Science Adoption Update

A savvy reader sent me a link to this story in the Queen Anne & Magnolia news about the science adoption.  It reads a lot more as a cheerleading piece but more to the point, it gets one key point wrong AND it lets us know a funding point that should have been obvious all along.

After almost 20 years without an updated science curriculum in Seattle schools, a new teacher-created curriculum is being field-tested. It was set to be adopted in the 2019-20 school year, but may be on hold due to large budget cuts.

“Moving forward science adoption is on hold,” (JoLynn) Berge said.
This would come as no surprise, given the district's budget but it's the first time I've seen it said out loud.  I don't even remember this coming up at the Work Session in any real detail.

What does the QA&M News get wrong (bold mine)?
After almost 20 years without an updated science curriculum in Seattle schools, a new teacher-created curriculum is being field-tested.

The curriculum was created solely by teachers and education leaders in Seattle, instead of being pulled from an education vendor or an outside program.

SPS received grant funding and personnel assistance from multiple universities, including the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University and Michigan State University. Boeing also provided grant money for the project.

Teacher-created? All of it?  If that were true, then the budget issue would not be nearly as dire AND we wouldn't have the arguments over the curriculum, especially around Amplify.  

I'll have to ask about this seemingly new take on the issue.  

Also in the newspaper, a story about a District 7 (City Council) seat candidate who opposes the removal of a tree near Queen Anne Elementary's proposed addition.
Seattle City Council District 7 candidate Don Harper is fighting the proposed removal of a tree along Bigelow Avenue North that would make way for a sewer line connection to the Queen Anne Elementary addition that remains under construction.

Seattle Public Schools is building the addition with BEX IV Capital Levy funds approved in 2013 to provide eight new classrooms, a cafeteria and gymnasium to accommodate 500 students. Students were relocated to the John Marshall building in Ravenna during construction and are expected to return in September.

But a design error may now require removing a Norway Maple tree on Bigelow Avenue North in order to connect a side sewer line to the addition. 

Notice of an application to remove the Norway Maple, labeled Tree #70, was posted on March 12.

Harper wrote an email to interim Seattle Parks and Recreation superintendent Christoper Williams, protesting the planned removal of the tree and questioning SPR’s commitment to environmental stewardship, which resulted in the permit for the tree’s removal being temporarily revoked.

Update 4/9: Seattle Parks and Recreation will reissue a permit to remove a Norway Maple, after another assessment concluded again that its structural condition is poor.

The SPR Urban Forest Tree Crew determined that years of pruning the tops of Tree #70 creating poor branching unions that resulted in wounds and wood decay. One large stem was determined to be a threat to pedestrians due to its level of decay.


suep. said…
Hi Melissa,

I'm guessing that the "teacher created" curriculum that is being referenced in the QAMagnolia News is CarbonTime.

If so, it's my understanding that it is being recommended by MaryMargaret Welch and the high school curriculum adoption committee for adoption for SPS high school biology.

Similar to AmplifyScience (the controversial recommendation for middle school science), Carbon Time is an online, computer dependent curriculum.

I agree that curricular materials genuinely created by a team of SPS' own most visionary teachers that are tested and proven engaging and effective, would be a great way to go. But that's not what appears to be the case here.

Instead, there are a number of problems with Carbon Time, and how it was selected.

1. It was the only product reviewed and recommended. This appears to be in violation of District policy and potentially the law, which requires a competitive bidding process. I also seem to recall that Board policy or at least practice requires 3 finalists for every selection process.

So that leads to the question: How can the Board -- or the community -- have confidence that this is the best curricular choice for SPS students if no others were reviewed or considered?

2. Apparently MaryMargaret Welch and her SPS predecessor, Dan Gallagher, were involved in the development and promotion of CarbonTime. That would call into question the objectivity of the process that led to this 'sole source' selection and a potential conflict of interest or bias.


Also, here is a recent research paper (from May 2018) on CarbonTime in which Ms. Welch is cited as a coauthor.

Which brings me to another, crucial, point:

3. Welch's own research states that CarbonTime is not effective for high poverty students. (See below. Bold emphasis mine.)

That alone should automatically disqualify this product from consideration for Seattle Schools.

