UAC and PCCY Hold Meeting and Press Conference to announce launch of 3rd Grade Reading Level Campaign

December 30, 2013

The Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) and the Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) held a press conference on Friday, December 20, 2013 to announce the launch of a new planning process to help improve student reading scores. This national grade-level reading campaign, funded by the Barra Foundation, will ensure that students are reading on grade level by fourth grade.

From now until May, Philadelphia's community of educators will review the most effective strategies and best resources to help students achieve and provide remedial help if necessary. “Stakeholders will develop an action plan that would serve as a social contract between any and all participating organizations,” said Sharmain Matlock-Turner.

Poor reading skills is the cancer that strikes our children at a very young age,” said Matlock-Turner. She attributed student's poor academic performance on the failure of adults to give adequate attention, resources, and support. “We have an incredible challenge,” Matlock-Turner added.

Out of 167 public elementary schools, only 10 schools had at least 75 percent of their students reading on grade level or better according to statistics from the Public Citizens for Youth and Children (PCCY). “The ability to read is really the passport to the future. If you don’t understand certain things, you are lost in this ever complicated world,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. Nutter also warned that third grade literacy rates are an accurate predictor for students’ success in middle school and high school. Students who fall behind in third grade are less likely to graduate, less likely to attend college or enter the workforce with basic skills necessary to hold a job. They would also be ill-prepared to compete globally.

UAC is a big supporter of education and will continue to support organizations and campaigns intended to improve the quality of education for Philadelphia's youth. Earlier this year, UAC joined the Coalition for Effective Teaching to push for union contract changes that support effective teaching in Philadelphia's public schools as well as greater accountability for improving the conditions in schools.

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