Pitching the ‘Non-Common-Core Curriculum’

By Catherine Gewertz — August 11, 2014 1 min read
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Most publishers are scrambling to produce materials aligned to the common core, since those math and English/language arts guidelines are in effect in 43 states and the District of Columbia. But some, it seems, are keeping their eye on a niche market: parents who want to opt their kids out of those standards.

Discovery K12 is a case in point. The publisher of free, online homeschooling curricula is aiming its product at common-core opponents, noting in its marketing materials that the common standards are “one of the main reasons” that parents are choosing to teach their children at home. (Whether research would bear this out as a “main reason” for homeschooling remains to be seen.)

Check out their pitch, in a press release issued today. They manage to use the phrase “non-common core curriculum” four times in one short statement (highlighting is mine).

In its press release, Discovery K12 twice employs another anti-common-core buzzphrase, too: “classic literature.” Critics have attacked the common core for expanding the amount of nonfiction children are expected to read. Opponents argue that this means teachers won’t have as much time to teach literature. Advocates have responded that this this criticism is baseless; the nonfiction-reading expectation can be met across all subjects, they say, leaving plenty of time for literature in reading or English/language arts classes.

The company doesn’t use the non-common-core angle on its homepage, but it situates the phrase prominently on the page that houses its curriculum.

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