(from p. 16 of research paper):
Carbon TIME was less successful in higher-poverty schools with fewer organizational resources. The school percentage of free and reduced lunch was negatively associated with class-average learning gain. That is to say, classrooms from schools with higher percent of free and reduced lunch benefit less from implementing Carbon TIME. We discuss this finding in more detail below; we interpret it as evidence that schools with more organizational resources are more successful in implementing Carbon TIME. Previous studies have shown the percent of free and reduced lunch can be a proxy measure for material,social,and human material resources such as students’ access to qualified and experienced teachers (Darling-Hammond, 2004; Rice, 2010)and the overall quality of conditions in which teachers work (Johnson, Kraft & Papay, 2012).

A recommendation of CarbonTime is also in direct contradiction of the emphasis the science curriculum staff (Ms. Welch, Kyle Kinoshita et al) and adoption committees say they have placed on equity. They told the Board that a commitment to equity was driving their entire process, and heavily emphasized this at the April 2 C&I work sessions.

Nor would such a choice align with the goals outlined in the District's newly adopted Strategic Plan which has a targeted commitment to serving students who are "furthest from educational justice."

4. Finally, from what I know of Carbon Time, it's not very effective and it's boring. Like Amplify Science, it shifts the focus from hands-on, experiential work, which is an essential component of scientific understanding, to an online platform, and lessons that are not very engaging.

So this is one more element of the current SPS K-12 science curriculum adoption process and recommendations which raises many questions.

-- Sue Peters
What seems sad is that the vote may come down to "doing something" versus "doing nothing" which is Director Geary's favorite phrase. Will other directors be swayed by the argument? I think - in the absence of any new evidence - that it may be a 5-4 vote either way. Meaning, not consensus on the adoption as presented.

Or, maybe a partial adoption of some but not all.

They may vote to adopt but when it will be enacted is unknown because of the money.

And, what about that racial equity lens? The Science area is trying hard to make this about equity but would put Science before the Ethnic Studies curriculum or Time Immemorial curriculum be valid if you look thru that racial equity lens? I wonder what parents think.

I am still working on finding out about the funding for the Amplify pilot testing. There is something off but I have yet to have solid proof. I would be disappointed if it were adopted and then we find out that everything was not done with transparency.
Anonymous said…
One of the chemistry options is SPS teacher created. That is probably what they meant. It's not clear that this is the one they'd pick, but I hope so. The other one is terrible.

Science mom
Priorities said…
Um, how did the state's biggest school district not adopt a new science curriculum for 20+ years? That is incompetent. We had the money to put solar panels on Hazel Wolf's roof, but not buy a science curriculum???
Anonymous said…
My question is: why is the district using the Queen Anne news to spin the self-inflicted disaster of curriculum adoption? Did the Times turn them down?? That's interesting it itself.

Kagakuno Nou
Anonymous said…
Fact is - science fundamentals (for K-12) really have not changed in decades. You can get a classic textbook and get everything you need to prepare for college/university. Many of the courses offered at the UW Robinson Center use these classic texts and offer greater coverage and depth than the slickly packaged expensive new curricula. Particularly egregious is Amplify - I looked at it at the middle school level. It is terrible - it would require immense teacher input to even come close to the 20-yo curricula.

Anonymous said…
Look at the OSPI Science Test Scores for Mercer Middle School. Most students at Mercer were doing great in 2015 and 2016. Then the Mercer Science Teachers decided to pilot Amplify Science Curriculum. Low-Income Student Scores at Mercer dropped dramatically in 2017 and 2018. Why would these teachers be advocating for the District-wide adoption of a Science Curriculum that increases the Achievement Gap for low-income students?? Even in their own School?! The 2-year Amplify pilot project at Mercer Middle School clearly failed.
Why promote a Science Curriculum that fails low-income students? Go back to teaching the way you were doing in 2015. See if low-income student scores in your school bounce back to 80%+ passing OSPI Science tests, like they were in 2015. 55% of low-income students at Mercer, now failing the State Science Test (in 2018), is a shocking decline. The SPS School Board, as well as the SPS Superintendent, ought to care about these numbers. How can they adopt CarbonTime or Amplify Science when these Curricula have failed low-income students, as well as their families, so badly.

Let's Get it Right
Anonymous said…
I seem to recall the curriculum review committee was looking at (for at least some grade levels) both Amplify and a teacher-created curriculum. I recall that to separTe from the mention of Carbon Time for biology. I interpreted it to mean comparing the status quo to Amplify, but maybe it really was a NEW SPS teacher-created cilurriculum. Does the article suggest SPS is considering that instead of Amplify? That could be good news. Then again, what exactly is this teacher-created curriculum? Was it available for review? Was iit created by SPS teachers (plural—and hopefully with good experience), or do they mean a single SPS teacher (MMW).

