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New CA curriculum standards will take years to implement

Don't expect to see changes in the classroom any time soon following the vote this week by the California State Board of Education to adopt new national curriculum standards for the state in English language arts and math. 

Theresa Garcia, the board's executive director, told California Watch that it will be two to three years before the standards will result in any noticeable changes.

Board president Ted Mitchell described the board's unanimous vote approving the new standards at the standing-room-only meeting that I attended in Sacramento on Monday as "historic" and a "critical opportunity for the state." 

But Mitchell went out of his way to stress what the board's vote did not mean. The board did not vote, he said, to establish what the actual curriculum would consist of at each grade level, what courses would be provided, what materials would be used, and how students will be assessed on the new standards. 

All of that, Mitchell said "will take place in an orderly fashion."

Mitchell also said the board's action would have no impact on teaching credentials, or on new performance standards for teachers. "That is tomorrow's work, not today's," he said. 

Also to be determined is how much implementation of the standards will cost, and where those funds will come from, a key consideration in view of the state's current budget crisis. 

In an earlier blog post, I referred to an estimate of $1.6 billion by EdSource. The Board of Education's Garcia said the "biggest variable" will be how closely aligned the new standards are with California's existing ones, which in turn will affect how much revision of existing curriculum materials and text books will be required. She said the standards appear to be very close to the state's standards in English language arts (that's reading and writing), and "a little different" in math.

"The goal is to get it done," she said. 

What is still a very open question is just when that will happen, and how. As Mitchell said, "This is the beginning of the process, not the end of one."


Filed under: K–12, Daily Report


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