Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, October 18, 2013

NYSED Scripted Lessons Have ELA Classes Spending Weeks On One Short Story

In my school 9th grade teachers are using the vaunted new NYSED lesson pods/seeds for their curriculum.

Both students and teachers hate the lessons.

Whoever developed the seeds/pods decided that the most important skill to teach students is close reading of text.

To that end, the lesson seeds/pods have students learn what close reading is, then read a short story while practicing that skill.

Students read the same story over and over and over and over...

...For days and days and days...

...Until they no longer care about what they're reading, they no longer care about what they're learning, they no longer care about English class.

In my school, 9th grade math teachers are also using the vaunted new NYSED lesson pods/seeds for their curriculum.

The math lesson plans are as disastrous as the ELA lesson plans.

Math teachers says they have completely lost students because the difficulty level of the required materials is so insane that there is no entry point for students to engage with the material.

There has been increased instances of acting out by students this year and I have heard from some counselors that they believe the increase in behavioral problems is linked to the increased stress in school - from the Common Core lessons to the Endless Testing (diagnostic tests in every subject every month) to the transformation of every class into ELA class (students are reading informational text and writing argumentative essays in every class in school - from social studies to science to art to vocational class to physical education.)

Creating disinterested students who hate school, who act out more because they hate school, who may begin to drop out in increasing numbers because they hate school - this is the early legacy of the vaunted Common Core State (sic) Standards.

For these reasons alone, NYSED Commissioner King should be fired from his job. along with Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and the rest of the merry reformers at SED and the Board of Regents.


  1. Well, what should anyone expect from profiteering publishers, egged on by so-called reformers who have absolutely no knowledge of teaching or the purpose of education beyond producing compliant workers?

    The irony is that the kids will rebel, upsetting the so-called reformer wet dream of compliant automatons.

    1. Common Core State Standards and curricula brought to us by the testing companies - no doubt.

  2. As a 9th grade ELA teacher following the Engage NY Curriculum, I have seen first hand how destructive it really is. For three weeks we have been close reading one story! For the first time, my 9th grade students are completely disengaged. How many times can you annotate the same passage?

    I also believe now that these units are actually lowering the rigor of my class. We are now into the second marking period and have read one story and written zero essays (other than the usely MOSL exam). At this point last year my 9th grade class had written two essays, read 5 short stories, and were halfway through their first novel, and we were having fun doing it.

    The end of the opening unit has students reading (only key scenes) from Romeo and Juliet and then showing the Baz Lerhman film to supplement. How is reading 5 scenes from Romeo and Juliet, rather than the whole play, more rigorous?

    1. Thanks for adding these details to the horrors that are EngageNY material. I'll be posting something else about this tomorrow.