This science adoption process is our own little black hole. We need to re-start the process and be much more thourogh and transparent. The current mess is a pathetic joke.

Anonymous said…
There is nothing wrong with accessing curriculum online. It’s just another access point to learning, no different to a book or text. However, it is substantially better in the depth of material it can deliver, ease of access, accommodation and modification. Criticizing a curriculum because it has online features is bizarrely old-fashioned and indicative of misunderstanding of how teaching and learning can be enhanced by appropriate technology, rather than limited, as it currently is.

On the charge that Carbon Time is less effective with students in schools with high FRL rates. The statement is that the curriculum is less effective in these piloted schools due to other aspects of such schools, eg fewer experienced teachers and lack of material social and organizational resources. It does not state that the curriculum in itself is not effective. Any piloted curriculum would probably suffer the same comparative effects.

Re. Curriculum Development. Curriculum is not a commodity, wrapped in plastic and delivered to schools. It is not inert. It is something that has to be engaged with and studied. That is what Ms. Welsh is doing. Curriculum development requires delivery, piloting and assessment. Much better that this be the authentic process, rather than have people who have no professional experience with teaching or curriculum development, impose their reactionary untested preferences on the community. We have had this happen before and it wasn’t pretty.


Eric B said…
Salut, I think the real issue of online curricula is access. In order to get to the online curriculum, you need a computer for every student. That is a real issue in most, if not all Seattle schools. The testing on computers was already straining computer lab/laptop cart capacity. Online curricula will make that worse.
Clicky Typey said…
And then when you have a computer, getting it to work. A lot of them are really old and slow and take a lot of time to do really simple tasks (like log in).
Kagakuno Nou,,, great question.

Salut and hi to our friends on the Science Adoption committees. Glad you could drop by.

Eric B, ITAC is discussing just that issue at today’s meeting. Good news may be coming on that front. However, that still doesn’t make online curriculum the best choice.
Anonymous said…
I’m not sure that opposition to online supported curriculum is due to to funding or cost application. It seems that the greater opposition comes from an unwillingness to acknowledge the potential for enhanced learning that it offers and its potential to create greater equity by realigning scope and sequence. The same people who fought against academic inclusion and Honors for All at Garfield are against the new science alignments. Here’s looking at you Suep.

But if funding is an issue, then we simply have to find the funds. Seattle’s neighboring districts are moving to adopt enhanced standards aligned curricula and Seattle can not afford to waste time and be left behind on this important issue. We are already out of date.

Anonymous said…
@ Salut, the idea that online curricula provide greater depth depends on the curricula. An online curriculum in which many students finish their lessons very early and end up zoning out, playing on their phones, or working on homework for other classes doesn’t sound like it’s prividing greater depth. While you’re correct in theory, in practice SPS doesn’t want to allow some students to access greater depth than others, so it effectively puts a ceiling on what a curriculum can provide to those who are faster or more advanced. Hence all the sitting around not learning.

The same is true re: your theoretical “ease of access” and “better...accommodation and modification.” If a school doesn’t have enough,or properly working, computers, so much for ease of access (and, often, equity, since richer schools are more likely to have more working computers). Accommodations and modifications depend on a lot of things, but primarily ontracher ability to make the appropriate ones. Are you suggesting teachers are somehow changing pre-packaged online curricula to do so? And that teachers have time for this? Are you also suggesting that students who learn better via in-person instruction and hans-on activities will suddenly find online learning g a good fit instead?

Online learning is not the cure-all. It may be a good tool in combination with traditional instruction, but I don’t believe it will be effective as a replacement.

Anonymous said…
As much as one may verbally extol the potential for texhnologically enhanced curriculum, all results point to this pilot being a failure, including test scores and parent and student experiences. And no, this is not a north vs south end dichotomy. Middle schools at both ends of Seattle have reported dissatisfaction with the Amplify curriculum.

One should not adopt a curriculum based solely on philosophy. The scientific revolution and the age of enlightenment taught us science should be based on facts, not philosophy. Let's not digress several centuries. Let's look at the facts and examine the results of the pilot when choosing a science curriculum.

Salut, and this is just an opinion or your basis for that thought is ....? I’m sure the district would welcome anyone finding the funds but NO more anonymous donors. As it is, I have my doubts about that story anyway.

HF, well said. Thank you for those thoughts.
Anonymous said…
District adopted online supported curriculum will enhance equity, particularly tech equity, by ensuring that all schools have access to the same online resources. It is one way to bridge the tech divide between communities. The student’s practice and experience of the technology itself will transfer to other areas of learning. It will benefit not only science teaching and learning, but additional classroom and school wise experiences. It’s a win win for all.


