Elementary Reading Scores

The Cost of Low Reading Scores:

  • A 3rd grade student who reads below grade level and lives in poverty is 13 times more likely to drop out of high school than a student reading on grade level.
  • High school dropouts are 8 times more likely to be incarcerated than high school graduates. Nationally, 70% of jail inmates have not completed high school, and half of inmates with a GED earn it while incarcerated. In the Richmond City Jail, 15,000 men and 2,000 women enrolled in high school level classes in 2013.
  • Over the course of his or her lifetime, a single high school dropout costs the nation approximately $260,000 in lost 
  • earnings, taxes, and public welfare costs. A single high school dropout who is incarcerated at any point in life costs the nation $800,000.
  • The average cost to house a person in the Richmond City Jail for a year is $24,308, while the cost to  attend VCU for a year, including room and board, is $20,307. Over the course of 4 years, incarceration costs $16,000 more than college education.

Reading Crisis in Henrico County:

  • 15 Henrico County elementary schools remain unaccredited in reading—13 of them are in the East End, and 8 of those schools showed no improvement in 2016.
  • 7,965 Kindergarten through 8th graders failed their state reading tests in 2016. This is an increase of nearly 500 students failing since the 2014-15 school year.
  • By middle school, students in Eastern Henrico are 3 times more likely to fail reading than students in the West End.

A Proven Solution for Elementary Reading:

RISC leaders have sought a proven reading curriculum for unaccredited schools in Henrico County, starting with a pilot program in one school where nearly 45% of children fail reading, since 2014. The Direct Instruction curriculum (also known as SRA Reading Mastery & Corrective Reading) has a 40-year track record of teaching students from all backgrounds to read on grade level.

Following extensive research, consultation of experts, and visits to schools successfully using Direct Instruction, RISC leaders believe this program will provide teachers with best practices to meet the needs of all students.HCPS recently reported successes using this program as an intervention after students fail reading – RISC leaders ask that students are taught with this powerful, proven, interactive tool from the start. 

Progress in Richmond Public Schools:

In February 2017, Richmond’s 6th district leadership approached RISC to work on a Direct Instruction pilot program in unaccredited Richmond schools. Recognizing the urgency of providing proven tools for students in low-performing schools, Richmond City Council and School Board representatives met with Direct Instruction experts and visited City Springs School in Baltimore to see the program in action.

RISC and Richmond leaders are focused on gaining consensus among the full School Board and RPS administration, as well as the community, RPS staff, and parents. The goal, implementation of a pilot program in one unaccredited school, will allow the district to measure program results for students in RPS and ensure all children have the opportunity to read!

 *Statistics provided by the Virginia Department of Education, Henrico County Public Schools, Education Week, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Richmond Sheriff’s Office, Alliance for Excellent Education, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Compensation Board of the Virginia General Assembly, and City Springs School.

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