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April 25, 2018
Eight things to know about Detroit’s big math and reading curriculum shift
Here’s what we know about the new materials and what we’ll be watching for in the months ahead.
March 19, 2018
Hopson promises more flexibility as Memphis school leaders clear the air with teachers on new curriculum
Though he didn't have specifics, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said teachers should not feel like they need to read from a script to meet district requirements.
March 9, 2018
Week in review: An injustice to the children of Detroit
Middle schoolers in Detroit’s main district have been taking pre-algebra classes that have “virtually no relationship” to the state’s mathematics standards. In kindergarten…
Set up to fail
March 8, 2018
The Detroit school district has been using a curriculum that’s ‘an injustice to the children of Detroit’ — but it’s not alone.
Experts say that Detroit is among hundreds — possibly thousands — of districts across the country that are using textbooks and educational materials that are not aligned to state standards.
February 6, 2018
With new focus on curriculum, Gates Foundation wades into tricky territory
The Gates Foundation has a new plan intended to help public schools: improve the materials that teachers use to teach. But that may run into some challenges.
January 31, 2018
How ‘central office’ in Memphis is taking on a new meaning under Sharon Griffin
A year after becoming the first chief of schools, Griffin is working to make central office more responsive to needs of schools rather than imposing top-down mandates.
November 21, 2017
Why the phrase ‘with fidelity’ is an affront to good teaching
What the phrase really means, a Minnesota teacher of the year writes, is that teachers better not change anything to serve their students’ specific needs.
November 2, 2017
A harder English curriculum arrives in Memphis elementary schools next week. Here’s how teachers are preparing.
Shelby County Schools is adding Expeditionary Learning to its curriculum mix as the district seeks to expose its students to more complex reading content.
Common Core confusion
April 5, 2016
Who controls standards? Who controls curriculum? Tennessee lawmakers seek clarity
A bill specifying that the state sets standards, while local districts control curriculum, is advancing through the legislature.
August 3, 2015
Tennessee Blue Book becomes source of online lesson plans
In conjunction with Secretary of State Tre Hargett's office, seven teachers design a curriculum based on the definitive almanac of Tennessee state government.
June 9, 2015
In limited survey, principals say they’re happy with new Common Core materials
Seventy-two percent of the principals said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their math curriculum.
May 5, 2015
New curriculum, but not for youngest English learners in DPS
Denver Public Schools adopted new K-8 curriculum, but there's still nothing on the market for young readers that's Common Core-aligned and designed for English learners.
January 21, 2015
Metro Nashville Schools moves to integrated math curriculum
Algebra class soon will be a thing of the past in Nashville — sort of. Beginning next school year, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools will start to…
Let's Make Plans
July 29, 2014
During summer break, teachers find coveted collaboration time
With harder standards and higher stakes, lesson planning may be more challenging than ever, yet many teachers do it alone. So when some had a chance to plan together last week, they jumped at it.
June 24, 2014
Pairing serious inquiry with play, my students find a balance education policy lacks
Describing her students' end-of-year presentation, a teacher makes the case for curricula that blend "piety" and "play."
The Guidelines they are a-changin'
April 29, 2014
New York approves new social studies curriculum guidelines, with Common Core influence
State policymakers have approved the first major overhaul of New York’s social studies curriculum in 15 years, but some supporters worry that its impact will be limited.
April 9, 2014
Once again, city will not endorse high school Common Core materials
For the second year in a row, the city education department will not recommend any Common Core-aligned learning materials for high schools, even though it…
March 17, 2014
After major flubs, city revamps curriculum delivery process
After last year's botched deliveries of Common Core curriculum materials, the Department of Education will ship supplies directly to schools. But it still hasn't recommended any high school curriculums and won't help schools change last year's curriculum choices.
January 29, 2014
As crises ebb, educators adjust to new Common Core curriculums
Midway through the first year with new Common Core-aligned teaching materials, some educators say they are fundamentally flawed. Even teachers who praise the materials say they require serious adjustments and threaten to leave many students behind.
January 15, 2014
Colorado teachers featured in lesson-sharing site’s Common Core launch
When a three-year-old lesson-sharing website recruited teachers to share the work they had done adjusting their instruction to the new Common Core standards,…
December 13, 2013
Joel Klein says curriculum is his legacy's lone dark spot
The further away Joel Klein gets from the New York City school system, the firmer he is about the changes he brought during his tenure. But there is one blemish on a generally positive self-assessment, which Klein disclosed Thursday night as part of a 60-minute conversation with CUNY Institute for Education Policy Director David Steiner. A lone regret, he said, was an early decision to push schools to adopt a uniform curriculum that embraced philosophies of progressive education over more traditional instruction. "This was, in candor, not my background," said Klein, a former U.S. Attorney General who taught math for a year in the late 1960s.
October 23, 2013
To teach Latino history, Luperón High School turns to El Diario
Gregorio Luperon High School students unveiled a poster about a new curriculum devised by El Diario and City College to teach about the history of Latinos in New York City. Saulio Tuero learned to read his parents’ native language by reading El Diario, the country’s longest-running Spanish daily newspaper. “I would buy El Diario for my father, and I’d buy myself an English-speaking one, and then we’d switch," he said. “That’s the way I learned to read Spanish.” Now, Tuero teaches at Gregorio Luperón High School for Science and Mathematics, a school created to serve recent immigrants from Latin America. In his government class last year, he piloted a bilingual curriculum created through a partnership between City College and El Diario. The curriculum, called “Social Justice & Latinos in NYC: 1913-2013” uses El Diario articles from the last century (the newspaper turns 100 this year), along with other resources, to teach students about the history of Latinos in the city. That’s something Xiomara Pérez says she didn’t learn when she attended public school in Queens. Her parents immigrated from Puerto Rico, and she said she only learned about their history — in Puerto Rico and New York — at home. Now a graduate student at City College, Pérez helped develop the curriculum as part of a course on multicultural education in the college’s Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture.
