Letter to the editor: Reading is key in education
To the editor:
The closing of schools, the drawing of new school boundaries and the reduction of personnel have been the focus of parents, the school board and administrators in recent months. These issues are, no doubt, of paramount importance. I think, however, they should not detract from the core objectives of the public schools, the most important of which is to teach students how to read.
The Kansas Department of Education compiles annually measures of how well students are doing in English and language arts, i.e., reading and writing. In 2021-2022, the Academically Prepared for Post Secondary Success measure showed among all students in the Lawrence District 37.7% scored in the two lowest categories of reading achievement. Students receiving free lunch and the disabled scored 34.20%. About 3 in 10 students are leaving high school without the ability to read simple instructions, comic pages, electronic messages, etc. The gateway to opportunity in today’s economy and society is the ability to read!
Students with reading problems and from homes where reading is not a high priority should get concentrated instruction. Phonics is the best way to teach reading to disadvantaged kids. Improvement in teaching reading is as important, probably more so, then alleviating the effects of racism and poverty through affirmative action or diversity, equality and inclusion window dressing.