A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation confirms what we see here in greater Birmingham. If we want to reduce the rate at which students drop out of high school, we must focus on early intervention. According to the report, the number who can read proficiently by the time they’re in fourth grade is a key predictor of how many graduate.
In one sense, this information is nothing new, because we’ve known for a long time that proficiency in reading is a key factor in success for all students. But this reinforces the focus on your Community Foundation on education as a key issue that must be addressed.
Our work with the Alabama School Readiness Alliance is one way that we have supported expansion of voluntary, high-quality preschool education. Another effort was the Yes We Can! Birmingham campaign to strengthen Birmingham schools, which led to the creation of the Birmingham Education Foundation with key support of your Community Foundation throughout.
Here’s what the authors of the Casey Foundation report say: “The bottom line is that if we don’t get dramatically more children on track as proficient readers, the United States will lose a growing and essential proportion of its human capital to poverty.” We don’t want that to happen in Birmingham or anywhere else.