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The Need

There are many elements of basic needs in our society that remain challenging. Basic needs are not being met  for a significant portion of the population and many still face discrimination and inequities in social systems. Poverty is one of the biggest challenges we face.

We focus on empowering Youth so they will be better prepared as adults to improve their well-being and help to build a more just society. Education success is one of the important foundational elements. Reading success is critical for academic and career success. 

Reading proficiency scores

Achieving reading proficiency by end of 3rd grade is a critical milestone for academic and career success. The most commonly used national indicator is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  Each state can set their own standards which makes it difficult to compare state scores only.  Below is a summary of NAEP scores since 2005 for 4th grade students. This chart shows the percentage of students by race who did not score proficient.,11,12,13,15,14,2719  


This chart conveys the seriousness of the crisis and the disproportionate impact on Children of Color. In 2019, 79% of 4th grade students who receive the school lunch program did not score proficient compared to 50% for students who do not qualify for the school lunch program. Family income is a strong indicator of reading success. However, it is still unacceptable for two out of three children nationwide to not score proficient.


Why is reading success important?

The following information is taken from the website,


1. 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.

2. 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.

3. Students who don't read proficiently by the 3rd grade are 4 times likelier to drop out of school. 

4. As of 2011, America was the only free-market OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country where the current generation was less educated than the previous one.

5. Nearly 85% of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, proving that there is a close relationship between illiteracy and crime. More than 60% of all inmates are functionally illiterate.

6. 75% of Americans who receive food stamps perform at the lowest 2 levels of literacy, and 90% of high school dropouts are on welfare.

7. Teenage girls between the ages of 16 to 19 who live at or below the poverty line and have below average literacy skills are 6 times more likely to have children out of wedlock than girls their age who can read proficiently.

8. Reports show that the rate of low literacy in the United States directly costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year.



The Value of Education

On average, the higher and more successful a student achieves in education, the greater the positive impact in career success and lifetime income. Education offers one of the best opportunities for a student to break the cycle of poverty.

Failure for a student to achieve the 3rd-grade reading milestone is one of the best indicators of academic and life struggle. Many states predict prison facility requirements based on 3rd-grade reading scores. Most students who are poor readers in 3rd grade never catch up.


Resources on education statistics



Correlation on education and lifetime income

How much is higher education worth in cold hard money? A college master’s degree is worth $1.3 million more in lifetime earnings than a high school diploma, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau. The report titled “The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings” (.pdf) reveals that over an adult’s working life, high school graduates can expect, on average, to earn $1.2 million; those with a bachelor’s degree, $2.1 million; and people with a master’s degree, $2.5 million.