When I transferred faculties and decided to become a future educator, the first choice I have to make is to decide what courses I want to study as my major and minor. I formed rough ideas on how I will manage my classroom and the topics that we will discuss for our lectures. Like many educators, I see my future career as helping my students to develop their potentials and reach their capabilities. However, beyond this genuine yet vague intention is the concealed common sense that politics is embedded within the education system.
It is a commonsensical notion that teachers and the education systems aims for the success of their students—certainly, both never intended for a student’s failure—because the students’ successes affect the future of the society and the country’s economy. With this in mind, the government has some power to alter the outcomes to support what they need for the future of the country. For example, during our general class lecture on September 23rd, Ms. Allison provided us a copy of the notion of introducing financial literacy within the school curriculum. Indeed, it raised thoughts about the positive and negative outcomes it may provide for the students. Positive outcomes include gaining new knowledge and skill of an individual’s financial matters that may help in their daily life. However, it also raised an issue about the limitation that it may offer to the students. To elaborate, if financial literacy will be part of the school curriculum, does it mean that everyone must take calculus before graduating from high school? If so, how can students who struggle from Mathematics and/or students who do not have interest within the subject-matter find a connection of its [financial literacy] importance to their future career? Also, the introduction of financial literacy in the school curriculum raises the question of its main objective; do they want more business people in the country in the next five years? On the other hand, individuals still hold their decision. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that the government has the power to alter individuals’ decisions to fulfill the desired needs of the country instead of following their own dreams and passion—although there is also a possibility that a person’s dreams and passion aligns to what the government wanted.
In Week 4, the assigned reading is “Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should be Learned in School” by Levin. After reading, I learned about the complexity that the politics contribute to the creation and/or revision of a particular curriculum. However, I also acquire the perception of the inequality within the politics. There are several notions that concern me. One of them is when Levin mentioned that “Politics is about power. Since not all can have what they want, the question is who does get what they want and who does not” (Levin, 2008, p.8). This is problematic because it shows the inequality within the politics and Levin also made us aware that education policy decisions are essentially political in nature. With this in mind, it is bothering to know that what we offer in school is influenced by those who have high status. This means that those who have high status will take the most benefits from what our students learn in schools. On the other hand, Levin also claims that
“it would be a mistake to believe that government are about only image and impression. They are usually genuinely concerned about the results of their actions and policies. They do believe that their policy goals will make society better. They do want to fulfill their commitments to voters, and programs and policies are the means of doing so” (Levin, 2008, p.10).
Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that politicians wanted to make the society better for their own benefits too. They wanted their policies to be successful to attain the support from the voters which will probably help to re-elect them for the next term.
Overall, I learned how social power affects the general power that the politicians hold, which then affects the school curricula. In this complex relationship, classroom teachers must be aware of this concealed common sense of politics and question the importance that these curricula offer.