This chapter explores the back-to-basics move promoted by a pair of bills—the ABCs bills—with the aim of arriving at a more balanced curriculum. At roughly the same time, Governor Wilson signed a bill—AB 265 (The California Assessment and Achievement Act)—that created a new statewide assessment system that was intended to replace the California Learning Assessment System. The bill promoted the use of off-the-shelf standardized tests in order to test basic skills mastery and provided funds for the development of new statewide testing program in academic subjects for several levels. The chapter looks at several programs, attempts at reform, and implementations that have taken place in more recent years. It looks at, for example, the CDE and the Mathematics Program Advisory, a program that intended to provide guidance to teachers and schools. It touches on MathLand—one of the progressive, innovative curricula that was approved in 1994, and explores other important and notable events of that time.
Keywords: back-to-basics, ABCs bills, Governor Wilson, California Assessment and Achievement Act, statewide assessment system, California Learning Assessment System, Mathematics Program Advisory, MathLand
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