Essay Sample on New Approaches in The School Curriculum

Published: 2022-11-04
Essay Sample on New Approaches in The School Curriculum
Type of paper:  Recommendation letter
Categories:  Knowledge School
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1811 words
16 min read

Under the current mandate, schools have deemphasized curricula "social studies, literature, arts, physical education, and other important topics where test scores do not reflect scoring school accountability. Previously, math and reading test scores count towards a school's "adequate yearly progress." The intense focus on the two basic skills is a sea change in American instructional practice, with many schools that once offered rich curriculums now systematically trimming courses like social studies, science, and art. A nationwide survey by the Center on Education Policy indicates that the practice, known as narrowing the curriculum, has become a standard procedure in many communities.

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The narrowing of the curriculum to two high-stakes subjects at the expense of areas that students might find interesting, like art, music and social studies, sends the wrong message about education. The suggestion that there are other places fiscal resources might be spent is very credible and invites investigation.

Bixby Public School should allocate 30 minutes per day for special elective courses for elementary students.


The American education system is on record for focusing more on mathematics and the sciences at the expense of the arts, literature, social studies and physical education among other areas of creative culture. America is arguably the world leader in the technology and engineering fields, with its companies dominating the field. Furthermore, there is a consensus that advancements in technology have enhanced our world, affecting nearly every area of our lives. The American education system has seen an increased focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculums, with the government, businesses and non-governmental stakeholders pledging to enhance funding in the domain. For the government and especially the corporates, the increased focus on STEM indicates their desire for the learners to keep up with the needs of today's learners and give them the relevant skills to live in the modern world. The argument has been that technology is the next frontier, with the proponents of STEM citing statistics to indicate why many people should pursue the domain. While at it, it is essential to acknowledge that traditional art classes are often the first to be affected when the school budget is slashed (Ossola, 2014).

This enhanced focus has pushed other subjects like the arts, literature, social studies and physical education to the periphery. With a little emphasis on these areas, students are rendered to assume that they are not critical in their pursuit of knowledge. While emphasizing that STEM disciplines are exciting and are essential components of our lives today owing to the increased adoption of technology today, it is essential to note that the education system need not deemphasize the arts, literature, social studies and other related areas as they are also significant in developing a holistic being. The proponents of mathematics and sciences as being critical often forget that the arts are vital to nurturing creativity which then can be applied in these domains. In addition to making learners more all-round and more aware of their world, research has shown that enhanced adoption of the arts and creative subjects aids the comprehension of science and mathematics (the University of Houston. 2013). In this regard, increasing their significance in the education curriculum could have the effect of helping to realize the set STEM objectives as mentioned above. Furthermore, it is a known fact that health issues such as obesity are increasing in the country and this can be attributed to the low awareness for physical fitness. Enhancing knowledge in physical education would enhance their uptake among learners which ensures the development of a desirable, healthy society (Burns, 2017).


This paper proposes that Bixby Public School should strive to increase focus on the arts, physical education, literature, and social studies by allocating 30 minutes every day for special elective courses for elementary students. There are many benefits that students will gain with the full incorporation of these study areas in the school's timetable. The school needs to focus on providing a more holistic learning environment, and this is the best approach. Instead of entrenching a simple STEM approach to learning, the institution should explore a more inclusive STEAM curriculum that allows for arts and other creative studies. The time for these elective lessons need to be clearly included on the school timetable and the learners made aware of the significance of taking part in them. School administrators need to allocate teachers and ensure that these lessons are adhered to by all. Bixby Public Schools is also at risk of getting lost in the STEM curriculum and forgetting to take more lessons focusing on the creative side of the learners.

The school should:

  • Focus on increasing access to arts, physical education, social studies and literature, and offer credits in the subjects.
  • Increase access to instructors by ensuring that there are enough teachers and other personnel.
  • Seek for enhanced federal funding for education in these domains
  • Put in place strategies to measure and monitor access.


