In 2011, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) determined that fewer than one-third of surveyed students in the United States performed at or above “proficient” levels on standardized writing assessments. Seven years later, the Common Core Standards, adopted by nearly two-thirds of the nation, placed a new emphasis on writing in order to change what many educators saw as an inevitable decline in literacy skills and achievement. Still, frustration among educators remains and student progress is slower than anticipated. But while the challenges of teaching writing are various and complex, there is every reason to be hopeful. By identifying the root cause of the problem, we can better implement strategies that fundamentally transform the way writing is taught, empowering teachers to feel comfortable and confident in their role as teachers of writing.