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A literacy-based Racist Conservative Religious/Political Agenda

18 Feb

My parents were both high school dropouts, but I grew up seeing them read books almost every day and that was probably the most important reason I did not grow up illiterate or functionally illiterate.

Millions of children in America are not that fortunate and never see his or her parents read anything. This image of the most important role model in a child’s life ends up being the foundation that leads to illiteracy.

On February 14, 2013, Valentine’s Day, President Obama said, “Let’s make it a national priority to give every child access to a high-quality early education.”

This message was also included in his second State of the Union address.

But conservatives have made it clear that they are against public supported, high-quality early education. Instead, conservatives want to give taxpayer money to private or church-based preschools and leave it up to parents to decide to send his or her children. Source: Mike the Mad Biologist

Mike the Mad Biologist quoted the Heritage Foundation, a far-right conservative think tank that is also part of the Koch Foundation Associate Program. To learn more about the political/religious agenda of the billionaire Koch brothers, click Discovering the four Koch brothers.

Then President Obama also said, “Fewer than 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program.”

Because of those facts, the United States must take it one step further and make it mandatory for children that are not learning literacy skills at home before age four to start a high-quality early education literacy program in the public schools.

To do that, all children must be tested starting at age three and six months by having them read out loud to a properly credentialed educator-teacher to demonstrate that the child is learning to read simple, basic one-syllable words in simple sentence in addition to demonstrating understanding. Then every twelve months before starting kindergarten, those children must be tested again to see that he or she is improving. It would be easy. Every public school in America would receive the mandate and funding to support this simple test.

Children that fail the test would be enrolled in the type of program President Obama is talking about.

Obama said that these young children must be in a safe learning environment with high quality teachers that are held accountable.  Private and religious schools are not held as accountable the same as the public schools. Private and religious schools have no oversight—no one watching what is going on in that classroom.

In addition, if illiterate parents wanted to make sure his or her children grew up literate and a lover of reading, there are already many nonprofit organizations offering free programs to combat illiteracy. For example: Reach Out And Read; Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT); First Book; Reading Tree; United Through Reading; Literacy Inc.; Building with Books; Books for the Barrios; Dollar General Literacy Foundation, and in the United States, community, public libraries offer free literacy programs (source: Public library efforts to promote literacy).

There are an estimated 121,169 libraries of all kinds in the United States today.

These facts say if we leave it up to most illiterate parents of illiterate children to enroll those children in a voluntary literacy program before age four, it will not happen—not in the United States.

In Finland, the parents do this at home.  In Finland, most parents start teaching their own children how to read by age three. That does not happen to millions of young children in the United States.

The reason I think the conservative religious/political agenda regarding a high-quality early (public) education program in America is racist is because of the following numbers.

In 2003, about seven percent of white adults were reading below basic (this means they were functionally illiterate or illiterate), compared to 24% of Blacks, 44% of Hispanics, and 14% of Asian/Pacific Islanders.  Source: National Center for Education Statistics

If we are going to break the cycle of the high ratio of race-based illiteracy in America, we must make it mandatory for children that are not learning literacy skills at home to be in a supervised public education, literacy programs before age four so the public in the United States knows that every child is safe from a possibly biased, conservative political and/or religious agenda.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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