- A recent study from the Center for American Progress found that a third of the largest school districts in the U.S. aren’t tapping into highly rated curricula around math and English language arts state standards, EdWeek Market Brief reports.
- Researchers looked at the curricula for 4th and 8th grades at 30 school districts, comparing the materials with reviews done by EdReports, which assesses the alignment of curriculum to the Common Core State Standards.
- Just four districts were noted for their use of “high quality instructional materials,” and also for asking teachers for their thoughts on the material and getting them involved before curriculum was adopted on a wider district level.
Bringing curriculum into classrooms is not as easy a feat as buying books and dispersing them to students. Educators are held to state standards that require they hit certain markers throughout the school year: Pupils must learn specific points in order to adequately move forward with their educations.
While administrators and educators alike want the best possible outcome for students, bringing in highly rated curricula can be a hurdle. Sometimes, as the study from the Center for America Progress noted, states only fund curriculum purchases at certain times. That can prevent districts from buying new curricula even if they’ve identified materials they believe would be beneficial for students.
District leaders and curriculum designers can, however, tap into the resources they do have: educators in their classrooms. Administrators can ask teachers for their opinions on materials that are being considered for curriculum and for their own suggestions. Educators who travel for professional development seminars and conferences may have also come across highly rated curricula that their peers are using.
Including everyone in selecting district-wide curriculum — a form of educational crowd-sourcing — can help to create an environment where respect flourishes. That information may prepare districts when funding cycles open again so students have access to the best materials for their educations.