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The Boston Globe

Magazine

The Education Issue

Will new curriculum improve Mass. schools?

Does the new kindergarten-through-high-school curriculum being implemented this year across the state actually improve education in Massachusetts schools?

IT’S THE FIRST MATH LESSON of the year for eighth-graders in Michelle Calioro’s class at Putnam Avenue Upper School in East Cambridge, and she is teaching from a new curriculum called Math in Focus. The curriculum, adapted from one used in Singapore, is aligned with what is now household language in school districts across 45 states and the District of Columbia: the Common Core State Standards, a framework that in 2010 redefined what should be taught in US schools and when, with the goal of better preparing students across the country for college and the workplace.

When the 18 middle schoolers shuffle in, the class objective on the board reads: “Understand and use exponential notation.”

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