Maybe a bit less. Maybe even more. As we approach the November elections, these “One Third Can’t Read” signs are popping up across the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill in North Carolina). Who is putting up these signs? Is it true? The Bootstraps PAC is a local group concerned about the miserable reading performance of economically disadvantaged children. Here are two snippets from their stats section. This first clip compares those who failed to read at third grade in three districts and what percentage are poor kids. In case you can’t tell, 68% to 71% of kids failing the test are economically disadvantaged.The following snippet shows the percent of kids who failed the 3rd through 8th grade reading tests and the percent of those who are poor. Same pattern as above. Check out the resource-rich Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system’s achievement gap. We are talking about racially predictable test scores, folks.
Literacy is a vital door to future economic success, but our poorest students are left behind. Do we really believe all kids can learn to read? Do we provide the kind of reading instruction that does not penalize kids with relatively weaker language skills? Are we willing to mentor kids? Are we willing to volunteer?