September 26, 2013
Schools mistakenly get comic books in latest curriculum snafu
When packages of long-awaited new books finally began arriving at some city schools over the past week, teachers and administrators eagerly ripped open the boxes. They were expecting to find a popular fantasy novel required for the first unit of study in their school's new Common Core curriculum. That's not what they found. "Instead we got the 50-page comic book version that you could read in an hour," said an administrator at a large Brooklyn middle school who had ordered hundreds of the 400-page version of "The Lightning Thief" for his sixth-graders. Union officials said several schools in Brooklyn and Queens reported having received the graphic novel in error. "The Lightning Thief" is the text for the first unit of a Common Core curriculum produced by Expeditionary Learning, which both the city and state endorsed. The novel is about a boy who goes "on a hero's journey" and was selected to help students understand literary elements of mythology and how characters respond to challenges, according to EngageNY.org, the state's resource for educators.
April 24, 2013
AFT social media site joins growing list of free curriculum aids
Adam Feinberg, a high school global studies teacher, posted the most documents of any New York City teacher on ShareMyLesson.com, a new union social media website. It was more than just altruism that drove Adam Feinberg to post hundreds of instructional materials online for his colleagues around the world to use. There was also, he hoped, a wedding gift waiting for him when he was done. Feinberg, a global studies teacher at the Secondary School for Law in Brooklyn, was jockeying for a vacation prize that American Federation of Teachers offered to the teacher who posted the most documents to ShareMyLesson.com, the union's new curriculum-sharing website. Feinberg's tally of over 300 worksheets, lesson plans, and slideshows won him $5,000 to pay for his European honeymoon. The website, which the AFT launched in partnership with the British publishing company TSL Education last year, is part of a growing online ecosystem that has emerged in recent years as educators across the country confront the challenge of transitioning to new Common Core standards. Existing curriculum materials are not aligned to the new standards, which emphasis text skills, non-fiction, and critical thinking.
February 28, 2013
Newly hatched Common Core curriculums get city endorsement
For the first time since 2003, the Department of Education has revised its curriculum recommendations for schools. The new recommendations are meant to guide schools through the myriad curriculum options on the market to those that best reflect new learning standards known as the Common Core. Students across the state are set to take math and reading tests aligned to the tougher new standards in April. After scrutinizing 40 programs produced by 19 companies that met the city's basic standards, teachers and Department of Education officials endorsed elementary and middle school reading and math programs from three of the largest publishing companies, including Pearson, which is also producing the state tests. The city is also encouraging schools to consider adopting literacy curriculums that the state hired two nonprofit organizations, Core Knowledge and Expeditionary Learning, to produce. Schools don't have to take the department's advice. They can use other curriculum programs, including the ones that they have already been using, or create their own materials. Currently, about 70 percent of schools opt to use the city's recommended curriculums, which for most schools were originally required a decade ago in one of former chancellor Joel Klein's earliest initiatives. Teachers union president Michael Mulgrew, who has criticized the city and state for holding teachers accountable for adapting to the Common Core without giving them a curriculum based on the standards, said today's announcement represented a major step forward.
March 15, 2010
The case for putting curriculum on a reform pedestal
While city education officials have made reforming teacher quality their first priority, others argue that by improving curriculum they could do more with less. In…
March 15, 2010
The Role of Curriculum in Education Reform
Despite a growing popular consensus that teacher quality is the most significant factor in academic achievement, as a parent and taxpayer the costs and practicality of this focus concern me. Chancellor Joel Klein focuses keenly on better teacher quality. I agree a strong teacher is crucial, especially for low-income students. But the value of our efforts to identify high-quality instructors and ease the removal of low-quality teachers is questionable. For starters, the value-added measurements at the core of the relevant evaluation systems are nascent at best, as their developers readily admit. The Department of Education has calculated school report cards three different ways in the last three years; this is appropriate flexibility for a new concept, but not indicative of an established metric. Notwithstanding its motives, the teachers union raises a reasonable complaint that valued-added measurements are not ready for prime time. When reformers deny this, their credibility suffers as much as the union's. But still, let's imagine we build the world's best evaluation system.
May 20, 2009
DOE launches learning guides for stuck-at-home students
An exercise activity schedule from the DOE's learning guide. The Department of Education doesn't want healthy children who attend the as-of-now 19 schools closed because of swine flu fears to sit idly while they stay home. To keep them occupied, the DOE has made available optional "learn at home" activity guides, and Chancellor Joel Klein is urging everyone to participate. The guides were compiled in short order by the DOE's teaching and learning department and can be picked up in four locations or downloaded from the department's Web site. Updated guides and a packet of work for high school students will be posted as soon as tonight, according to a DOE spokeswoman. Chancellor Klein told reporters yesterday that he would like students who are able to complete the voluntary schoolwork. “I hope this is not viewed as a holiday,” he said. The guides include daily schedules that break down four hours of learning into small blocks: 45 minutes each for English and math and half an hour each for vocabulary and science. Another hour and a half is divided evenly among fitness and health, arts and sampling educational television shows (one suggestion is Animal Planet's "Meerkat Manor") and Web sites.
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