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Welcome to ChesterGoad.com!

Thanks for taking the time to drop by!  At ChesterGoad.com I’ve combined my three favorite topics, “Leadership, Learning, and Life”–all in one place.  The site’s undergone a bit of a remodel, and I’ve strengthened what it has to offer.  Whether you need help pursuing or finishing a degree, or an expert to edit your book or manuscript, a tailored keynote for your next event, or regular motivation and quality assistance with life in general, you’ve come to the right place.  I can’t wait to share everything with you!  Subscribe or add me to your favorites list and visit often because I’ll be blogging, and adding new features regularly!  And of course remember if you need a speaker, writer, consultant or coach related to leadership, learning, or life, I’m your guy!  You’re going to find lots of value here. Keep leading. Keep learning. Keep living.

–All my best, all the time –Chester

p.s. Email me at chestergoad@gmail.com  or find me on your favorite social media! 


5 Crucial Considerations to Help You Better Steward Criticism

We often discuss how to be better stewards of time, money, and resources, but have you ever considered the importance of stewarding criticism?  How can we become better stewards of the reviews, opinions, judgements, or feedback of others regarding our work? To steward means simply to “thoughtfully manage”. How do you manage criticism?  What is your attitude toward scrutiny?  Nobody likes scrutiny, and everyone’s a critic right? Our biggest fans tell us not to give criticism another thought, and some encourage us to blow it off.  We’re told it just doesn’t deserve our time.  But does it?

How we receive and respond to criticism no matter where it comes from makes a difference.  And while criticism should never consume our lives, it does have its place.  Our response to criticism reveals more about our leadership, and self-awareness than one might think.  Chances are we may need to hear all or some of what our critics have to say.

businessman draws 5 starsBelow are 5 crucial considerations to help you better steward the feedback and criticism of others.

Criticism may be legit.  Face it. The criticism may be fair.  It may not be your best work.  Be careful not to completely disregard other’s thoughts.  Criticism is sometimes exactly what we need.  Be honest with yourself and work to find the nugget of truth in what your critics are saying.  Your critic’s ideas could help hone your message, your product, or improve your bottom line.  Listening to our critics may reveal new messages or potential new products or ideas to meet the needs of other people, even the critic.

Criticism teaches.  Criticism helps us grow, and stretches us, sometimes more than we wish.  Life is not always comfortable and that’s ok.  We can learn from the comments, sentiments, and observations of others.  Even if we ultimately determine our critic’s opinions to be less than useful, each time we experience the discomfort of criticism, we become more approachable, more understanding, and gain better insight into how we receive, respond, and provide criticism.  Criticism causes us to consider other people’s point of view, or ideas.  We learn every time we do that.

Criticism keeps us grounded.  Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously.  Criticism reminds us we’re only human, and that we’re all different and we’re not perfect.  Neither are our critics.  But when we approach criticism in the right spirit, it gives our critics and opportunity to appreciate our hearts, even if they don’t like our product.  Thank your critics and get to know them.  After all our critics are putting themselves out there too.  Some don’t mind so much, but others risk a lot to share their opinions.  If you disagree, or you’re alarmed by their bullet points of your shortcomings, breathe. Ask your critic to help you understand where they’re coming from, then show them you value their honest by asking how they might have approached things differently.

Consider the source of the criticism.  Give criticism a moment to settle. Then consider where the criticism is coming from.  Some believe we should only listen to criticism from our closest friends or family, but criticism from those within your inner circle can go two ways.  Suggestions from those you love may seem harsh, or it may be insignificant or watered down. It’s important to keep it in perspective.  The value of criticism from family or friends depends on your level of trust and how “real” they believe they can be with you.  Our level of connectedness and freedom to share determines our level of appreciation, and our level of offense.

On one hand, the opinions of people you know will carry an element of bias, and a bit more encouragement.  Sometimes people we are closely connected to are reluctant to verbalize our inconsistencies or our shortcomings.  Some people are blessed to have rare people in their inner circles who are honest and comfortable enough to hold uncomfortable conversations. The best leaders and creators develop tolerance for those situations.

