How About Just One Standard?


I’ve been thinking – and the current controversy involving our state superintendent only makes it clearer to me – that we should agree on a curriculum of simply one standard.  I know it sounds crazy, but hey, Jack Black once wrote a “One Note Song.”  Chris Rock once asked for “just one rib” when ordering at a restaurant. Why not one standard?  Think of the money we could save in printing, or how fast you could download the PDF if the document simply stated:

Students will understand that they could be wrong (regardless of how passionately they feel about their position).

Alright, I know, I know.  Everyone loves decimals and secret coding in their standards.  Let’s try:

Life Readiness Standard One

Strand: Becoming an Informed and Productive Citizen

LRS.1.S.BPC 1.1 – Students will know they could be wrong (regardless of how passionately they feel about their position).

Those of you who wanted decimals in your standards are probably fuming about the paranthesis, but work with me.

What drives inquiry?  Curiousity.  Why be curious?  To gain insight and to inform your perspectives.  However, why should I need to inform my perspective if I’m convinced I’m already right?  Heaven forbid citizenry means we have to engage in a nuanced discussion where both positions bring elements of truth.

Want an example of where the lack of command of this standard is most obvious?  On the internet boards where the so-called “trolls” incessantly insult each other, but gain no ground, change nobody’s opinion, and generally waste a whole lot of time.  They are so busy being entrenched and convinced that they are right, they learn nothing and get nowhere.  However, I guess they feel better after calling others idiots, morons, liberal comunisocialists, or right-wing nut jobs.  Come to think of it, maybe there should be an additional standard:

LRS.1.S.BPC 1.2Students will skillfully dialogue with those offering opposing viewpoints without name calling or leveling insults (and stay out of the digital gutter known as message boards).

I don’t know.  I think it could work. But, I could be wrong.


Mike Lee

Mike Lee

Phoenix, Arizona

I am the Director of Outreach and Engagement for The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and certified as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2004. In 2012, I received my doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, however, I began my work in education serving as a para-educator in a special education program while still an undergraduate. My passions in the field include assessment and reporting strategies, the evolving role of technology, teacher leadership, and effective professional development that permanently impacts instruction. I consider myself a professional teacher first, as well as a professionally evolving lifelong learner, who is incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to impact the lives of children.

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