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Home U.S. New Reading Curriculum Is Mired in Debate Over Race and Gender

New Reading Curriculum Is Mired in Debate Over Race and Gender

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Lucy Wilde, a professor at Columbia University, has long been a controversial figure in education about her approach to teaching reading. Her enthusiastic and anticipated new curriculum aimed to address her critics with a more research-backed phonics-based approach to literacy.

However, the curriculum ran into new problems. This was involved in the debate over state law that limits the teaching of race, gender, and other identities.

Heineman, a division of her publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, decides to stop publishing the kindergarten through a sophomore curriculum known as the “learning unit” after internal discussions on basic questions. Did.

The decision to stop publishing can also affect a quarter of the country’s primary schools. And it shows the counter-pressure facing educational publishers. On the other hand, the right-wing method that limits the curriculum. Meanwhile, progressive educators are pressured to create materials that better address race, gender, and other forms of identity.

Heineman and Professor Kalkins said a focus group with conservative state educators could violate curriculum laws currently in force in more than 15 states, including Florida and Texas. I was worried.

Examples of content that raised concerns include suggestions to teachers not to create groups of boys and girls during class activities, and references for educators to pay attention to the racial background and identity of their children. It was. Those who have sought to remain anonymous due to subject sensitivity. The phrase BIPOC, an acronym for black, indigenous and colored races, was also flagged.

The publisher and Professor Calkins’ team are planning to begin editing the material to avoid violating state law and make a limited number of changes, Professor Calkins said last week with educators in the network. Said at an online conference. Other major publishers are doing the same.

However, the process was abandoned in protests from other Heineman list authors who questioned whether such revisions would be most useful to diverse student groups.

Among the authors away from Heineman is Sonya Cherry Paul, co-founder of the Institute for Racial Fairness in Literacy. Another publisher has adopted the best-selling young adult book “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendy for “Stamped (forKids)” for children.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Monday, Dr. Cherry Paul and her institute co-founder Tricia Evalvia said: I have written“Because of the irreconcilable differences in fairness, inclusion and anti-racist work, it will take effect immediately and end the professional development and publishing relationship with Heineman.”

Dr. Cherry-Paul was responsible for the diversity and impartiality of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, an organization led by Professor Calkins at Columbia University. Dr. Cherry Paul resigned from that position in May, but his work has not yet been filled.

In a July 7 email received by the New York Times, Vicki Boyd, then general manager of the publisher, described the editing process as “essentially flawed and, at best, violating Heinemann’s deep-seated values. I’m doing it. “

Regarding the protests among Heineman writers, she writes: “We met one-on-one with members of the writers community last week and listened to their questions and concerns.”

According to the company, Mr. Boyd is currently leaving Heineman.

In a written statement, Heineman continued to promise to publish the new Culkins curriculum later this year, “Under the new leadership, HMH’s content, equity, inclusion and diversity guidelines.”

The Teachers College literacy project states in writing: “It’s important to protect teachers and stick to our values. Neither Kalkins nor Heineman are swayed by the support of children, color educators, and the LGBTQ + community.”

Professor Kalkins’ curriculum includes not only liberal states such as New York and California, but also Texas with laws aimed at protecting children from discussions of concepts such as structural racism, white privilege, and transgender identity. It is also popular in conservative states such as and Florida.

In Florida, parents can sue the school district for violating these laws and the school must bear the costs.

Florida law came into force on July 1, so it’s not yet clear how it will come into force. However, many educators are afraid to lose their jobs as they become the target of actively involved conservative parental movements.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is also a supporter of phonics and Executive order In 2019, we need to scientifically research our core readings and incorporate an explicit, systematic and sequential approach to teaching phoneme recognition and phonics.

Professor Kalkins’ new reading curriculum (now postponed) addressed that concern after decades of disregarding its importance. However, critics have asked her to send free corrections to thousands of schools using older versions of her program.

At an online conference last week, Professor Kalkins regretted the delay in publishing and said he wanted to use the curriculum nationwide, but did not want to fix the issue of diversity and impartiality that he thought was unethical. rice field. She said she did not agree with state law that limits what she can say about race and gender.

Still, according to California literacy coach Margaret Goldberg, who attended the conference, Professor Calkins took “moral responsibility” to take a more research-led reading strategy in front of as many toddlers as possible this fall. Said he felt. Discussions at the meeting were confirmed by the Times with other sources.

Professor Kalkins suggested providing schools that ordered the new curriculum with a simplified kindergarten and first grade lessons. It can be used until Heineman publishes the full copyrighted version. She also provided those customers with access to next month’s free three-day meeting to learn new educational strategies.

During the meeting, some attendees are left with a proper lesson plan for the next school year, which begins as early as August in some southern states, as they have already boxed old curriculum materials. He said he was worried about that.

For Professor Calkins’s critics, who have long been reluctant to emphasize phonics, the latest problem only increases their sense of frustration. Goldberg said he advised a major change in literacy strategy, partly because Professor Kalkins had not sent free corrections to any of the old curriculum materials without the new curriculum material. He pointed out that thousands of schools and teachers may go unnoticed.

After more than two years of pandemic turmoil, millions of toddlers across the country are lagging behind in basic reading skills, creating a delay in publishing.

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