Thursday, November 6, 2008

Curriculum and the Supplements by Niki Hayes

If mathematics curricula need supplemental materials all year to make them productive in terms of student learning, then those base materials need to be thrown out and new ones selected that can stand on their own. It's about starting with cake and adding some frosting if necessary, rather than starting with frosting and trying to build cake underneath it.

The extra costs to coordinate and integrate different learning materials continue to suck away valuable teaching and learning in terms of money, time and energy. Teachers know this all too well.

This "rebuilding" of curricula represents both a lack of critical thinking skills and “real world” application. (Time is money in the real world.) It is a prime example, however, of government work: That is, paying twice or three times for the same work. Continued acceptance of bad behavior enables it.

Supplemental services and materials may indeed secure many new jobs for professional development and tutoring, but that is not the purpose of public education. It is about children, not about teachers. It is about families, not unions. It is about our future, not our present.

Mike's Thought:
Well said Niki.

Niki Said… “Time is money in the real world.” I would add, “… and the currency of education is (should be) student academic achievement.”

I chose the words “academic achievement” instead of “learning”, because “learning” has been co-opted to become an umbrella concept, encompassing both cognitive and affective domains.



Anonymous said...

In schooling, the question becomes who will be the job creators of the future. These are the skills schools should be supporting since our society has chosen to use school to separate students by achievement.

A stronger case would be that teachers supplement when curriculum fails to fulfill society's goal.

The standardized movement failed to define a purpose for school beyond what was happenning in the classroom. Lawmakers intended to define a floor for public education, which had terrible consequences.

By their own hand, any curriculum would succeed in meeting those minimum requirements. However, curriculum is more than a collection of facts and some authors apparently think learning can be taught through osmosis.

dan dempsey said...

Excellent Points (above)

How many of the standard textbooks and curricula in use are defective? School should not be all supplements.

Is anyone looking at the tremendous diversity of the population of students?

Are students being prepared not only academically but in meaningful ways to live successful lives?

In the past decade the State has done a poor job of preparing students academically as social promotion has been rampant and effective interventions have not been implemented (dispite an increase in bureaucatic expenditures).

The idea that 100% of the students will successfully do anything other than breathe is misguided.

NCLB needs a reality check and so do State Education Officials.

As for the UW .... the idea that UW educational research (or 98% of ed research) in anyway resembles science is a Total Joke.

So now let us get focused on what the schools should be doing and how.

Where do academic results belong in the heirarchy?

Anonymous said...

"social promotion is rampant"

You realize once again that big brother has coopted the phrase 'social promotion'. Rather I would call it social failure.

Giving marginalized children substandard textbooks that fail completely as a teaching tool and then promoting them regardless of outcome is an injustice.

Congradulations you've succeeded in graduating without any valued skills in life. I'm afraid television, cell phones, and playstation won't cut it in the working world.

Our entire education system needs to be redesigned - it would be far cheaper than trying to put Humpty Dumbty back together again.

dan dempsey said...

Our entire education system needs to be redesigned - it would be far cheaper than trying to put Humpty Dumbty back together again.

Sounds a lot like trying to use Everday Math with lots of supplements.... rather than trashing it and starting with a decent textbook.

Trash Humpty and get Singapore.
It will be interesting to see what happens at Schmitz Park elementary if they continue with 100% Singapore next school year 2009-2010.(that will be year 3 of Singapore Math at SP)

When the WASL becomes a real math test in Spring 2010 it will be interesting to compare Schmitz Park with other SPS schools that are not using Singapore but are using EDM.

Anonymous said...

You should do a piece on Schmitz Park? How many years have they been piloting and how did teachers and parents convince the district? That's quite a feat. What's their reaction so far?

I do know that once parents heard what Schmitz Park was doing that they were trying to transfer their kids to that school and well that is going to skew the results. Did they try to keep the original group separated? Are they at capacity and are students leaving as fast as they are enrolling? Moreover, are parents satisfied with the program?