"On the whole, then, the available evidence strongly suggests that narrowing the curriculum in elementary school deprives students of an important opportunity to develop broad vocabulary and background knowledge necessary for strong reading comprehension later on. That lack of opportunity results in several negative consequences as students move into upper elementary school and the secondary grades."
(source: The Hidden Costs of Curriculum Narrowing by The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, 2006)
The new curriculum in the Allentown School District is called "Pathways to Success." How ironic that this new program, which is supposed to prepare students for college, has drastically reduced special classes (art, music, phys ed, library) at the elementary level to one per week. Now students will have art only 9 times per year. They will have one special per week, when they used to have one per day. Social studies and science have already been drastically reduced due to focus on reading and math standards.
All Allentown school board directors voted to approve these changes. Was any research conducted? The fraudulent ex-superintendent (Dr. Zahorchak) who imposed these harmful changes resigned right before the start of school. Administration is in chaos. But the district is moving ahead with Dr. Z's half baked experiments on our children. Dr. Z is staying on board another year in a newly created position, and taking his 195k salary. His entire buyout package is costing us 245k. And a consultant has been hired to help implement the curriculum overhaul.
The waste is enormous.
Disadvantaged children depend on school to provide necessary background knowledge. School is their only frame of reference. And now these children are being further deprived of access to books, since library class has been slashed from the curriculum. Their parents can't take them to museums, plays, or public libraries. They don't get to travel to Europe like the wealthy kids. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (no background in teaching) keeps talking about higher standards, and the importance of a well rounded education, but I guess that's just for the rich kids. All children deserve the same equally rich curriculum. Narrowing the curriculum is not "Pathways to Success" it's really "Poor Kids Get Less."
There are many more reasons why curriculum narrowing in bad. Here's the entire report:
If you liked this post, please read this one too: http://angievillaartwork.blogspot.com/2011/04/dear-allentown-school-board-art-adds.html