Capital Times spotlights UW–Madison’s Ladson-Billings in ‘What did we learn’ series

UW–Madison’s Gloria Ladson-Billings was featured in the Capital Times recently, as part of the newspaper’s “What did we learn?” series of interviews with Madison educators, organizers, and leaders looking back at lessons they took from 2020.

Gloria Ladson-Billings

Ladson-Billings is a professor emerita in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She is also the president of the National Academy of Education.

Ladson-Billings described the COVID-19 pandemic as a “portal,” for educators to rethink how they teach.

“I’m not excited about ‘going back to normal,’ because normal was the place where all the failures were for the kids I’m concerned about,” Ladson-Billings said. “Going back to normal means going back to the lowest reading group, high rates of suspension, dropping out of school. I don’t want to do any of that.”

Ladson-Billings said she is excited about technology, which she feels will be important in making sure going back to “normal” doesn’t happen.

Ladson-Billings analogized the current state of education to a digital device: “When they stop working the way we want them to, they have to get reset.” One urgent step, she said, is rethinking the national approach to assessment and testing.

“Education, schooling, has to get engaged in a hard reset … This is an opportunity and I just hope we don’t squander it.”

Read more of Ladson-Billings’ thoughts on education — and learn what she’s been up to this past year — by checking out the full article at, here.