Friday, April 01, 2011

Bipartisan Group Backs Common School Curriculum

This is a double-shocker: I agree with Randi on something too!  Kudos to her for supporting this:

A bipartisan group of educators and business and labor leaders plan to announce on Monday their support for a common curriculum that states could adopt for public schools across the nation.

The proposal, if it gains traction, would go beyond the common academic standards in English and mathematics that about 40 states adopted last year, by providing specific guidelines for schools and teachers about what should be taught in each grade.

For decades, similar calls for common academic standards, curricular materials and tests for use nationwide — the educational model used by many countries in Europe and Asia — have been beaten back by believers in America's tradition of local control of schools.

But last year's successful standards-writing movement was a departure, leaving the outlook for this proposal uncertain.

"We are well aware that this will require a sea change in the way that education in America is structured," says a statement the group intends to release on Monday. But, it adds, attaining the goals laid out in the new common core standards "requires a clear road map in the form of rich, common curriculum content."

"By 'curriculum' we mean a coherent, sequential set of guidelines in the core academic disciplines, specifying the content knowledge and skills that all students are expected to learn," the statement said. "We do not mean performance standards, textbook offerings, daily lesson plans or rigid pedagogical prescriptions."

The curricular guides "would account for about 50 to 60 percent of a school's available academic time," the statement says, with the rest added by local communities, districts and states.

The three-page statement is to be published on the Web site of the Albert Shanker Institute, a research group associated with the American Federation of Teachers.

Signers include Randi Weingarten, president of the federation, and prominent Democrats, including Richard W. Riley, secretary of education under President Bill Clinton.

Several Republicans also signed, including former Gov. Tom Kean of New Jersey; Chester E. Finn Jr., an assistant secretary of education under President Ronald Reagan; and Susan B. Neuman, an assistant secretary of education under President George W. Bush.


Bipartisan Group Backs Common School Curriculum

Published: March 7, 2011

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