On the other hand, people you don’t know, may not fully understand your intentions or your message. There may be an element of envy or jealousy from outsiders that creeps into how they express their opinions. Outsiders hold less emotional connection, and are much less reluctant to verbalize our inconsistencies and or directly list our shortfalls.  People who don’t know you can hit you hard with an overzealous truth.  Because we cannot know their motivations, we sometimes digest the opinions of outsiders or unknowns as an attack.  Because we don’t have the benefit of relationship, we are often suspicious, and disregard the criticism.  Wise leaders or creators don’t take criticism personally.  Often it’s just not.

In either case, sometimes we’re unwilling or unable to view criticism from its purest motive or ideal context, but truth is truth.  Process but don’t obsess.  Neither your identity nor your acceptance is defined by criticism of others.

There’s a difference between feedback and criticism. Criticism often comes unsolicited and free of charge and can knock us off our game, while we seem to accept “feedback” a little better because we ask people to tell us what we think.  Neither is less valuable and both are worthy of our time and thoughtfulness, just not all of it.

Creators can sometimes be touchy because of our level of ownership.  We don’t want people questioning our creation.  We want everyone to enjoy it, to love it, to tweet it, pin it, or post it for the masterpiece it is.  Yet sometimes we invite feedback, but can’t handle what we hear, so we disregard the opinion as invalid or the critic as a hater.  Not every opinion is invalid. Not every critic is a hater.  To simply cast aside feedback or criticism without reflection is irresponsible, unwise and even disrespectful to those we invited to review our performance.  Also, you get what you ask for.  If you only want observations, then say that.  If you want guidance say that, and if you want the brutal truth, free your critics to provide that too!

Whether it’s invited feedback or outright unsolicited criticism, do not allow it to consume you.  Opinions are just opinions and everyone has them.

Finally, when you throw something out there for the world to consume, then the world becomes your audience.  Of course, not everyone is your target audience, and not everyone will be your biggest fan, but as long as people are considering your work, they are a part of the audience at large.  And if you’re doing things well, they may invest enough in you to provide some feedback, whether good or bad.  With the right approach, you may be able to connect and transform your critics into fans, and that’s how creators, and leaders steward criticism


Dr. Chester Goad is a university administrator, a former K12 principal and teacher, and a former US Congressional staffer. He’s also an author and blogger, and has presented from Appalachia to Africa on topics related to education, disabilities, non-profit advocacy, parenting, access, policy, and leadership. In addition to the Huffington Post, Chester is a contributing writer for The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. He has been quoted in major media outlets like CNBC, Washington Post, Forbes and more. You can learn more about Chester at www.chestergoad.com. He’s also author of Purple People Leader.

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Happy Halloween!

Just a little bit of tongue in cheek fun!  Yes, we are a principal family!

meme top most families on halloween bottom a principals family on halloween

                                                                        Happy Halloween!

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4 Differences between Helicopter Parents and Tethered Parents

Chester Goad, EdD

Parents discuss their child with a teacherFor the last couple of decades the term “Helicopter Parent” has become synonymous for parents others consider too involved in the lives of their children.  At one time, the term “helicopter” implied “someone who hovers”.  People would chuckle, “Oh, don’t mind her, she’s just a helicopter parent.” Within the last few years, the term has become increasingly biting.  This concept of a helicopter parents has become an issue to contend with—they are studied, they are researched, and they are discussed at conferences and conventions.  Those nosy parents must be stopped. We need a plan.

But as a university administrator who works with college students with disabilities, I’ve never been too concerned with helicopter parents.  Here’s why:

When I taught high school, I was often dismayed and discouraged at how many parents suddenly seemed disinterested in the lives of their kids.  It was as if after elementary and middle school, their kids no longer needed them.  Parent nights at the high school level were sometimes depressing, because the parents I really hoped would come for one reason or another never showed. Sometimes I wanted to discuss challenges, struggles or concerns, but in many cases, I wanted to take an opportunity to praise kids in front of their parents.  I wanted them to know they had value and potential, and that I was proud of them, and that they should be too.