Well, in order to have that tech equity you also need the infrastructure.

I have to smile at your earnestness, Salut.
Plug In! said…
Salut, having access to the same online resources will not bridge the tech divide between the techiest and least techy students in the district. They all already have online access to all of this (36 vast resource databases just for elementary!):

If there's a tech divide between communities and all of these FREE student resources hasn't fixed it yet, then the problem lies somewhere else...
Anonymous said…
"...opposition comes from an unwillingness to acknowledge the potential for enhanced learning that it offers and its potential to create greater equity by realigning scope and sequence."

Give me a break, @Salut.

I'm not interested in potential--I'm interested in reality. If a given curriculum results in a bunch of kids sitting around doing nothing because they finished really early, that's a complete failure to achieve that theoretical goal of enhanced learning. "Enhancing" learning should mean students can do more, not less.

And how exactly are realigning scope and sequence supposed to create equity? One argument I've seen re: SEQUENCE (but don't really buy) is that exposure to both chemistry and physics (via the A versions) will help introduce students to both subject areas via more "accessible" (AKA easier) versions of those classes, thus potentially inspiring them to go further in those classes later on, once they have more math behind them. I guess the idea is that they'll opt out of the split B versions of both (the default sequence) and take a full-year AP version of one of them instead? Sounds a lot like the Garfield Honors for All experiment that apparently didn't have much success in getting a bunch of students to opt for the AP versions later on. Unfortunately, it also has a lot of potential to turn a lot of students off science, due to boredom of these oversimplified versions they are forced to take.

As to realigning the SCOPE, it sounds like the primary approach is to narrow the scope so it better "teaches to the test." Making sure all teachers cover the required standards is a good thing, but that in no way ensures equity unless teachers are forbidden from teaching supplementing and covering anything else...which isn't the case. I think I even saw something from Juneau or MMW re: the new curriculum ensuring the basics, with recognition that some schools will go above and beyond. In other words, NOT equity.

Curricula are not the source of inequities.

Richard said…
Has anyone been able to discern if there is any gender bias with Amplify? We have a dearth of girls interested STEM and coding. How do girls perform with Amplify compared to boys? How do girls of color do compared to white girls? I have no idea where to begin to find that information, so I can try to discern if pointed to the right place.
Stuart J said…
One big challenge with online in general is access at home. Does the online learning platform work well on the devices and bandwidth that all ranges of people are likely to have? Then also, another question is retention. Today I was talking with a college professor who said in their program, online books are not allowed because the retention of critical content is too low. So these are some things to check out.
Between Lines said…
Retention is also a factor in choosing a computer-based curriculum like Amplify over a physical textbook. Because you have to pay for Amplify over and over again, year after year. But if you bought a textbook, you would only have to pay to replace lost or destroyed copies. Otherwise you could hold onto the physical books and hand them out year after year. SPS is already doing this with classroom sets of just about every other kind of textbook.

Having a secret rich person buy us Amplify for one year is whoop-dee-doo compared to the price of our having to rebuy Amplify over and over again year after year. If the secret rich person had bought us textbooks, we would still have them next year.
Anonymous said…
Superintendent Juneau will be giving a "State of the District" speech on Equity and Excellence tomorrow, at Seattle Central, 530-700 pm.

Although she has publicly dismissed people writing on this Blog site as "Noise", perhaps she could take a few moments tomorrow to discuss serious concerns raised here about the Science Curriculum Adoption process.

Start with a key question raised by School Board President, Leslie Harris, at the recent Board Work Session on Science Curriculum Adoption.

Director Harris asked Mary Margaret Welch (Science Director) about an anonymous donor who apparently paid Amplify Education, to give SPS a free 2-year pilot program of Amplify Science. A major financial gift from Amplify that was apparently never reported to the Board, or to the Public. According to people who attending this Board Work Session meeting, MMW apparently said "No Collusion" to the Board, at the end of her statement, on the unreported donation from Amplify.

Members of the Public, and the Press, should ask Superintendent Juneau, and the SPS Chief Academic Officer, for an update on this unreported donation from Amplify. And ask them to discuss how this unreported donation has impacted the current Science Curriculum Adoption process. Hopefully, the Superintendent and the CAO take this unreported donation issue seriously, and do not publicly dismiss its significance.

