Uncorking Core Knowledge

A New York Times bestseller
currently declares “free” to be a “radical price,” and incomparably
better than “inexpensive.” Perhaps said book was on E.D. Hirsch’s
nightstand recently, because he’s decided to give his Core Knowledge
curriculum away for free. While it will continue to charge for its other
products (and charge for a printed and bound version of the
curriculum), his foundation stands to lose $100,000 a year--one-eighth
of its operating budget--by giving away its most fundamental resource.
(Previously it would have run you $35.) But in our current “incoherent
system,” Hirsch sees this as a small price to take advantage of “a
moment when we really could change the direction.” And this moment comes
thanks to the Common Core State Standards Initiative; Core Knowledge
plans to align its curriculum sequence to the standards that result from
that effort. Core Knowledge originally criticized the draft CCSSI
standards for being weak on content and heavy on skills; but it is now
hoping to bolster them by providing a top-notch supplement. There’s a
growing suspicion that “common core standard aligned” will be the new
catchy marketing ploy for curriculum developers everywhere; as of yet
undecided, of course, is how said alignment will be determined or
moderated. For now, though, CK’s curriculum is a great place for
districts looking for new CCSSI-ready content.

Core Knowledge to Link Curriculum to Core Standards,” by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, February 1, 2010 (subscription required)