June 23, 2003, Extra Credit
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June 23, 2003
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Creating a Nation of Readers
Last Thursday, the National Center for Education Statistics released "The Nation's Report Card: Reading 2002." U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige commented on the report card in a Saturday op-ed in the Tallahassee Democrat. Following are excerpts from the op-ed:

"Taken as a whole, today's [National Assessment of Educational Progress] reading scores underscore a point I've made many times: Too many youngsters in our schools have little or no grasp of reading."

"The scores released Thursday showed 64 percent of our nation's seniors were not proficient in reading. Right behind them are fourth- and eighth-graders, 68 percent of whom are not proficient either."

"Reading is the foundation of education. If you are a poor reader then your math or science or any other textbook might as well be a fire hydrant for all the good it does."

"All of this lends a special urgency to the president's call for America's schools to stop business as usual and start teaching what works when it comes to reading."

"Important parts of that effort are the president's Reading First and Early Reading First initiatives that zero in on solving this reading crisis through research-based instruction."

"[The president's] commitment to improving reading also includes significant federal funding - almost $1 billion in 2003 alone and more than $1 billion proposed again in his 2004 budget."

"President Bush has given us the tools to create a nation of readers. My hope is that today's NAEP scores will encourage more schools to take stock of their reading programs and do what it takes for every child to become a good reader - early - when it does the most good."

The complete text of Secretary Paige's op-ed is available at:

Correction: The Extra Credit on June 19 discussing a news report on rising test scores in North Carolina included an incorrect citation for the source of the news report. The article, "Test scores leaping in N.C.," appeared in the Raleigh News & Observer.


About Extra Credit
NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 03/27/2007