School curricula are developed with a bit of teacher input, but it is mostly developed by the Government of Education and superintendents of curriculum. While the superintendents are important and were once teachers as well, their input as former teachers is not as important as actual teacher input. This is because many superintendents were teachers, and then most transitioned into the position of principal. The principal has many different roles and responsibilities than a teacher, and while they still teach classes, they view the profession differently, just like how a manager views other staff and their job differently. Then, after being principals, they become superintendents and develop even different philosophies of teaching. They become somewhat detached to teachers, and so when they develop curricula they view the needs differently and don’t take teacher consideration as seriously.
School curricula are heavily influenced by political structures that are in power. Politics have to appease to the public, so politics have to find a way to incorporate what the public wants and make sure that it is relevant. An important thing to remember when developing curricula is that “what people believe to be true is much more important than what may actually be true,” so many things that are put into curricula may not actually be relevant to what needs to be taught.
The people who are involved in developing it are government, superintendents, and teachers. Teachers who teach in a specific subject will be asked to provide input into what they think is important to incorporate. However, a large demographic that they forget to include when creating curricula is students. While they may not be experts in specific subjects, they are the ones who are taught all the important topics and they should have a say in what is and is not important.
Something that concerns me is the lack of input students have. As mentioned already, students have the right to express their concerns regarding curricula. I had problems with the way science curricula in high school has recently changed in Saskatchewan, but my concerns went unheard. I felt as if my classmates and I were not learning everything we needed to be successful. For one, they combined physics and chemistry 20 together to create physical science 20. What topics did they have to exclude to put the two classes together? What important knowledge did we miss because of the combination of the classes? Also, my school was small and we didn’t have access to the needed texts. If there’s going to be such a significant change in curricula, then the department of education in Saskatchewan needs to ensure all students have access to the course subject, and it should not be determined by how much funding a specific school gets. If schools with less funding don’t get those texts then the students fall behind as a result.
Another concern is the input of political structures. Letting politics sway the way curricula are developed is potentially dangerous. Some politicians may deem it unnecessary for students to learn about sex education or Treaty Ed. They may think that incorporating Christian ideals is important and that prayer should be introduced into every public school again. They could set us back many years with their input.