By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia school district is planning to loosen the reins on teachers, when it comes to the programs they present in the classroom.
The district currently mandates a tightly-scripted curriculum in its low-performing Empowerment Schools. But the district next fall plans to move away from requiring teachers to use tightly scripted curricula.
Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon said it’ll give classroom teachers more freedom to respond to students as individuals.
“If everything isn’t scripted, it allows the teacher to bring those creativities into the classroom and really focus on the kids that are in the room,” said Nixon. “And so, we’re allowing teachers to do that and we want principals to support teachers around that creativity as well.”
The move was praised by the PFT. Union leader Jerry Jordan said it’s ridiculous to rely so heavily on a scripted curriculum when children themselves are so unscripted.
But Boys Latin Charter School CEO David Hardy wondered about the effect of decentralizing, if other strategies like a longer school day aren’t part of the mix.
“The length of time kids go to school. The length of the school year. Are you going to give teachers the ability to address problematic students in those schools? If you’re going to do those kinds of things then maybe we can change the paradigm,” said Hardy. “But if we’re just talking about changing the rules and regulations downtown, I’m not sure that that’s going to get you what you’re looking for.”