The Common Core Needs a Common Curriculum
The Common Core State Standards contain laudable goals for what students ought to be able to do. Attaining those goals, especially in English/language arts and literacy, depends on how schools interpret the standards' call for a content-rich curriculum : "[W]hile the standards make references to some particular forms of content, ... they do not ... enumerate all or even most of the content that students should learn. The standards must therefore be complemented by a well-developed, content-rich curriculum."
What is a content-rich curriculum? And who should pick the content? I argue that we should all come to agreement on the content. But first, we must understand the cognitive science that explains why content is important.
Instead of writing a content-rich curriculum, some schools have selected a scripted program. Some new teachers have said their schools' scripted reading programs saved them because they were not prepared to teach children with widely varying backgrounds. But once teachers build expertise, they meet individual students' needs better than any script. Perhaps scripted programs should...
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