The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system is trying to figure out how to address the stubborn achievement gap between white students and minority and disadvantaged students. The strategy the district is adopting is what’s considered a new way to teaching. Here’s how the Daily Tar Heel reports the story. 

To help all students perform better, the district is contracting Learning-Focused, a Boone-based company that helps schools adopt more effective teaching strategies by providing training and support for teachers and administrators.

The company’s strategies include increased student writing in the classroom and backward planning, a strategy that identifies what students should know by the end of a section and giving assignments that match up with the curriculum standard.

“It feels upside-down but makes a hell of a lot of sense when you look at it,” Diane Villwock, executive director of testing and program evaluation for the district, said of backward planning.

You mean teachers aren’t already determining the end game — what students must learn — and then employing a strategy to get there — the lessons that teach the concepts? Are you kidding? Then exactly what are teachers doing in the classroom? What is described in this story is the skill required of millions of Americans every day in millions of businesses across this country — to identify the goal and employ steps to get there.

If this is a new concept to the teaching industry, then exactly what are teachers being trained to do by the state’s teacher education programs?