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Reading to the Test?


Parents in Durham, N.C., are voicing concern that a new reading curriculum being implemented in the district’s elementary schools this year is overly test-driven and may dampen kids’ enthusiasm for reading, according to The News & Observer.

The curriculum, called “Reading Street,” was created by the publisher Scott Foresman in 2005 to help schools reach NLCB goals. According the News & Observer, it uses stories from workbooks and sets time limits for completion of tasks.

Some parents, particularly those at magnet school in the district, say the program is overly prescriptive and smacks of teaching to the test.

“I don’t feel that a top-down, corporate, admin-heavy approach is what’s going to improve learning for our children,” said one mother. “I feel that our children learn from qualified, inspired teachers.

District officials say the program, decided on after a literacy audit showed sub-par results, is intended to bring equity and consistency to reader instruction across the district. They contend, however, that it can be modified to reflect the reading programs of particular schools.

Teachers reportedly were notified about the new curriculum only last week.


It is so typical of an adminsitration to implement such a plan at a moments notice. There are way too many cheifs and not enough indians in education these days and until this changes we are all in trouble!

Janice--I think that your comment about too many chiefs may be apt. I would suggest, however, that the chiefs are not all in central office positions. I was incredibly disappointed in trying to be an involved parent in my child's school improvement improvement process, that there was very little in the way of "process" and the work of "planning" was parcelled out amongst the chiefdoms. Not only was there an unwillingnes among the classroom teachers to come together to consider solutions, there was a lack of any sense of "big picture" problems that could be solve through joint effort. Problems such as "climate" or "discipline" are willingly (or willfully) ceded to a few office "chiefs" (or security guards). Meanwhile, any change that might impinge upon the "chiefdom" on any individual teacher in their individual classroom is off the table (unless imposed from a more powerful chief above).

BTW, I rather suspect that native Americans do a better job of moving democratic actions.

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