A must read piece from Texas CSCOPE Review:
The Characteristics of Toxic Curriculum Include:
1. A 21st Century learning curriculum
2. Constructivism or Progressive Teaching Philosophy
3. Project Based Learning– Projects that have students reinventing the wheel.
4. Not available to be viewed by parents. Anything–ANYTHING used to instruct students should be visible to the public.
5. Self-directed learning, discovery learning, cooperative work in heterogeneous groups
Example of a problem with heterogeneous grouping: Two elementary students worked together and their work was videoed. The parent was not allowed to see her son’s class work because the video contained another child. Parents of the other child had to give permission. Who gave the teacher to video tape elementary children?
6. Emphasis on the “whole child” approach that blends psychological, social and cultral well-being of the child, which are all subjectively measured. The increase in the number of dyslexic students may be due to these children not being taught how to read during the most important formative years. A Texas teacher has reported removing the dyslexic label from a student–HOW? By teaching the child phonics–sounding out letters–etc.. in other words, teaching the child how to read. The progressive education approach has been tried and proven not to work.
7. Whole-language–Doesn’t teach kids phonics–This was and is the CSCOPE approach to learning. Students need phonics —students need grammar—students to know how to write in script—in other words, use computers as resources that complement traditional teaching techniques.
8. Interactive and discovery learning–”fuzzy” math–CSCOPE promotes not teaching multiplication tables. Kids are not taught traditional –tried and true –methods of solving math problems.
The terms used for progressive instruction sound wonderful. Interactive—it is good for students to interact with each other. Science students always work in groups when doing science lab investigation. Discovery learning–this is what science is all about. But the progressive interactive discovery learning means students are given a problem to solve and they interact and share ideas and discover facts. This is much like having students pretend they are scientists of the past. But even these scientists first learned everything that has been previously discovered about a problem. They were not trying to reinvent the wheel, which is what progressive education is doing. This is what project based learning is: giving students a project that results in their reinventing the wheel.
9. Focus on diversity, multiculturalism, and global citizenship
Even the science lessons in CSCOPE included biased social issues.
10. The 4 Ps–Posters, portfolios, projects, PowerPoints.
Most of the Projects that assessed CSCOPE lessons were for students K-12 to make a poster, a portfolio, or some time of organizer. Thus, subjective assessments.
11. Do not Use An Online Curriculum to replace student textbooks. Students need to have books to learn about using indexes, glossaries. CSCOPE directors scorned the use of textbooks. Thus, students in one Texas CSCOPE algebra 2 class spent two to three days copying equations flashed on the screen by an over head projector. That left two days for instructions. How 21 Century is this? I’ve pleaded with this school district to give students books.