Curriculum 2.0. What do students in this county know about it? “I’ve got no clue what it is,” “It integrates technology into our everyday educational lives,” “I know absolutely nothing. I’ve never heard of it,” “I don’t really know a lot, but it makes each unit more in depth than in previous years, right?” said students from Blair, Magruder, and Einstein High Schools.
Curriculum 2.0 started out as the “Elementary Integrated Curriculum,” which MCPS eventually renamed and began rolling-out in response to Maryland’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards in 2010. The Common Core State Standards required all Maryland school systems to dramatically change their curricula to meet new learning expectations and testing requirements.
According to former MCPS Student Member of the Board John Mannes, “MCPS won a competitive federal grant to aid in paying for the development of Curriculum 2.0. The grant required that MCPS find a partner to contribute 20 percent matching funds. Pearson was selected and will end up paying MCPS royalties when the curriculum is sold to other school districts.”
When MCPS introduced Curriculum 2.0 to elementary schools, the new curriculum received some criticism. A student from Wootton High School who interns at Homework Hotline Live said that “many kids would call in to ask questions, most often about their math homework, because their parents couldn’t help them. They aren’t used to the new styles and techniques.”
Many teachers were concerned that they had too little time to adapt and prepare for the new style of content. Many schools also lacked new technologies such as Promethean boards that the new curriculum was best suited for. According to MCCPTA Legislative Committee chair Richie Yarrow, some parents were also concerned that Curiculum 2.0 “made it harder for advanced students to skip ahead” in early math classes.
In response, Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr launched a technology plan to install wireless internet networks and Promethean boards in all elementary schools in the county. His plan was soon approved and funded by the Montgomery County Council. Nevertheless, concerns about the new curriculum remained.
“Many educators are spreading the word to expect short term drops in test performance on current assessments as teachers shift their teaching styles to fit with the new tests. That said, the new tests will be much more challenging than the old ones and will require innovative education to aid both receptive and struggling students,” observed Mr. Mannes. “Curriculum 2.0 will eventually move far beyond elementary school to assist in streamlining MCPS’s tracking infrastructure.” During the 2012-2013 school year, Curriculum 2.0 was used for grades K through 3, and this year, the 2013-2014 year, Curriculum 2.0 is being implemented in 4th and 5th grades.
A new and challenging standard of learning, Curriculum 2.0 has stirred much debate in regards to its implementation in Montgomery County. It remains to be seen how the roll-out of Curriculum 2.0 will impact MCPS students’ scores on the annual MSA tests, which are aligned to a different set of learning standards, or how parents and students will react as more elements of Curriculum 2.0 are adopted in secondary schools.
Article by Prim Phoolsombat, MoCo Student staff writer