Curriculum & Instruction

Co-published by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and AccountabilityWorks, with support from the Smith Richardson Foundation, this report looks at six elements of K-12 accountability systems in 30 different states. Each state is rated on standards, test content, alignment of tests to standards, test rigor, testing trustworthiness and openness, and accountability policies. The major conclusion: while some states have the basis of a sophisticated and rigorous accountability system in place, no state has every element of a serious standards-based education reform package in place. And few states are as open to evaluation as they ought to be.

Is there any subject as disheveled, distorted and dysfunctional as social studies? As part of our continuing effort to revitalize the subject of social studies, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute offers Effective State Standards for U.S. History: A 2003 Report Card. This groundbreaking and comprehensive state-by-state analysis of K-12 education standards in U.S. history was prepared by Sheldon Stern, historian at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston for more than 20 years. It evaluates U.S. history standards in 48 states and the District of Columbia on comprehensive historical content, sequential development, and balance.

This new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation includes the voices of 29 political leaders, education practitioners, and cultural analysts who discuss what schools should teach about U.S. history, American ideals, and American civic life in the wake of 9/11, the war on terror, and the liberation of Iraq.

This new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation consists of penetrating critiques by renegade social studies educators who fault the regnant teaching methods and curricular ideas of their field and suggest how it can be reformed. While nearly everyone recognizes that American students don't know much about history and civics, these analysts probe the causes of this ignorance-and lay primary responsibility at the feet of the social studies "establishment" to which they belong.

Geography plays a crucial role in shaping history, and the study of history provides an important context for students learning geography, but teachers rarely take advantage of the complementary nature of these subjects. This report shows how the study of U.S. history can be enriched by blending geography into the curriculum. The centerpiece is an innovative curriculum framework in which each historical period is supplemented and enriched by the introduction of relevant geography

Our report features timely advice on what schools should teach and children should learn about September 11 and about history, civics, heroism and terrorism. Featuring 23 statements by leading educators and experts, plus an extensive bibliography, the report is a constructive, hard-hitting alternative to the "diversity and feelings" approach that many national education groups have taken to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

This report traces an initiative that was launched a decade ago by business and government leaders seeking to spark a transformation of K-12 education in American. The New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC) vowed to cast aside traditional ideas about schools and apply a no-nonsense, business-savvy approach to the design and deployment of "break-the-mold" schools. Ten years later, New American Schools (as the organization is now named) looks a lot more like a member of the education establishment. Mirel's fascinating report shows how this happened.

More than one-third of the states get low grades for the standards they have developed for teaching evolution, according to this new report. This report is the first comprehensive analysis of how each state handles evolution in its science standards for the public schools.

Science as a search for truth has come under attack from both the left and the right. This report explores four case studies of threats to the integrity of science education.

Education experts tend to ignore research-based practices like Direct Instruction and instead embrace constructivist methods that are not backed by good research. This report by Douglas Carnine explains why.

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