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 […]

How Does Our Culture Shape Us?

Culture is one of those things that we recognize in other people groups but have a hard time identifying in ourselves.  But almost nothing is more powerful in shaping how we view and interact with the world around us than the culture in which we grew up in or in which we currently live.  One […]

Middle Schools and the Problem With Research

Weirdly, I ran across two pieces of research about the Middle School Model within a couple days of each other and they got me thinking about how confusing study results can be for the casual reader. One study asserted that NCLB had destroyed the Middle School Model (MSM), affecting test performance, while another concluded that […]

Combatting Invisibility: Native Americans, State Standards, and Quality Resources

If you spend any time researching equity, you will begin to notice a pattern. It’s not a particularly overt pattern; it’s more like something that creeps into your field of vision from the edges. Only when you turn your full attention to it does it become glaringly obvious — so much so that you wonder […]

Indispensable Books for Equity #4: Cultivating Genius

Book #4 in this series on equity resources is Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy, by Gholdy Muhammad.  This book draws from the history of African American literary societies to create a framework for teaching and learning to address what is lacking in public schools for students of color: the […]