A recent news release from the Public News Service highlights the troubling fact that 59 percent of Colorado’s 4th graders don’t read at grade level. Sarah Hughes, Research Director at the Colorado Children’s Campaign, explained that the breakdown by demographics is even more concerning–from the report:
“The statewide average really doesn’t tell the whole story,” [Ms. Hughes] said. “When it come to things like education and health, we often see really large differences in how kids are doing based on their family’s income, or based on their race and ethnicity.”
This information comes from a recently released report produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In Colorado, children in families with lower incomes are even worse off. The data show that 79 percent of lower-income children (those eligible for free or reduced-price School Meals) were not reading at grade level compared to 55 percent for children in families with incomes too high to be eligible for School Meals.
The Casey report also presents some national-level statistics that suggest these reading rates are much worse for Blacks (83% of 4th graders not reading at grade level), Hispanics (81%), and Native Americans (78%) compared to Whites (55%).
While the Casey Foundation report highlights the fact that literacy rates among children have improved over the past ten years it also offers a number of proposals including additional funding for early childhood education in addition to strengthened supports for low-income families.