Some parents of kids who were sailing through high school on their way to graduation, scholarships, college etc., showed up with a camera or a list of prepared questions.  They enjoyed teacher’s reinforcements of their amazing kids and their bright futures.Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed that too.

But another type of parent often had my attention on those rare parent nights or at student conferences: Parents of students with disabilities, who are often labeled helicopter parents.

Maybe their kids were born with physical disabilities.  Or maybe at some point these parents were faced with the idea that their kids didn’t learn like other students. Whether the disabilities were obvious or hidden, once these parents received a diagnosis, they did what any parent would do:   Most tell me the first thing they did was cry when they considered the uncertain challenges ahead. Next they educated themselves about their child’s learning differences, or physical diagnosis.  And when they realized that professionals or family didn’t understand their kid’s condition, or didn’t really know how to handle their day-to-day learning, needs, or social situations, they learned the system and the processes to address it.

Suddenly those parents became, to many people, too intrusive in the educational process, and were often blown off. So, they armed themselves with the law.  They studied policies, laws, and regulations. Maybe they fought for accommodations or modifications, or they sat through lengthy board meetings.  In some cases, they didn’t feel they got what they needed. In other cases they were successful, and because they did all of that, their son got what he needed and now maybe other’s children would get what they needed.  They were an ever present support, resource, and champion for their daughter or their son.  And yes often they hovered. For information, for equal treatment, for access to everything that other parent’s kids enjoyed, they hovered.  They desperately needed reassurance everything would be ok.

And so for some, after all of that it’s hard to suddenly let go after high school. I get it.  I’m thankful for those parents and I understand they want to believe that their kids, now adults will get what they qualify for in college and that they’ll be taken seriously.  So I’m really not all that concerned about those parents. I think their kids are lucky to have parents who cared enough to attend parent nights and conferences, legal seminars, or board meetings. I applaud them!

But the term helicopter parent has unfortunately become interchangeable for parents who grossly overstep their bounds, intercede without giving their kids a chance to make mistakes, those who attempt to call all the shots, or who literally make unreasonable demands. Such parents may refer to the classes their kids are taking as their own, “our classes, our schedule, our professor, our homework”.  They become so attached that in some cases they almost virtually assume the role of surrogate student.

I’ve found that most of the research that has been bandied about regarding helicopter parents is typically referring to what I call the “tethered parent”.  But helicopter parents and tethered parents are not the same thing, so how do you know the difference?  Here are 4 ways to recognize the difference between a “helicopter parent” and “tethered parent”: 

Helicopter Parents are Engaged. Tethered Parents are Intrusive. Helicopter Parents are engaged parents. Often they are highly engaged. Some may say too engaged. But helicopter parents recognize their role and typically pull back when they need to. Of course they’re heavily involved but generally in age-appropriate and socially appropriate ways. Tethered parents purposefully avoid pulling back. They’re more than engaged, and definitely more than annoying. They’re often offensive, disturbing, and overly emotional in order to get what they think their kid needs.

Helicopter Parents empower. Tethered Parents enable. Helicopter Parents teach their kids about their disabilities, differences, or challenges as well as how to cope and leverage their differences, disabilities, or challenges in positive ways.  They’re often present, but mostly because they want to witness their kids rising above their circumstances. Tethered parents avoid teaching their kids reality, or how to cope with mistakes or negativity. Their kids become overly dependent on their parents to take care of every problem that comes along and rarely learn to advocate for themselves. Their parents enable them by stepping in, making excuses, or protecting them often to the point of hurting them socially, educationally, relationally.

