Journal

Journal

Phasing Out Gifted and Talented Instruction?

In October of 2021, the New York City Public Schools announced that they would be phasing out their gifted and talented education program because of equity concerns. Citing the demographics of the program, which is 75% white and Asian even though the district as a whole is about 67%  African American and Latino, the district […]

Out of the Ashes: COVID and Changes in Testing

In late September of this year, AP News included a report from the state of Massachusetts showing declines on state standardized tests in both ELA and math performance.  The report compared student performance on the MCAS (state test) from 2019 to the 2021 results and showed significant losses, particularly in elementary math. This shouldn’t come as […]

Let’s Talk About Critical Race Theory (Part 2)

Last post, we talked about Critical Race Theory as a graduate-level framework (lens) that arose during the 1970s among legal scholars as a way of looking at institutions, legislation, and practices to determine if they were perpetuating racism.  Like any other critical lens, Critical Race Theory is a way of focusing on a particular perspective […]

Let’s Talk About Critical Race Theory (Part 1)

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been in the news a lot recently, cast in both a positive and a negative light.  Some contend it’s an important lens to apply to institutions and systems across the U.S., others say it’s divisive and intended to make white people feel guilty for racist practices of the past.  Several […]

Suing for the Right to Learn

Here’s something fascinating: a group of students in a civics class are suing their state government because they believe all students have a right to a basic civics education. The lawsuit began in 2018 and was dismissed by a lower court in October of 2020. The plaintiffs appealed, stating they have  a constitutional right to […]

Leveraging Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is when a belief , behavior, or attitude is challenged by new information that then forces a person to hold two conflicting positions simultaneously.  The necessity of holding two opposing positions at the same time produces considerable stress (or anxiety, anger, guilt, shame, frustration).  Sometimes, the dissonance isn’t specific beliefs but rather, the […]

The Communication Symphony: Why Reading & Writing Need to be Taught Together (Part 4 of 4)

We now know that reading and writing must be directly taught because of their immense complexity (Part 3).  We also know that writing is labeled a “neglected skill” in U.S. classrooms (Part 1).  And we learned that focusing solely on reading fluency will not result in writing proficiency; only teaching and practicing writing will do […]

The Communication Symphony: What Brain Research Says About Reading and Writing (Part 3 of 4)

In Part 1, we talked about writing instruction, and in Part 2 we looked at what is and isn’t innate to the human brain and learned that reading and writing will never “naturally” arise from our predisposition to communicate – they must be explicitly taught and practiced for people to become proficient.  Today in Part […]

The Communication Symphony: What’s Innate and What’s Not? (Part 2 of 4)

In Part 1, we discussed the state of writing instruction in the U.S. and it was a little grim.  One of the reasons for this de-emphasis on writing instruction may be the persistent myth that writing will naturally arise out of reading – that a good reader will automatically be a good writer.  But although […]

The Communication Symphony: The State of Writing Instruction in the U.S. (Part 1 of 4)

This is the beginning of a 4 part series on how the major ELA skills of reading, writing, and speaking & listening are taught in U.S. classrooms and how they should be taught, given what we know about the various regions of the brain required to read, write, and speak and how they’re connected (or […]