Why Change is Often Confused with Reform: The Multi-layered Curriculum

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

I published this post in 2012. I have updated both text and references.

After extensive deliberation and committee meetings, state and district officials publish curricular frameworks and courses of study in academic subjects from kindergarten through high school. This is called the intended curriculum (see here and here).

Consider science curriculum in California. The first science framework in 1990 laid out content standards, grade by grade, as to what teachers should teach and what students should learn. Since then, there have been revisions in the state framework (see scienceframework-1  for 2004 and 2016)

The purposes of the two science frameworks are stated clearly:


Educators have the opportunity to foster and inspire in students an interest in science; the goal is to have students gain the knowledge and skills necessary for California’s workforce to be competitive in the global, information-based economy of the twenty-first century….

This framework is…

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