This week’s workshop was particularly interesting to me because my school district is currently in the process of curriculum mapping all subjects at the middle school level in order to align to the Common Core Standards. The district purchased Pearson products about three years ago when they converted to the Core. Teachers were told that the only materials they could use were Pearson materials to teach language arts. Over the course of the past three years, multiple problems cropped up with the Pearson materials that were give to the language arts department. The order and organization of skills were questionable. The benchmark tests utilized reading passages that were too difficult for 6th graders. Questions on the benchmark tests were poorly worded or written to be purposefully wordy and confusing. Units felt rushed. Because of this, students were not successful. In order to address these problems, the district is taking a look at the Pearson materials and re-vamping the curriculum and pacing guide. The idea is to use Pearson as the backbone of the language arts curriculum but to bring in other materials, especially for use with struggling students, to flesh out the curriculum and make it more accessible.
My experience with Pearson products highlights some of my conclusions on my mind map. Clearly, my school district rushed to embrace the Common Core Standards. As a result, they purchased poorly written products in an effort to quickly align themselves with the Core. This was compounded by a lack of professional development addressing the Common Core and Pearson products. All of this means that there was not a successful, well planned transition to the Core. This is why, three years after the fact, the district has to spend time and money re-vamping the curriculum.
Another issue with the Common Core Standards is the “one size fits all” mentality. The standards do not address problems with inequality, child poverty, and diversity. For example,...