Although the writers of the English Language Arts (ELA) standards talk about the many changes contained in them, District 203 already has in place many concepts the standards discuss. Readers familiar with D203’s curriculum will see parallels with the standards emphasis on students analyzing evidence, conducting research, collaborating on projects and honing their presentation skills in class. However, just as in the math standards, the ELA standards seem to “push downward” when D203 students are expected to master specific topics, and the standards seem to expect a greater level of participation by the student.
The goal of the CCSS for math is to more closely align American math standards with the standards of the top performing nations in the world.
The widespread criticism of American math curriculum is that it is, “a mile wide and an inch deep,” as opposed to other countries that have a more focused and structured curriculum. It is felt our curriculum lacks focus because we present more topics per grade level than any other nation, we introduce topics early, and then waste valuable time repeating them every year, adding little depth as the topic is revisited, and what we teach is not as demanding as our peers internationally. Put together, this results in a curriculum that is overly repetitive, unfocused and does not lead to most students having strong math fundamentals.