Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lessons from Iran

A few postings ago, I expressed my disappointment about the low turnout in our last School Board election. Watching the protests that followed the Iran presidential election against alleged electoral fraud makes me wonder if there is a lesson we can teach our kids. We have seen thousands of people marching on the streets of Tehran, some of them losing their lives, for their right to a fair election. It was only 44 years ago that the United States went through similar events, during the peak of the American Civil Rights Movement, marked by the Selma to Montgomery marches. The events culminated with the passing of the National Voting Rights Act of 1965, ensuring the voting rights for African Americans and other minorities.

Fast forward to 2009, and the United States has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the World (less than 65%, according to the "US Election Project" by George Mason University). We should take the example of our fellow citizens of Iran to teach our kids about our past struggles to grant everyone the right to vote. We have the right to choose our local, state and national leaders, who set policy on education, healthcare, finance, national defense and other critical issues in our country. Many nations around the Globe do not have that privilege. Let's teach our kids that voting is an important right that should not be taken for granted.

If you want to read more information about the "US Election Project", please visit

Monday, June 15, 2009

My visit to the Dyslexia Center at Scottish Rite

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to visit the Lukes Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. I requested a meeting with their staff as part of my research in this area, trying to learn best practices in terms of diagnosis and treatment from the experts in the field. During my visit, I met with Dr. Jeffrey Black (Medical Director), Ms. Gladys Kolenovsky (Administrative Director), Dr. Monte Davenport (Diagnostics Services Coordinator), Dr. E. Vennecia Jackson, Ms. Tricia Quisenberry (Outreach Coordinator) and Ms. Evelyn Madu (Dyslexia therapist instructor). We had a very informative 90-minute meeting, where we discussed the TEA Dyslexia Handbook, different diagnosis and treatment methods and the importance of continuous monitoring after the kids leave a Dyslexia program.

The staff at Scottish Rite indicated that implementation of an effective assessment and treatment program is closely tied to the right and continuous training and level of experience of the staff making the assessments and treating the condition. It is important that the staff working to diagnose and treat the students keeps up with the latest research findings, as many changes in the field have occurred in the last 20 years. Dr. Black provided to me a list of great sources of information in the area of reading intervention, including and

The staff at Scottish Rite is very interested in partnering with school districts in DFW to make sure we provide effective programs to all our kids. They are a great resource for training and staff support. Also, since the hospital’s inception in 1921, no patient family has been charged for services. The hospital operates solely on voluntary gifts from generous individuals, corporations and foundations. We are extremely lucky to have Dr. Black and his staff in our backyard.