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Who Should Decide What Curriculum Is Taught

The debate over who should be in control of what curriculum is taught in schools has been going on for some time. Education can have a profound effect on students’ lives and it is therefore critical that it be decided wisely. Various stakeholders have their own opinion on who should be deciding the curriculum.

This article will delve into the roles of four of these stakeholders – state governments, school boards, parents, and websites – and will provide an overview of the pros and cons for each.

State Governments Role in Determining Curriculum

On a macro-level, the authority to decide the curriculum lies in the hands of the state government. Generally, it is the state governments that set broad parameters and determine the overall goals of the educational system. They are responsible for undertaking in-depth research, developing strategy and policy documents, and shaping the direction of educational systems.

On the positive side, since state governments are often ultimate beneficiaries of educational reforms, they are more likely to develop sound education strategies that are aimed at promoting quality educational experiences in the future. On the flipside, however, state governments may not be able to keep up with the pace at which educational needs can change.

This means that sometimes existing strategies become outdated rather quickly and students sometimes don’t get access to the most current tools and methods.

Role of School Boards in Determining Curriculum

School boards often play a major role in determining curriculum. On a local level, the responsibility of deciding curriculum often falls to board administrators, in the form of setting up curriculum standards, establishing codes of conduct, and monitoring the implementation of curriculum. On the plus side, school boards are able to look at curriculum decisions in the context of their own district and can make decisions based on their local understanding of the needs of their students.

On the other hand, school boards have limited access to resources and are often limited in their ability to conduct wider research. This can mean that the curriculum decision is not always based on the best educational practice, instead often on what is financially and politically feasible.

Role of Parents in Determining Curriculum

Many parents also have an important role to play in deciding curriculum. This is because parents have the agency to choose if and where their children attend school and the level of involvement they have in the school their child attends. Parents are in the best position to understand the needs and interests of their children and can therefore lobby for the choices that they believe are in their children’s best interest.

Generally, this means that curriculum decisions are based on the values and needs of the children themselves. The only down side to this is that parents may not always be aware of the wider world of education and may not always be up to date on all the educational options that are available to their children.

Role of Websites in Determining Curriculum

The internet has made it easier than ever before for people to access and evaluate a wealth of information to make informed decisions. This is true for curriculum decisions as well.

Websites such as Khan Academy and Coursera have sprung up in recent years that offer a wide selection of educational opportunities for students. By taking advantage of these websites, students are able to access quality education for relatively little money. That being said, there is the potential for students to become over reliant on these sites and to miss out on important learning experiences in the classroom.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that there is potential for the content of these websites to be biased or slanted towards certain topics.


In conclusion, it is clear that there are various stakeholders with an interest in what curriculum is taught in schools. Ultimately, deciding who should have the final say as to what should be taught is a question of weighing up the pros and cons of each option. Allowing different stakeholders to have an input into curriculum decisions can ensure that students receive quality education that targets their specific needs and interests.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that the curriculum reflects the ever-changing needs of the students and that they are getting access to all the information they need to reach their educational goals.

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