School Board Member Questions Curriculum Choice
COLUMBIA - Columbia Board of Education member Ines Segert Monday questioned the data behind a language arts curriculum chosen by the board for young elementary students. The school board voted to approve the new literature series called, "Good Habits, Great Readers," from the Pearson Publishing Company at its October 11th meeting. Segert said that, since the meeting, she has discovered evidence that the original presentation about the literature series contained false information.
Segert said when she looked over the information studied in other school districts, she found that the Pearson materials were never implemented until 2009, not 2008 like she claims language arts co-ordinator Janet Tilley presented at the meeting. She also found other differences in the data that were presented to the board. For instance, Segert said she found achievement in schools with the curriculum actually decreased not increased, and none of the schools have similar demographics to Columbia--which has a much larger number of black students compared to almost none in the other schools. Segert said, "There's just absolutely no evidence that this will improve our performance and any evidence that we've been given shows that it's going to decrease performance."
Monday night Segert addressed the board with her concerns and said she was told the board would revisit the issue at the November 18th meeting.
But administrators said Tuesday they've already bought the new literature series. Both the district's language arts coordinator and the head of academics for the district refused to talk to KOMU 8 News on camera, but Chief Academic Officer Sally Beth Lyons did release a statement saying the materials fall in line with curriculum objectives and will help teachers in language arts instruction.