In "The Writing Revolution," Peg Tyre traces the problems at one troubled New York high school to a simple fact: The students couldn't write coherent sentences. In 2009 New Dorp High made a radical change. Instead of trying to engage students through memoir exercises and creative assignments, the school required them to write expository essays and learn the fundamentals of grammar. Within two years, the school's pass rates for the English Regents test and the global-history exam were soaring. The school's drop-out rate — 40 percent in 2006 — has fallen to 20 percent.

The experiment suggests that the trend toward teaching creative writing was hurting American students. In a debate about Tyre's story, we asked a range of experts, from policymakers to Freedom Writers founder Erin Gruwell, to share their thoughts on Tyre's story. This page will be updated with new entries each day through mid-October.

The Author of 'The Writing Revolution' Responds to the Debate Reuters

The Author of 'The Writing Revolution' Responds to the Debate

Fiction and poetry certainly have a place in America's schools. But when students don't learn how to articulate ideas, their options erode -- and our whole society is worse off for it.

A High-Tech Solution to the Writing Crisis wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

A High-Tech Solution to the Writing Crisis

Technology alone can't fix America's schools. But it can help teachers make better use of their time.

What the Best Writing Teachers Know Adapted from rvlsoft/shutterstock

What the Best Writing Teachers Know

A high school student explains how she discovered the "two dimensions" of writing.

What Poetry Teaches Us About the Power of Persuasion Sychugina/Shutterstock

What Poetry Teaches Us About the Power of Persuasion

Logic and grammar are important. But for students to truly own the English language, they need to read and write poems.

It's Not Just Writing: Math Needs a Revolution, Too EtiAmmos/Shutterstock

It's Not Just Writing: Math Needs a Revolution, Too

Today's fashion is to throw away the textbook and to teach kids to think like mathematicians. The problem? They're not learning how to do actual math.

How to Teach 'Hamlet' the Dave Eggers Way 826 Valencia

How to Teach 'Hamlet' the Dave Eggers Way

At this San Francisco-based program, movement, theater, and glossy publications are all part of learning to read and write.

The Real Reason Silicon Valley Coders Write Bad Software alexskopje/Shutterstock

The Real Reason Silicon Valley Coders Write Bad Software

If someone had taught all those engineers how to string together a proper sentence, Windows Vista would be a lot less buggy.

What Does Science Tell Us About Teaching Kids to Think? wrangler/Shutterstock

What Does Science Tell Us About Teaching Kids to Think?

One thing seems certain: Just giving out more writing assignments won't do the trick.

What Aristotle and Stephen Colbert Have In Common Left: Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome, right: Reuters

What Aristotle and Stephen Colbert Have In Common

Every great writer has a strong voice. Helping students find their own is key to any "writing revolution."

A Passionate, Unapologetic Plea for Creative Writing in Schools ellichen/Shutterstock

A Passionate, Unapologetic Plea for Creative Writing in Schools

Some fiction and memoir programs are a waste of classroom time. Others sharpen students' thinking and provide them with unmatched insight. Good teachers know the difference.

'I'll Have What They're Having!': The Challenge of Replicating One School's Success Dmitriy Shironosov/Shutterstock

'I'll Have What They're Having!': The Challenge of Replicating One School's Success

New Dorp's writing program is truly revolutionary. But bringing it to other schools will take a lot of hard work.

The Secret to Good Writing: It's About Objects, Not Ideas Liudmila P. Sundikova/Shutterstock

The Secret to Good Writing: It's About Objects, Not Ideas

It's all too easy for students to float away on abstract words. Here's how to get them back on solid ground.

Creativity Is Not the Enemy of Good Writing Elena Itsenko/Shutterstock

Creativity Is Not the Enemy of Good Writing

Teaching is a compassionate profession, and caring about kids' feelings should be a crucial part of helping them learn.

Are We Learning the Right Lessons From New Dorp High School? Kyoko Hamada

Are We Learning the Right Lessons From New Dorp High School?

An Atlantic article studies a once-failing high school and draws conclusions about its turnaround. But there are other ways to interpret that story.

Why I Took My Child Out of Public School Kamira/Shutterstock

Why I Took My Child Out of Public School

The "writing revolution" may be on its way. But for some parents, it's not coming fast enough.

Great Writing Comes Out of Great Ideas vasabii/Shutterstock

Great Writing Comes Out of Great Ideas

Students need to master written language. But they also need rich topics to write about.

Why Are We Afraid to Show Off Our Brightest Students?

Why Are We Afraid to Show Off Our Brightest Students?

High school athletes are the pride of their communities. But if we want to inspire kids to write well, we should be putting our best young scholars on display.

The Best Writing Teachers Are Writers Themselves Lori Sparkia/Shutterstock

The Best Writing Teachers Are Writers Themselves

It takes more than a good grasp of grammar to teach students the true power of the written word.

Academic Writing Isn't a Throwback to the 1950s Charlie Dave/Flickr

Academic Writing Isn't a Throwback to the 1950s

The woman who inspired the "writing revolution" described in a new Atlantic magazine story explains why her methods are neither rigid nor formulaic.

How Self-Expression Damaged My Students Julie Gibbons/Flickr

How Self-Expression Damaged My Students

A former South Bronx teacher recalls how his own idealism kept his class from learning how to write.

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