Chad - Great piece. I was intrigued, reminded of what I already knew, and challenged to rethink some longstanding ideas. I think that's a thing about the structure, the institution of school; the "neutral ground" at times gets forgotten, maybe partly because of who hold traditionally holds power the in the student-teacher relationship, and what that power-holder values. Typically it's writing about literature, and often literature that today's adolescents would struggle to find a connection. It's quite clear that if writing is to improve - and remain relevant - and school is to be part of that movement in helping young writers develop a clear, compelling voice, then students have to have the opportunity to write about what matters to them, in a way that makes sense for them. Just as we need to offer students the chance to write about their interests, I see the world of writing instruction as needing to continue to see how the definition of what we call writing changes, and that we continue to evaluate our own role as agents of instruction. An ongoing trick, I suspect we'll find, will remain in finding the artful ways to build connections between the Common Core and the potential of "relevant" writing. The connections are there, but they need steady work to develop.