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January 17, 2012 1 min read
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Curriculum Key To School Reform

Higher standards. Better assessments. Accountability. Merit pay for teachers. Charter schools. These are among the education reform topics that have dominated the national dialogue in recent years.

But a new book from a veteran of educational publishing argues that improving the curriculum is all too often left off the table.

“There has been little, if any, focus on curriculum as part of the problem,” writes Beverlee Jobrack, who retired in 2007 as editorial director for McGraw-Hill.

Her book, Tyranny of the Textbook: An Insider Exposes How Educational Materials Undermine Reforms, is timely, given the challenge of bringing the common standards to life in the classroom.

Jobrack offers a behind-the-scenes look at how curricular materials are developed, adopted, and sold. The core problem, as she sees it, is a system that fails to create the conditions and incentives to bring an emphasis on high-quality curricula that optimize learning.

This system, she says, is “perpetuating mediocrity in instructional materials and in American education.”

—Erik Robelen


Americans Declare Teachers Underpaid

More than half of Americans believe that teachers are underpaid, according to a national telephone survey by Poll Position. The survey was conducted in December, about a month after the American Enterprise Institute released a controversial study saying teachers are overpaid.

Poll Position asked 1,142 registered voters whether they think teachers are “underpaid, overpaid, or make the right amount of money.” Overall, 56 percent of respondents said teachers are underpaid. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 70 percent said teachers are underpaid. About two thirds of Democrats and 45 percent of Republicans said teachers are underpaid. Thirteen percent of respondents said teachers are overpaid, 24 percent said they make the right amount of money, and 8 percent had no opinion.

— Liana Heitin

A version of this article appeared in the January 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Blogs of the Week


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