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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Important questions the media should be asking about the new curriculm

From a reader:

SOMEONE still needs to ask VITTI:
1. Why are we using a curriculum that the original writers have "kicked to the curb?"

3. IS ANYONE else in the country using this curriculum?  I would be interested to know, and if so, how are their teachers adjusting it, or are they doing what we are expected to do, teach it word for word on the day the "higher ups" decide is the day to teach it.

4.  Average teachers????? What does that mean ? Why would he have "average teachers" working in Duval County? This article demonstrates his lack of confidence in the teachers working in the district.  If that is the case, what professional development has he offered beyond Teachers Academy in the summer?  We no longer have The Schultz Center to provided what is NEEDED-Vitti got rid of it.

5. The Common Core Standards DO NOT determine what is taught.  If Vitti is alluding to a perception that the 1st grade content taught through Duval Reads is part of the Common Core Standards (we actually use Florida Standards)  then he doesn't know what is in the standards.

First graders need to learn about the world around them, their family, their school , their community.  This is COMMON KNOWLEDGE AMONG EDUCATORS and why this curriculum is developmentally inappropriate. An expert on the Ammendments is not an expert on what  is appropriate for first graders to learn.  Why didn't you talk to someone who writes curriculum for 1st grade?

Did you know in third grade the books used with Duval Reads were so questionable that parents could opt out? WHY WOULD YOU EVER use books/content that could even be questioned with our youngest students?  

I am begging you to help us and our students. No grade, using Duval Reads is exempt from the disaster that looms ahead.  I am so concerned about my third graders failing the reading test because of this curriculum.  And, most will fail third grade if they do not pass the test.  It will not end this year as these 1st and 2nd graders will Not be prepared for testing in the coming years if we continue using this curriculum.

By the way, what curriculum do the highest performing districts use? I AM SURE IT IS NOT THIS ONE!


  1. Has this been sent to Denise Amos? THIS is what she needs to be writing a story about!

  2. Religion in elementary school? I never thought I would agree with my atheist friends on any topic concerning religion. Their militant effort to wipe God from the annals of time contradicts my life experience and offends my sense of wonder. However, on this I must agree….. Religion does not belong in an elementary classroom, especially an American Public School classroom.

    I am a person of faith, a Christian, brought up and still active in the Presbyterian Church. My faith, my beliefs, and my individual experience with God are extremely personal and important to me. I do not blindly accept any one man’s interpretation of God, religion, or the Bible. I have been blessed with a church, and a minister, and a youth program that teach what I value, and help me on my journey of faith (as opposed to dictating that journey). My wife and I have brought our children up in this church (one of a few truly intelligent moves on my part… right woman, right church).

    I have shared my experience of God and the role of faith with my children. Their understanding and individual experiences are central to their worldview and their experience with reality. It addresses the questions that science can’t even ask. It determines at the end of the day whether they will rest in hope or toil in despair, whether they will be left wanting or find gratitude, is the glass half full or half empty and leaking like a sieve, I could go on and on but you get the idea.

    I would not trust this learning experience to just anyone. It would be like picking a daycare, sight unseen, straight out of the Yellow Pages (hmmm….Yellow Pages, there’s a dated reference). I work with teachers and respect 98.5% of them, but that doesn’t mean they are equipped to answer my child’s questions about God or faith. I also think it would be very confusing for a young child who is just beginning to experience their spiritual self to be bombarded with the concepts of contradictory doctrines and beliefs. That is the surest way to replace faith with doubt. College is the best place and time for a Comparative Religion Class. By this time a person has had time to reconcile their experiences of God with the experience of others.

    This curriculum is so inappropriate that I can only hope that the community demands its removal and parents refuse to send their children to school on the days when this content slithers its way into the lessons.

  3. We are in crisis. The new "C" word is Curriculum. Katie Woods Ray, writing expert/professor refers to "the words in the air" we teachers read, say, and children hear, and build upon to learn. It seems there is a bitterness afloat in the teachers like I've never seen in 30 years of teaching. It's scary. Our children need something quite different: a love of the subjects being taught, confidence in the teachers, guidance for the students to learn. YES---parents, please speak out.

  4. As a fourth grade ELA teacher there is only one question I would like to ask DCPS administrators, teachers, and parents...Do you believe Duval Reads is building strong readers and writers?

    The answer would be NO. In fact, I can quote page 253 of our 2nd quarter curriculum guide that states, "Reassure them [students] that it is okay if they do not fully understand the text..." This is a precise example of the fact that this curriculum is merely designed to teach kids how to navigate a high stakes test. In no way is this curriculum building the literacy skills that our elementary students require to truly be college and career ready.

    I am often reminded of a quote by Neil Postman, "Public education does not serve a public. It creates a public." As a community, we need to ask ourselves what type of public do we want to create here in Jacksonville.

    PS: What happened to social studies? In the future, if we wonder why our population has no sense of civic duties we should absolutely look back at the point where social studies disappeared from public education.

  5. As I read this blog and look at the comments by others I can't help but notice each one is signed anonymous. There is a saying if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything, teachers and hopefully parents have started a movement to fight for the cause they so skillfully articulate.
    It is unfortunate that names cannot be signed for fear of retaliation by the administration of the Jacksonville educational system! What happened to freedom of speech? Unfortunately, even I must sign as anonymous to protect the job of a family teacher who has commented here.

  6. The original post (above) was sent to Denise Amos. It was sent after communication that she included in the TU article about the 1st grade curriculum. She responded to my emails when it benefited her article. She did not respond when I asked additional questions (as posted here). Is the media working for Dr. Vitti? It is confusing to me that the media "slant" continues to be negligent as to the truth and reality of daily life in DCPS And, as stated above, I remain anonymous because I am concerned about my job.