Welcome, new subscribers Michael, Clem, and Eileen! (And thank you for your word-of-mouth, Laura, Angelina, and Clare!) This week’s Iserotope Extras packs a punch. If you care about urban education, the first article is a must read. The second piece offers a human face to our country’s addiction to
Welcome, new subscribers Michael, Clem, and Eileen! (And thank you for your word-of-mouth, Laura, Angelina, and Clare!) This week’s Iserotope Extras packs a punch. If you care about urban education, the first article is a must read. The second piece offers a human face to our country’s addiction to painkillers. The third article — if you choose to read it and can get through it — will stay with you for a long time. And the last piece is about two of my favorites, reading + dogs. Enjoy!
Grit is education’s latest four-letter word. Five years ago, I read about grit and its relationship to resilience in young people. It sounded pretty good. Then Paul Tough wrote a book about it, and then teachers got excited about it, and then schools started measuring it, and then critics bashed it, calling it racist, and then Angela Duckworth, the original researcher, warned schools not to measure it, then she wrote a book about it, and here we are — back to Paul Tough writing another book about it. Here’s an excerpt from Helping Children Succeed. (Mr. Tough knows how to write.) (See optional homework below!)
This is a story of fentanyl, a relatively new opioid, 50 times more powerful than heroin, and how it’s destroying a 25-year-old man and his family. What’s not new, though, is how this story plays out: A middle-class dad loses his job, his son drops out of community college, a cycle of stealing and lying develops, and pretty soon, it’s too late. (Not in this article: how white people, when they’re on drugs, seem to get more second chances.)
In 1916, 10,000 people watched the lynching of 17-year-old farmhand Jesse Washington. One hundred years later, his namesake travels to Waco, Texas, to find out that most white residents don’t know about the Waco Horror, while most Black residents do. He sits with relatives of Mr. Washington, and then relatives of the woman he confessed to killing. Is there anything that can be done to learn from this, to heal? Warning: There are disturbing photographs of Mr. Washington’s lynching, in addition to graphic descriptions of the event.
If we really want young people to read, the answer isn’t more access to books, or an adult who really cares, or even Kindles. The answer is dogs! A middle school in Virginia partners dogs with eighth graders in a 1:1 reading program. (The eighth graders do the reading.) One student said, “Remy was neat. It was like he was really listening to me read. I will try to read to my dog at home.”
Thank you for reading Extras! Here’s the optional homework this week: As an experiment, in a few minutes, I’m going to post “How Kids Learn Resilience” on the FB Iserotope Page. If you like, after reading the article, add your thoughts there! (There is a lot to talk about.) For bonus points, share that post with your friends on FB, thereby causing a flurry of interest in Iserotope Extras. Have a great week, and see you next Thursday!