One efinition of social responsibility is the responsibilities citizens have to their society and nation. This can be interpreted to be a "useful" and necessary subject for living in todays society to "solve personal and social problems" as noted by Henderson and Kesson. Indeed, the mission statement for the District includes preparing students to be "useful citizens in a global society' - a concept not heard of twenty years ago. The Superintendent states in his letter to parents "District 49 schools offer unique, groundbreaking programs that provide a solid foundation for students to compete in the 21st century workforce.The implication here being the District offers a curriculum in-line with the changing needs of the labor force.
Curriculum development for the District includes the "constant adaptation and development to meet needs... " and the necessity to "recommend modifications of practice and changes in curriculum..
. the addition of new courses. " The basic instructional interests in more specialized fields... " Here, specialized fields is read to mean areas other than the core or permanent subjects especially since it is followed by the opportunity to study "exploratory electives" such as technical education and business t the middle school level.
The curriculum development policy goes on to state that skills taught at all levels will allow a student to become "a competent member of the workforce. " A reading of this statement leads one to conclude that courses will be developed and added based on what is needed in the working world thus going beyond the "basics. " These courses may or may not tie into the core subjects but will be relevant to the demands of business. A brief review of the Topics in Unit Plans for the district show topics not present previously.This indicates the district's desire to dapt to the changing climate of the country both educationally and politically. This desire does impact students even when not directly or blatantly implemented in the classroom through various "hidden agendas/curriculums.
" Suggested topics in the Unit Plan that leads one to conclude the District is concerned about "useful living" include opportunity for differentiation, cultural responsiveness, and 21st century skills. New and sometimes controversial subjects are already showing up that were not taught five-ten years ago including Family Life/Sex Education and HIV-AIDS Education.Some parents may feel these topics should be taught at home while others may feel it is the school's responsibility to teach a curriculum "useful for living in a contemporary society. " District 49 appears to see these as a necessity in order to address contemporary issues in society.
While not student curriculum, the District is also offering counseling to parents on subjects including inhalant abuse, the choking game, 3rd Millennium Classroom Instruction (instruction on dealing with misdemeanor violations, drug and alcohol intervention, and prevention courses), and self-injury.These are indeed 21st century "subjects that are most useful for living in contemporary society. " Definition Problems According to the authors, problems with the definition "curriculum is those subjects that are most useful for living in contemporary society' include the implication of contemporary issues as more valuable than long-lasting; the open questions of what is useful knowledge, stability in curriculum, and what happens to intellectual development when practical skills are emphasized?Reviewing the curriculum for District 49, this writer does not believe currently, the District is erring on the side of oo many contemporary issues and too little core education. The District follows the state of Colorado's Model Content Standards which includes Civics, Economics, Foreign Language, Geography, History, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Reading and Writing, Science, Theater, and Visual Arts.
One aspect of the District's philosophy is to "use a classical approach to achieve standards" while "offering a variety of educational focus areas and programs to fit interest and capabilities. Unit plans ensure teachers are addressing intellectual questions by directing the teachers curriculum to answer such questions as "what questions will foster inquiry, understanding and a transfer of learning," "what will students be able to do remembering, understanding, evaluating, and analyzing," and "incorporating skills solution. " What may be in question is the implementation of the curriculum. While the District can set forth standards and guidelines for unit plans, ultimately the teacher is in control of the classroom.
As the authors state, "everybody seems to know what schools should teach" (Marsh ; Willis, 2007).