Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Curriculum fight pits SBDMs against school board

The Frankfort Independent School District is the scene of the latest control fight between School Based Decision Making Councils (SBDM) and a local school board, which is elected by the people. The school board wants to push the district’s students harder. The teachers don’t

SBDM in Kentucky (which are solidly under control of teachers) have ultimate power over many things that happen in the state’s schools, and one of the key areas is the final selection of curriculum.

Thus, the Frankfort Board of Education set the stage for a battle when it voted – without the approval of the district’s middle and high school SBDMs – to adopt a new curriculum that prepares students to be ready for Advanced Placement courses.

Even though the new curriculum program, called SpringBoard, is aligned with the new Common Core State Standards, and even though the program was unanimously accepted by the board, there is no guarantee that the SBDM will agree to use it. And, under current Kentucky law, the SBDMs get the ultimate say. That’s true even if teachers want to drag their heels about doing anything significant to improve education for our children.

According to the Frankfort Journal article “Council rejects new pre-AP curriculum” (subscription), SpringBoard will cost the district over $24,000. The local board is willing to pay. But, if teachers there have their way (and they will unless someone changes the law), the program may not cost a penny. Why? Because the SBDM clearly don’t want it, and they can tell the locally elected school board to go take a hike.

Watch for more fights like this as local schools start to adopt new curriculum to comply with the Common Core State Standards.

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