Parents hope to dismiss curriculum plan

April 15, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

About a dozen parents showed up yesterday at the school board meeting to object to the "Exit Outcomes," a proposed blueprint for what Carroll County students should know by graduation.

"I am extremely concerned about the Exit Outcomes," Diana Hunt of Finksburg told the board. "I oppose it."

Many parents, citing research from the Johns Hopkins University and other sources, said similar curriculum attempts have failed in schools in other states. They contended that the program is vague in its goals and in how its standards would be translated to classroom instruction.

Parents also questioned how teachers would decide whether children had met the goals.

"If you can't come up with facts and figures that show this is going to work, I ask you not to use this," said David Taylor of Westminster.

The Exit Outcomes describe what students should be able to demonstrate as a result of their eduction. The standards call for students to be able to communicate well, have a positive self-concept, be able to identify and solve problems, work well with others, continue to learn throughout their lives, create or at least appreciate the arts, and be involved citizens.

The idea is for administrators and teachers to use these as a guide for molding and refining the curriculum. School officials will begin comparing the standards with the curriculum this summer and begin redesigning the curriculum the next summer.

"This is not a done deal," Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said.

The school board received a presentation and a draft copy of "Exit Outcomes" yesterday. It is expected to make a decision this spring.

Board member C. Scott Stone, who previously expressed concerns about jargon in the blueprint, said it appeared the language had been improved in the draft. He also said board members would consider parents' concerns.

More than 700 teachers, administrators, parents, students, business people and community leaders spent several months last year drafting the seven broad standards, which they agreed are essential outcomes of a good education.

The Carroll County Council of PTAs, which conducted three forums on the standards this year, endorsed the proposal. In a resolution presented to the school board, the council said the measures would "enhance students' educational prospects and their potential."

But Carolyn MacKenzie, council president, said, "There is a lot of work for us left to do in this process."

Also supporting the proposal were members of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.

"The Exit Outcomes have been well received" by the business community, said Scott Manhoff, the chairman of the chamber's Business in Education committee. He said the standards are what students need to know as prospective employees.

Gary Dunkleberger, Carroll's director of curriculum and staff development, said the standards are being driven by the school system's need to "look to the future." He said that although the school system has been successful, it must continue to strive for

improvement.

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