Vesia Wilson-Hawkins

In the Last Decade, A Lot Has Happened in Tennessee Education, Not Much Has Changed

In the 2018 audio documentary Hard Words, Emily Hanford shattered the age-old phonics versus whole language debate with cutting scientific evidence that leaves little room to doubt that phonics is to reading what atoms are to every-thing. Central to Hanford’s report and the resulting national discourse is the failure of colleges of education to prepare future teachers on how to teach reading. At a Loss … Continue reading In the Last Decade, A Lot Has Happened in Tennessee Education, Not Much Has Changed

Advocating For Families Means Loving Them Enough To Hold Them Accountable

“But in my heart of hearts, I know from experience there are situations where it’s true that parents aren’t working their end of the home-school partnership. I think we all know it but none of us dare risk revocation of our Black-card…” Chris Stewart I couldn’t believe he wrote it. The former single-dad who worked low wage jobs to support his son while taking on the two-headed … Continue reading Advocating For Families Means Loving Them Enough To Hold Them Accountable

Nashville Teachers’ Fight For Respect Began With A March, Now They’re Walkin’

Volume and Light is a blog focused on the families that invest in Nashville public education’s promise. The blog’s owner [meeee] is a Black woman, former public school student, parent, and staffer whose lens is informed by her experiences. I write, advocate, and work for families whose voices are forced into the void. I do these things because 30 years of personal and professional experience … Continue reading Nashville Teachers’ Fight For Respect Began With A March, Now They’re Walkin’

Will Two Years Of Second Grade Solve The Literacy Crisis?

A piece of the sky has landed on my head. Similar the chick in the story Chicken Little, I am compelled to try to communicate to readers news about the falling sky, to translate a sense of urgency about the barriers to today’s children becoming fully equipped citizens of tomorrow. Unlike Chicken Little, my news, such as our children’s inability to read the world around … Continue reading Will Two Years Of Second Grade Solve The Literacy Crisis?

The ABC’s Of The ABC’s And What Parents Need To Know

I’m no educator, I just play one on Twitter. Seriously, I respect the profession too much to pretend or mislead. Yet, I find myself in this very specific space occupied by mostly educators discussing, debating best scientifically-based instructional practices and curriculum for reading. I have no business hanging out here but after nearly two years of searching for answers to the literacy crisis, here I … Continue reading The ABC’s Of The ABC’s And What Parents Need To Know

It’s Just Literacy, No Big Deal

In August 2017, former Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced the Read to be Ready program with an ambitious goal of 75 percent of all third-graders reading at or above grade level in the year 2025. In response to the news, I wrote: “…in eight years Tennessee promises all but 25% of its third graders will be able to read at grade level. We … Continue reading It’s Just Literacy, No Big Deal

Tennessee’s Love Affair With Its Racist Past Must End

I live in a state that is required by law to observe Nathan Bedford Forest. Today. In his first year as Tennessee’s 50th governor, Governor Bill Lee signed a proclamation designating July 13 a day to observe the guy as a “recognized military figure and native Tennessean.” According to Gov. Lee, he signed the proclamation because the law requires him to do so. Just as … Continue reading Tennessee’s Love Affair With Its Racist Past Must End