Curriculum Designers

Of all the various groups involved in curriculum design, teachers seem to be the least involved and least powerful. While there is a certain wonderful, twisted post-modern logic to that, by any other measure it seems sad and ironic. There is a discussion early in our textbook as to whether teachers are technicians or professionals. While I certainly agree that teachers should be treated and viewed as professionals, their lack of involvement in curriculum design gives question as to their actual status. Particularly in an essentialist, NCLB world, it would seem that their role is increasingly narrow and pre-defined. Thanks goodness that relative autonomy still exists when the classroom door is closed or all the joy would have been sucked from the job, at least for me.
 
It is easy to imagine a world where teachers set the curriculum and teachers teach. A good comparison would be the military, especially the USMC. There, every marine is first and foremost a rifleman (rifleperson?). The people who design the warfighting philosophy are marines in doctrine roles who might well be marines leading troops in combat a year later (see General David Petraeus, not a marine but a writer of doctrine and a warfighter). The ‘administrators’ are field grade and flag rank marines who’ve come through the ranks, holding fighting jobs along the way. To be sure, the government sets the objectives, but the professional soldiers create the doctrine, training and execution. There is no ‘administrator’ class or ‘doctrine writer’ class separate from those who do the fighting. While there are flaws in that model as well, it does illustrate a very different path that education might have taken in the US.

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