June 14, 2010

MCPS and Pearson form controversial partnership

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has formed a private partnership with Pearson, an education publishing company, to create a rigorous, integrated curriculum for elementary school students. Over the next two years, MCPS will be working with Pearson to develop the curriculum, which the publishing company hopes will be complete in three years. MCPS has granted Pearson the rights to market the curriculum to other school systems in the nation that are interested in adopting the program.

The partnership formed after a conversation between county superintendent Jerry Weast and spokespeople from Pearson. The conversation originally focused on the idea of developing assessments that would be more beneficial to students and eventually turned to the idea of creating an integrated curriculum, according to Public Information Director for MCPS Dana Tofig. An integrated curriculum combines major subjects English and Math with art, science and social studies - subjects that are often times neglected, Tofig explained. "An integrated curriculum is important for our students," he said.

Designing a demanding, integrated curriculum was something that MCPS had already decided to do when Pearson expressed interest in the idea. "If Pearson has success marketing it, thatís great," Tofig said. "We anticipate that in three years [the curriculum] will be fully integrated. Tofig also explained that the agreement has received mostly positive feedback from parents and teachers. Those who have had concerns, he added, do not fully understand what MCPS is trying do. "A lot of that is based on misinformation," he said. Tofig added that he encourages for parents and others who are concerned can read the official contract between MCPS and Pearson, which is available on MCPS's website. SOURCE: Silver Chips

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