VA’s Kids Are Calling On You
As you’ve heard in the local, state and national media, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data shows a sharp decline in reading and math scores for Virginia’s fourth and eighth graders. Across the country, scores dipped to a 20-year low. Our country, including state and local schools, are in the middle of an education crisis. The data is alarming; it’s a call to action for us all to do our part. There has never been a more critical time for the work of our organization.
Over 10 years ago, Elevate Early Education (E3) set out to change the way Virginia thinks about, prioritizes and invests in early education. As part of that work, E3 created The New E3 School, an innovative, mixed-income model for children ages one to five, to prove that when all children have equal access to quality, they enter kindergarten with the academic and “soft skills” they need to thrive. We have proven that year after year. Our model is being expanded across Virginia to over 2,000 classrooms, impacting even more children, teachers and programs. The school is a catalyst for policy change and state investment. While we have made great strides in increasing access to quality with historic state investment, too many students are still behind. According to NAEP, only 32% of fourth graders are “at or above proficient” in reading.
When the leadership of E3 saw the learning, reading and math gaps widening, we pivoted to address the fact that too many children were falling behind. Our children experienced multiple years of the pandemic. Their routines, relationships and learning were disrupted and stagnated. Sadly, 42% of our children last fall entered the kindergarten classroom not ready. The NAEP scores reflect what happens when children do not have equitable access to quality. They will struggle in elementary school, middle school, high school, college and in the workforce. It’s a domino effect. In fact, research tells us that a child who is not reading by third grade is four times more likely to drop out of school.
Our goal is to make sure every child can learn, grow and thrive for the first eight years of their lives, regardless of their zip code. The first eight years matter and can change the trajectory for a child, building a foundation for learning.
We are asking you to join us in working to solve this education crisis NOW. It will take innovative solutions and strategic public-private partnerships to overcome these challenges. That’s the only way we’ll get our children back on track and level the playing field for every child.
Here are the ways you can help:
- Watch this short video about the domino effect.
- Sponsor our Raise Your Hand, Virginia campaign to raise awareness about the education crisis and ask all Virginians to be part of the solution.
- Give to our Innovation + Impact Fund to launch initiatives to improve equitable access to quality in local communities across Virginia.
- Sign up to be part of our awareness and advocacy campaign.