Respected GEA Members,
On Monday -- June 16 – The Grossmont School Board adopted the Grossmont District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), with one important revision to Goal # 5.
Originally, Goal #5 of the LCAP stated, “Implement district-wide curriculum and assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards (including next generation Science Standards) as measured by Smarter Balanced summative results.”
The Board deleted “district-wide” from Goal # 5 of the LCAP.
Thus Goal # 5 now reads, “Implement curriculum and assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards…”
GEA contends this change prevents TOP-DOWN District control of curriculum -- and insures teacher autonomy – the right of teachers’ to use their expertise to determine what their students’ curricular needs are with the implementation of Common Core Curriculum in the Grossmont District.
Many Grossmont teachers who read a draft of the Grossmont LCAP shared their objection to the term, “district-wide” curriculum in Goal # 5, with GEA. They argued that implementing a “district-wide” curriculum sounded very much like a plan implemented in San Diego City Schools, called the “Blueprint for Success.” In that top-down, district-generated plan, teachers were instructed to implement a proscribed curriculum each day of the school year. Teachers were not permitted to adapt the curriculum for the needs of their students.
As GEA President, I spoke during “public comment” about teachers’ LCAP concerns prior to the Board adopting the LCAP – And the Board agreed to change the LCAP language – deleting ‘district-wide.’ The Board listened to GEA and to you!
Here follows my public comment delivered to the Grossmont Board on Monday:
President Shield, Members of the Board, Superintendent Swenson and Cabinet,
Recently, GEA and the District signed a contract that creates a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Committee of Teachers and Administrators. The committee will review how the Grossmont District's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and LCAP will support teachers and student learning.
However, a CRITICAL CONCERN that Grossmont District Teachers have regarding the LCAP, and which they have not been able to address with the LCAP Committee because it has not met yet, is the current LCAP Goal # 5, which supports IMPLEMENTING a DISTRICT-IMPOSED CURRICULUM.
Imposing a DISTRICT-WIDE Common Curriculum discounts the one ‘thing’ that most positively impacts student success – TEACHERS connecting with and assessing their students’ skills and then developing a curriculum that addresses their clienteles’ needs.
TEACHERS KNOW what curriculum design is best for their students. TEACHERS ADAPT curriculum to their students’ academic skills to promote further growth, TEACHERS SELECT topics that excite student interest and participation, TEACHERS SUPPORT their students’ extra curricular activities – AND their students are successful as a result.
Therefore -- Curriculum should be developed by the STUDENTS’ TEACHER and should not be dictated by ‘distant’, district administrators.
Yes, teachers must refine lessons to address the new Common Core Curriculum standards, but the beauty of Common Core is that its application can be varied from classroom to classroom. What will work for one teacher, in terms of curricular content and teaching style, may not work for the class and teacher next door, or at the school down the road, because the clientele in each classroom has different needs. Common Core requires higher order thinking skills, it requires a rethinking of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Order Thinking – Creativity is now higher on Bloom’s Taxonomy than Evaluation, for example – but the selection of texts, the method of analysis, the assessment of understanding produced by students and evaluated by the teacher – DO NOT have to be proscribed and identical.
As we adopt the LCAP, let’s make sure it protects the TEACHER’S CHOICE, EXPERTISE, AND AUTONOMY to design the curriculum that will work best for ALL STUDENTS.