Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D. is the founding director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University and the chair of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
Interview with Dr. Shonkoff

Dr. Eric Hanushek, is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, an associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a member of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education. Background on Dr. Hanushek

Stewarding the Health of Our Children's Learning

Nancy Hennessy, M.Ed., served as the president of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) from 2003-2005 and  is an experienced teacher, administrator, diagnostician and consultant in both regular and special education.

David Boulton: what aspect of a child’s development is not fundamentally affected by how well they’re learning?

Nancy Hennessy: There is no aspect.

...our interview with Nancy Hennessy

David Boulton: One of the things that it seems that we need most in our society is a reframe of the meaning of the word learning.

Dr. Mel Levine: I agree.

David Boulton: It's not just the 'utility' through which we acquire knowledge, skills and experience...

Dr. Mel Levine: Right.

David Boulton: It's the process through which we extend ourselves into our lives in every way.

Dr. Mel Levine: Exactly.

Dr. Mel Levine is the author of A Mind at a Time, The Myth of Laziness and Ready or Not, Here Life Comes.  He is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Medical School in Chapel Hill and the Director of the University's Clinical Center for the Study of Development and Learning. Dr. Levine is also the co-founder of All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit Institute for the study of differences in learning, and co-chairs the Institute's Board of Directors with Charles R. Schwab.

...our interview with Dr. Levine

Dr. Eric Hanushek,  is the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. He is also chairman of the Executive Committee for the Texas Schools Project at the University of Texas at Dallas, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a member of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education.

Background on Dr. Hanushek

Dr. Eric Hanushek:  It's not that somebody knows the current science, because the current science might be wrong. But it's that somebody knows how to learn about new science, and adapt.  It's also how they learn to adapt to workplaces. Today, most workplaces have computers everywhere, and everybody from the CEO of a company on down to the lowest administrative staff uses computers. Fifteen years ago that wasn't the case. How did we get there? Well, it wasn't that we taught these people how to use computers twenty years ago, it's that we taught them how to adapt to something different, how to learn to do something that they had never even thought about doing when they were in school. That's the key element.

David Boulton: So then the fundamental intention of our education system must be to use knowledge, skills and experience not just as the end, but as the means through which we're exercising how well someone is able to participate and become self-extending in learning what they need to learn when they need learn it.

 Dr. Eric Hanushek: Yeah, right. Precisely.

(from an unreleased interview)


David Boulton: The thing that I've been most interested in is what might be called the 'ecology of learning'.  And, 'stewarding the health' of 'the ecology of learning' in our children, because I think ultimately that our children's learning is the most precious natural resource on the planet.

Siegfried Engelmann: Absolutely. I agree 100 percent.

David Boulton:  We're so busy with what we should be teaching them, that the quality of their learning, how they're participating from the inside out in their learning, is getting lost.

Siegfried Engelmann: Oh, yeah. It's like, yeah, we have to respect their learning.

Siegfried Engelmann
Professor of Instructional Research, University of Oregon; Creator of Direct Instruction and author of many books including:
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Give Your Child A Superior Mind, Spelling Mastery, Reading Mastery, Connecting Math Concepts, War Against Schools: Academic Child Abuse


(from an unreleased interview)


Dr. Keith Stanovich is Canada's Research Chair of Applied Cognitive Science at the Department of  Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto.  He is the author of: Progress in Understanding Reading: Scientific Foundations and New FrontiersWho Is Rational? Studies of Individual Differences in Reasoning, How to Think Straight About Psychology, and, The Robot's Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin.

...our interview with Dr. Stanovich

David Boulton: if you take more than a one generation view of our collective human problems, whether it's ecological or political, whatever it is, it comes down to: the most precious resource on this planet is how well our children learn."

Dr. Keith Stanovich: Yes.

David Boulton: There's no getting around it.

Dr. Keith Stanovich: Yeah.

David Boulton: Nobody can argue.

Dr. Keith Stanovich: No.

David Boulton: Therefore, the most important thing we have to do collectively is to steward the health of their learning, how healthily they're learning.

Dr. Keith Stanovich: And find out how to do that best.

David Boulton: Exactly. Which then translates into inside-out participation. They're not coma patients.

Dr. Keith Stanovich: Uh-huh.

David Boulton: We can't just move their brains around like we might exercise the leg of a coma patient and expect that that's going to serve them.

Dr. Keith Stanovich: That’s right. We can't just inject them.

David Boulton: Is there an educational mission that trumps, that is more important than stewarding the health of our children’s learning?

Dr. Grover (Russ) Whitehurst: No, when put that way.

...our interview with Dr. Whitehurst

Dr. Grover (Russ) Whitehurst is the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences, and an Assistant Secretary of Education with the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Whitehurst administers the Institute, including the activities of the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance and the National Center for Education Research.

Dr. James J. Heckman is the recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, (with Daniel McFadden), the 2005 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Labor Economics, the 2005 University College Dublin Ulysses Medal, and the 2005 Aigner award from the Journal of Econometrics. He is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and the author of: Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies?, numerous other books and hundreds of technical articles related to economics.

...our interview with Dr. Heckman

It starts with recognizing the fundamental, profound, and capital value of 'stewarding the health of our children’s learning.'

Dr. James Heckman: I agree. I think everything points in that direction.

David Boulton: Which is deeper and more radiant than saying we’re about this particular thing or that particular thing.

Dr. James Heckman: I agree. I think you want to get to a basic set of principals and this is clearly it.

Visit the Children of the Code project to see how we are applying some of the "Stewarding" principals:

Warning: Protracted difficulty in learning to read can lead to maladaptive mental and emotional habits that endanger the general health of learning.  Above all else, do no harm.


for all children

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