Demand public education support – and read to kids
Published: March 30, 2017
Karen Francisco’s well-researched editorial “An Educated Mess” on March 12 reminded us – once again – that private schools accepting voucher money from the state are not accountable to the government that will give them $146 million this school year – a total of close to a half billion dollars since 2011. Even more alarming is that students attending these “voucher schools” are scoring lower on reading, language and math tests than students in public schools.
Is there a fair way to help all children be successful in school? Research consistently tells us that test scores correlate with ZIP codes, meaning children in poverty don’t score as well as their richer classmates, no matter the school. Can we fix this poverty issue? We can begin by electing legislators truly committed to helping all families. For now, we can contact those who represent us and tell them firmly about our concerns. Legislators control the dollars and have the power to help those most in need.
We can also set up and reinforce programs that educate parents about how to help their children with school readiness. Reading daily to a child helps close that readiness and (eventually) achievement gap. Unfortunately, low-income parents are less likely to have heard this message. Jennifer Bryan, from “Read Aloud 15 Minutes,” states that “Reading to every child every day from birth won’t solve every health and education problem we face, but it will help level the brain development playing field.”
Reading to our babies, our preschoolers, and even our older kids is the place to start. We can break the poverty cycle by reading to our children. The bonus – besides having kids who love to read – is higher test scores and guaranteed success in any school.