WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Schools Seek Books Program Funding After Budget Cuts

Play associated audio
The District's efforts to "modernize" every public school is part of a 10-year plan, costing $3 billion.
Courtney Collins
The District's efforts to "modernize" every public school is part of a 10-year plan, costing $3 billion.

For the past several years, each of the roughly 1,200 students at Carl Sandburg Middle School have chosen three new books to read and keep each year, thanks to Reading is Fundamental (RIF).

"We have a relatively significant population of students that are economically disadvantaged, and to get a book in their hands, is important," says Sandburg Assistant Principal Jane O'Hara.

It's hard to get students engaged when they don't have books to call their own, but she says RIF changed that.

"I had an eighth grade student come to me, very secretly, showed me the book that he picked, he was so excited," she says. "He said 'can you get that book and read it with me?' That speaks to the program."

The federal government has been contributing $20 million a year to 17,000 RIF programs across the country, but soon it will be up to local entities to keep things going. The 2011 budget eliminates funding for the program

"Before, we've been making sure that poor children got books in their homes, and now what we're going to have to do is ask people to help us do that," says Judy Cheatham, Vice President of Literacy Services for RIF.

News about the budget is devastating, she says.

"As a teacher, as a mother, as the grandchild of a poor woman who probably didn't go to the second grade, it breaks my heart," says Cheatham.

At Carl Sandburg, the government kicked in 75 percent of the program's budget, but O’Hara says the school will try to move on without it.

"Our PTA does support us very strongly, but to match that would be difficult," says O'Hara.

The money won't evaporate all at once. Carl Sandburg will have RIF during the next school year, but beyond that, the future of the program is unknown.

NPR

Texas Bookseller Picks 3 Summer Reads

Julia Green of Front Street Books recommends Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig, City of Women by David R. Gillham and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.
NPR

He Used To Live On The Streets Of Mumbai. Now, His Cafe Welcomes Everyone

Amin Sheikh's new cafe is a rarity in class-stratified India: It's open to people from all walks of life. Sheikh is a former street child, and so are many of his employees.
NPR

For Many Black Voters, Trump's 'What Do You Have To Lose?' Plea Isn't Enough

Donald Trump promises to help bring jobs and security to black neighborhoods. But his poll numbers with African-Americans are in the low single digits, and many say his message is insulting.
WAMU 88.5

A Cyber-Psychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online

Dr. Mary Aiken, a pioneering cyber-psychologist, work inspired the CBS television series "CSI: Cyber". She explains how going online changes our behavior in small and dramatic ways, and what that means for how we think about our relationship with technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.