Helicopter Parents equip kids to DO for themselves. Tethered Parents simply do for things for their kids. Helicopter parents are present, and keep a watchful eye, but they prefer to see their kids develop the ability to do things on their own, and will often provide or seek opportunities for them to do that. They may regularly question teachers or request information from administration, but the goal is to ensure their son has access to the tools he needs to be successful or that their daughter has the same opportunities as other kids to develop the skills to achieve.  On the other hand, rather than equipping or preparing kids, tethered parents would rather do whatever needs to be done on behalf of their kids, often a signal of lack of trust in their abilities to do it themselves, ultimately resulting in lost learning opportunities. Tethered parents may also regularly ask questions, request or provide information, but they also threaten others throughout the process.

Helicopter Parents hover for a while but eventually fly away. Tethered Parents remain attached until the situation becomes so dysfunctional that their kids or the system demands it.  The problem is that often the student never demands it because they haven’t been taught to speak up or advocate for themselves.

Tethered parents are the real reasons for all the research, workshops, and seminars.  Helicopter parents have unfortunately been unfairly lumped in there with them.  For anyone who has worked with both, the differences are profound.

(To read the Forbes article Dr. Goad was recently featured in click here!)

Dr. Chester Goad is a university administrator, a former K12 teacher and principal, former US Congressional staffer, and education blogger.  He is co-author of Tennessee’s “Dyslexia Is Real” bill, and currently he sits on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.  He was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the Association on Higher Education and Disability.  A leader in education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access and policy, Dr. Goad has been quoted in major newspapers, magazines, and media outlets. He is also author of the Amazon #1 Bestselling book, “Purple People Leader”.  You can learn more about him at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com.  He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son. 

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When Kids Lie

boy makes pinocchio nose with hands and coneBy Chester Goad, EdD

All kids dabble in stretching the truth or outright lying, and sure, it’s to their benefit to learn early that lies have consequences. One important thing for parents to consider however is there are often deeper reasons kids choose lying over honesty.  Avoidance of the truth may be an indicator of any number of issues or warning signs. Avoidance in these instances is typically related to fear. Fear of consequence as a reason for lying or withholding the full truth sounds like a no-brainer, when it comes to children and adolescents. After all, kids worry about getting into trouble with their parents. If however, we take that notion a little deeper, the idea that our kids are fearful to share truth with us as parents should give us pause.

As parents we should consider what we are doing or what we could do, to make telling the truth easier or possibly to reward truth, or offer a sense of immunity when the truth is proactively shared. That doesn’t mean to eliminate consequences related to poor choices. But as parents we have to make sure we’re relaying the truth of our love and compassion to our kids in meaningful ways that will encourage them to trust us enough to tell us the truth. We also want them to be safe, and to make good choices. Telling the truth is a good choice.  Open doors, open ears, open hearts, open dialogue and a bit of grace even in the midst of unavoidable consequences can change the dynamic of character and honesty in a home, and strengthen families.

Open doors. Proactively create opportunities within your family to discuss issues related to honesty and character. Let them know you always have time for them, and leave the door open.

Open ears. Don’t just listen to your kids when they’re talking to you. Pay attention as they interact with others and listen to the circumstances and environment around you. Your kids need to know your ears are always open to them and that no topic of discussion is off limits.

Open hearts: Make sure your kids know they can talk to you because you care.  Communicate to your kids that there is no limit to your unconditional love for them.

Best wishes,


BIO: Dr. Chester Goad is a university administrator, a former high school teacher, former principal, and former US Congressional staffer.  He is co-author of Tennessee’s “Dyslexia Is Real” bill, which recently passed unanimously. Currently he sits on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.     A leader in education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, and policy, Chester holds two degrees in leadership, and has been quoted in major newspapers, magazines, and media outlets. He is author of the Amazon #1 Bestselling book, “Purple People Leader”.  You can learn more about him at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son.

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5 Ways Parents Can Negatively Impact Their Teen’s Reputation

Is your teen edified or hurt by your posts?

Is your teen edified or hurt by your social media content?

By Chester Goad Ed.D.

