Victoria Clayton

Victoria Clayton

Victoria loves research, reading, writing and talking to people. Her biggest asset as a writer is insatiable curiosity. She’s worked as a columnist covering parenting, health and education for MSNBC.com and many other publications. She’s currently an education contributor to TheAtlantic.com. Victoria’s essays have been published in The Midwest Review and Barrelhouse literary magazines. Her husband and she have two sons, ages 13 and 6. Victoria is a part-time college professor (after being a first-gen college student) and has been a parent volunteer at a traditional public elementary school in their far-flung suburb of Los Angeles as well as in a charter school devoted to whole child and social/emotional-centered education. Besides reading and writing, she’s obsessed with yoga, meditation, making homemade Oreos (“Victoreos”) and Isaac, the family’s 8-pound Chihuahua mix. She still believes, despite what some critics say, that education is the most powerful force we have against ignorance, violence and despair. Find her on Twitter @vicclay.

How this mom learned how to embrace the next big thing: Personalized learning

A couple of days ago I had conversation with three students that went something like this: Me: How do you like your new class? Student 1: I don’t think the teacher likes me. Student 2: Yeah, he’s figured out how to skip the teaching part. All he does is direct us to a website where we work individually until class… Read more →

My Manifesto Against ‘Summer Slide’

Last week I heard yet another radio advertisement for a program that promised to help children combat “summer slide.” I switched off the radio. The term “summer slide” drives me crazy. Why? Because while a phenomenon known as “summer slide” is something researchers at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere have established has real consequence, the way I hear it used is… Read more →

Why suburban CA parents don’t want their “family donations” given to other schools

I had a conversation the other day about family contributions–those fundraising donations usually requested each year by the PTA/PTO/PFA and/or raised by events hosted by those organizations. I’m genuinely perplexed by how my view of the situation is so off kilter with what I’ve read lately. There are many stories like this one about how wealthier suburban communities want to splinter… Read more →

Teachers, don’t play it safe and duck the dicey debates in your classrooms

I teach a journalism class at a small, private university near my home. Disappointing but true: teachers can’t speak of freedom of the press and the responsibilities of professional journalists without knowing that at least a few students – or maybe their parents, who pay the tuition– will be offended. Some instructors recommend staying silent. Not discussing dicey matters is… Read more →

What do you do when your son bombs kindergarten? Give him a fresh start

My husband and I recently took our youngest son to check out his new kindergarten. This will be his second go. We pulled Gabe out of a different kindergarten in September after only a couple of weeks. When I tell some parents this, they gush, “Awww, you wanted to give him the gift of another year.” Other parents make an… Read more →

Social-emotional learning in schools is so much more than ‘nicey-nice’–it can be a lifeline

More than a million U.S. school children are now enrolled in districts that have rolled out or are in the process of rolling out Social Emotional Learning (also sometimes called “whole child” learning). Austin happens to be an early adopter of this kind of learning, and I had an incredible opportunity last week to visit a freshman seminar class at… Read more →

Why our prospective ED secretary shouldn’t use school choice as a panacea for our ‘square pegs’

I’ve been procrastinating about writing this post. Why? Because while I believe all people should speak their truths, I’m cautious about doing so when it comes to school choice and my kids. Let me be frank: My truth is that of a white, passing-as-privileged suburban mom (my husband and I are self-employed – so we’re honestly not as privileged as… Read more →

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