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Home » The One Question To Ask About Your Child’s Grades: Cindi Williams (Transcript)

The One Question To Ask About Your Child’s Grades: Cindi Williams (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Cindi Williams’ talk titled “The One Question To Ask About Your Child’s Grades” at TEDxBellevueWomen conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


So, I’m that person, the person you don’t want to sit next to at a dinner party. I cannot tell you how many times my husband’s given me “the look” as I am talking on and on about a new piece of research we’re fielding on something like educational inequity in America. Apparently, it can be a bit of a buzzkill on a Saturday night, but this is a weekday.

And I am so excited and such a privilege to be here and tell you about an issue that’s near and dear to my heart, which is ensuring that all of our kids can learn and that all of our kids are set up for success in life.

The Power of One Question

So, what if I told you that if we asked one single question, that if every parent, grandparent, and guardian asked one question, we could profoundly change public education? “Is my child on grade level in reading and in math?” So, let me explain.

About a decade ago, a dear colleague and I started a non-profit focused on education and specifically focused on parents called Learning Heroes. We were about halfway through our careers, we were knee-deep in policy, and time and again, we’d come out of a meeting and realize that parents had been completely dismissed, unrecognized as a part of the solution to anything we were discussing.

Listening to Parents

At the same time, she and I were raising our boys in the public school system. And we were frustrated, even though we did this work for a living, we didn’t know how our kids were doing, which felt crazy.

So, the first thing we did with this non-profit is we just decided to engage in a giant piece of research. My former boss, the Secretary of Education, used to say, “In God we trust, all others bring data.” And we wanted data. But we wanted to ask the kinds of questions you don’t usually hear in a piece of research.

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