New Common Core Research Highlights Growing Impact of a Narrow Curriculum in U.S. Public Schools
WASHINGTON, DC (December 8, 2011) – With the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) era coming to an end and federal and state policymakers preparing for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), new research reveals that two-thirds of educators in the nation’s K-12 public schools believe that an overemphasis on English-language arts and mathematics has resulted in denying students a proper focus on other core academic subjects, such as social studies, science, foreign languages, and the arts.
Conducted by the Farkas Duffett Research (FDR) Group on behalf of Common Core, the research is based on a survey of 1,001 third through 12th grade public school teachers that gathered data about teacher behavior and classroom practice. The research was funded by the Ford Foundation and the American Federation of Teachers. A full study based on this research will be released in 2012.
“During the past decade, our public schools have focused – almost exclusively – on reading and math instruction, hoping to fulfill the latest in federal mandates,” said Lynne Munson, President and Executive Director of Common Core. “NCLB clearly identifies our ‘core curriculum’ as reading, math, science, social studies, and even the arts. But in our efforts to meet AYP, we have abandoned many of these core subjects in pursuit of higher reading and math scores. As a result, we are denying our students the complete education they deserve and the law demands.”
The Common Core/FDR Group survey found:
“According to most teachers, schools are narrowing curriculum, shifting instructional time and resources toward math and language arts and away from subjects such as art, music, foreign language, and social studies,” the survey found. Additionally, “most of the teachers surveyed believe that state tests in math and language arts drive curriculum narrowing. They say that the testing regimen has penetrated school culture and caused vast changes in day-to-day teaching,” the survey continued.
“America’s teachers have spoken clearly in this survey,” Munson said. “Our increased focus on only math and reading is coming at the expense of other academic subjects. Narrowing is happening throughout the grades but the problem is acute in the elementary grades, with 81 percent of teachers reporting narrowing. It is unbelievable to think that we’re denying even our youngest students the benefits, and excitement, of learning science, social studies, the arts, music, and foreign languages.
February 20 • In this Education Week webinar Lynne Munson talks about how the arts can play a powerful role in CCSS implementation. To register for the archived webinar, sign in here. Or view Lynne’s PowerPoint where she unveils high school-level TDQs comparing two works of art.
February 11 • This morning on Rick Hess’s Straight Up blog is a “thoughtful conversation” he had with Student Achievement Partners Founding Member Jason Zimba on CCSS, math in particular. Lynne Munson commented on the interview, and her views also can be read in today’s Common Core blog
December 17 • Check out Education Week’s article “Arts Education Seen as Common-Core Partner.” Education Week
July 18 • Common Core has announced that the New York State Department of Education has awarded the organization a third contract to develop 6th-12th grade mathematics curriculum and corresponding professional development aligned to New York State’s Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). News release.
May 7 • Common Core receives glowing reviews for professional development offered in Beaufort County, NC. Read the full story in the Washington Daily News.
April 25 • Common Core’s Lynne Munson comments on the pressures of high stakes testing and the effect it can have on student learning in Roberta Munoz’s article “Make it of Break it: High Stakes Testing Pros and Cons” on Education.com
April 4 • Common Core has announced that the New York State Department of Education has awarded it two contracts to develop
Pre-Kindergarten-5th grade mathematics curriculum aligned to NY State’s Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). News release.
April 3 • Common Core Creating Math Maps for New York State. News release.
March 27 • Common Core has announced that it is developing a series of CCSS-aligned K-8 curriculum maps in history and geography. News release.
March 21 • Check out Education Week’s coverage of Common Core’s “Truant From Schools: History, Science, and Art” event!
March 15 • Common Core releases data showing curriculum narrowing affecting all students.
March 9 • Common Core celebrates Virginia’s decision to abandon SB185, a bill that would have eliminated state mandated science and social studies testing for third graders. You can read more about this issue, and Common Core’s advocacy work, in this recent blog entry.
December 8 • Check out Education Week’s coverage of Common Core’s recent national survey of school teachers.