American Curriculum: Myths and Facts

July 1, 2015


“Fact Myth Signpost Shows Facts Or Mythology”
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Over the past few years we have listened to multiple myths emerge from the mouths of teachers, administrators and owners of American Curriculum schools in the MENA region. Successful implementation of this curriculum model requires parents, educators, policymakers, and all stakeholders to have the facts about what American curriculum is and is not. Below are some myths to watch out for and the facts to use when you hear them.

Myth: The American curriculum is easy.

Fact: Many times this emerges when there is a comparison drawn between the American curriculum and other curriculum models. This statement does not take into effect that many models exist when it comes to American curriculum. For example, there are magnet schools, charter schools, art-focused schools and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) schools. Each one is unique and has its own curriculum, which is implemented based on the model. The American curriculum may appear easy if no model is the focus at a school. So if you ever hear this myth dig deeper to ask which model the person is referring to. Ask if they have heard about BASIS, which educates students at an internationally competitive level? Visit for more information.

Myth: The American curriculum is textbook-based.

Fact: The textbook is a resource. It is actually one of many resources. Any school claiming to be an American curriculum school because they use the American textbooks is incorrect. The fact is a textbook is not a curriculum. Curriculum defines what students should know, understand, and be able to do in each grade level and the content of study. As such, curriculum provides direction to teachers on what to teach, how to teach it, when to teach it, and how to assess instruction. This is aligned to standards, assessments, and instructional practices. For the majority of the history of the US educational system, standards, from which curriculum is derived, were interpreted in different ways by individual US states. In an effort to ensure that all states are providing the same quality of education to their students, in June 2009, the US National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), in partnership with a team of nationwide educators, announced the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative. Find out more about the Common Core State Standards here

Myth: The American curriculum has no assessment system.

Fact: Many have not heard of NAEP. This stands for the National Assessment of Educational Progress and is the largest assessment measuring what American students know and can do in a variety of subjects. NAEP is now 46 years old. The first assessments were held in 1969. Subjects such as art, civics, economics, math, writing, science, geography and more are all part of this national assessment. In addition, states have had assessment programs for years that tracked student progress. Below is a list of additional assessments that many students in America participate in:

• Smarter Balancer
• AP-Advanced Placement
• IBST-Iowa Basic Skills Test
• ACT-American College Testing
• MAP-Measures of Academic Progress
• PARCC- Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers

These are just three myths about American curriculum. What other myths have you heard?

Teach UAE Magazine teamed up with KDSL to publish the UAE’s first bi-lingual magazine supplement highlighting the American Curriculum in the United Arab Emirates. Visit to find out more about American curriculum education in the United Arab Emirates.

Who were the best high schools in America in 2015? Visit this website here to find out:

KDSL’s American Curriculum Science Freelancer Consultant: Dr. Craig Gabler

June 15, 2015

Dr. Craig Gabler

Craig T. Gabler is a Science/STEM education consultant. Previously he was at Educational Service District (ESD) 113 in Olympia, Washington, beginning in 2000. At the ESD, Dr. Gabler served as Regional Science Coordinator where his primary role was to coordinate and deliver science professional development to the 44 school districts in the region. During his time at the ESD, Dr. Gabler also served as Curriculum Director for Science & Mathematics for Tacoma Public Schools in Washington for two years. Dr. Gabler began his career in Centralia, Washington in 1975 as a high school chemistry and physics teacher.

Outside of his work in districts, Dr. Gabler has been active in science education leadership. He served as a writer for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), worked on Washington state science standards writing teams, and spent several summers as Mentor Teacher in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pre-Service Teacher program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He is currently the Retiring-President of the National Science Education Leadership Association. In addition, he served a two-year term as president of the Washington Science Teachers Association and as the National Science Teachers Association’s District XVII Director. Leadership and leadership development continues to be an area of focus for Dr. Gabler. He collaborated with the KDSL team and served as the team leader of the 2014 NGSS Forum held in Dubai for American curriculum schools in the MENA region. Dr. Gabler was also a featured author in Teach UAE Magazine where he wrote an article on implementing the NGSS.

Dr. Gabler received a BS in Physical Science from Washington State University, an MS in Science Education from Oregon State University, and a PhD in Science & Mathematics Education from the Curtin University in Perth, Australia.

For more information on Dr. Gabler’s work in the MENA region please visit:

NGSS Forum

Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards

Tips for American Curriculum Schools in MENA

June 10, 2015


Our last 2014-2015 tips for American Curriculum schools in the MENA region are now available

June 9, 2015

KDSL Summer 2015 Newsletter-page-001

Our summer 2015 newsletter is now available.

KDSL and Teach UAE Magazine: American Education in the United Arab Emirates

May 27, 2015

KDSL And Teach UAE Magazine-page-001

Visit to access the full document

KDSL Summer 2015 Intern – Sarah Branson

May 27, 2015

KDSL summer intern 2015-page-001

KDSL and Buffalo State, State University of New York (SUNY)

May 27, 2015

KDSL and SUNY partnership-page-001


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