Literacy and the Opportunity Gap

Literacy is fundamental to closing our opportunity gap. When a child can read, they are empowered to learn. But the focus on STEM as the keys for the 21st century may have obscured the fundamental nature of reading in learning. Better reading will be a key remedy to our opportunity gaps, and to our disciplinary problems, as a confident, engaged child does not act out like a frustrated one.

However, we have some inconsistency in how our schools address any number of needs, including reading. We need a big toolbox --- but one filled with the right tools. Our schools need informed guidance for best and effective practice for literacy. Then we need to enable and deploy those practices consistently,while leaving the schools the flexibility to meet the needs of their community. 

Put another way, we need a floor of effective practice that is consistent across all our schools. How high our school principals build from that floor is about their leadership in partnership with their school’s families.

Only if we know that every child can read can we begin to say we are closing the opportunity gap.