There are many ways teens can damage their own reputations without our help.  After all, their frontal lobes aren’t even fully developed, so they are in a sense, biologically bound to make mistakes. Making poor choices, rash decisions, and acting impulsively are all teen trademarks that contribute to the reputation they are slowly self-constructing. The key is limiting the damage. Have you ever considered though, that as a parent you may be placing your kids’ reputations at risk? You may be contributing to a self-fulfilling prophecy they had no hand in making.

Social media has become a place where images or personas are created and destroyed.  Perception often becomes reality to those engaged in the very public platforms of social media. What parents choose to post about their children often has a much wider reach than friends or loved ones, and what parents choose to reveal or post about their kids is what others learn about them.  That is sometimes the only “person” others come to know.  Is it genuine? Is it positive? Does it build up or tear down?  Below are five social media parenting pitfalls to avoid if you desire to protect and preserve your teenager’s reputation.

Pitfall #1: Avoiding the Social Media “Talk”

These days, a discussion about social media’s impact on reputation development is just as necessary as discussing how babies are made. At an age-appropriate juncture, parents should discuss the possible dangers of social media as it relates to reputation and perception.  Poor choices on social media can cause problems at home, church or school. Some choices can have a negative impact on future opportunities or even relationships.  Parents and students should become familiar with their school’s social media policies which typically vary in scope and consequence but exist to protect not only the reputation and safety of students but of the school as a whole. Have the talk. Discuss what is acceptable and appropriate. Parents who avoid intentional social media discussions are putting their kids at risk.

Pitfall #2: Traumatic Post Disorder

Not every parenting moment should be posted online—especially stressful ones. We’ve all seen the videos of fed-up parents hammering cell phones or mowing over video games. Some of them can seem humorous, and maybe they’re meant to be.  As a parent though, it’s important to remember that you are the protector of your child’s image. Venting about your children, posting their indiscretions, or shaming them through social media may have lasting or unintended consequences on the family. It may also damage peer relationships, or incite bullying or taunting from peers. Discipline can be just as effective or memorable without providing the world a front row seat. Besides, do you really want to be known as hammer dad or mower mom?

Pitfall #3: Tag Temptation

It’s very tempting as parents to tag our kids in funny pics. After all, we just want our friends and family to get a good laugh too right? Typically that’s pretty innocent. Some families have strict rules about social media content though, and some do not participate in social media at all. Some parents are cautious or even caustic about photos of their kids being placed online and still others prefer to monitor the types of content posted. What you may view as a harmless laugh could actually complicate relationships or damage respect for your teen.  We never know how peers will react, or how their friends or foes might choose to use that photo you tag. Being mindful and respectful of the wishes of your teen’s friends or their parents doesn’t make you a prude, it makes you a good friend, and an even better parent. A good rule of thumb before posting a video or tagging a pic is to ask yourself, “If the roles were reversed and my teen was the one with the camera, would I want this pic or video posted?” –Go with your gut.

Pitfall #4: Alternate Universe Syndrome

One notable flip-side is that Social Media platforms do allow us control over what others see. We get to be the filter. Most of us prefer others see the positive side. The attractive side. The entertaining side of our lives.  Part of the fun of social media is sharing fun times, special moments, and yes, even great photos. The downside or unintended result of that may be creation of a false image of bliss, or a life that is unrealistic, unattainable or free of problems. We may even be shackling our kids with expectations they feel they’ll never be able to meet or do not want to meet. Social media perception is just one glimpse into your teen’s life. Social posts or video representations alone are never a true reflection of the young man or woman you’re raising. Most people don’t set out to create an alternate reality online for their kids, but it happens.  Set a goal to live authentically and if you choose to post and share be mindful of authenticity and unnecessary anxiety, pressure, and expectation.