Anonymous said…
Online curriculum is inferior to hands-on science. It is racist because the data shows that while all kids do worse when given online or screen-based curriculum, kids of color perform especially poorly with it than with hands-on curriculum taught by a teacher (especially a teacher who looks like them). The data is clear from across the country but as Sue P showed above we have it here in SPS. Amplify is straight up racist. Remember, if an outcome is racist then the entire process is racist. It doesn't help that in this case it's a bunch of wealthy and powerful white folks pushing this stuff on our schools. Even if it weren't, we have to look at the results and they pretty clearly speak for themselves.

Anonymous said…
@ Let's Get it Right -- the test changed in spring of 18, so the 17-18 scores statewide tanked. I'm not an Amplify fan either, but the truth is we don't have test score data on a large scale to compare it.

Anonymous said…
Books get lost, mauled, annotated, torn, wet and tired, especially when passed down from student to student. They are also heavy to lug around, particularly for students with scoliosis or other challenging physical conditions. In addition they remain static and devoid of developing knowledge and ideas.

Online curricula does not physically degrade and is capable of being intellectually regenerated continuously. That’s why it’s more a licensing arrangement than a straight out commodity purchase. It does require more hardware infrastructure, but it also delivers more. It also provides greater assurance that instruction will suffer less when a substitute is covering for an absent teacher. As science is a particularly difficult subject to sub for that makes online curriculum support all the more valuable.

Anonymous said…
Growing evidence suggests that much of the online curricula does not "deliver more". The problem is that online material is delivered at a pace that is mind-numbingly slow for most students. It takes more time to cover less. Also, online curricula degrades significantly faster than hardcopy material. Ever implemented an operating system upgrade? Then you know what I mean. However, this isn't a problem for the providers - it is a revenue stream. I believe there is a place for online tutoring - such as Khan Academy - which takes a deep dive into specific isolated topics. However, it is free - thus not interesting to the corporate crowd attempting to shape education to suit their business models.

Anonymous said…
Reading a physical book and physically writing on paper have been shown to provide greater retention than reading a kindle or taking notes on a computer.

Jet City mom said…
I agree HP.

From what I have read, pen & paper are critical to building neural connections, for better retention.

We’ve known this for years, but we persist in increasing screen time and reducing time with materials.

Anonymous said…

What was Geary's rationale at 4/2 work session why SPS can't provide an efficacy analysis of Amplify?

I don't understand why a within year 2017/18 (WCAS apples-to-apples) comparison of Amplify schools vs. the control group of non-Amplify schools a la Sue P's analysis is not valid.

You previously alluded to some schools only using Amplify for a few weeks, but I thought waivers schools have steadily used Amplify since 2017/18.

I'm preparing my rebuttal to the Board, so the more detail the better, please.

Blind Science said…
If this were a curriculum adoption, it would be possible to look at whether or not the test-run curriculum is effective. If it's a hoodwink, it will not be possible.

Also, there is already evidence that the benefit from online learning varies depending on socioeconomic status (SES). And (surprise!) it doesn't close any gaps. Online learning tends to benefit students already at the top of SES.

Many lower SES families want students to have increased access to technology at school (they will benefit from technology, gaps will close, they will fully compete in today's tech-heavy world, etc.) and many higher SES families want students to have reduced access to technology at school (they already use way too much screen time outside of school, screens rot their brains, human teachers are better than software, this software isn't that good, etc.).

It is very likely that the very same curriculum will impact different students differently. Uh, and a school district should probably pick a curriculum that's not bad for all parties involved. Having an online curriculum that's better than a hard-to-find sub is a pretty low threshhold, don't you think?
Anonymous said…
How much time are science teachers spending out of the classroom anyway? That seems like a pretty poor reason to choose a curriculum. Maybe we’d have better luck hiring and keeping science teachers if the district provided them with the resources they need.

Fairmount Parent
Anonymous said…
@ Salut, your defense of online over books seems to be based on preconceived notions. For one, most schools don’t give students their own copies of books, so no need for kids with scoliosis (or kids without) to lug them around. They have class sets, for use in class—just like they’d have (some) working computers for use in class with an online program. Teachers occasionally print copies of sections kids need to take home, so those would be available for all—whereas accessing an online program from home would be a problem for some.

As for the static nature of books, isn’t that partly where teachers come in? If something important has changed that needs to be added or corrected re: K-12 level science (which probably doesn’t really happen all that often, since the basics are still the basics), then teachers can point this out. That’s kind of their job. If the concern is that not all teachers will recognize/know this, set up a science teacher email list and they can share info, resources, even lessons. All it takes is one teacher to notice the issue and propose a fix that others can adopt. Easy enough.

