Fordham Institute’s Amber Northern provided a workshop called “Spring Training: Working on the Fundamentals” at the Education Writer’s Association’s 67th National Seminar at Vanderbilt University.
Fordham Institute did a study of four different schools that they called early adopters of the Common Core.
She noted that curriculum development was like a “patchwork quilt” in these schools. They had homegrown materials. She said that is understandable because…. “who’s to blame them…. A lot of these publisher materials that are out all ready have got these Common Core stickers slapped on there. Nobody trusts it. They are suspicious of it and rightly so, and districts are waiting. They are not going to adopt a textbook yet and many are saying ‘we want to wait until this roles out… we want to wait to see what we’ve got.’ And there are organizations working to make sure that we have better curriculum materials available. But the danger here is just like the danger we have in the publishing market, this homegrown stuff can be junk, just like the publisher stuff can be junk. Ok, that’s a problem.”
Over all I agree with her that much of what is being pushed out there as “Common Core-aligned” is junk. I’ve pushed back against “Common Core-aligned” history textbooks as not only junk, but totally unnecessary. Unlike Northern, however, I don’t hold out hope that future publisher curriculum will be any better, because junk standards with junk assessments leads to junk curriculum. Also it’s not been my experience that school districts are waiting. We’re seeing all sorts of “Common Core-aligned” textbooks and curriculum out there in the classrooms already.