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

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

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

Tennessee: Replace Hate and Ignorance With Love and Tolerance, For the Children

In February, an 8th grade social studies class in (wealthy) Brentwood, TN was given a homework assignment for Black History Month that required them to “create a list of expectations for your family’s slave.” Shortly after the Brentwood incident, a school in neighboring Columbia, TN came under fire for an eager teacher who asked students “would you rather be a slave or shot and killed?” … Continue reading Tennessee: Replace Hate and Ignorance With Love and Tolerance, For the Children

Tennessee Is A Hotbed of Hypocrisy and Hate, #CleanHouse

“I’ve been watching you, dad. Ain’t that cool I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you. And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are. We like fixing things and holding mama’s hand. Yeah we’re just alike. Hey, ain’t we, dad? I wanna do everything you do. So I’ve been watching you.” – Rodney Atkins At the close of the 111th legislative … Continue reading Tennessee Is A Hotbed of Hypocrisy and Hate, #CleanHouse

Tennessee Clumsily Waltzes Into The World Of Private School Tuition Assistance

Say the word voucher without a hint of vitriol in the company of hardcore Democrats and you have effectively declared war. Last week, my timeline was littered with white people calling other white people racist in response to the Great Voucher Battle of 2019 at the Tennessee State Capital. I understand the anger, but, uh, some of the name-callers should absolutely refrain from pulling the … Continue reading Tennessee Clumsily Waltzes Into The World Of Private School Tuition Assistance