Julia Steiny

Julia Steiny

Julia Steiny was a Providence School Board member, a weekly education columnist for 22 years and is now a freelance writer who blogs at


The reading wars are over. Who won and what now?

By: - November 16, 2023

The decades-long war between Science-Based Reading (SBR) and Balanced Literacy (BL) is over. Sound the celebratory bells. Mountains of research backing SBR have finally convinced most education leaders. Forty-five states have passed laws to mandate SBR reading instruction, including Rhode Island, which passed the Right To Read Act in 2019. While the transition has begun […]


A Pawtucket school where guidance is great

By: - October 30, 2023

Rachael Okpara’s parents immigrated from Nigeria, willing to start from scratch to build a better life for their family. Undocumented at the time, but no longer, they were scared to reach out for help. It was a rough go.  Still, they expected the best from Rachael, telling her, “If you come back with low grades, […]


The little law that could make a big difference in Rhode Island public schools

By: - October 12, 2023

With smart, simple, respectful legislation – S0190, Sen. Sam Zurier, a Providence Democrat, has put his finger on a noxious dysfunction of Rhode Island’s public education system: contract negotiations. With some poking around, you can usually find a school contract. But negotiations are a black box, containing gale-force pressures that shape the final product with […]


How Rhode Island openly discriminates against certain kids

By: - September 21, 2023

Imagine what Rhode Island’s public charter schools could do if they got the same amount of state money per pupil as public districts schools do.  Do the math, courtesy of data from the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC). Its recent report found that charter public schools had per pupil expenditures (PPE) that were 16.4% […]


Why Gov. McKee’s Learn 365 RI ducks real K-12 school reform

By: - June 21, 2023

Learn 365 RI, Gov. Dan McKee’s education initiative this year, is an expensive gift to the mayors of Rhode Island. Through competitive grants, nearly $40 million is going to municipalities – not school districts. So it won’t be much of a benefit to the public school students and none at all to anyone who wants […]