Teach Critical Thinking!

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Critical thinking involves actively analyzing and evaluating information: thinking about a topic in an objective way.  These skills are important for success in school and in life. Learning critical thinking can help students to  expand their perspectives and increase their decision making ability.  A survey by the Reboot Foundation showed that “More than 95 percent of […]

Beyond Nonfiction: The Benefits of Reading Fiction

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People generally read non-fiction to acquire information. Non-fiction encourages questioning and critical thinking and builds vocabulary. Starting children reading non-fiction will prepare them for the type of reading they will do as adults. Non-fiction texts make up around 84% of adult, real-world reading. However, non-fiction does little to develop emotional intelligence, such as managing motivation, emotions, […]

Open Letter/Op-Ed: Orange County NC Board of Education Presents Misinformation and Derides Parents while Ruling on Controversial Books

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Hello Orange County Board, Thank you for your special meeting on January 31, 2022 reviewing the books Out of Darkness, Gender Queer, and Lawn Boy. I would like to point out a few things, however. First, Ms. Smylie, towards the end of the meeting, infers that parental concern is a “distraction” from real […]

The Controversy Around Teaching Reading

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The controversy about the best method to teach reading has been raging for more than 200 years.  Phonics has been around since the 1600s.  In the 17th & 18th centuries phonics remained the prevailing method. Children learned the relationship between how letters looked (graphemes) and how they sounded (phonemes). However, […]

To Improve Reading, Study Math?

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In our globally competitive world, proficiency in math is crucial. Because mathematics is a cognitive skill, exposing young children to math is essential.  Research provides support for introducing math as early as preschool. “Early childhood math achievement can have far-reaching effects on students’ schooling.” Introducing children as young as three […]

The Equity Audit Racket

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Have you ever taken your car in for an oil change only to have them tell you that you need hundreds of dollars of other “repairs” that they can conveniently take care of for you? Have you ever hired someone to patch a small leak in your roof only to […]

Ability Grouping

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Ability grouping/selection is  generally well accepted in our society. Imagine the rigorous selection process for professional athletes.  Or consider admission to an elite University,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example has an acceptance rate of only 7% . However, this same selective process or ability grouping in education has long been a controversial topic. […]

The Reality of Equity

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“Equity” moves a student through the system without ensuring mastery of literacy skills. “Equity” dismisses a mother’s concerns for her child because addressing those concerns would be an admission of failure on the part of the school system. “Equity” will move this student into middle school with only basic reading […]

No Child Left Behind

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No Child Left Behind Act 2021 Kindergarten: No child left behind. But he cannot read his sight words. It will be fine. Just have him look at the pictures and use the word that matches. 2nd Grade: No child left behind. But she has no phonetic awareness. She cannot spell […]

A Solid Foundation

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It has been said that the Declaration of Independence is the foundation of our country and that The Constitution is the blueprint or building plan for it. It recalls a popular game where focus, intentionality, and precision are key to ensuring the “structure” does not collapse. In this game, as […]

The Nation’s Report Card Delivers Dismal News

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The nation’s report card, NAEP, recently released a study showing the performance of students over the last 50 years, and the results are disheartening. The test was designed “to improve the effectiveness of our Nation’s schools by making objective information about student performance in selected learning areas available to policymakers […]

Don’t Let the Labels Stick

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This was a popular book when my children were little. The first time I read it, I remember thinking what an important message it was for children and adults. The Wemmicks gave each other stickers based on talents or flaws. Some had a lot of stars and some had an […]

Reluctant Fighters

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This is one of my favorite stories. I can relate so much to Ferdinand. He found contentment in the simple life. It is likely many of you can as well. You just want to raise your children, enjoy your life, and sit quietly smelling the flowers. But, like Ferdinand, we […]

In the Name of Equity

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Our schools claim this is about “equity”. They say it is about “closing the gap”. Here is the problem, they are only prolonging the inequity that exists in the real world. No matter what they tell you, standards have been lowered. Criteria for getting into the Advanced Program and AP […]

The Tide is Turning

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The tide is turning. I can feel it. I entered this fight about a year ago. At the time, I was angry, shocked, frustrated, and sad for the state of our school system and country. Since then, I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about critical race […]

Learn from the Past

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We Can Learn from Our Past, But We Should Not Live There   Not many of us can look back on our childhood, adolescent, or young adult years with zero regret. There were choices, actions, and thoughts along the way that we are not proud of. During those times, there […]

Heavy Load

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We Are Asking Our Children To Carry a Heavy Load   “So the line had stuck in my head. “Sex,” I was pretty sure, meant whether you were a boy or girl, and “sin” made Tante Jans very angry, but what the two together meant I could not imagine. And […]

Grading on a Curve

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When I met my son’s engineering professor about 12 years ago, he told me that he never grades on a curve. When I asked him why, he answered “Because no one wants to be driving across the bridge or riding on the elevator built by the kid who got a […]

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