Before the reading and before the seminar I had said and believed that curricula was developed by government and educational elite representatives based on standards negotiated through at those upper levels with some input from those with less power/authority, but not much. It was a negotiation of what young people ought to know and be prepared for in the society the curricula is developed for.
The reading suggests that curricula is driven in large part by politics, which isn’t any different than the notion that I place prior to the reading – although there’s no reason to believe a student who writes a blog post some 9 weeks late. Also feeding the narrative is that within politics, and most structures in society generally involve some version or form of politics, power is a key resource and aim. Those people with the most power tend to have the most say, which poses the question: who exactly has the power and who therefore dictates curricula?
Government is not necessarily all powerful however and there is a sort of fear within the political sphere of the loss of power, that fear influences decisions made by those with the power while other people with less power in a government sense but more in a social influence sense seek to impose their own rationale on government power as well. To add to this toxic mixture of power politics, positioning is never fixed for a reliable set period of time to achieve personal agendas. Agendas instead bounce back and forth constantly tipping the balance one way or another. Anything the people with power can use to their perceived advantage then flies, and often this results in tactics that many might find distasteful. People, and thus power too, are swayed by beliefs much more often than they are by facts.
Government places policies which help guide the formation and development of curriculum which is decided by groups of people from different areas, many of who have a power within a set field and each of whom are influenced by public opinion in some way. Experts with relation to certain fields are a part of the discussion but don’t hold the power to make decisions themselves alone. Curricula is a complex weaving of politics, power, education, expertise, popular consent, and negotiation all communicated through in a cycle of development.