M.Sheridan Smith, Trans.). New York: Vintage Books. (Original work published 1975)
    Franklin, B. (signed Silence Dogood). (1722, May 14). Letter number 4. The Franklin Papers Archive. Originally printed in The New-England Courant. Retrieved June 6, 2011, from http://www.franklinpapers.org/franklin/framedNames.jsp Gardner, H. (1999). The disciplined mind. New York: Simon & Schuster.
    Heath, S. B. (2000). Making learning work. Afterschool Matters, 1(1), 33–45.
    Institute of Education Sciences. (2011). What works clearinghouse. Retrieved July 4, 2011, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc
    Katnami, S. (2010). Pics, grutter, and elite public secondary education: Using race as a means in selective admissions. Washington University Law Quarterly, 87, 625.
    Kliebard, H. (1995). The struggle for the American curriculum 1893–1958. New York: Routledge.
    Noddings, N. (2005). What does it mean to educate the whole child?Educational Leadership, 63(1), 8–13.
    Ornstein, A. C. (2007). Philosophy as a basis for curriculum decisions. In A. C.Ornstein, E. F.Pajak, & S. B.Ornstein (Eds.), Contemporary issues in curriculum (pp. 5–11). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
    Piaget, J. (1976). To understand is to invent: The future of education. New York: Penguin Classics.
    Popper, K. (1972). Objective knowledge: An evolutionary approach. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Proshansky, E., & Wolfe, M. (1974). The physical setting and open education. The School Review, 82(4), 556–574.
    Shapiro, S. (1996). A parent's dilemma: Public vs. Jewish education. Tikkun, 11(6), 59.
    Street, B. (2003). What's “new” in new literacy studies? Critical approaches to literacy in theory and practice. Current Issues in Comparative Education, 5, 77–91.
    Unzueta, M. M., & Lowery, B. S. (2010). The impact of race-based performance differences on perceptions of test legitimacy. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40, 1948–1968.
    Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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