Archive for December 13th, 2011


Teachers See the Curriculum Narrowing

December 13, 2011

The sound is similar throughout the US

If you’ve heard Commissioner Bowen speak you probably heard him say that the curriculum is narrowing due to the emphasis on ELA and Math and on the testing of these subjects. Maine’s Commissioner is not the only one I am hearing this echo.

This morning I listened to The Whole Child podcast which is an initiative of ASCD. You can access the podcast by clicking here And if you wish to learn more about the Whole Child Education you can click here It was a fascinating interview/discussion on assessment. The guests were:

  • Nancy Frey, professor of literacy in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University and coauthor of several ASCD books, including The Formative Assessment Action Plan and Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom.
  • Tom Whitby, adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College and founder of #Edchat, which has been recognized with an Edublog Award for the Most Influential Educational Twitter Series.
  • Peter DeWitt, principal of Poestenkill Elementary in New York, consultant for the International Center for Leadership in Education, and author of the Finding Common Ground blog for Education Week.

At one point Peter says that he requested that his classroom teachers take the entire week without tests! He was hoping to reverse their thinking around always thinking about testing, testing, testing. I suggest you listen to the podcast and access other upcoming podcasts on assessment that they are doing.

The next podcast is called Feed-up, Feedback, and Feed Forward happening December 13th (today) at 7PM. You can always access the archive of it. To register and get more information please click here. Thank you to Leah Olson for sending this link from Twitter.

Erik Robelen wrote a blog post on Curriculum Matters for Education Week on December 8th called Most Teachers See the Curriculum Narrowing, Survey Finds. 1,001 teachers were surveyed and the results were just released.

Here is a quote from the post: “During the past decade, our public schools have focused—almost exclusively—on reading and math instruction” in an effort to make “adequate yearly progress” under No Child Left Behind, said Lynn Munson, the president and executive director of Common Core, in a press release. She notes that the federal law “clearly identifies our ‘core curriculum’ as reading, math, science, social studies, and even the arts,” but says many of these subjects have been “abandoned.”

The survey was interested in learning which subjects got hit the hardest and you may have guessed the arts. Erik identifies “the percent of teachers who said a particular subject is getting LESS time than it used to.

• Art: 51 percent say it gets less time.
• Music: 48 percent
• Foreign languages: 40 percent
• Social studies: 36 percent
• Physical education: 33 percent
• Science: 27 percent”

If you’d like to read the entire post please click here.

Perhaps you could take a few minutes and ask your teachers in your school buildings what they think.

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