Former Teacher Warns Parents About Literacy Crisis

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Literacy crisis, teachers

by Stacy Jackson

A former teacher and assistant principal is sounding the alarm about what she calls a literacy crisis in America, claiming the seriousness of the situation is not being adequately addressed.

A former teacher and assistant principal is sounding the alarm about what she calls a literacy crisis in America, claiming the seriousness of the situation is not being adequately addressed.

“Our kids can’t read,” the educator explained in a viral TikTok video that has garnered over 3 million views. “Let alone write a paragraph, let alone understand it, they can't read. They don't know how to pronounce words.” The woman, who taught middle and high school, complained that the children were not taught basic reading skills. She addressed the practice of promoting illiterate children to the next grade level instead of giving them the support they need. “Our next changemakers, our next legislators, our next voters can’t read,” she said.

While reading test scores have remained stagnant over the past decade, the teacher noted a significant decline since the pandemic. Last year, the National Assessment of Education Progress, often called the “report card of the nation,” found that fewer than half of fourth-graders in the U.S. were achieving proficiency or above in reading. For Black students, the rates are even more alarming, with only 17% performing well in their fourth grade as of 2022.

In January, the Education Trust highlighted the deep-rooted systemic problem of denial of access to education for Black people, a troubling legacy that is deeply rooted in the country's history. Repressive anti-literacy laws once prevented enslaved and even freed black Americans from becoming literate, although many courageously and at enormous personal risk resisted these unjust regulations. After the abolition of slavery in 1865, when black communities established schools for freedmen, white Southerners responded with violence, attacking or destroying more than 600 schoolhouses, perpetuating the cycle of marginalization and oppression.

“They knew the babies couldn’t read and that they didn’t care,” the former teacher claimed, suggesting the crisis was recognized after test scores plummeted following the pandemic. She also highlighted the reintroduction of balanced reading, also known as phonics, into the curriculum, which may have come as a surprise to some who may have been unaware of its previous absence.

@huney_combs

America is in a literacy crisis 📚! Note: This post is meant to be informative. I included mostly headlines from news articles to hopefully assist with where to start with your research. I hope this is helpful and starts a real dialogue on the state our education system. #literacy #scienceofreading #education #booktok #equity #phonics #blacktiktok #poc #america #usa #crisis

♬ original sound – 🍯

The educator encourages parents to remove distractions like tablets and cell phones and instead invest time practicing basic reading skills with their children, such as recognizing letters and sounds. She also encourages parents to make reading with their children a priority. Additionally, she urged parents and guardians who have the privilege to take time off from work to attend PTSA meetings and stay updated on the policies adopted. “They expect parents and families not to show up,” she said. “Black and brown children in particular know that families can’t or won’t come.”