California Schools Superintendent: Curriculum Cuts Will Undermine Instruction

By Sean Cavanagh — October 06, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California’s superintendent of schools, Jack O’Connell, is urging state officials to reconsider their unusual decision to issue a five-year suspension on adopting curriculum “frameworks,” saying the delay will hurt teachers and students.

Academic standards, in California and other states, are expectations for what students should know in various subjects. California’s curriculum frameworks are documents that explain and translate the state’s academic standards for teachers, essentially helping them craft lessons out of them. They also serve as the basis for textbooks and other instructional materials.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other state officials have been forced to take a budget ax to many aspects of state government, schools included. A law passed recently cut support for curriculum development and supplementary materials, blocks the state board of ed from adopting any materials, and prohibits any framework development. My colleague Kathleen Kennedy Manzo provided some of the background in a story from a few weeks ago.

In a teleconference and a statement this week, O’Connell argued that cutting framework development will result in nearly completed documents in history/social science and science getting left on the curb. At the very least, the situation in California is a reminder of what is often the glacial pace for drafting and approving standards and curriculum in states. Restarting the process in California, once the suspension on frameworks is lifted, O’Connell said, will take years—meaning that students today will not receive instructional materials until at least 2017. In the meantime, teacher credentialing and professional-development programs for teachers will drop the frameworks, the superintendent contends, “and the connection between content standards and teaching will be lost.”

Do you agree with O’Connell’s view of the severity of these cuts?

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.