By Hipolito Navarrete, Managing Editor/Publisher
It is baffling that we still ignore of the power of reading and writing. That we are still easily dissuaded from pursuing creative careers because someone will immediately question the earning power of such “jobs.” The other questions, where are those jobs? What are the most basic skills necessary to develop in order to be successful in those jobs? These questions are also very important. Well, those jobs are every where, but when as a community we do not have the basic skills that it takes to fulfill those positions they will turn to manual labor out of necessity. We need to look at the source or the origin of where this deficiency in reading, the most basic necessary learning skill, and therefore the root of writing comes from.
Is this a conversation, one sided I must admit, about reading? Yes, because there is a moment in the third grade, when the school’s focus on teaching their students how to read, shifts to the need for the student to read so that they can learn. There are so many consequences to a child and adult that can’t read at his grade level by the end of third grade, that a child not reading at this level, is four times less likely to graduate from high school, and if she is from a low –income family, its six time less likely. A rougher statistic comes from a study published in 2009 by researchers at Northwestern University. They found that high school dropouts are 63 times more likely to be incarcerated than college graduates.
The consequences of not reading up to the third grade can be very rough, so what can be done about the situation? Most public school districts are responsive to the public they serve. Attending school board meetings and meeting with the school administration can give a parent an opportunity to learn what is happening in their son’s educational life. It will also be a wake up call to what the parent must do in order to partner in the work that it takes to help the academic progress of his/her child.
There is a lot of work to be done in order to bring the opportunities that are being developed every day in the new world economy to poverty ridden communities. Helping the children and youth of these communities to learn how to read is one important task. There is a number out there that says that around 65% of the jobs available by 2020, 4 years from now will require education beyond high school. In order for our youth to benefit from the new economy, they must be reading to learn not just for fun and enjoyment, but for preparation. The fact that a child may not be reading by age 9 at their academic level, should add urgency to the work needed to get done, if the adolescent is in high school, there are many programs to help them, seek them out. Look for the programs available to them, or you, visit your school administration and ask for help, its there, but most of the work to complete the tasks required will be up to you.