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Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007 | The Board of Education and San Diego school Superintendent Carl Cohn recently replaced a Bersin-era curriculum leader as well directors of math, language arts, social studies and science. These positive changes should augur well for improved teaching, learning and, perhaps, for students’ future test scores as well.

Cohn is a seasoned educator, a humanist and a realist. He rightly criticizes the No Child Left Behind process as too drastic, off-point and destructive to true education reform. He knows that educational improvement takes time, reflection and frequent recalibration in the hands of practitioners. He also knows that race and poverty continue to take an unacceptable toll on too many kids’ educational achievement.

In my view, these new test scores show that San Diego Unified kids still spend disproportionate amounts of elementary school time on No Child Left Behind-style “Blueprint literacy” drills in the morning, with math taking a back-seat to the afternoon hours, and little art or music to leaven the school experience. Cohn believes in moving deliberately, but discredited “Blueprint” strategies still prevail in too many classrooms. Isn’t it time for a remedy?

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