7/13/2006

Does NCLB Leave Adolescent Readers Behind?

In follow-up to the article the Washington Post ran this morning about the literacy rates of adolescents across the country, Jeremy Ayers from the Alliance for Excellent Education, participated in a live Q & A with readers about the problems of middle and high school students reading comphrension.

One of the most popular questions asked was whether NCLB is "helping or aggrevating the problem?" Another reader asked if this problem is a result of NCLB's focus on younger children. Ayer commented that NCLB has amplified the investments state were already making for K-3 students, but couldn't take all the credit for the lastest inprovements in 4th graders reading scores. Many critics also note it might be too soon to gauge any impact of NCLB.

Ayers' answers overall promoted an investment in adolescent literacy that mirrors the investments nationally and locally in early childhood literacy. He compared two USDE programs to show that Reading First (K-3) spends $73 per student and Striving Readers (6-12) spends about 0.13 cents per student. Perhaps further investment in adolescent literacy will be included in NCLB's upcoming re-authorization.

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