Paul Thomas considers some of the research verities that have recently been exploded, like “the marshmallow test,” “growth mindset,” and “the word gap.”

He might have added “grit” to the list of recently debunked nostrums. Christine Yeh of the University of San Francisco wrote a terrific piece in Education Week last year titled “Forget Grit. Focus on Inequality.” She is right, of course. If a child is hungry, grit won’t fill her tummy. If she is hungry and homeless, grit doesn’t change the objective facts of her life.

He writes:

“It may well be true that everything you know is wrong, but that doesn’t mean it must stay that way. Good intentions and missionary zeal must be replaced by greater philosophical awareness and the sort of skepticism a critical lens provides.

“This is not about fatalism—giving up on research—but about finding a better way forward, one that rejects programs and blanket ideologies and keeps our focus on students and learning along with the promises of formal schooling as a path to equity and justice, not test scores and compliant students.”

It takes courage to think for yourself, especially in a culture that values compliance and conformity.