Stephanie at Throwing Marshmallows has an insightful post about the politicking of public education. She points out that at its core, the curriculum taught in public school has little to do with the actual children who are learning from it. Special interest groups, political opinions and current social trends dictate what to put in the Standards of Learning.
The more diverse our culture becomes, and the more extreme the viewpoints are that dominate politics, the harder it will be to come up with an appropriate public curriculum. It will get to the point that nobody will be happy with the schools, except for those that have control over the process of deciding content. And even then, everyone will be peeved that they had to compromise to get a little bit of what they wanted.
Is there a solution? Perhaps the only solution is to completely dismantle the current public education model and re-work it from the ground up. But if there’s such a diversity of opinion about what should even be taught in school, how are we ever going to come up with a school model that most everyone will happy with?