At what point does a school districts "mandates" become too overwhelming for teachers and how to teachers finally say "enough is enough?" In our district, we have the following mandatory programs that we need to a) know how to implement and b) manage to implement in the amount of time we have. Scripted reading and math programs that we must follow according to a pacing guide that dictates (to the day) what we teach and when. Common core standards that will, apparently, make the aforementioned scripted programs obsolete. However, no new adoption is going to happen until at least 2017. That will make our reading program 15 years old. An instructional minutes mandate that tells exactly what we teach at what times of the day - leaving virtually no time for anything but reading and math Positive Behavior Intervention System and the Second Steps Anti-Violence Program which we must somehow fit into all of the above, without cutting anything out. All of this must be done using direct instruction methods. We spent the last two years with regular staff development on these methods and our lesson plans and teaching must reflect it. Most of the teachers just finished a Spencer Kagan cooperative learning workshop and the principal says they will be looking for Kagan structures in all of our lessons next year. Any student who is struggling must be addressed through RTI. We get virtually no resources for RTI and must do all interventions during regular class time while we are direct instructing and the students are learning cooperatively. K-3 teachers have no specials or preps and our school day is on the short side in terms of instructional minutes. Taken on their own, each one of these programs, methods, or strategies has very strong merits. However, I've often began to think that our district has piled on so many layers of mandatory requirements for teachers that it is now virtually impossible for one teacher to do everything they are officially asked to do. Furthermore, many of these mandates are contradictory. For example we must teach Open Court Reading for the exact same amount of time each day. But the OCR lessons vary in length. That would be OK if we could stretch out the longer lessons to last two days. But we also have to follow the pacing guide. We could do that if we were allowed to cut out parts of Open Court. But we have been told officially that we must teach the whole program exactly as it is written. What will be really interesting is next year when we are expected to use Kagan structures in our lessons. It seemed to me, during the training, that many of these are the opposite of the direct instruction methods that we just recently adopted as the standard way we teach in our classrooms. I can't really picture them saying "OK, all that direct instruction stuff is out the window, now we want you to use cooperative learning." And heaven forbid they just let us actually choose the best method that we, as teachers, feel meets the needs of our students.