The "New" Curriculum

A recently published U.S. News and World report article entitled “Schools Cut Other Subjects to Teach Reading and Math” addresses the issue of schools focusing more on Reading and Math at the expense of other subjects in an effort to meet the demands of NCLB and high-stakes testing.  In speaking with various colleagues across my local school district, as well as, neighboring school districts, I find that many teachers and administrators are feeling pressured to promote an abridged curriculum.  Of course, test scores look amazing.  But, are we adequately preparing students to successfully compete in today’s society?    Is this “new” curriculum encouraged in your school?    Do you agree or disagree with this practice?  Why/Why not?



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  1. Jim Bengier said:

    A similar approach has been adopted in my school district as well. Reading and Math are great, but does Reading + Math = Education?

    Why not teach a subject called critical thinking skills and incorporate various subjects into the real world problems that they will face. Business owners want employees that can solve problems not fact regurgitators. I stay amazed with our early 20th century educational system that spits out graduates ready for an industrial machine that does not exist in our country. The system was designed to produce assembly line workers.

    Educators have done a great job, no, an amazing job, producing results from within the confines of a system never meant for 21st century students. It took an industrial revolution to create the current educational system. The information revolution has changed our current world, the problem is we forgot to change our educational system to match. No test will fix our system.

  2. Donna Neblett said:

    As an educator, I hope we realize that reading and math skills are just the beginning of so much more in a well rounded education.

  3. Robyn said:

    WOW! This is right on target – the only saving grace in the state of KY is that we have a state accountability system that tests every subject including Sc, SS, Writing, Arts and Humanities and Practical Living/Vocational Studies. With a state accountability system that is so steep and a federal NCLB system on top of that, it is hard to know which system to teach to!! If we spend enough time on Reading and Math for the feds, the state scores go down in other subjects and we are under state sanctions – and viceversa. My answer: Just emphasize really rigorous and relevant instruction matched to the state standards!!! Measure periodic growth as part of good instruction and students will learn.

  4. Lynn Burdick said:

    After reading your comments, I ran into this article that has some of these same ideas included( As it mentions, Illinois does not even include Social Studies as an area that is tested on the state exams. With the pressure to meet standards in math and reading at 8 grade levels, science at 4 grade levels and writing at 5, who do you suppose has budgeted sufficient time for Social Studies instruction?

  5. Collen Clarke said:

    As far as I am concerned, education is preparation for life. Schools should therefore aim to take a balanced approach in preparing students so that they can become well adjusted and functional citizens.This could become a controversal issue, but high scores are not necessarily a true reflection of student achievement. The prospect of having students score straight A’s
    and not being able to apply knowledge in the real world could be
    frightening. Where then should the emphasis be?

  6. Colleen Duffy said:

    I definitely do not agree with the practice of abridged curriculum. Too much focus is being placed on memorizing content and not enouch focus is being placed on authentic learning.

  7. Val said:

    I definitely think schools should take a balanced approach to curriculum. However, many subjects are being cut due to the increasing demand for higher PSSA scores. I am a kindergarten teacher and in my school district we are only given 20 minutes of Science/Social Studies a day. It is ashame that we do not have at least a half hour to teach those two subjects.

  8. Kate Folger said:

    Perhaps schools will eventually realize the importance of every subject. Well rounded students will do better on tests because they will have a deeper knowledge base from which to learn. As a math teacher I am constantly under pressure to make my students better test takers; this is certainly not why I am a teacher. Luckily this year I have seniors so I can do real-world projects with them as long as I can justify the activity with a specific standard. Education world ( has some great cross-curricular activities.

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