Local Politics in the Time of ‘Rona

Volume and Light, the platform for my fight for 3 years and the amplifier of unpopular education values has been out of service for almost 11 months. In the months leading up to my last blog, writing became an excruciating exercise that left me exhausted and unfulfilled. Ultimately, the circuitous search for just the right word or phrase to persuade the reader to see a … Continue reading Local Politics in the Time of ‘Rona

Tonight’s Discussion on Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline Through Literacy

Wow. Today is the day. I have been planning for a community discussion on literacy since October 2017 — in my head, at least. It was then that the literacy crisis in Nashville became real for me. I was sitting in the very spot in which I am writing this post, mining through the 2017 TNReady data and I noticed teardrops on my keyboard. Sounds … Continue reading Tonight’s Discussion on Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline Through Literacy

Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline Through Literacy

Two years ago this month, the Nashville Literacy Collaborative, a large group of Nashville’s socio-political elite assembled to announce a blueprint to double the number of 3rd graders reading on grade level by 2025. Currently, 28.8 percent of 3rd graders are reading “on track” or “mastered,” Black students 19.2 percent, and Economically Disadvantaged 15.2 percent. The Collaborative’s stated goal is to double these percentages in … Continue reading Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline Through Literacy

How Are The Children? Find The Answer In Policies That Rank System Above Students

This morning’s headlines were so tragic that I had to cut short my morning Twitter curating time. Before I knew it I had slipped into darkness, enveloped by it, even as the sun was doing her best work. On my timeline this morning: the heartwrenching video of a Kurdish mom holding her dying baby girl; a heart-stopping video recreated from a scene from the movie … Continue reading How Are The Children? Find The Answer In Policies That Rank System Above Students

Dreaming of A Pipeline of Parent Power from the Schoolhouse to the White House

“Everybody had given up on my son,” said the dad sitting across from me at a local coffee shop. Before the word “son” left his tongue tears started to fall. They weren’t dad’s tears. You see, I have never felt the desperation of a parent with an autistic child saddled with a loosely executed IEP, or one with a pre-teen who reads at a 2nd-grade … Continue reading Dreaming of A Pipeline of Parent Power from the Schoolhouse to the White House

A Parent Advocate Sued Anywhere Is A Parent Advocate Sued Everywhere

Parents standing up and in the gap on behalf of their children’s education is definitely my love language. Since my senior year of high school, when my own mother began to show up in small ways for me and full-blown advocacy for my younger siblings, I’ve never questioned the power and intrinsic value of a parent’s presence in a child’s educational journey. Thirty years later, … Continue reading A Parent Advocate Sued Anywhere Is A Parent Advocate Sued Everywhere

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

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?

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