The U.S. Is Letting Poor Kids Fall Further and Further Behind in Reading (and Madison)

Laura Moser:

New data on child well-being released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation make for depressing reading on many levels, not least because the findings are so deeply unsurprising. The basic gist is that, despite the economic recovery, more kids are living in poverty (defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as an annual income of $23,834 for two adults and two children) today than during the recession. A lot more, actually—roughly 22 percent, or a total of 16 million kids, were living in poverty in 2013, a jump of 4 percentage points and 3.2 million kids from five years earlier. Break this figure into subgroups and the picture looks even grimmer, with 39 percent of black kids and 33 percent of Hispanic kids in poverty.

Poverty directly affects a child’s educational outcome, and the Casey Foundation also looks at educational data spanning from preschool to the end of high school. The good news, such as it is, is that the U.S. graduation rate has hit an all-time high of 81 percent—although that promising-looking statistic might be at least partially a result of mislabeling students and easing graduation requirements (like offering “alternative diplomas”), among other shady practices, according to a recent NPR report. As for actual skills, here the U.S. remains in dismal shape, with a total of 66 percent of students—55 percent of non-Hispanic white kids, and more than 80 percent of black and Latino kids—not reading proficiently by fourth grade.

Madison’s long term disastrous reading results.

Janet Hilary, head of St. George’s School Battersea, talks about turning failure to success in a high poverty school in South London.

Theresa Plummer, specialty teacher at St. George’s, talks about what it takes to successfully teach reading and spelling to all students.

– Via the Wisconsin Reading Coalition.