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American Educator
Winter 2010–2011


Table of Contents

Common Core Curriculum
An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Advancing Our Students' Language and Literacy
The Challenge of Complex Texts
By Marilyn Jager Adams

The language of today's twelfth-grade English texts is simpler than that of seventh-grade texts published prior to 1963. No wonder students' reading comprehension has declined sharply.

Equality of Educational Opportunity
Myth or Reality in U.S. Schooling?
By William H. Schmidt, Leland S. Cogan, and Curtis C. McKnight

Despite being known as the land of opportunity, the United States is far from equitable when it comes to the mathematics that students have the opportunity to learn.

Soaring Systems
High Flyers All Have Equitable Funding, Shared Curriculum, and Quality Teaching
By Linda Darling-Hammond

High-Performing countries have created coherent education systems in which all students have equally well-resourced schools, learn the same core content, and benefit from uniformly well-prepared teachers.

The Spark of Specifics
How a Strong Curriculum Enlivens Classroom and School Culture
By Diana Senechal

Drawing on her experience in schools with and without a shared curriculum, and on scholars' notions of what an education entails, the author concludes that a curriculum detailing what to teach, but not how to teach, provides needed structure while preserving space for creativity and professional judgment.

Beyond Comprehension
We Have Yet to Adopt a Common Core Curriculum That Builds Knowledge Grade by Grade—But We Need To
By E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

Most of today's reading programs rest on faulty ideas about reading comprehension. Comprehension is not a general skill; it relies on having relevant vocabulary and knowledge.

Mathematical Ability Relies on Knowledge, Too
By John Sweller, Richard E. Clark, and Paul A. Kirschner

Envisioning a Common Core Curriculum

See how one program efficiently and systematically increases young students' knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Learning to Teach Nothing in Particular
A Uniquely American Educational Dilemma
By David K. Cohen

Without a defined K-12 curriculum for teachers to master, education schools tend to offer generic advice, not grounded content and pedagogical knowledge.

Testing What Has Been Taught
Helpful, High-Quality Assessments Start with a Strong Curriculum
By Laura S. Hamilton

A detailed common curriculum may help us build an assessment system that promotes student learning.

There's No Such Thing as a Reading Test
By E. D. Hirsch, Jr., and Robert Pondiscio

All articles available in PDF format only.

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Spring 2011


About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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