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Candidate Forum Round-up - Question 4

Question 4 – What curriculum revisions, particularly those regarding U.S. history, would you support?

The Board of Education does not make the curriculum, they approve (or disapprove) the proposed curriculum. Regarding, US history, textbooks often present history from one perspective, that of the group in power. In order for students to have a complete understanding of US history, it should be taught from many different perspectives. Every event that two or more people participate in or observe, will have multiple perspectives. Each perspective is valid but is based solely on that person’s views. In order to have a complete picture, we must take a complete look at all the viewpoints, not just the predominant one. This is a skill that is important not just in the study of history, but in daily life. Whether it is reading a new article, or talking to a colleague about a work problem, the ability to find and understand the perspective the article was written in, or the work colleague has, allows for a greater appreciation of the event.

So while some may say we are rewriting history, I say we are rediscovering history that is already there. I would support curriculum revisions that allows for multiple perspectives because this will allow students to fully appreciate our history as a whole – the good and the bad. Learning that our leaders did not always make the right choices or they themselves had flaws, can actually make our history more acceptable and our leaders more human to students. Also learning about different aspects of our history and the contributions of different ethnic and religious groups throughout and across the years can lead to a greater appreciation of who is an American and where our country came from and where do we want it to go. It is also important that curriculum evolve. What was important to learn about when I was in high school may not be as relevant to the world today. If we do not evolve, we stagnate and our students graduate with an incomplete understanding of history.

As stated above, the Board of Education does not create curriculum, but we can ask questions and seek information before approving, or not approving, the proposed curriculum. I intend to do so whether it is history, English language arts, or music. It is an important responsibility of the Board of Education to ensure the curriculum is appropriate and in line with the Learning Standards set by New Jersey.

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