Bill Gates Foundation Plan for Education Actually Be a Setback for Students?

“High-quality” curricula could reduce teacher job satisfaction.

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The Gates Foundation has a new initiative that aims to advance the Common Core in schools by getting school districts to adopt “high-quality” curricula.

It’s not as simple, however, as 1 plus 1 equals 2. Some educators say this will reduce teacher autonomy and job satisfaction — resulting in poorer education for children in the long run.

Currently, the Common Core allows teachers to “devise their own lesson plans and curriculum.” Teachers have the freedom to determine how best to help their students reach their maximum potential.

That could change in schools applying for the new Gates Foundation grant.

What is “high-quality” curricula? According to The Conversation: “First, it is coherent and comprehensive, providing lesson plans in English language arts or mathematics for the entire school year. Second, publishers must receive a favorable review from a group such as that evaluates alignment with the Common Core standards.” determined that many curricula actually don’t align with the Common Core standards at all. However, one curriculum they have identified that does fit the criteria: EngageNY, also known as Great Minds and Eureka Math.

An issue, for educators, with this approved curriculum is the lack of freedom given to teachers. Lessons are broken down minute by minute and only allow for specific tasks, thought processes and discussion topics.

What does this mean for teachers? Examining data from more than 38,000 public schools, education scholar Cara M. Djonko-Moore found that “control and autonomy over classroom decisions are very important for teachers to be satisfied with their jobs.”

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