The Trouble With Basal Bloat: An Important Discussion of the Wonders Review

Recently, Student Achievement Partners published an important review of the Wonders curriculum (read more in EdWeek). It put a spotlight on some known concerns with the program, like its weak support for knowledge acquisition.

The review also illuminated an issue that has implications well beyond Wonders: basal bloat.  When a curriculum is loaded with so many bells, whistles, and options – particularly when they are of varied quality and relevance – a teacher can easily wind up teaching the weak stuff and miss what’s good (and aligned). We  think this is a serious problem in the industry that deserves unpacking.  

On July 12th, Janise Lane hosted an open conversation with the authors of the Wonders review to discuss why basal bloat is a problem and how districts might address the issue. 

Speakers included:

  • Sue Pimentel, Founder, Student Achievement Partners
  • Meredith Liben, ELA Designer, Student Achievement Partners
  • Sonia Cabell, Assistant Professor of Reading Education, Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University 
  • Janise Lane, Executive Director or Teaching and Learning, Baltimore City Schools

Watch a Recording