Why children that can’t read will impact every single citizen
A child who falls behind in reading may never catch up, is less likely to graduate from high school and go on to a healthy and successful life.
The root cause of failing academic performance and the inability to read in the Rochester City Schools is poverty and the generational transcendence of poor reading. The impact of poverty is revealed when children do not have the proper nourishment, clothing, parent support, transportation or the required degree of security to function at normal levels within the educational system. Poor, urban children are often denied the stimulating environment necessary to develop literacy skills. These students are distracted by these more profound needs while in school. They are limited before they even get started.
Today, a growing number of urban school aged children are confronted with the inability to read within the public school system. These children come from families that are at or below the poverty income levels established by the federal government. The implications of this problem are far reaching and directly affect graduation rates, crime levels, teen pregnancy, gang affiliations, increased levels of unemployment and the potential collapse of the city’s social infrastructure. This in turn creates economic pressure for the community and makes it virtually impossible to attract and retain high quality workers for manufacturing, technology or service related businesses. The lifetime cost of academic failure is measured in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In 2008, Rochester, New York had the 11th highest child poverty rate in the nation, worse than New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Eighty-eight percent of city students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches and only 39 percent of students graduated from high school. The following 2009 graduation rates compare the Rochester City Schools to all surrounding school districts:
- Brighton-91% Gates Chile-84% Greece Central-81%
- East Irondequoit 70% West Irondequoit- 83% Honeoye Falls- 96%
- Spencerport- 85% Hilton Central- 87% Penfield Central- 91%
- Fairport Central- 94% East Rochester- 76% Pittsford Central- 96%
- Churchville-Chile- 89% Rochester CSD-46% Rush Henrietta-84%
- Brockport Central- 84% Webster Central- 87% Wheatland- 90%