EDUCATION trends have three means of transmission, all invisible to the public: the sale of textbooks and other instructional materials, teaching in schools of education, and teacher-training seminars conducted during the paid noninstructional days that are provided in teachers' contracts. As superintendent in California, [Bill] Honig realized that he couldn't directly affect what was taught in schools of education, because they are independent of the state board of education, and so if he wanted to have any real influence over what went on in public-school classrooms, the best means at hand were textbooks and seminars. He moved aggressively to put his people in charge both of setting up California's eight annual "staff development" days for teachers and of writing state subject-matter "frameworks," which form the basis for textbook orders.Thus was born the California Subject Matter Project. Ed headed the History Social Science Project; Phil Daro, currently a member of the mathematics Work Group for the Common Core national standards effort, was in charge of the Mathematics Project.The Reading Wars by Nicholas LemannAtlantic Monthly November 1997
The Subject Matter Projects gave teachers professional development in the form of seminars taught by disciplinary specialists. History teachers took seminars given by history professors, not consultants. Ed says today that, at the time, he had no idea how radical Honig's concept was.