Judging by the number of folks charged with driving under influence I am guessing the penalty is rather light. Of...

Read and weep about the state's reading program


Ayden Middle School sixth-graders sample different books in the media center during a “Progressive Book Tasting” to expand their reading tastes.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Children in North Carolina aren’t learning to read fast enough or well enough. The state has invested millions. Hands are wringing, and heads are hitting hard against the wall. “Success” can’t be claimed if a third-grader can’t read the word and know what it means.

And so the $150 million the state spent on its Read to Achieve program is being bemoaned as a huge failure and waste of state revenue.

Implemented by the General Assembly in 2012 on the model of “Just Read, Florida,” which then-Gov. Jeb Bush introduced in Florida in 2012, Read to Achieve was designed to ensure students didn’t advance through grade levels without being able to comprehend material. Its goal was that students would not be promoted for being well-behaved when they were anything but well-read.

But read these results: Since the program began, the percentage of third- and fourth-graders who passed state reading exams either was flat or declined. Follow-up research suggests that no particular effort is proving successful. State educators aren’t giving up, but you can bet that legislators — who direct funds to these programs — will be reading these tea leaves and looking for a new future.

“We will continue to use data-driven analyses, including feedback from class room teachers, to drive changes,” state Superintendent Mark Johnson said in a release last week.

“We have an obligation to these students to act with urgency and pursue innovative strategies to ensure every child can read well by the end of third grade.”

There is much to be done, and there needs to be no absence of focus. N.C. State has invested $28 million through its Wolfpack Works for a grant program designed to improve the skill of teaching reading, The News & Observer in Raleigh reported. The Guilford County Board of Education just last year approved $2 million for reading programs to address the decline by third-graders.

More research is being done, as Johnson suggests, and more programs for first- and second-graders might be helpful. But frankly that might be too late. If a child’s life doesn’t include reading by his or her pre-K years, if books can’t be brought to life and the reinforcement of effort for reward isn’t taught, then the goal already is out of sight.

That experts suggest failure to read adequately by third grade endangers the ability to absorb curricula should underscore how deep this foundation must be poured.

The fact is that it’s difficult to teach a child to read, no matter the talents of the teacher or the student, when reading is so devalued in society. Literacy is a far cry from what it was before electronic media began to steal time and diminish the commitment to subjects, verbs and adjectives as a vital process.

Too many parents don’t read for their own edification, so by example children don’t learn the habit. Even more parents don’t have time to read to or with their children, either. Without Winnie the Pooh at bedtime, you may have bare readers in the classroom.

We fear that the literacy of our students may take an even more troubling turn.

Have you noticed how young people prefer to communicate through text messages that are highlighted with emojis, the hieroglyphics of today, in place of actual words? Could this mean that dialogue will follow reading into a verbal winter? Will generations of the future use thoughts to communicate without a word being spoken?

Maybe so, but frighteningly few will read about it.

The News & Record of Greensboro


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


April 16, 2019

The announcement that Kirstjen Nielsen was stepping down as Secretary of Homeland Security was sudden, but it wasn’t really a surprise. Never a favorite of President Trump, her days became numbered when her patron in the administration, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, resigned in December.…

Homeland Security Secretary-1

April 15, 2019

The day before his indictment was announced last week, Robin Hayes said he was stepping down as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party because of health issues. The next day, the public learned that what was driving Hayes from office wasn’t only his ailments, but the ill health of…

Republican Chairman

April 13, 2019

You know the game by now: A call comes into your mobile phone. A number pops up on your screen. You don’t recognize it. Your first instinct is to decline it, but what if it’s your child’s school? The auto repair guy? Something else? It’s a guessing game, and we’re the…

Kicking Robocalls-2

April 09, 2019

Walter Ginter began using heroin in the early 1970s while serving in the Army. By 1977, desperate to kick the habit, he turned to daily doses of methadone, a synthetic opioid that eases withdrawal and decreases cravings. The treatment worked.

“I have a good life today,” says Ginter, 69,…

Opioid Lawsuit New York

April 08, 2019

One of the first things we teach our children is to never, ever get into a stranger’s car.

In the age of Uber and Lyft, we all need to relearn that lesson. Along with: The later you’re out at night, the greater your chances of running into the wrong person. And: It’s always safer…

Uber Traffic Analysis

April 07, 2019

If you care about safe water for all, you should be celebrating the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to order Duke Energy to excavate coal ash from its power plant sites in the state. It was the right call for communities that for too long have been vulnerable to…

Duke Energy Coal Ash

April 07, 2019

As many of your readers are aware, State Treasurer Dale Folwell has chosen to forge ahead with his proposal to significantly alter the reimbursement strategy for health care providers who offer care under the State Health Plan. Citing concerns with the State Health Plan’s insolvency,…

April 06, 2019

Belatedly, it occurred to the Trump administration that closing the U.S.-Mexico border, as the president threatened, posed the risk of paralyzing manufacturing assembly lines, leaving grocery shelves bare and throwing the U.S. economy into a tailspin, if not outright recession. Bad idea.

So now the…

Trump Immigration

April 02, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court heard a lot last week about what is wrong with the way North Carolina’s congressional districts are laid out. There were no questions about the bad or the good.

The job of the nine justices isn’t about that — only what is or isn’t constitutional. It…

Supreme Court Redistricting-1

April 01, 2019

Picture this. The nation’s children are drinking on average what amounts to a bathtub full of sugary beverages every year. That’s 30 gallons of soda, sports drinks and probably the biggest healthy drink fraud of all, fruit juice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart…

Big Sodas Tax Fight-4
75 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 8
        Next Page»   Last Page»