The following is a summary of two articles pertaining to curriculum and instruction issues facing local school districts in Iowa and California.
The first article states that the Iowa legislature intends to approve new statewide curriculum standards (Campbell, 2008). Lawmakers feel this is needed because there is a growing concern that Iowa is falling behind other states. The governor has set a date of 2010 for students to be versed in a “model core curriculum”. The Iowa Association of School Boards and many businesses are in favor of the standards. At issue is whether to wrestle control away from local districts. Iowa has prided itself in the past on the ability of local districts to set the standards. However, the legislature has said an increased emphasis in math and science is needed, and that the new standards should be aligned with the ACT and the National Assessment of Educational Progress, another highly regarded exam. Iowa’s move to raise the bar for its schools should be applauded. In effect, the state is mandating the change in order to attain accountability for its businesses, taxpayers and citizens. These increased expectations are not without reward, however. The legislature wants to find common ground on a bill to increase construction funding and teacher pay. There seems to be some consensus, not only in the legislature, but amongst citizens as well. They point to the Minnesota bridge collapse as an awakening. Investment must be made in general infrastructure, especially schools. However, the important point is that curriculum, in this case, is being decided on state and local levels. Cooperation is needed on many levels, not just government. Citizens are having a say as well. Lobbyists, civic groups and other non-governmental organizations are making their voices heard. Perhaps most importantly, parents are voicing concerns. Curriculum design should involve people from all walks of life, especially in the public school...
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