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Finding Balance Between Recreating the Wheel and Using Canned Curriculum

When you think back to your great teachers, nobody ever says, "I loved this teacher because they implemented the curriculum with fidelity." But that is precisely what our purchases of those canned curriculum value, and preach.

There is great value in having to do little prep work for class because you have a canned curriculum that only requires a cursory glance before you start teaching.

On the other hand, there is great value in creating a lesson that is particularly attuned to exactly what you as the professional believe your kids really need.

With dwindling funding sources for schools and a teacher shortage across the nation, the ease of a canned curriculum is more alluring than ever.

With suicidal ideation, school violence, a divided country, and identity issues, the demand for giving kids exactly what they need when they need it is more necessary than ever.

I've been arguing for a long time that we need fewer standards not more. I've been arguing for a long time that we need more focus on soft skills and social emotional growth, not less.

Social emotional and soft skills are everyone's job, and they are best taught in the moment, not through a canned curriculum.

Do we all need the same standards?

I've been thinking a lot lately about standards. Do we all need the same standards?

Everyone needs to be able to read, because that is the gateway drug. Even with so much video accessible today, I still believe that everyone needs to be able to read.

Everyone needs some mathematical concepts, but how much?

Everyone needs to understand some parts of history, but there is so much more to it than just understanding dates and battles and people, but what exactly?

I'm going to make a bold claim (that isn't necessarily new) that our standards are too numerous. We need a lot fewer than we currently have. How much should they be stripped down? That's the real question.