The public school curriculum as currently mandated by the legislatures of the fifty states
The problem was to determine the public school curriculum as currently mandated by each of the fifty states. The study was confined to those mandates regarding the public school curriculum as of December 1976. Only the curriculum as pertains to the public schools from kindergarten through grade twelve were made a part of the study. A compilation of each curriculum, statute was made of the fifty states. Each state was listed in alphabetical order with the statutes pertaining to the mandatory curriculum. The collection of statutes served as the basis for the study of patterns that existed between the states. The data were treated graphically and also listed by individual states.A review of the literature showed that the United States Constitution does not contain a reference to education. The state power to prescribe curriculum was interpreted to come from provisions included in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. Education has been a state function and is mentioned in every state constitution. State legislatures have had plenary power to prescribe both the type and content of curriculum to be used in the public schools.The report of findings included one hundred ninety-nine subjects and represents the subjects mandated to be taught and/or studied within at least one state of the fifty states. From twopercent to sixty-six percent of the states had legislation requiring instruction in each of the subject areas.The findings were organized under seven categories:(1) Subjects Related to Government, (2) Subjects Related to Economics and Geography, (3) Subjects Related to Basic Skills and Language, (4) Subjects Related to the Arts, (5) Subjects Related to Mathematics and Science, (6) Subjects Related to Health, Physical Education and Safety, and (7) Miscellaneous Subjects. Within each of the seven categories were placed all subjects mandated to be taught and/or studied in the public schools. The report of each mandated subject contained the name of the legislating state, the grade or grade level, requirements peculiar to each state, the actual content of subject matter when listed, the amount of time devoted to the subject if specified, and a graphical treatment of the prescribed subjects.Practices of legislatures have caused ambiguity. Mandates have been made requiring a subject title to be taught or studied without prescribing content. States have required examinations be given concerning a subject title but did not specify how extensive the examinations were to be. Of the one hundred ninety-nine subjects prescribed, eighty-five subjects were required by but a single state. The eighty-five subjects represent unique requirements for the particular states. The total requirements of each state is different from the total requirements of all others.