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Meeting of the Board of Regents | November 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009 - 9:20am

 sed seal                                                                                                 





John B. King, Jr.


Development of Sequenced Curriculum Frameworks and Aligned Professional Development  


November 9 , 2009


Goal 1






Policy Decision

Does the Board of Regents approve the recommendation to (1) launch the development/revision of sequenced, content-rich curriculum frameworks aligned with new or existing New York State learning standards in Science, Social Studies, Economics, Technology, the Arts, Mathematics, and English Language Arts; and (2) align professional development provided through the Department and/or networks with the newly developed curriculum frameworks?


Reason(s) for Consideration


To prepare all students for college, the global economy, 21st century citizenship, and lifelong learning, our P-20 educational system must undertake systemic change beginning with an updated set of student learning standards, curriculum frameworks, formative and summative assessments, and professional development.

In the months ahead, the Department will continue to play a leadership role in the development of national standards by partnering with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices for the development of common core college- and career- readiness standards for “Mathematics” and for “Reading, Writing, and Speaking and Listening.”   At the December 2009 meeting, the Board of Regents will receive a report on the work of the Regents’ Standards Review Initiative on English Language Arts standards. These proposed standards will be reviewed in relation to the CCSSO/NGA Common Core State Standards Initiative. In January 2010, the Board of Regents will determine the process for review and adoption of the next generation of NYS learning standards and related curriculum frameworks in mathematics and English language arts.

Background Information

Since 1996 the NYS learning standards have had an extensive impact on all aspects of our complex educational system. The expectations for what students should know and be able to do form the fundamental basis for the State’s PreK-12 education system.  The learning standards are also the foundation for:


  • Teacher standards--what teachers must know and be able to do to help all students reach state standards.  Major dimensions include professional development, registering and re-registering college and university teacher preparation programs, teacher certification, and related examinations.
  • System infrastructure standards--how the system must adjust to provide support for the standards-based environment. Major dimensions include   rich curriculum design, valid and reliable state and local assessments, as well as effective textbooks and digital learning programs.


On October 18, 2007 the Board of Regents approved a plan for review and revision of the NYS learning standards as mandated by Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007.  This plan included a timetable and sequence for review and revision of the NYS learning standards, the development of curriculum guidance, professional development, and related assessments.  The timetable for continuing the revision of the standards was adjusted to reflect both the state’s fiscal constraints and the state’s commitment to participate in the Common Core State Standards Initiative. However, lessons learned throughout the process continue to inform our work. A major theme during the statewide public comment period on the Standards Review Initiative was the need for a greater level of specificity in the student learning standards.  This specificity would in turn,  facilitate the development of sequenced, spiraled, content-rich curriculum frameworks, which would enable the development of aligned, high-quality professional development, as well as aligned formative and summative assessments. 

Research and experience also indicate that successful review and revision of learning standards requires multiple and complex initiatives to assure proper implementation.  The fiscal implications of implementing a revised set of learning standards at all levels of our educational system are enormous and of concern to all, as evidenced by the Department’s continued funding for statewide implementation of the mathematics standards revised by the Board of Regents in March 2005.

In a recent article, Russ Whitehurst, a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and the former Director of the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education, emphasizes the significant contribution (as measured by effect sizes) strong curriculum can make to student achievement. The development of world-class curriculum frameworks and assessments along with the necessary professional development are described as important factors in helping teachers provide effective instruction and ensuring a quality education program.

In order for students to be successful, 21st century citizens in an interdependent global economy, they must acquire skills and abilities to comprehend national and international economic issues, to use multimedia tools to communicate effectively, and to think critically and creatively.   Development of rigorous, sequential, and integrated curriculum frameworks in the arts, economics, and technology, as well as other content areas, will help us better prepare our students for the challenges of the future. In the end, what is taught constitutes the heart of the educational enterprise. If we present teachers with narrow high-stakes tests and weak curriculum frameworks, they will inevitably choose to teach to the tests, rendering them the curriculum by default. We need to ensure that our learning standards, curriculum frameworks, instructional programs, and assessment system are broad, deep, rigorous, and integrated.

Next Steps

Given the approval of the Regents, the Department will design a process and funding strategy (including seeking competitively awarded federal funding) for producing revised curriculum frameworks to provide an additional level of specificity to NYS learning standards which would serve as the foundation for providing all students with a world-class curriculum. These curriculum frameworks will also help to inform local instructional programs and related statewide initiatives so all students will be prepared for college, the global economy, 21st century citizenship, and lifelong learning.

Don’t Forget Curriculum, Grover J.”Russ” Whitehurst, The Brookings Institution, October 2009.