Facebook Twitter

Views on high school curriculum vary with experience

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

While newer teachers interviewed tended to be supportive of the core curriculum, many experienced teachers were critical.

"I really welcomed the core curriculum. Last year in 10th grade, I didn’t have any structure or framework to guide my curriculum. This year, I have more structure and endless resources. I also have Holt Adaptive Readers at a lower level for Special Ed kids in my classes."

-11th grade English teacher,
two years in District

"I like it because it gives a focus and a scope and sequence – definitely more than before, when I taught pretty much without a text. The core is really good for a teacher who is not that creative or motivated or just confused. I think the Geometry curriculum is fantastic. There are all kinds of creative hands-on activities, artistic projects, multicultural elements."

-10th grade math teacher,
four years in District

"The core curriculum is all direct teaching, which is opposed to everything I have learned. Let me do what I want with the texts. I want to do active learning, hands-on projects, write essays that draw on students’ experiences. My students have great strengths in oral and written expression, but these are totally ignored in the curriculum."

-11th grade English teacher,
seven years in District

"The core curriculum in U.S and World History covers too much content superficially – just terms, events and people – and the benchmark tests emphasize unrelated factoids. This is contrary to everything I know about effective pedagogy in social studies. I used to use primary documents, debates, inquiry activities, but now there isn’t time."

-11th and 12th grade social studies
teacher, thirteen years in District