New curriculum means fewer textbooks in Camden County

A transition to a new curriculum in Camden County means students are now using fewer textbooks and more online resources.

The curriculum, called Common Core, is designed to make student instruction the same across the country.

As a result, Camden County found that many of its old textbooks didn’t align with the new curriculum, so they’ve begun using online resources.

“Everything can be projected for the student. So the student doesn’t necessarily carry a textbook with them, everything is done in class using those resources,” explained Superintendent Melvin Hawkins.

That means if parents want to have textbooks for their students to use, they’ll have to purchase them on their own.

That idea isn’t sitting well with all parents like Tracey O’Hara who wrote to NewsChannel 3 expressing concern.

“I’ve never heard of sending our children to school and changing the curriculum and not having the books to teach it from. It just doesn’t make sense,” explained O’Hara.

O’Hara says in her son’s middle school class, teachers have offered parents the option to purchase an online textbook.

“I work a full-time job, my husband works a full-time job, we pay our taxes. Why are we having to pay for their books? That just doesn’t make sense,” O’Hara said.

Superintendent Hawkins says the online textbook is not a requirement and that all students are learning from the same material being projected in the classrooms.

“That just becomes a tool or resource as an option if the parent so chooses to purchase, it’s not a requirement, no one is asking them to make it a requirement. It’s just an opportunity and a resource if they would like to purchase,” Hawkins explained.

Camden County Schools are working on a strategy to open more of the school computer labs to parents and students who may have limited Internet access at home.

Hawkins says the change in curriculum will help students and will put them on an even playing field with the rest of the world.

“It puts us on an even playing field with India, China, Japan and that’s where we need to be,” Hawkins said.

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