We aided schools in using Fundations, Words Their Way, and other phonics curricula decades before Units of Study in Phonics were developed. Workshops on reading and writing have always been phonics-heavy. We did undertake two strands of curriculum adjustments after reading the books and articles suggested by proponents of the Science of Reading movement and working with the psychologists and neuroscientists at Child Mind Institute.
Due to her approaches to teaching reading, Professor Lucy Calkins of Columbia University has a long history of causing controversy in the world of education. She eagerly anticipated a new curriculum was created with the intention of answering her detractors with a more research-based, phonics-based approach to literacy.
Before joining Professor Calkins’ team at Columbia, Dr. Cherry-Paul was the director of diversity and equality at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. The position of Dr. Cherry-Paul, who left in May, has not been filled.
The debate over state laws that restrict how race, gender, and other identities are taught, however, has given rise to a brand-new problem with the curriculum.
Following internal deliberation on the key issue, should the curriculum consider these conservative laws?
The “Units of Study” curriculum for kindergarten through second grade will no longer be published by Heinemann, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The decision to halt publishing could have an effect on up to 25% of the country’s elementary schools. It also illustrates the conflicting demands that curriculum-restriction legislation from the right and requests from progressive educators for materials that deal more explicitly with race, gender, and other forms of identity have on educational publishers.
Following reports that the company is currently examining materials to match legislation in more than a dozen states restricting how pupils are taught about race and gender, a number of authors have broken their ties to educational publisher Heinemann.
One of the authors who severed connections with Heinemann is Sonja Cherry-Paul, a co-founder of the Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy. She adapted the well-known young-adult book “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi into “Stamped (for Kids)” for another publisher.
Sonja Cherry-Paul and Tricia Ebarvia’s announcement
Sonja Cherry-Paul and Tricia Ebarvia announced on Twitter that they were terminating their professional development and publishing affiliations with Heinemann “effective immediately” due to irreconcilable views over the work of equality, inclusivity, and antiracism.
The two individuals are the co-founders of the Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy, a weeklong professional development program for educators that focuses on the connections between literacy and racial equity.
feedback from Cherry-Paul and Ebarvia
Requests for feedback from Cherry-Paul and Ebarvia were not immediately fulfilled. Heinemann had decided to pause the publication of curricula in order to examine them in light of state regulations.
Another illustration of how challenging it is for publishing corporations to strike a balance between calls for more inclusive curricula and limitations on what may be taught in many places. Ms. Boyd is leaving the company, according to Heinemann.
According to Heinemann, she will depart.
According to a written statement from Heinemann, the updated Calkins curriculum will be released later this year. The statement also stated that “under new leadership, a comprehensive editorial review of the upcoming edition of ‘Units of Study’ is being conducted, in strict adherence to H.M.H.’s content, equity, inclusion, and diversity guidelines.”