Where is the “R” in STEM?

March 23, 2017

Posted By
E3 Elevate Early Education

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Reading is foundational to many jobs in today’s economy, and it will be increasingly critical for the jobs that sustain our economic growth. According to an analysis by economists at Georgetown University, reading comprehension ranks third in “high intensity” use of broad skills across all occupations. A 2016 study found that workers had to be able to understand complex reading materials even in occupations that require no formal education.

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The U.S. is missing the mark. According to a 2015 ACT college and career readiness report, nationally only 26% of high school students met college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math and science. One out of three (34%) met none of those benchmarks.

This problem cannot be fixed in middle and high school. By that time it is too late. By fourth grade, students are expected to be able to “read to learn.” Those with poor reading skills fall further and further behind. The research is clear that students must develop reading skills early to compete in the knowledge and technology driven economy.

If we want to set our children up for success, we must ensure they have high quality early education. Without a strong foundation, many children enter elementary school behind. In fact, a recent Business Roundtable report states that third graders who have not mastered a basic level of reading—are nearly 6x more likely to dropout.

STEM skills matter and need to be integrated with the development of strong reading skills from the early childhood classroom through third grade.

Take action today! Business and civic leaders have credibility and influence and can play a vital role in promoting a state policy agenda to ensure every child is on track and reading by the third grade.

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By Lisa Howard, President and CEO