by Christina Lippert
Senior Director of School Support & Foundational Literacy,
Achievement Network (ANet)

The problem

On Read Across America Day 2021, we acknowledge that America is faced with a reading crisis. In a pre-pandemic world, only 35 percent of 4th graders were considered proficient readers according to The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2019*.

Further, white male students were 3x more likely to read proficiently than their Black male peers, and Black boys from low-income families were only 10% likely to be proficient.

Last year, 13-year-old Lili of Sacred Heart STEM School in Boston, MA was a 7th-grade environmental engineer, “learn[ing] how what we build affects the ecosystem and how we can save our planet.” She and her classmates Ansen, 13, and Natalie, 14, were working in teams as engineers, project managers, architects, etc, building model bridges that eventually would have been strong enough to support the weight of one of their younger classmates.

by Clarice Clash, Ph.D
Managing Director of System Services
Achievement Network (ANet)

“Our school is changing and it is impossible to teach at grade level anymore.”

Clarice Clash

I was aghast when a member of my instructional team spoke these words.

Even more alarming? These words were spoken long before the pandemic.

As a school principal in Tucson, I was discussing an initiative to align our curriculum with grade-level standards. I asked my team, What does it mean that our school is changing?

“Our students are coming from the new apartment buildings and from low SES districts,” the team member explained. “They aren’t arriving with the necessary prerequisites to teach grade-level ELA standards.”

This was not…

“The harsh reality was that most of the students in my class were several years below grade level, and I only had one school year to try to catch them up.”

by Chrissy Allison
Director of Math Professional Learning,
Achievement Network (ANet)

Achievement Network (ANet)

ANet is a nonprofit dedicated to the premise that every child in America deserves an excellent education and the opportunities it provides.

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