Curriculum Abyss

A recent review of 100 district websites revealed a severe absence of curriculum content. What is available are reports on reading and math scores. The scores are often two years old. Test scores are rarely connected to the curriculum of a school or school district. And there are no indicators of how students or schools are doing in other content areas that are, by state regulations, a required part of the curriculum. It appears that content areas that are critical to life in a digital age are in an abyss. The most glaring voids are in science and art. Both are essential to civil society yet neither is prevalent in the public websites that were reviewed. In science and art, students have enormous opportunities to showcase what they know and are capable of doing. Indeed, student work is an analog to test scores. Artifacts of student work testify to what students and teachers are doing in classrooms. In addition, student work, more than test scores, are preparation for and fundamental to readiness for the world of work and college. Promulgating public access to the curriculum content of schools and districts via digital tools should be an accountability measure. It is not enough to provide an accounting of a limited array of test scores. Particularly because test anxiety afflicts so many students and is a major explanation for the achievement gaps that plaque public education. When a student produces a painting or builds a robot or constructs a diorama or writes a poem or essay, their work should not vanish into a dark hole. Prominent posting on a website would nourish the public interest in what is happening in schools. Otherwise, test scores dominate the discourse and curriculum resides in an abyss.

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