Answer: We are discontinuing the Journeys reading program and enVisionMATH because they do not match the level of rigor called for by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The new ReadyGEN and GOMath! Core Curriculum programs are recommended by the NYCDOE and better reflect the demands of the CCSS.
This is what I believed was expected of me to write. The reality, however, is far different. Teachers were largely satisfied with the Journeys program, which was purchased for two years only in grades K-2. Teachers in grades 3-5 collaborated to create CCSS (Common Core State Standards) curriculum maps and performance tasks. ELA was mostly taught through the content areas, such as science and social studies. They also had the freedom to select their own materials.
Compared to GO Math!, Pearson’s enVisionMATH program, which was used in grades K-5 for one year only, was the gold standard of math curricula. The teachers in my building would happily return to using enVisionMATH and Journeys if given the choice.
In reality, we discontinued Journeys and enVisionMATH due to budget cuts and high-stakes CCSS testing. NYC Title I public schools in particular feel they have no choice but to adopt the subsidized NYCDOE Core Curriculum programs and “free” NYSED engageny.org lessons. Doing this spares them from having to use their limited funds to create and/or to justify the use of alternative programs. Also, in this era of school closings due to poor performance on standardized exams, there is relief in knowing that the state and city-approved materials, like ReadyGEN and GOMath!, are designed to prepare kids for the new high-stakes Common Core tests. They are – in essence – test prep programs from kindergarten onwards.
I have yet to encounter a teacher who is satisfied with the ReadyGEN and GOMath! Core Curriculum programs. I haven’t worked with GOMath!, but I can tell you that ReadyGEN is cumbersome, confusing and uninspiring. Due to the demands of the program, we are having to devote more periods to teaching it, at the expense of other subjects such as social studies. I am devastated that I must use this program with my fifth graders instead of the engaging and challenging social justice curriculum that my fifth grade co-teacher and I created, and have refined, over the course of three years of teaching together.
Because I cannot write this in the LAP, I share it with you here, a place where educators can speak the truth, a place where I can make amends.