Distrust of Facts Highlights Need to Return to Primary Sources

"Get your facts first," quips satirist Mark Twain. "Then you can distort them as much as you please." These words were first put to print in an 1899 Rudyard Kipling interview of the timeless sage, but they could have just as easily been written yesterday. In an era where the news makers are jabbing back [...]

Five YA Novels to Understand Refugees

Staying informed by watching and discussing current events is one way for students to know what is going on in the world outside their immediate universe. Sometimes those events seem so far away--even when they are happening in our own country. Research has proven repeatedly that reading builds empathy. Whether the latest current events about how [...]

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ and the Blight of Rural Schools

“I was one of those kids with a grim future,” author J.D. Vance begins in his book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. “I almost failed out of high school. I nearly gave in to the deep anger and resentment harbored by everyone around me. Today people look at me, [...]

Let’s Talk About Race: Jodi Picoult’s ‘Small Great Things’

Racism is different. It’s fraught, and it’s hard to discuss, and so as a result we often don’t - Jodi Picoult. Every year that I have taught, To Kill a Mockingbird has been in the curriculum. As a lover of literature, I am excited to share this masterpiece with my students. And every year, most students [...]

Not My Secretary of Ed (Why the butt that Occupies the Federal Seat Matters to my Classroom)

  There is a difference between “government” and “politics.” The former regards the design of a specific seat in our system; what power is vested in it, and what checks balance that power. The latter regards what butt happens to occupy that seat at a specific time. The butts change, typically per Presidential administration, but [...]