As mentioned above, the inclusion of these isolated disciplines play a critical role in ensuring the development of holistic students. As it is the goal of the institution to bring up learners who can fit well in today's competitive society, allocating time for these studies will play a critical role. As mentioned above, research backs the argument, with multiple studies showing a strong correlation between arts education and the ability of learners to cope effectively in the classroom and beyond. In their book titled "Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education." Hetland & Winner, (2006) demonstrate that learners who get intensively involved in the arts do better in their exams as compared to their counterparts who do not. Their research found that arts and literature equip learners with skills such as persistence, creative ways to express themselves, the establishment of relationships and connections between schoolwork and their outside world, and innovation through exploration. These students can easily apply the creativity borrowed from their creative studies and apply it to their science and mathematics, and are often fast problem-solvers.

In the same context, it is essential to acknowledge that each student needs to be given room to discover their interests and pursue them. Each learner has their unique gifts and talents, and focusing on a too academic atmosphere may not allow for the cultivation of these gifts. There are many people in the country working in the arts and creative world as musicians, artists, and sports people among other professional roles, primarily attributed to their ability to discover their talents, gifts, and interests; and having a supportive environment that breeds them. When Bixby allows for more lessons in these areas, the learners will undoubtedly have more time to pursue these interests which will be to their right.

In 2015, the Arts Learning Taskforce was commission by Nathan Deal, the Georgian governor, and their findings are published in their report titled "Arts Learning Task Force: Final Recommendations to Governor Nathan Deal from the Arts Learning Task Force." The report finds that art learning is critical in improving overall engagement of the learner as noted through increased class attendance, improved self-esteem, better student behavior, and higher discipline levels. Their study also indicates a strong correlation between pursuing arts and the other creative subjects to better classroom performance as evidenced through better grades, improved graduation rates, and overall academic achievements. It is important to note that there is adequate evidence linking increased arts education to higher learner proficiency and high ability to cope with other study areas as well as other regions in life.

It is essential to appreciate that more current research has focused more on underscoring the relevance of STEM to today's living and there is often less mention of how it relates to other studies. These studies usually take a unilateral approach to STEM. This is likely due to the influence of media campaigns and information from other proponents of STEM which have glorified the immense benefits of exploring STEM. The STEM proponents often cite that those with skills in the sector have higher incomes than those from other career fields and often present the allusion that the discipline is immensely critical to the U.S. economy, often forgetting that other sectors are also contributors to the economy. The science and technology field is full of calls for creativity, innovation, and ingenuity, with participants urged to work on products that solve today's critical problems (Engineering for Kids, 2016). As mentioned above, however, most of the creativity and innovation is bred when learners take part in the arts and other creative fields. Finally, there has been increased efforts to create more STEM supportive learning environments such as online immersive learning environments, digital games, simulations and augmented reality. In retrospect, however, encouraging an environment that supports both arts and the sciences and mathematics is critical for more inclusive learning that has a greater impact (Wu & Anderson, 2015).

This initiative needs to have strong teachers, learners and parents' buy-in for it to succeed. The school administration needs to offer relevant support in enabling the different components of the initiative. In addition to that, the regional and state heads of education need to support the implementation of the plan fully.

For these lessons, it is essential to adopt both an instructional and practical approach. The theoretical aspects of the disciplines should be taught in the classroom, with the instructors striving to make the information as understandable as possible. To make the training relevant, the inclusion of a practical approach is critical. The arts need adequate practical sessions where the learners will take part in practicing what they have learned in the classroom. For physical education, taking part in actual physical fitness is critical to reinforcing what has been learnt in the classroom. Having strong engagement with the learner helps them to be creative, collaborate, innovate and perfect their skills.


Some barriers hamper the adoption of arts education in the education curriculum currently in place. As mentioned above, federal funding is often the main hindrance, while investment in the area of STEM has been growing over the years, it has been at the expense of the above-mentioned deemphasized subject areas. Indeed, the arts are often the first victims of budget cuts from the feral government, hampering more access to education in these areas (Turner, 2015).

Another barrier lies with social perceptions. Some people view arts as totally irrelevant in today's learning environment, considering it as a luxury. They are often perceived as a leisure activity, just like sports, and hence no need to actively invest in them. People in society do not appreciate the arts, physical education, social studies as well as they understand other study areas. In her article titled "Barriers to Arts Participation: On Perception, Value, and Luxury," Olshan, (2015) notes that one will mostly get a negative response if they asked random people on the street if they have ever attended a book study, museum, dance, festival or concert.

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