Pitfall #5:  Loose or Nonexistent Monitoring

Many parents are simply unaware or uninterested in the diverse social media outlets that exist, but your teen’s reputation and safety are at stake. It’s prudent to be in tune with current platforms and apps and know how they work. Do your homework and learn each platform or app’s intended (or unintended) purpose. Consider developing a social media contract with your teenager—help your teen understand that social media accounts are a responsibility and a privilege even if they don’t seem so. Discuss what is and what is not appropriate. Set some rules and boundaries and then actively monitor (Don’t stalk or snoop. Monitor.)

…Speaking of monitoring…You’ll also want to research the actual account settings in your child’s social media account. Many platforms include GPS locator which can be a double-edged sword.  Of course you want to know where your kids are, but do you want the world to know? There are many safety apps and provider parental controls parents might consider as an alternative to GPS location settings in social media.  Oh and by the way parents, if you’re not familiar with Snapchat or YikYak get familiar quick. Both apps when misused wield the power to destroy reputations, and do so daily.

About the Author: Dr. Chester Goad is a university administrator and former US Congressional staffer. He is co-author of Tennessee’s “Dyslexia Is Real” law and author of, “Purple People Leader: How to Protect Unity, Release Politics, & Lead Everyone”. An experienced speaker on parenting, learning and leading, he has been quoted in a variety of media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo Tech, US News, and more. Learn more about Dr. Goad at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com.

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Why November Matters for Dyslexia

november matters dr chester goad dyslexia

Why November Matters for Dyslexia

By Chester Goad, EdD

October may be Dyslexia Month, but this year the more important month for dyslexia advocates may actually be November.  Terrorism, immigration, the economy, and continued healthcare issues, are dominating the news, but the impact of the midterm elections on the issue of dyslexia must not go unnoticed.

While parents, teachers, and other dyslexia advocates have been trying to triage the problem state-by-state, the solutions vary with many state legislatures passing different prescriptions for what is ailing the system when it comes to dyslexia.  But the problem isn’t the teachers.  The problem in most cases is not the local school system. The problem is often each state’s perception of what federal law mandates.

The incredible efforts of stalwart groups like the International Dyslexia Association and all its branches, as well as those of relative newcomer network, “Decoding Dyslexia” born out of New Jersey, only serve to underscore the need for a federal resolution. Often these group’s efforts are met with a tacit response and the typical line:  “federal legislation already addresses dyslexia so there is no need for anything additional.”  If that was the case though there would be no outcry from parent and advocacy groups from around the country.

Over 20 states have introduced some form of dyslexia legislation in the past few years.  Just this past April, my own home state of Tennessee passed the “Dyslexia is Real” bill, modest legislation designed as a first step toward assisting students with dyslexia and better equipping those who teach them.  Other notable efforts include Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and New Jersey.   These state-by-state legislative efforts to address dyslexia are necessary and honorable; however they are also state solutions that point to a much greater federal issue or a far better national solution.

While as a general rule, I prefer the federal government to stay out of the education business, I do believe that when something already in place is not working properly or isn’t recognized as it should be, it must be addressed…especially when it’s causing a great amount of distress for many of our citizens.

Enter US Representative Bill Cassidy.  Cassidy, a House Republican co-founded the bipartisan US Congressional Dyslexia Caucus with former US Representative Pete Stark (D-Wi) in 2012.  As someone who follows education policy, I blogged excitedly about the establishment of the caucus at that time.  Since 2012, thanks to the tireless efforts of Rep. Cassidy whose own daughter has dyslexia, the bipartisan dyslexia caucus has grown to more than 80 members, drawing legislators from both sides of the aisle all joined in the common commitment to the cause of dyslexia.

rep cassidy rep brownley dyslexia co chairs

Rep. Cassidy (right) and Rep. Julia Brownley (left) are Co-Chairs of the House Congressional Caucus on Dyslexia.

Representative Cassidy (R-La), and Representative Brownley (D-Ca), the current caucus leadership, heard the cries of advocacy groups and agree that the implications of dyslexia have far reaching effects on schools and school systems, and more importantly the success of students with dyslexia.  Representative Cassidy introduced House Resolution 456, which now boasts over 100 members of congress signing on as cosponsors. HR 456 calls on “schools and State and local educational agencies to recognize that dyslexia has significant educational implications that must be addressed.”

