Peek Inside a Classroom: Failing Schools, or Failing Paradigm ?



Yes, money matters in Education. Money is absolutely necessary,  but money is Not sufficient.

A key variable is missing from the discussions about education reform:  before money, before a “common core”, before standardized testing and before “value added” measures.

Childhood Trauma is  “the elephant in the room”.

Deep Impact:  Trauma impacts children, learning and schools, via its laser-like effects on the physical structure of the brain.

Unaddressed, specific changes to brain architecture damage cognition.  The changes also impair their ability to interpret social cues, predisposing children to hypervigilance, suspicion and hair-trigger defenses.   Specifically,  changes to brain architecture damage memory systems,  ability to think, to organize multiple priorities (“executive function”), and hence to learn, particularly literacy skills.

Wide Scope:  “Reformers” don’t acknowledge childhood trauma,  but it affects every classroom.  There are more trauma-impacted students than English Language Learners (ELL) or those with an Individual Education Plan (IEP).   In some urban locations (pg. 17 map) the prevalence is greater than ELL and IEP students combined! It affects 2 of 3 children at some level.  There are more trauma-impacted children than seasonal allergy sufferers.

We must understand and account for trauma-impacted children.

We won’t have a successful education paradigm,
or even accurately interpret academic results,
while ignoring the overwhelming presence of childhood trauma.

Roberto is an eight-year-old, former student in my second-grade class. (All names are pseudonyms.)   In his short life, he’s experienced at least five major life traumas. One: his mother …    please CLICK HERE to read the full, original post at

       Failing Schools or Failing Paradigm ?    

               Or, search:    Failing Schools or Failing Paradigm ?

“Peek Inside a Classroom” is a series about the intersection of public education and trauma in childhood, or “developmental trauma”.  Peek Inside a Classroom:  Jasmine illustrates one defense against developmental trauma.   Another part, “Peek Inside a Classroom:José:“ is here.  “José” defends against childhood trauma differently, completely differently, than Jasmine.  “Danny” at “Peek Inside a Classroom; Danny” uses each of their defenses at times.

Also see:  Peek Inside a Classroom:  Effective Education Reform(with Dr. Sandra Bloom, M.D.)


Look for another series of shorter vignettes about developmental trauma,“Nowhere to Hide”, on .


Trigger warning:  the children’s experiences in these vignettes are painfully real.  The children have been changed forever by the impact of their trauma.

Nowhere to Hide the Elephant in the [Class]Room   (overview)

Nowhere to Hide.  Maria Fight, flight or freeze?

Nowhere to Hide.  Andre’s fear.   What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?

Nowhere to Hide.  Jamar’s Hyperarousal

Nowhere to Hide.  Roberto’s Dissociation

Nowhere to Hide:  Danny’s Memory

Nowhere to Hide:  Ashley’s “Normal” Education?   Part 1

Nowhere to Hide:  Ashley’s “Normal” Education?   Part 2


“Like” us at  “Trauma-Informed Schools” on Facebook

32 thoughts on “Peek Inside a Classroom: Failing Schools, or Failing Paradigm ?”

Comment here (Really, please).

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.