MUSD adopts new social studies curriculum

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The Maricopa Unified School District has adopted new social studies curriculum for its K-12 classrooms at a cost of $935,000 over six years.

The MUSD Governing Board voted 3-0 Wednesday (with president Robert Downey and board member AnnaMarie Knorr absent) to adopt plans of study from two providers familiar to the district – McGraw Hill Education and Savvas Learning Company. McGraw Hill currently provides the district’s English Language Arts curriculum and Savvas provides the math and science curriculums.

The social studies program, adopted for the upcoming school year, is the fourth curriculum implemented by the district in the last five years. It added math five years ago followed by English language arts a year later and then science last year.

The district and its social studies adoption committee, made up of teachers, parents and administrators, evaluated proposals from 10 companies and whittled the list down to the two. Each will provide K-12 curriculum, but in different areas.

McGraw Hill will provide social studies materials for all of K-12. Since it does not offer texts in psychology or sociology, Savvas will provide materials in those areas.

Wade Watson, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, said the materials from both companies are technology-rich and include both printed and electronic elements.

“McGraw Hill was chosen for many reasons: it reaches all levels of learners – on-level, intervention, extension and English language learners,” Watson said. “It also offers a wide variety of differentiated support and makes history relevant for every student.”

Teachers and students will be able to use the method – print or electronic – that best suits their needs.

The curriculum includes 46 professional development days spread over the six years of the program.

Board member Torri Anderson lauded the decision.

“I am excited that we are able to keep to our path of adopting new curricula because our teachers and students deserve it,” she said. “I’m grateful we’ve been able to allocate the funds to be able to make all these adoptions. I also know this was a very tight timeline to get this ready for the start of the school year. So, thank you for that dedication.”

Board member Dr. Gary Miller voiced a concern he has been hearing since he became an MUSD board member – whether critical race theory or any other “specialized theories” are implanted in the social studies curriculum.

“Critical race theory is not in the curriculum that we have adopted,” Watson said. “It was something we asked about prior to selecting the curriculum we adopted. (The curriculum) aligns with the state standards and if you look at our current state standards, you’ll find that they do not include critical race theory.”