Literacy and Equity in Education
Having solid reading and writing skills is at the heart of student achievement and therefore must be part of the solution to achieving greater equity in the United States. As Suzanne Carreker points out, "With literacy comes academic success, informed decision-making, improved self-esteem, personal empowerment, greater economic opportunities, and active participation in local and global social communities. Ultimately, it is the gateway to lifelong learning... Without equity in literacy education, achievement gaps will persist and too many students will not reap literacy's innumerable benefits."
Unfortunately, too many students do not have access to quality literacy instruction. As the recent publication of the AFT's American Educator devoted to reading instruction notes, "Today, about 20 percent of elementary students across the country struggle with learning to read, and another 20 percent are not meeting grade-level expectations in reading. But these nationwide averages mask a tragedy: among students growing up in under-resourced communities -- mainly African American and Hispanic students and students whose home language is not English -- about 60 to 70 percent have weak reading skills." (p. 3)