Is the school to prison pipeline for real? It was for Milton Rucker. He wasn’t a good reader when he was a kid. He dropped out of high school and chose a life of crime. In this video, Milton talks about the consequences of choosing "criminal thinking" over school. But things changed for him as he embraced literacy in prison.
No one is marching in the streets to protest one of St. Louis’ biggest problems — even though the area’s crime rate, employee pool and health outcomes are all affected.
But it’s a hard truth: St. Louis schools struggle to teach kids, especially Black kids, to read. In some city schools, fewer than 10% of third-graders test proficient in reading.
But it’s not just schools in poor neighborhoods.
Literacy StatisticsCurated from www.begintoread.com/research/literacystatistics.html
According to the literacy fast facts from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), literacy is defined as "using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential."
"One measure of literacy is the percentage of adults who perform at four achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. In each type of literacy, 13 percent of adults were at or above Proficient (indicating they possess the skills necessary to perform complex and challenging literacy activities) in 2003. Twenty-two percent of adults were Below Basic (indicating they possess no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills) in quantitative literacy, compared with 14 percent in prose literacy and 12 percent in document literacy."
Literacy statistics worldwide
The Five Pillars of Family Literacy are evidence-based statements about literacy that have been curated from a school principal, poverty expert, renowned reading expert, economists and a social mobility study. The Metro East Literacy Project activities are based on these pillars. Let's look at Pillar Four.
What seems to be more important than involvement and coming to school by parents is whether parents provide insistence, expectations, and support at home. Perhaps we need to rethink the focus of parent training. --Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D., author of A Framework for Understanding Poverty (aha! Process, Inc.)
The recipe for educating a child contains many ingredients to be successful. Parent training is one of them. Parent training is making the parents aware of the supports they can provide at home to help the child succeed in school. I listed some of those in the last article on Pillar Number Three about home-based inputs. Click the link here to read.
When I was a parent educator doing home visits, I found one thing to be true: parents love their children. To the best of their ability, they want to do what is best to help their kids thrive. If I told a parent to put their newborn baby on their back for safe sleep, the parents were now aware and happy to comply. If I told a parent to remove certain foods, toys, and other small objects from toddlers to prevent choking hazards, the parents were now aware and happy to comply. Parents did not resist the advice and resources I provided, because they had reached out and asked for help from my organization. They sought the training.
Education works best when we all help each other. Teachers can help the children. Parents can help the children and the teachers. Administrators can help the school run smoothly. And children can and do help each other. It all works in a healthy symbiotic relationship that avoids blaming one another. When parents accept their responsibility in the cycle of education, that's not blame: that's empowerment. They may advocate for their children at school, but they have the most power at home, the original training center. I think that's what poverty expert Dr. Ruby Payne meant when she said to focus on parent training.
The Five Pillars of Family Literacy are evidence-based statements about literacy that have been curated from a school principal, poverty expert, renown reading expert, economists and a social mobility study. The Metro East Literacy Project activities are based on these pillars. Let's look at Pillar Three.
A mountain of recent evidence suggests that teacher skill has less influence on a student’s performance than a completely different set of factors: namely, how much kids have learned from their parents…if these home-based inputs are lacking, there is only so much a school can do. --Economists Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, authors of Think Like a Freak (William Morrow)
Reading a bedtime story. Exposing a child to different experiences, such as going to a museum. Setting up a regular time and space to do homework. Getting a public library card and visiting often. Showing an interest in what the child is learning in school and talking about it. Having books in the home. Talking to the child about the words they see around them, such as a stop sign. Enrolling the child in a book club. Reading books in front of the child for your own education and entertainment. Taking advantage of teachable moments from media. Viewing educational television. The list goes on. What can you add?
Teachers are extremely valuable. They work hard to give children the tools they need to be successful in school and in life. I know. I was a teacher. Schools focus on school-based solutions to tackle sticky educational problems like low third grade reading proficiency because they have no sway over the homes. But the home is the powerhouse and the first seat of literacy transformation. Parents are the first and most influential teachers. I am not naive enough to believe that every home is able or willing to engage in home-based inputs. But as economists Levitt and Dubner stated, if a teacher has less influence than a parent, educators should encourage parents as much as possible to do home-based inputs.
In this video snippet, Ruth Ezell, a popular Nine Network television personality in St. Louis, talks about the home-based inputs she grew with. For the full interview, visit the Literacy is Liberation! YouTube channel.