Are Materials Really This Bad?

That's an image from a textbook or workbook that was presented last week in New York as an example of the low-level, low-quality materials that schools in CPS and around the nation are forced to use.  Thirty of the nation's biggest city superintendents, including our own, were there to say that enough was enough and it was time for publishers to do better -- especially when it comes time for districts and states to start implementing the Common Core (if that ever really happens). So I guess my question is whether most of the materials currently available are anywhere near this bad, and whether publishers have already started slapping "Common Core Ready!" stickers on things whether they really are or not.  And also, while we're at it, is anybody out there getting trained for Common Core?  I thought I remembered training was starting but perhaps that fell apart or I'm misremembering.  Does CPS have a Common Core czar?  There aren't even math and literacy departments anymore.  Coverage of the NYC event from the WSJNYT,GothamSchools. Powerpoint PDFs MathLiteracy via Student Achievement Partners.



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  • Headache299
    Yes! In some schools the materials are this bad; others worse; some schools, materials are nonexistent. In some schools, a few teachers have good materials and other have none. Thought this was common core knowledge. Guess nobody noticed until the Powerpoint! Guess that means that nobody will notice yet another decade of teachers coerced into bad, worse and nonexistent materials. Almost sounds like school districts are kicking (offering lucrative contracts) text-book companies around. Wonder who CPS will ‘bully’ into a multimillion-dollar deal?

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    Looking at the literacy powerpoint, the one caution I would add is that the balance of literary vs. informational text is based on the entire curriculum (per the Common Core Standards themselves, rather than the extensive interpretation of the Standards available everywhere but not necessarily reliable), not exclusively on the ELA curriculum. Yes, we should be teaching more literary nonfiction, including mentor texts for writing informational and argument texts. But the Common Core emphasizes again and again that this work is a shared responsibility, and that content area teachers should be collaborating closely with ELA teachers on how to best teach students to read and write in the disciplines. Literature and literary analysis are also a discipline, by the way. And children need literature--as readers and writers--in order to reflect on their identities and their trajectories as they grow up, not just in order to prepare for college courses.

    As for training, the Networks have offered some training to a few members of each school's Instructional Leadership Team, and this summer to a somewhat broader group of teachers. CTU is partnering with CPS to offer a one-day workshop on August 1. But none of the PD that I'm aware of has been sufficiently in-depth or sustained.

  • 'None of the PD that I'm aware of has been sufficiently in-depth or sustained', is so true. What DOES Dr. Cheatham's department do? CPS does curriculum a mile wide and an inch deep. They threw it on schools without guidance and support and gave out WRONG information for schools to complete--wasting time. Schools did these assignements wrong because her instructions to the newtworks were incorrect. Does JC know this? Amazing how ranks are closed to protect her and their jobs rather than getting us prepared to teach in the fall. Love how a new PD heas shared at a wrong info workshop that she got the job becasue she sahred that CPS PD was poor at best. It is still poor.
    REACH training? even worse--NONE from CPS to support the principals or APs either.

  • People wonder why there is a need for CTU?! If not, who would train CPS teachers correctly or al all? This over 1 year old administration has dropped the ball on professional development.

  • Alex,
    Yes, every major publisher (Prentice-Hall, Houghton-Mifflin, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, etc) has begun rolling out CCSS adapted material. This will be a major boon financially for these very powerful and politically connected corporations. Much like NCLB caused a windfall for these companies, so will the CCSS. On top of that, every state that adopted the CCSS (I believe it's 48 out of 50) must administer a new standardized test (for Illinois it will be the PARCC) that aligns itself to the CCSS. This equals even more money for the publishers. I wonder how/if these publishing powerhouses lobbied D.C. to push the adoption of CCSS through the "Race to the Top" initiatives, knowing that they stood to profit-immensely- from this program. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

  • The CC pd that the area rolled out this summer was not very good. It's seems that the only helpful information to be given is from people not from CPS. The area offices don't seem to have a clue. Common core in CPS is going to be very, very interesting to say the least.

  • The CPS implementation of Common Core reflects a fundamental lack of knowledge about teaching and learning and shows a fundamental lack of respect to professional educators.

    The teachers in my building will receive no information about or training in Common Core until the week before classes begin. Does CPS really think I don't plan for the coming year over the summer? My entire semester, if not my entire year, is ready to go by the first week of school. Yet CPS expects teachers to institute Common Core on just a few days notice. Talk about ridiculous.

    The same is true of the new evaluation system. CPS promised two days of training on the new evaluation system before this past school year ended. It didn't happen. They now claim this training will take place the week before classes begin. Again, does CPS think I don't spend my summer preparing for the coming year?

    I need to prepare, plan, and collaborate ahead of time to meet the needs of my students. I need to prepare, plan and collaborate ahead of time to ensure I meet my professional obligations under the new evaluation system.

    Meanwhile CPS throws these two things together a few days before the school year begins? I have never been so professionally disrespected in my life, in this job or my previous career. Call me disgusted.

  • Doesn't that little ideologically conservative "textbook review" outfit in Texas determine the content direction of the entire school textbook industry (as textbook adoption by big states lead to the big money)? How is it responding to the coming Common Core factor? Anyone know?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Texas has not adopted the Common Core Standards. In fact, one of the best results of the new standards will be to free the rest of us from the influence of Texas.

  • In reply to hcricks:

    Does anyone remember the "Texas Miracle" B. S. that GW Bush sold to the masses to get NCLB drafted?

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