Academic journal article Education

The Changing Role of School Superintendent with Regard to Curriculum Policy and Decision Making

Academic journal article Education

The Changing Role of School Superintendent with Regard to Curriculum Policy and Decision Making

Article excerpt


Decisions have been made regarding curriculum policies for many years. Over the past few years, policy makers have seen a need for change in the role of curriculum policy making. This role mainly deals with the superintendent. He has a distinctive role in the curriculum policy process. Though his role is distinct, he must collaborate in order to have a curriculum policy with common goals.

Superintendent is integral agent in curriculum policy. It is imperative that he works in harmony in instituting curriculum policy. The Superintendent is the key actor in curriculum policy. In this capacity, the Superintendent is the liaison between the school board and state educational leadership. Superintendent filters state curriculum policy mandates to the school board. School board, who is responsible for local education, acts in concert with the superintendent. Most school-boards are deficient in technical knowledge of education. Therefore, school board affirms the professionally based decisions of the Superintendent.

Curriculum policy continues to be a hot issue in the news throughout the United States. The responsibility of providing a suitable curriculum to meet the needs of all children involves many people. According to McNeil (1996), curriculum policy is seldom rational or based on research. Decisions are not often based on careful analysis of content in the disciplines and on societal needs, or on studies of the learning process and concerns of learners. Curriculum development is a knowledge that has been selected by some individual or group and implies a particular vision of what society should be like. The role of the Superintendent is very important in curriculum policy. Another important aspect in curriculum policy is how the Superintendent can develop and implement a curriculum policy that can meet the needs of all students and produce a citizen who is successful and productive in life.

Curriculum policy refers to the ability to promote one good over another. Recently, some of the participants responsible for making curriculum policy decisions received great pressure to improve the curriculum at all levels. This increased effort was in response to greater demands in standards and testing. Local district, under the auspices of the state, was closely monitoring curriculum policy practices throughout the district in order to meet new federal, state and local demands. The new curriculum policy tended to reflect the ideas and beliefs of individuals or of powerful and outspoken groups rather than the needs of the students or society as a whole.

Superintendent is the most influential player in the business of forming curriculum policy. His function is to influence curriculum policy on the local system level in a positive way. The Superintendent has a role and part to play in the education of students that are in his district. This is a part of the leadership that is looked upon by the local community to lead the schools. He is expected to provide the best possible curriculum to the children. A curriculum that prepares each student for the future and maximizes the potential of each.

Review of Literature

The first State Superintendent was established in 1812 in New York and the duties assigned to the position included developing a plan for a common school system, reporting the management of public funds, and providing school-related information for the state legislature (Butts and Cremin, 1953).

The position of local School Superintendent emerged in the mid-1800s. Between 1837 and 1950, thirteen districts (all urban) established the position. By 1890, most major cities had followed this lead (Knezevich, 1984).

Spring (1994) wrote that the development of the role of the superintendent was important in the evolution of the hierarchical educational organization. The primary reason for creating the position was to have a person work full-time at supervising classroom instruction and assuring uniformity in the curriculum. …

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