Curriculum Politics, Policy, Practice

Cases in Comparative Context

Edited by Catherine Cornbleth

Subjects: Comparative Education
Series: SUNY series, Innovations in Curriculum
Paperback : 9780791445686, 257 pages, May 2000
Hardcover : 9780791445679, 257 pages, June 2000

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Table of contents

1. Viewpoints
Catherine Cornbleth

2. A Tale of Two Cultures and a Technology: A/musical Politics of Curriculum in Four Acts
Vivian Forssman and John Willinsky

3. Science for All Americans?: Critiquing Science Education Reform
Margery D. Osborne and Angela Calabrese-Barton

4. The Politics of Religious Knowledge in Singapore
Jason Tan

5. The Segregation of Stephen
Diana Lawrence-Brown

6. "They Don't Want to Hear it": Ways of Talking and Habits of the Heart in Multicultural Literature Classrooms
Suzanne Miller and Gina DeBlase Trzyna

7. Curriculum as a Site of Memory: The Struggle for History in South Africa
Nadine Dolby

8. Understanding Shifts in British Educational Discourses of Social Justice
Gaby Weiner

9. National Standards and Curriculum as Cultural Containment?
Catherine Cornbleth



Studies the intersections of curriculum politics and policy-making throughout the world.


Offering a range of studies on the intersections of curriculum politics, policy, and/or practice, this book addresses the following questions: Who decides what is taught in K-12 schools? On what basis? What actually happens in classroom practice? What do students have opportunities to learn? Who benefits from these decisions and practices? It includes case studies that span school levels, subject areas, and national boundaries, thus enriching the possibilities for cross-case analysis, interpretation, and insight.

Curriculum dynamics are revealed in cases ranging from the macro—as in the case from South Africa—to the micro—as in the case of U.S. special education placement. Instances of curriculum politics, policy, and/or practice are brought to life and situated in their contemporary and historical contexts with particular attention to questions of knowledge control and distribution of benefits.

Included is this uniquely comparative text are several American case studies, including a discussion of implications of "science for all," the politics and consequences of placing a significantly disabled student in a separate classroom after several years of inclusion, trying to embrace multicultural literature without dealing with racism close to home, and history-social studies curriculum policy intended as cultural containment. Also examined are the business-education culture clash in creating meaningful technology education in Canada, the politics of mandating "religious knowledge" curricula in Singapore, white South African students negotiating divergent stories of their country's past and present while trying to make sense of their own roles and future, and critical analysis of British educational discourses of social justice and their impact in the 1940s and 1990s.

Contributors include Angela Calabrese-Brown, Nadine Dolby, Vivian Forssman, Diana Lawrence-Brown, Suzanne Miller, Margery Osborne, Jason Tan, Gina DeBlase Trzyna, Gaby Weiner, and John Willinsky.

Catherine Cornbleth is Professor of Education at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She is the editor of Invitation to Research in Social Education, author of Curriculum in Context, and coauthor of The Great Speckled Bird: Multicultural Politics and Educational Policymaking.


"It is in 'rocking the boat' … and attempting to critically but constructively analyse curriculum politics, policy and practice that the strength of this book lies." — Journal of Curriculum Studies