"Narrowing the curriculum has clearly become a nationwide pattern," said Jack Jennings, the president of the center, which is based in Washington.
At Martin Luther King Jr. Junior High School in Sacramento, about 150 of the school's 885 students spend five of their six class periods on math, reading and gym, leaving only one 55-minute period for all other subjects.
About 125 of the school's lowest-performing students are barred from taking anything except math, reading and gym, a measure that Samuel Harris, a former lieutenant colonel in the Army who is the school's principal, said was draconian but necessary. "When you look at a kid and you know he can't read, that's a tough call you've got to make," Mr. Harris said.
Dr. Julia Rankin spoke briefly at the SCONYC conference. She said the city and state were starting to pay more attention to science, Carmen Farina talks about it all the time, resources have been allocated to improve science.... the examples she gave, which she said we ought to celebrate, were that we now have the money to put one set of science trade books (probably 4-6 books on one topic) into every k-8 classroom library, and that money was being made available to buy equipment for some k-8 schools. I appreciate that in reality these are improvements and probably do deserve celebration, but it makes me kind of sad because science books and basic equipment seem to me to be such a minimum, essential resource, not an exceptional opportunity or special gift or milestone.