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A New Entry in Common-Standards Curriculum Work

You've been reading here about the curriculum discussions that have been going on in the wake of the common standards. You might recall that a number of people in the field have been discussing ways to ensure high-quality responses to the new set of academic standards that have gained acceptance in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

One of the groups involved in those discussions has issued its own materials today. The curriculum maps designed by Common Core are one of the first curricular responses to the common standards. (The Core Knowledge Foundation adapted its core curriculum sequence to the standards and made it free to everyone back in February.) (See update, below.)

The maps don't purport to be an entire curriculum. They are more like a frame onto which teachers can build lesson plans. They divide the standards into thematic units that offer sample student activities, instructional strategies, and other resources.

Core Knowledge and Common Core are early entrants into the common-standards curriculum landscape, but they won't be alone for long. Lots of stuff is in the works out there. No one really knows how much of it will faithfully and deeply capture the letter and spirit of the new standards.

And no one's got a firm grip, either, on the question of how to help states and districts sort through the dozens of inevitable competing claims of "alignment" to the common standards. An independent panel to evaluate materials? Groups like the NGA and CCSSO (which co-led the initiative) to serve as technical advisers to states and districts? The natural sorting forces of a crowded and diverse marketplace?

This will be an interesting chapter to watch. (I'll have a story about these curriculum questions on www.edweek.org soon, too, so if that kind of thing trips your trigger, keep an eye out.)

UPDATE: Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader who wrote to ask whether Core Knowledge had actually adapted its materials yet. (I reported back in February that it planned to do that. But in the blog post above, I reported that it actually had.) I checked with CK's president, Linda Bevilacqua, who explained that the core sequence has not been revised in response to the common standards, but has indeed been made available for free. The foundation views the sequence as highly aligned to the common standards, she said, and is working on documents that will detail that alignment, to be released later this year.

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