Readin', ritin', rithmetic, repeat
It's repeated so often it has become a given: Because of No Child Left Behind and other school accountability measures that stress (and test, test, test) the basics in math and reading, other subjects - art, music, history, PE - are getting short shrift. The latest survey/report from the Center on Education Policy, a Washington D.C. think tank, gives more weight to that line of thinking. Its survey of nearly 350 school districts found that while districts report more time on reading and math in elementary schools since No Child became law in 2002, time spent on other subjects has fallen by nearly a third. "What gets tested gets taught," Jack Jennings, the center's president and former staff director for Congressional Democrats, said in a press release. "Under No Child Left Behind, there is reading and math and then there is everything else."
The CEP report doesn't have a state-by-state breakdown, so we wonder: How much, in fact, has curriculum narrowed in Florida? Is the narrowing affecting students who don't need remedial help? And if it is, who's to blame? Maybe some us at The Gradebook are still groggy after returning from summer vacation, but we can't recall any studies or newspaper reports that have looked at this issue in thoughtful detail. If there is such a study or report, can somebody point us in the right direction? In the meantime, if you have concrete examples of curriculum being narrowed to students' detriment, can you please share them with us?