Curriculum is back — and Hirsch has got it

Common Core Standards’ call for a  “well-developed, content-rich curriculum” is forcing “a serious discussion about the specific subject matter that must be taught in the classroom,” writes Sol Stern in The Curriculum Reformation. “And that’s a discussion that hasn’t happened in American schools for almost half a century.”

Of course, E.D. Hirsch has been talking about content-rich curriculum for years, but nobody was listening.  His Core Knowledge curriculum, which proved itself in a New York City experiment, is “intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades,” as called for by the new standards’ guidelines, Stern writes.

The Common Core train has left the station, but we don’t know yet whether that train will follow a route that leads to a restored American curriculum and a nation of literate and knowledgeable adults. Whatever differences they might have on other issues, school reformers of all stripes should monitor and comment on the standards’ implementation in the coming years. Reformers could help ensure that the curricula that state and local school-district officials select meet the Common Core’s own benchmark of “rich content knowledge.”

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, CCSS has put curriculum on the map as a reform lever, writes Robert Pondiscio on Core Knowledge Blog.

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  1. Paul Hoss says:

    When will people accept the fact that twenty-first century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving are wonderful but will get our students nowhere unless they are first steeped in a rich content knowledge curriculum?

    What’s going to be very interesting is when the common core assessments take hold and all the fraudulent states that signed on to CCSS (accepting federal dollars in the process) get hammered on the tests. How will they ever rationalize their results to their taxpayers and parents?

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    Not sure those are twenty-first century skills. Seems they’ve always been a good idea.
    However, it’s likely that teaching them doesn’t generate a lot of papers to take home and correct.
    Content-rich, on the other hand….

  3. tim-10-ber says:

    Agree with Richard’s comment — the supposed 21st Century Skills are centuries old. It is another way to take more tax-payer dollars for education to offer a “solution” to a problem educators caused. UGH! Just like STEM…it was a very hot topic after Sputnik…why did it fade away? Oh yeah…by educators…by design…chasing the next fad rather than sticking with those that worked and tweaking them as needed vs throwing out what works because someone is dangling more money…

    My district used the Core Knowledge curriculum when my kids were in elementary school. I loved it…wish the governors had kept it in place…

    Way too much tax-payer money continues to be wasted in government education…