The Gazette talked with Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr on June 4 and asked him to address pressing education issues. Starr’s thoughts will be published in this section. This week, Starr talks about whether teachers like the new Curriculum 2.0.
Do you find that teachers are under a lot of pressure with this new curriculum?
Well, teachers feel a lot of pressure anyway, because of their deep commitment to kids. I have heard great feedback from folks. Now, maybe I shouldn’t say this on tape but I am the superintendent — I’m not sure if I always hear the truth. But when I go to schools, I visit for about an hour, I go to classrooms, and I talk to teachers ... and if I am introduced to teachers, I ask them questions, and I really like to elicit their honest feedback.
People tell me the bad stuff. They don’t just tell me the good things. That is one of the things I love about teachers ... they will tell you straight up when they have an opportunity. I hear, largely, really positive things.
There are basics concerns or issues expressed when you are implementing anything — they wish they had more time, and technology is always an issue. But I always tell people it takes at least three years before you get really good at something. Year one, you are finding your way. Year two, you know it and so you say, ‘OK, let me try something new now.’ Year three, you really get it.
Part of it is managing expectations. But I hear some really good responses from folks — they like it. But I want to be clear, it is not across the board. Some schools are having a tougher time than others. But for the most part, people like it.
Next week, Starr will talk about what it means to close the achievement gap.