As we all know, the keystone of the strategic plan, "Excellence for All", is to align the math and science curricula across all schools. We are assured that this doesn't mean that every third grade teacher gives the same lesson on the same day, but it does mean that they all teach the same body of knowledge and skills to their students during the year.
As we all know, within the last couple years Seattle Public Schools adopted new math curricula for K-5 and 6-8.
As the Board considers the adoption of a new textbook for high school math, the head of the Math Department told the Board that the curriculum is set by the state through their standards and GLEs and that the teachers pick and choose elements from the textbooks to support that curriculum, but that the textbooks dictate neither the curriculum nor the lessons. She was really strong about this. She assured the Board that "reform" style textbooks could be used to support traditional style teaching and vice versa. Board Director Martin-Morris questioned her on it and she made the statement repeatedly - the state sets the curriculum, the teacher sets the lesson, the textbook is just supporting material and dictates neither the content of the class nor the style of teaching.
As we all know, the state of Washington adopted new state standards and grade level expectations for math for grades K-8 about a year ago and new standards and grade level expectations for high school earlier this year.
Seattle Public Schools has not altered their K-8 math curricula to reflect changes in the State Standards and GLEs. There is no movement on the Board or in the Math Department on this work. It is regarded, somehow, as unnecessary.
So as the K-8 math programs align their curricula, what are they aligning to? Not the State standards and GLEs. Not any Board adopted curriculum. The answer appears to be that schools are aligning to a "fidelity of implementation" based on the textbooks. In other words, the textbooks dictate both the curriculum (not the state or the Board) and the lesson (not the teacher), and the alignment DOES in fact mean that every third grade teacher delivers the same lesson on the same day.
Does anyone else find this confusing and contradictory? Does anyone else find this troubling? Can anyone provide some clarity?