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Montezuma-Cortez invites community to review potential new curriculum

The Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 administration building.
Four sets of materials available for review

Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 plans a review of elementary school curriculum Thursday evening.

The meeting is at 4:30 p.m. in the administration office’s gym, at 400 N. Elm St.

Jim Parr, director of Academic Student Services, will introduce four curricula and answer questions.

The meeting format encourages attendees to walk around and explore new learning materials. It will not be offered online, but materials are available for review Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Proposed curricula would replace the Wit and Wisdom curriculum in elementary schools. The curriculum is taught in kindergarten through eighth grade, but online alternatives are available for post-elementary students.

RE-1 Board of Education directors have tied Wit and Wisdom to critical race theory, a hotly debated subject that has contributed to escalating tension in the RE-1 school district and across the U.S.

In a previous board meeting, directors said they wanted new English language arts lessons in place by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

In Cortez, opinions on the current curriculum range from vehement opposition to steady backing. Some say it is ineffective and socially divisive; others, that it effectively teaches history and reading. Some deny that critical race theory is present in current teachings and consider it a graduate-level theory. Others said they would not want to force teachers to learn and implement new curriculum.

Conversations on Wit and Wisdom have also touched on the curriculum’s ability to meet learning standards.

It is a supplemental curriculum used in conjunction with additional reading and phonics lessons. Assistant Superintendent Lis Richard, who is on disability leave, previously said one cohesive curriculum would likely produce better academic results.

Great Minds, the publisher of Wit and Wisdom, references data published by nonprofit EdReports.org, which largely assigned the curriculum near-perfect scores.