NYC signals shift to centralized curriculum model, with diversity remaining a critical focus
- At a recent parent forum, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza said his department was “tightening” curriculum to put it “within the context of a framework,” Chalkbeat reports.
- While specifics about Carranza’s plans aren’t yet known, reviewing material to make sure its relevant and reflects the diversity of the district’s students is crucial, New York City Chief Academic Officer Linda Chen said at the same meeting. Of the city's more than 1.135 million students, 85% are minorities and 74% are considered economically disadvantaged, according to the city's education department.
- In an email to Chalkbeat, an education department spokeswoman said Chen’s office was looking at the city's curricula system-wide to ensure "they align to our standards.”
Craft curriculum that is too focused or narrow, and administrators are likely to run up against critics — both among their teacher ranks and their communities. Parents in particular often want to know they have a voice, or at least a choice, when it comes to what their children are learning.
While some flexibility is crucial in education, parents can often, for example, opt their child out of a sex education class or from reading a specific book. But without a general framework and set of standards for all students, there is no way to ensure that every child received the same level of education.
Still, every school in a district may have unique needs, particularly in terms of materials used to teach students. The New York City Department of Education, for example, wants to make sure that materials reflect the diversity of students in the schools, as Chen stated at a recent meeting. Districts may also want to make sure that materials also meet students where they are in terms of their educational needs.
Comic books, for example, are working their way into classrooms, helping students who not only need reading support, but also advanced learners, by teaching them to develop and strengthen their visual literacy skills.
Districts must take into account what their students may need, and not all school systems — nor even schools within a district — will have the same requirements. But making sure curriculum addresses what's essential for a child’s educational success, and establishing foundational ideas and requirements that enforce those essential pillars, is the responsibility of every administrator so that students are well-prepared for whatever future they may choose.
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