Curriculum and Development Processes
Curriculum reform movements and testing mandates that promote “the right knowledge,” teacher deskilling, and competition can promote new professional curriculum identity formation in some rather important ways, as discussed in chapters 2 and 4. As curriculum leaders defi ne themselves in opposition to what they call “laissez-faire” (progressive) teaching practices, encourage the use of standardized curriculum materials and instructional strategies, aim all school eff orts toward improved test scores, and compete for good students in the open market, their curriculum work (perhaps unconsciously) becomes part of a larger conservative movement. Along a diff erent path, as discussed in chapters 3 and 4, critical curriculum leaders’ personal concerns about fundamental shift s in common sense about curriculum and a concurrent commitment to progressive curriculum philosophy and ideals lead them to critique current education discourses and become committed to democratic, neoprogressive education. In order to promote critical curriculum leadership, curriculum development processes must ask a particular set of questions (Kliebard, 1992) and support a critical consciousness about broader cultural political shift s and their eff ects on teaching and learning in schools and communities (Gramsci, 1971).