Elementary school reading teachers feel set up to fail, not optimistic about future.
It started at the beginning of the year when curriculums in reading classes with little notice were shifted down a grade. What kids would have learned in third they were now going to now learn in second, in first, second and so on. The district claimed it would bring more rigor. People doing the actual teaching pointed out, harder and developmentally inappropriate does no equal rigor.
Furthermore the curriculums given to the teachers could be charitably described as jumbled messes. There were links to different articles over different grades to be carried out at different times. There didn’t seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason but what was consistent was teachers were often required to make copies. The state of copying in the district could be an entirely different post but let’s just suffice to say this was problematic for a whole host of reasons.
A lot of veteran teachers with years of experience knowing what does and doesn’t work were able to game the system so to speak and instead of following the poorly thought out mandates gave their students the instruction that they needed to the best of their ability. Newer teachers or teachers being micromanaged at the transformative schools however weren’t so lucky.
The district also promised additional training, help and resources but none of the teachers I have spoken to said any ever came and now the district has decided to scrap what they have going on now to go completely on-line next year. Maybe that will be better because it's hard to imagine things being worse.
I spoke with somebody close to the situation and the district contends that it is teachers who came to them pushing for the change and that it will save a lot of money though the teachers I have spoken to have their doubts.
“I haven't heard of anyone being in a focus group. And I don't know a single Primary teacher that was happy with the curriculum this year. They are saying it is a savings over a two year period? A textbook adoption is 5-6 years. So no savings if you think about the amount of copies and materials printed over 5-6 years versus purchasing textbooks once. Also, the district doesn't make the copies for us. They send links. We print out copies on our own and then sometimes put in for copies at the school. BUT...we buy our own ink for the printers because the district does not provide it. Also, they aren't fixing or replacing printers that die out. We are told to share, and that eventually they want to go to a centralized printer in the main offices.
Young children K-2 still need to have books in their hands that are written in their level. We can't do everything on a projector screen or on copy paper. Some of the links/resources they send are long with no pictures. K and 1 are learning how to read. They need larger print and pictures to provide support. We don't need lessons written by former teachers who are now district level coaches, who have no researched based curriculum writing experience!! The textbook writers are specialists and professors who know how to help students learn to read!! The online reading and materials may be good for intermediate grades, middle, and high school. Primary students need researched based materials and lesson that build on one another. They can't tell me that Scott Foresman, HM, or Harcourt don't have common core aligned lessons that build in skills.”