2021 National School Choice Week Event

January 26, 2021

NSCW 2021:  How Students Can Overcome Learning Disabilities Through Science and School Choice


The new Pacific Research Institute book A Kite in a Hurricane No More profiles the challenges and ultimate triumph of Mia Giordano, a young woman with serious learning disabilities that conventional schools could not help and who is the co-author of the book along with PRI’s Lance Izumi.  It was the ability of Mia’s parents to choose a nonconventional educational option that resulted in her life-changing metamorphosis.  As we observe National School Choice Week in 2021, join us for a special webinar with Lance Izumi, senior director of PRI’s Center for Education in conversation with Mia and her mom, Christine Zanello.  Hear their first-hand account of Mia’s journey from being trapped in a cocoon of limitations to being poised for greatness.  Learn what policy changes would ensure every American child has the same choices that Mia has had.  Also joining the conversation will be Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, the founder of the noted Arrowsmith learning program that ultimately helped Mia succeed.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021
11 am Pacific
Via Zoom



Mia Giordano
Christine Zanello
Lance Izumi
Barbara Arrowsmith-Young



Mia Giordano

Mia Giordano is a senior at Design Tech High School, which is a charter school in Redwood Shores located on the Oracle corporate campus headquarters. Mia plans to major in history in college. She is interested in pursuing a career in national security affairs. She plays competitive tennis, loves gourmet cooking, and enjoys spending time planning her next adventure.

Christine Zanello





Lance Izumi

Lance Izumi is Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute. He has written and produced books, studies, and films on a wide variety of education topics. Most recently he is the author of the 2017 book, The Corrupt Classroom: Bias, Indoctrination, Violence, and Social Engineering Show Why America Needs School Choice, and the 2019 book, Choosing Diversity: How Charter Schools Promote Diverse Learning Models and Meet the Diverse Needs of Parents and Children.

From 2004 to 2015, he served as a member of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the largest system of higher education in the nation, and served two terms as president of the Board. From 2015 to 2018, Lance chaired the board of directors of the Foundation of the California Community Colleges, the official non-profit that supports the community college system, and remains a member of the board.

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young

The genesis of the Arrowsmith Program of cognitive exercises lies in Barbara Arrowsmith-Young’s journey of discovery and innovation to overcome her own severe learning disabilities. Diagnosed in first grade as having a mental block, which today would have been identified as multiple learning disabilities, she read and wrote everything backwards, had trouble processing concepts in language, continuously got lost and was physically uncoordinated. Barbara eventually learned to read and write from left to right and mask a number of the symptoms of her learning disabilities through heroic effort, however she continued throughout her educational career to have difficulty with specific aspects of learning.

In graduate school, her interest in brain research led her to a clearer understanding of her own learning problem and ultimately the creation of the first exercise designed to improve the learning capacity involved in logical reasoning.

As the Director of Arrowsmith School and Arrowsmith Program, she continues to develop programs for students with specific learning difficulties. It is her vision that this program be available to all students struggling with specific learning difficulties so they may know the ease and joy of learning and to realize their dreams.

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