More than 30 organizations and nearly 170 individuals joined the Alliance for Excellent Education in urging President Bush to include funding for a new adolescent literacy initiative in his FY 2005 budget proposal. They asked the President to boost funding for secondary schools to a level sufficient to address the needs of the eight million students currently reading below basic levels.
Currently, only about 5 percent of Title I funds go to low-income, low performing high schools and only 10 percent go to middle schools. Serving the youngest of our children is the right thing to do, but not serving older students has tragic consequences that must be addressed. The letter follows statements by Education Secretary Rod Paige calling the state of our nation’s high schools… an unrecognized crisis.
The letter states that a quarter of our country’s eighth graders are reading at “below basic” levels. Not being able to read and comprehend increasingly complex course material is a major factor in a student’s decision to leave school early. With a national graduation rate of only 70 percent – a figure that falls to around 50 percent in urban areas – the signers asked the President to recognize and address this situation.
“Researchers and educators know a great deal about how to teach older students to read for success,” said Alliance President Susan Frost. “We are asking the President for the resources to put effective programs into place in America’s secondary schools.
“We agree with Secretary Paige. This crisis is the reason we urge President Bush to provide funding for a significant new federal reading initiative,” said Frost. “Working together we can ensure that all students graduate prepared for success in life.”
Copies of the letter were delivered to Capitol Hill, the Secretary of Education, and the Office of Management and Budget.
For a copy of the signed letter and additional materials, please visit our Web site at: https://all4ed.org/about_the_crisis/presidential_letter.
Based in Washington, DC, the Alliance for Excellent Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping America’s six million at-risk middle and high school students achieve high standards and graduate prepared for college and success in life.
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The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life. It is funded by the Leeds Family, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Daniels Fund, and the New York Community Trust, as well as by concerned individuals.
For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit: www.all4ed.com