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Turning to Teachers


Unhappy with a new curriculum developed by an outside firm, Pittsburgh's school district is diverting money from the company’s contact to hire district teachers and academic coaches as curriculum writers this year. Under the plan, some $2.4 million from the district's $8.4 million contract with Kaplan K12 Learning Services will be divvied up among the teacher-curriculum writers, teachers who provide feedback, and University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Learning, which will provide resources and services to the writers. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, teachers could make $16,000 to $22,000 per course for designing the curriculum—in addition to their regular pay.

Initial installments of the new curriculum introduced by Kaplan last school year triggered a range of complaints from teachers, prompting the district to reconsider the contract. Kaplan Senior Vice President Seppy Basili, however, said it’s normal for school systems to develop more of their own curricula in the second or third years of a contract with Kaplan. "The decision to go in this direction was based on some of the feedback really all through the year from teachers who, I think, wanted a greater voice and greater stake in the process," Basili said.


Wow, $16,000 to develop new curricula. Hey, if a teacher can earn that kind of money to develop new courses, then more power to them, run with it. By the way, do you think they might be hiring consultants ????? For a fraction of the cost, I'm available (check out my website - eaglesspace.org)

Hopefully,this will start a trend for other districts. Particularly for urban districts where the curriculum is written by those who have little knowledge of the earning styles and culture of of urban schools.

I think districts should be turning more to teachers to design and implement professional development and more of our teachers working together as colleagues and keep these high priced outside consultants who know very little about teaching except how important it would be for the district to adopt their texts.

As an Ed D. candidate in Teacher Leadership and a teacher for quite some time, one of the reasons our children aren't doing well(according to State Standards and NCLB) is that those who are in the trenches with our children on a daily basis have little to no say in how our children are taught. Yet I have to ask what type of district are the teachers associated with? And why so little pay? Just a thought.

What a terrific idea. It seems so logical. I have experience in course development and design.
Would love to get more information.

[1] What a great idea? Even better if they would engage teachers collaboratively. Perhaps they are, but the article gives the impression that they'll engage teachers.
[2]They won't just get improved curricula. No matter how good they are already, they will get better teachers. For the teachers involved -- again, no matter how good they are in the classroom, or how well they know their subjects already -- this will be great professional development. And precisely The sort of way of providing for continuous growth in the profession, outside the classroom as well as inside, that people have been calling for for a long time.
[3] It would be interesting to see a meaningful assessment -- not just impact on test scores! -- of the curricula once they're finished. Not just to support an up-or-down decision about whether to adopt them, but to get a sense of the distinctive characteristics of teacher-developed curricula. I'll bet there will be some, of a sort that makes them better than curricula developed in other ways. Also, to support teachers and the District in learning how to improve curriculum and curriculum development.
[4] It would also be interesting to learn more about the teachers' complaints about the curriculum that Kaplan developed.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Eric Weir: [1] What a great idea? Even better if they would read more
  • Sherry: Greetings, What a terrific idea. It seems so logical. I read more
  • Simon Quattlebaum: Hopefully,this will start a trend for other districts. Particularly for read more
  • Michael Jeffrey Slebodnick: Wow, $16,000 to develop new curricula. Hey, if a teacher read more




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