Friday, May 21, 2010

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California Ranks 46th in Fourth Grade Reading Proficiency: Roughly 3 in 4 are failing to read at grade level

Early Warning!
Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters:
A KIDS COUNT - Annie E. Casey Foundation, May 2010

A new report released today highlights the need to increase the number of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade, a critical academic milestone that can predict whether or not children graduate from high school.

According to the KIDS COUNT Special Report, Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, children’s reading proficiency is central to their school success, life-long earning potential and ability to contribute to the nation’s economy and its security.

California ranks 46th in the nation in fourth grade reading proficiency, with roughly three out of four fourth-graders (76 percent) failing to read at grade level. The state’s high school dropout rate is approaching 20 percent overall, with rates ranging from eight percent for Asian students, 12 percent for white students, 24 percent for Latino students and 33 percent for African American students. In California, this translates into 98,000 students per class who fail to graduate.

With 6.3 million public K-12 students, California has the largest and most diverse student population in the nation; for example, roughly 40 percent of the state’s kindergartners are designated English learners. The state’s ability to provide every child a high-quality education has impacts for children, the state and the nation. Children’s reading proficiency is central to their school success and their earning potential. It is estimated that each high school dropout costs society $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity. Moreover, California’s economic vitality, dependent on a skilled and educated workforce, is facing a projected shortfall of one million college graduates by 2025.

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