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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: A State Curriculum?

Monday, May 24, 2010

A State Curriculum?

The Texas State Board of Education has the responsibility to determine state wide curricula and have recently used that authority to change the history and social studies curricula to the political right.  The changes have caused controversy (Melissa Thayer, "Texas textbook controversy: outdated or back on track from politically correct derailment?" and April Castro, "Texas board adopts new social studies curriculum"). 

A more fundamental question is, why should the state of Texas design a curriculum for the state?  Critics of the changes charge conservative indoctrination.  I worry more about efficiency, cost and freedom.  Does it improve education or reduce costs?  Aren't school districts better qualified to develop curriculum for their students and at a lower cost? Replace this text with...


  1. Kevin Wilson25/5/10 8:07 PM

    I don't know very much on how they make public education,I do know that education in Texas though is pretty inferior compared to other states.I think that education is a public good, as far as it does not exclude any one and there is no rival competition.

  2. I feel as though school districts are better qualified to develop curriculum for students. It is much easier to measure what the students are actually learning in the classroom if it is managed by the school districts, because in truth, they know more about their specific district than the government could ever know. Personally, at my high school, I felt as though a lot of the curriculum imposed on us by the state was not relevant and wished the school district/teachers had more input since they are there every day, witnessing what is being taught and learned.

    -Robyn Ammon
    (minimester economics class- Summer 10)

  3. Education has to be a public good in order for it to thrive in society. Privately, it will not thrive, so the government at some point has to move in too help. I cannot believe however, that Texas has a "tax" test that determines not only if you pass a grade, but how much money a school district should get? The schools that do poorly should be the ones getting more money from the government, because they need more books, more qualified teachers, and so on. It is difficult to say how we are suppose to keep the government from imposing a curiculum for a school district, but I do know that government can make the education system flow more efficiently through taxes, so maybe the tax test is a good thing?
    Spencer Anderson(minimester 10)

  4. Kristina H.27/5/10 8:26 AM

    First of all, education being a mandatory sanction by the state of Texas for most minors is a problematic statement in itself. The idea of this "public good" coming from Thomas Jefferson's ideology that an educated nation would make a better voting nation rather than the political system being victim to the uneducated masses. However, with bigger states especially what must be considered before attempting to create a set curriculum is the greatly varying demographics in the state. Certain areas are more prone to learn at a slower pace due to the common home life of the area, finance, and poverty level. Some of these being an extreme high and others an extreme low as far as ranking these affecting factors when receiving an education. While it is important for some sort of standard to be understood when creating a curriculum, I believe it to be highly difficult to consider the specific needs of such a wide variety of demographics that do harshly affected a child's education.

  5. It would be wonderful to see the options for education open up and embrace new horizons in every subject matter. The state sets a standard for the government operated schools so when a student receives a diploma, it conveys an idea of what the student should know in basic areas.
    The transcript is far more telling. When the state sets a standard we experience some unity in some areas, and unity is vital to a nation's continuance. On the other has been proven over and over that children who are taught in private schools, home schools being considered along with private schools, often are better educated with less money, and less restrictions. The public school has little incentive to offer excellence. Our children are very poorly educated today for the most part. While social development is good and necessary, as well as physical activity, many public schools focus on these items and less on academics. Parents who offer their children more educational opportunities in the very early years are laying a foundation to build on. Often this foundation is disturbed with entrance to kindergarten where children who have a foundation in reading and mathematics are put in classes with children who are learning their letters and numbers for the first time.
    Children with basic skills should be allowed to move on to new interest, regardless of their age.
    This is one area where the public schools have made attempts to expand opportunities, but we are still restricted by district boundaries,a lack of teachers who love their subjects, and self-disciplined students. Learning is something we do everyday, regardless of age. We just need to make sure we are learning worthwhile things, and as much of it as possible.

  6. Coming from a high school in a weak school district I almost believe that an overall state curriculum would be a good thing. In Texas the public schools or more worried about improving their Taks scores then anything. The teachers jobs are on the line with what their students score on these tests. I remember not really learning much of anything when it came time for Taks test except how to do well on them.