Curriculum Frameworks Adoption Process
The California State Board of Education (SBE) adopts curriculum frameworks for kindergarten through grade twelve (K–12) in accordance with California Education Code (EC) Section 51002, which calls for the development of “broad minimum standards and guidelines for educational programs.” Curriculum frameworks in the core curriculum areas of reading/language arts, mathematics, history–social science, and science are aligned to the SBE-adopted academic content standards. In addition, the SBE has adopted content standards in visual and performing arts, physical education, health, and world language. The SBE adopts curriculum frameworks on a six-year cycle for the four core curriculum areas and an eight-year cycle for the other areas. The SBE approved the current history–social science framework in 2000; the foreign language framework in 2001; the health framework in 2002; the science and visual and performing arts frameworks in 2004; the mathematics framework in 2005; the reading/language arts framework in 2006; and the physical education framework in 2008.
The entire curriculum frameworks adoption process was significantly affected by the passage of the education trailer bill Senate Bill 4 of the 2009-10 Third Extraordinary Session (SBX3 4) (Chapter 12, Statutes of 2009) and Assembly Bill 2 of the 2009-10 Fourth Extraordinary Session (ABX 4 2). These bills suspended the SBE’s responsibility to develop curriculum frameworks or adopt instructional materials until the 2013-14 school year. Currently, no new curriculum frameworks schedule has been signed into law.
The Curriculum Commission develops the curriculum frameworks under the authority of EC Section 33538 which gives the Curriculum Commission the authority to provide instructional guidelines: “The [Curriculum] commission shall study problems of courses of study in the schools of the state and shall, upon request of the State Board of Education, recommend to the State Board of Education the adoption of minimum standards for courses of study in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and secondary schools.”
The process begins with the CDE conducting four focus groups of educators to get input on improvements to an existing framework. The Curriculum Commission recruits members for the Curriculum Framework and Criteria Committee (CFCC). The CFCC is composed of a minimum of nine to a maximum of 20 members, at least half of whom are classroom teachers. The Curriculum Commission makes recommendations to the SBE about the development of a curriculum framework and appointments to the CFCC.
Curriculum frameworks are developed in a public manner; all Curriculum Commission and CFCC meetings are open to the public and include the opportunity to comment. The CFCC develops a draft document, and the Curriculum Commission prepares the draft framework for field review and holds public meetings on the document. The Curriculum Commission is responsible for the draft framework that is recommended to the SBE. After a 60-day public comment period, the SBE also holds a public hearing prior to considering the framework for adoption. After adoption, the frameworks are available for purchase through the CDE and may be viewed on the CDE All Curriculum Frameworks Web page.
Curriculum frameworks have drawn state and national recognition for focusing directly on the curriculum and for contributing substantively to the improvement of teaching and learning. The content standards describe what educators and professionals in the field expect K–12 students to know. Based on current research in education and the specific content area, the frameworks provide a firm foundation for curriculum and instruction by describing the scope and sequence of knowledge and the skills that all students are expected to master. The frameworks’ overarching dedication is to the balance of factual knowledge, fundamental skills, and the application of knowledge and skills.
In addition, the frameworks establish criteria to evaluate instructional materials. These criteria are used to select, through the state adoption process mandated in EC sections 60200–60206, instructional materials for kindergarten through grade eight. Frameworks also guide district selection of instructional resources for grades nine through twelve. Although curriculum frameworks cover the K–12 educational program, their effect can be seen in preschool programs, child-care centers, adult education programs, higher education instruction, and university entrance requirements.
For more information regarding the curriculum frameworks adoption process, contact the Standards, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division at 916-319-0881. Additional information is available on the CDE Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Materials Web page.