Monday, June 04, 2012

Not the First Time I've Heard of This

Jonathan Pelto:

So, with little to no communication between Bridgeport’s superintendent of schools and the teachers that actually do the teaching, Vallas decided what text books to purchase.

Despite being treated to that “I’m the decision maker - so I don’t need to listen to anyone,” it sounds like there was widespread excitement at the prospect of getting new textbooks to use in the classrooms of Bridgeport’s school.

Some of the first boxes to be opened included a new text for Bridgeport’s high school seniors, an anthology of… British Literature.

But, here is the problem Paul;

British Literature was phased out years ago to make room for American and World literature, subjects that consistently resonate much better with Bridgeport’s vibrant multi-cultural communities.

But unwilling to let logic or reality stand in the way of the corporate decision-making model, the word from the superintendent’s office was British Literature is what will be taught staring this September. Period, end of story.

British Literature?


It can’t be the State Department of Education’s recent mandate that every school shift its curriculum so that it focuses on the “Common Core Standards.” There is nothing in the common core standards that require British Literature be the required subject for 12th grade English.

Is it that a 12th grade British curriculum has already been developed so the texts books are just part of a logical implementation strategy? No, a British Literature curriculum for Bridgeport seniors hasn’t even been put together.

It is true that Bridgeport is retaining a bunch of consultants (who’ll “guide” some teachers) as they begin to create a new common core curriculum this summer, but realistically, an effort like that takes time – time to develop the curriculum, time to identify the best materials for that curriculum and time to train the teacher on how to make the most of the new curriculum.

Teachers in New York City have been working on developing common core curriculum in their schools for more than two years and they still aren’t done.

But doing things right doesn’t seem to be a top priority for the new regime in Bridgeport.

No thoughtful process.

No consensus building.

No effort to develop a curriculum that would best fit the demographic characteristics of Bridgeport.

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