I also typically steer clear of endorsing political candidates because I believe dyslexia is a non-partisan or purple issue. However, I believe right now, we are fortunate to have some terrific dyslexia-related leadership in the House.  Because of Representative Cassidy’s energetic and tangible, noteworthy contributions to the cause of dyslexia, I certainly hate to lose him in the US House of Representatives, nevertheless, he has decided to run for the US Senate and I believe he could be a great asset to the cause there.  If one considers all Cassidy has done for dyslexia in the House it stands to reason that he will do the same in the Senate.  A strong and proven voice for dyslexia in the Senate Chamber is necessary at this time to build upon the momentum taking place around the country.

Ever the stalwart in dyslexia advocacy, the International Dyslexia Association is stronger than ever and continues to educate and advocate globally. The newly formed Decoding Dyslexia group is also having a profound effect on grassroots.  In my own home state, members of both the TN-IDA and DD-TN as well as other professionals, parents, and educators joined dyslexia advocacy efforts forming a Dyslexia Legislative Alliance that helped get the “Dyslexia is Real” bill passed unanimously.  How many bills typically pass unanimously?

The strength of the dyslexia advocacy efforts in Tennessee are just the tip of the iceberg nationally.  The dyslexia wave continues because 1 in 5 individuals has dyslexia, and those individuals are not confined within the state borders of Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, New Jersey or any of the other states that have sought remedies for students with dyslexia (Read more about Learning Ally’s 1 in 5 Initiative here).

While I continue to support the state-by-state legislation being introduced regularly across our country, I believe this continued pursuit to better address dyslexia is indicative of a greater national issue.  I also believe that national legislation such as HR 456 can only help to reinforce the efforts of the advocacy in each state. It’s much harder for policy makers around the country to give the typical response “there’s already federal law to address dyslexia” when even the US House and the US Senate are introducing new legislation.  In order to fully address dyslexia nationally though, I believe we will need people like Bill Cassidy in the Senate to ensure that issues related to dyslexia don’t just die once they have been introduced.

This November, I’m asking everyone to remember that dyslexia is not a Democrat or Republican issue. One in five Americans has some form of dyslexia and that’s not just my statistic.  You can read more about this research by visiting the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.  If you are a parent, teacher, or dyslexia advocate and you believe in the cause, please remember to vote for candidates in your statewide and national elections who support dyslexia legislation and vote against those who have worked to impede it.  Also, to find out what other states are doing, you can learn more and follow dyslexia legislation through the pipeline in your home state by going here or navigating to www.dyslegia.org.

Finally, as someone who can’t vote in the State of Louisiana, but as someone who cares about dyslexia as a national issue, I wish Rep. Bill Cassidy the very best in November.

November matters. Just imagine what would happen in our country if we were able to reach the 1 in 5.

(Disclaimer: While I used to work for the US Congress, I do not know Bill Cassidy and have never met him, though I would love to meet him sometime and thank him for all he’s done.)

Chester Goad, EdD

C. Goad, EdD

(Dr. Chester Goad is a university administrator and graduate instructor for special education. He is a licensed special education teacher, a former high school English teacher, former principal and former US Congressional staffer.  He is also co-author of Tennessee’s “Dyslexia Is Real” bill. A leader in education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, and policy, Chester holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership with a concentration in special education. He has been quoted in major newspapers, magazines, and media outlets including CNBC, Yahoo, and US News. He is an adult living with attention deficit and spends much of his time advocating for children and individuals with disabilities and learning differences like dyslexia and for at-risk students. He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son.  He is author of the book, “Purple People Leader: How to Protect Unity, Release Politics, & Lead Everyone” now available on Amazon. You may contact him at chestergoad@gmail.com, or at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com. )

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