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DOE Prepares For Change To Common Core Curriculum

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TWC News: City Schools Prepare For Change To Common Core Curriculum
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For the first time in a decade, city schools will have new curriculum for math and reading, and as what students learn changes, so will the books and other materials. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

City elementary and middle schools are expected to have completely altered what, when and how they teach by September.

That's because New York has joined most of the country in committing to one set of learning standards, called the Common Core.

For the first time, fourth graders in southern California should soon be learning about obtuse angles at the same time as fourth graders in the Bronx.

"This is a big change," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

And if what students learn changes, so must the books, worksheets, textbooks, teacher guides and lesson plans, known together as 'curriculum'.

That means textbook companies are set to make a lot of money. But Walcott said that many weren't initially willing to make real changes themselves.

"Publishers were trying to be very free in the use of slapping a sticker on existing materials and saying 'it's Common Core-aligned,'" Walcott said. "And we in New York City and other districts said, 'That's not good enough.'"

On Thursday, the DOE announced which companies' products it's decided are good enough: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for elementary school math and Pearson for middle school, as well as Pearson and Scholastic for English Language Arts.

The city expects to spend about $56 million this year.

"We're making recommendations to our schools, but then, the schools have the ability to select either something we are recommending or something on their own," Walcott said.

Elementary and middle school principals will decide what curriculum to buy for their schools in May. The DOE expects that about 70 percent will choose from its recommendations.

With high schools, the city said it found no publishing company that has developed a finished product that is good enough yet. But high schools have a few more years before their high-stakes tests are aligned with the new curriculum.

That's not the case with elementary and middle schools, where, in a twist that defies logic, the high-stakes exams are coming first. Students will be tested on this new material in April when the curriculum to teach it won't be in schools until September. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP