By Ed Madison and Hans Boyle

Last week, New York City’s schools finally reopened, making it one of the country’s last school systems to open its doors for the fall. It was a welcome development for thousands of parents who’ve waited a year and a half for their kids to return to the classroom.

Of course, many parents continue to worry, and understandably so, about the dangers of COVID-19. The Delta variant rages on, and many families want schools to continue providing remote options.

But, while safety has proven to be a legitimate and significant concern for both parents and…


By Ed Madison and Hans Boyle

For K-12 students across the country, tis’ the season to blare Alice Cooper’s 1972 single “School’s Out, ” or it would be under normal, pre-pandemic circumstances.

In a genuine sense, school has been out for months, though the past year and a half lacked the rebellious spirit and fun-loving attitude exuded in Cooper’s rock hit.

Unfortunately, lockdowns kept children at home for months, forcing them to attend class via Zoom. At best, students could participate in limited in-person sessions each week through hybrid learning programs.

In years past, students with means would be packing…


by Ed Madison and Hans Boyle

Tom Cruise

Earlier this year, Tom Cruise made a surprising splash on TikTok — and not to promote a Mission Impossible sequel.

In a series of viral clips, the Hollywood star simply performed mundane tasks. He perfected his golf swing in one video and made a coin vanish in another. Of course, the real magic trick was fooling viewers into thinking Tom Cruise was performing any tricks at all. This wasn’t really Tom Cruise.

A Belgium visual effects artist and a Cruise impersonator pulled off this illusion with the aid of Deepfake technology, an AI program…


by Ed Madison and Hans Boyle

Rural community school bus.

In January of 2020, 54 percent of office workers said they would leave their current job for one that allowed them to work remotely. Of course, Gallup calculated this statistic mere months before COVID-19 upended the work week as we know it.

Broadband is obviously essential for remote work, but it’s also a vital resource for millions of K-12 students. The internet bridges the gap between students and the wider world, connecting them to a boundless source of information. Without this resource — which many rural children lack — students fall behind. …


By Ed Madison and Hans Boyle

On one fateful Saturday night in 2017, a high school sophomore, aggrieved at not landing a spot on the varsity cheerleading squad, posted a photo of herself and a friend flipping the bird on Snapchat.

The text superimposed over the photo simply read, “f**k school f**k softball f**k cheer f**k everything.”

Believe it or not, this text, plus the less than tasteful gesture, is now at the center of an ongoing legal battle headed for the U.S. Supreme Court (and not because of the grammatical errors).

It all began after a student shared the…


By Ed Madison & Hans Boyle

More than 40 years ago, President Jimmy Carter addressed a nation reeling from a recession and a worsening gas shortage to discuss a deeper problem plaguing the country.

Carter dubbed this “invisible threat” a crisis of confidence. Not only did Americans lack faith in their government’s ability to solve a growing energy crisis, but they also lacked faith in the institutions of their democracy.

While an embattled Carter would continue to see his popularity decline (he eventually lost the presidency to Ronald Reagan in a landslide election the following year), his speech touched a…


Iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin recorded “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” in 1985 about flirting singles. Who could have imagined the term would take on new meaning 35 years later?

“Zooming,” much like Googling, emerged as a verb over the past year. A company never heard of outside of the business sector pre-pandemic experienced a 329% growth in revenue and became a lifeline for people of all ages, including K-12 teachers and their students. That is for students who’ve shown up and are fully awake.

So-called “Zoom fatigue” set in months ago and posed several hurdles for students during the pandemic. A…


Effective writing is a critical college and career readiness skill. However, student writing quality continues to decline.

Colleagues and I are continually dismayed by the poor writing submitted by our college-level students. Subject-verb agreement errors, poor punctuation, and a general inability to express themselves plague much of their work.

Critics are quick to blame grade school teachers for the sad state of student writing. However, such accusations are short-sighted and unfair. Texting and a societal shift towards informality are also factors. A sad fact is that many teachers were also never inspired to enjoy writing.

Our public schools still suffer…


Palo Alto High School journalism students in action as instructor Paul Kandell observes from the rear.

Assemble a group of enthusiastic students to take on a task, “empower leaders to lead, and get out of their way.”

That’s what I learned a decade ago from education thought-leader Esther Wojcicki and Paul Kandell, who built Palo Alto High School’s award-winning journalism program in Northern California. Esther and I later formed a nonprofit to spread Palo Alto’s approach, which became the Journalistic Learning Initiative. Since 2015, JLI has served more than 4,500 students at 18 schools in Oregon and California.


Widely considered the Black national anthem, the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is described as “a prayer of thanksgiving for faithfulness and freedom.” It was first performed as a poem in 1900 to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Its words still resonate with broader audiences, and it was recently sung by Alicia Keys at the 2020 NFL Kick-Off.

“Lift Every Voice” remains a rallying cry for educators, parents, and community leaders everywhere who are committed to eradicating achievement disparities between students of color and their peers.

It turns out that finding one’s voice is at the heart of what can…

Ed Madison

Journalist, media consultant, educator; associate professor, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication Visit: http://edmadison.com

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