Are there any NYC elementary schools NOT using ReadyGEN’s ELA Common Core curriculum?
Yasmeen Khan, education reporter for WNYC and SchoolBook.org, recently informed me that 86% of New York City public schools (grades K-8) have adopted at least one of the NYC DOE’s “recommended” Core Curriculum programs. As I mentioned in a previous post, due to budget cuts, high-stakes Common Core testing and pressure to align curriculum to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), NYC schools feel they have no choice but to use the official NYC DOE programs, which are subsidized. NYC Core Curriculum programs include, but are not limited to, E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge, Expeditionary Learning and Pearson’s ReadyGEN.
Over the summer, I reported that NYC elementary teachers are frustrated with NYC’s ReadyGEN ELA (English-language arts) program, which appears to be test prep -beginning in kindergarten – for Pearson’s Common Core state tests. They complain that it is scripted, developmentally inappropriate and inflexible. Teachers are also critical of how ReadyGEN is being developed. They feel that Pearson, in collaboration with the NYC DOE, is making it up as they go along, creating and distributing units in piecemeal fashion. At present, NYC teachers have only photocopies of the teacher’s guide for the first part of unit one in addition to the corresponding unit one online materials.
In what can only be described as a farce, yesterday, during the Chancellor’s mandated professional development day, we were told that the truck carrying our long-awaited ReadyGEN student books showed up at our school late on Tuesday. However, (and there’s always a however or but), we are not in possession of the books. The driver, apparently not wanting to wait while a staff member searched for bodies to help him unload the truck, drove off with our 300 boxes of books. They are nowhere to be found.
We aren’t the only ones disenchanted with this new ELA CCSS program. On September 3, 2013, NYC teacher Beth Kleinman Sullivan wrote the following about ReadyGEN:
“NYC teachers were told today that we have to work with ReadyGen for literacy. Barring the fact that it’s not even ready yet, and we’re working with drafts, we found out it’s put out by Pearson. Pearson’s stranglehold now extends to all grades in pretty much all schools in NYC. They have told schools to print out the texts we’re supposed to use because they’re not ready …for us, even though they’ve accepted everyone’s money. I believe this is called a monopoly. I also believe that we’re now officially teaching-to-the-test in all grades. The program is soft scripted and has a teacher text and one for each kid (if we ever get the books). There is neither guided reading nor read alouds in this program.”
I would really like to know if any NYC public elementary schools are spared from having to use this new ELA curriculum. If so, what are you using instead? How did you align your curriculum to the Common Core? Are you happy with your program? Why or why not?