Why 3rd Grade Literacy Is Pivotal

In my recent post about the current status of the academic gap, I stated that many agree that the academic gap is a literacy gap. As a result, many states and agencies have placed significant emphasis on literacy, focusing particularly on reading proficiency by 3rd grade. Why literacy and why this age? Well, the Anne E. Casey Foundation says 3rd grade reading has big implications, so let’s unpack that. 

The Truth Behind the Academic Gap

Education is meant to be the great equalizer for society, but reality shows continued disparity in terms of educational outcomes along the lines of race and income. The achievement gap, the opportunity gap, the academic gap—these all refer to a systemic difference in educational performance for students of color compared to their white peers or for students in poverty compared to students in more affluent communities. There is something wrong with a system that continues to replicate an outcome of inequity. Though there is much debate about its origin, we’ve heard insanity defined as, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Yet, according to Teach For America, here we are with a “public school system [that] is remarkably impervious to innovation, adaptation, and change” and that “hasn’t changed in 100 years.”