Online education does not “deliver more” if the scope is limited for some, if there are home access challenges for some, if thee are retention issues, etc.

Anonymous said…
Students are definitely carrying heavy text books to school and back daily. Campbell Biology is dense and thick. It doesn’t stay in the classroom. Carrying such loads is bad for the developing spine, particularly if you have scoliosis, or are differently abled. Girls are also more affected because of their lighter frames. Time to liberate students from this unnecessary burden.


Anonymous said…
Campbell Biology is the gold standard for AP Bio, which is not part of the "alignment." Are some schools using Campbell for general biology? I would agree that heavier texts should not be carried back and forth to school - there should be a classroom set with a copy sent home with each student for the school year (like I've seen for most HS math classes). Pretty simple solution. A classroom text also avoids the "I forgot my book" situation. Of course publishers do have digital versions of many texts...the same high quality, but without the weight (just not possible without a computer for every student).

weighing in
Anonymous said…
Yes, let's adopt a deficient science curriculum all in the name of vertebral health. This should be the main if not the only consideration when adopting a curriculum: whether girls are strong enough (physically) handle it.

Sexist much?
Anonymous said…
Oh geez, @Salut, now you are upsetting me. Surely a teacher can make an accommodation for a differently abled child such as allowing a few in-class copies of the textbook such that the books don't have to be lugged around.

But the obvious solution for the girls with the "lighter frames" is just to give up science all together. It is but one of so many barriers girls will encounter when studying sciences they may as well throw in the towel now. The textbooks are simply too heavy.


The answer to these problem is not a curriculum that seems to be detested by most of the students I talk too. Whether or not this is because the curriculum is online (although I have my suspicions) is irrelevant. Kids simply do not like this curriculum, are not learning well from this curriculum, and it is turning kids off science. Boys and girls of both heavy and light frames. Amplify is not a good curriculum.

-Girl Scientist
Anonymous said…
The physical limitations of text books must be addressed. They impose a weight on the body ( and yes carrying them does harm students and discriminate against those with lighter frames, whatever their identity,) and a harness on the mind, in comparison with a world of unlimited online adaptions.

The text book is dead. It resides only as a dull supplement to the constantly renewable world of the web. You can resist it all you want, but its time, like the card catalogue is over. True teaching and learning has nothing to fear from this. Curious adaptive teachers will embrace the change and reinvigorate their teaching. They will recognize it as social and scientific progress.


"Girls are also more affected because of their lighter frames."

Seriously? Oh my.

Technology is here to stay. Technology is a part of the landscape and an aid to teaching to and learning. But technology has costs:

- how much screentime is too much at school? Add in the amount of screentime with phones, tv or computers at home and it piles up. You want to work about a part of the body? Try eyes. Or the brain.
- districts have to pay for subscriptions and/or updates in any kind of online learning. It is not low-cost.
- So if we have this personalized learning, do we need as many teachers? Many charters like to lower their costs by having "facilitators" instead of teachers during screentime. Keep that in mind.

Anonymous said…
Thank you, folks, for adding the sarcasm. The weight of a backpack is a valid concern, for all students, but there are solutions that don't involve losing the weightiness of the content.

"...a harness on the mind...dull supplement" vs "true teaching and learning...curious adaptive teachers." Strangely, the more you try to dig out, the deeper you go.

weighing in
Anonymous said…
Wow, Salut. You are all in!

You sure have an odd notion of textbooks. Textbooks don't have to tell you how to think. They can provide the basics, a jumping off point. Sure, there are good ones and not-so-good ones... but a good one will help you obtain a good foundation for going further. "Unlimited online adaptions" and the "constantly renewable world of the web," however, sounds like a chaotic mess--and not necessarily a reliable source. But a more structured online curriculum would fall into that same mind-cuffing approach.

Carrying a book is a hassle, so school and home copies are great. Many textbooks also have online versions--the same textbook, you just view a copy of it online. Heavy load solved! Then again, I'm happy for my teen to get a little weight-bearing exercise.

Maybe we're talking about different things. You seem to be thinking about online education (my kid does plenty of that independently) vs. an online curriculum. An online curriculum is pretty set, not that different from a textbook. A textbook also doesn't preclude the use of online research. Unfortunately, what we've seen is that the content of our proposed online curriculum is so limited in scope that kids spend much of their time killing time. Does that seem right to you--and is that what you envision when you think of online education?


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