Our 10-year goal: 3rd graders perform at proficiency or better in English-Language Arts and Math.

Why It Matters

Research on the predictive power of early reading and math skills underscores that the early elementary years are a pivotal time in students’ learning, helping them to build a foundation for later success. Educators often say that up until 3rd grade, students are learning to read, and after 3rd grade, they’re reading to learn. In fact, students who don’t read proficiently by 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to leave school without a diploma.1

In early elementary school, students move from concrete to more abstract, higher order thinking skills through active experiences like working collaboratively, taking risks and solving problems. It is these skills that are so vital to success in the 21st century global economy and to our future prosperity.  To be on track today for college and careers, students need to analyze and solve complex problems, communicate clearly, synthesize information, apply knowledge, and generalize learning to other settings.

How We’re Falling Short

Unfortunately, 54% of our 3rd graders test below proficient in English Language Arts and one-third are not proficient in Mathematics. For low-income students and those of color, the findings are much worse.2 We also know that achieving proficiency is not enough to set our kids on a path to college and careers.

The achievement gap between students in 3rd grade has much earlier roots – the same groups of students behind in 3rd grade also started out behind when they entered kindergarten.3 That’s why we must increase our focus on the early part of the education pipeline – in early elementary school and before – so that all our students begin school ready for success.

Far too often the needs of our richly diverse student population are not being met. For our dual language learners, our instruction does not reflect the latest scientific evidence on how children best acquire language, and the improved achievement that results from supporting both a children’s home language and English acquisition. We must also work to build more trusting relationships with families in a culturally competent way so that families may best support the learning of their children at home and school.

What We Can Do>>

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