Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsOpinionReaders Respond

Baltimore Co. needs a lesson in curriculum development

I couldn't agree more emphatically with letter writer Tony DiStephano that the new Common Core curriculum is ill-timed and lacks appropriate resources ("Common Core isn't ready for prime time," Oct. 1).

He correctly refers to the orderly way in which substantive curriculum change took place in Baltimore County as recently as the 1990s.

Whenever a new approach was offered (usually by a major university) several experienced teachers were chosen to participate in the writing and development of that approach and to pilot it with one or more of their regular classes. These pilot teachers met regularly to share outcomes and assess what was workable and what was not — an initial "weeding" process. In good time, summer workshops were scheduled drawing on the writing and editorial skills of teachers, department chairpersons and subject matter supervisors. The products of these workshops, curriculum guides, laboratory guides and resource materials, were immediately in demand by other school systems throughout the country.

For some reason, that process has been severely altered or abandoned altogether. The real problem is not the Common Core approach as such. The fundamental defect is the curriculum vacuum produced by the abandonment of the orderly process by which good curriculum can evolve into better curriculum.

I'm not going to denigrate Superintendent Dallas Dance's role in this crisis. He has enough on his plate. But if he could make one change that would have a lasting positive effect on the development and steady improvement of curriculum and the morale of instructional staff, it would be to reestablish that orderly process that assured constant improvement of what teachers are expected to follow in the classroom.

Donald A. Roberts, Rossville

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • What the Common Core is and isn't [Commentary]
    What the Common Core is and isn't [Commentary]

    Surveys show a disconnect in the public's understanding of new standards for instruction adopted across the nation, Howard superintendent says

  • Common Core blows up testing [Letter]
    Common Core blows up testing [Letter]

    State officials deeply vested in new Common Core curriculum mandates and tests want us to believe that marked student declines on state tests since Common Core moved into place aren't Common Core's fault ("MSA warning signs," July 14). Even though Common Core is supposed...

  • Curriculum changes deserve failing grade [Letter]
    Curriculum changes deserve failing grade [Letter]

    I think the new curriculum is not good at all ("MSA warning signs," July 15). As a country, we focus more on test and test scores than we actually do on teaching these kids. The old ways of doing things were better and way more effective.

  • Defending a defense of Common Core [Letter]
    Defending a defense of Common Core [Letter]

    Thank you for an intelligent explanation of the theories behind the Common Core standards ("In defense of Common Core," June 27). You detailed the purpose behind the English and math standards with examples that should make sense to most people. Rather than move students through...

  • Sun doesn't understand Common Core [Letter]
    Sun doesn't understand Common Core [Letter]

    The "new higher standards" that The Sun's editorial board has just discovered as it defends the Common Core are of great interest to those who were responsible for the learning program of students for the past 50 years ("In defense of Common Core," June 27). It is...

  • More research is needed on the Common Core standards [Letter]
    More research is needed on the Common Core standards [Letter]

    As a long-time educator, I recognize the need for the Common Core State standards and strongly support them. However, as the standards have been rolled out in the public schools, some major concerns have been raised ("In defense of Common Core," June 27).

  • In defense of Common Core [Editorial]
    In defense of Common Core [Editorial]

    Our view: Higher standards will push Maryland schools to the next level; the state needs to do whatever it takes to help local districts make the transition as seamless as possible

  • Why 'unprepared' teachers quit [Letter]
    Why 'unprepared' teachers quit [Letter]

    It seems to me that additional certification requirements added through the past years should have addressed the issues of teacher preparedness addressed in the op-ed "Zero tolerance for unprepared teachers" (June 25). The increase in unsuccessful teachers who struggle and then...

Comments
Loading