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The other day we found out that reading math scores across the US have declined for the first time in decades.

We already have a reading crisis in our country, and the pandemic has made it far worse, or “alarming” as the New York Times put it.

Leaders and administrators claim shutting down schools was to protect our children, but the test scores tell a different story.

As always, the ones who need help the most suffer the greatest, and the achievement gap has widened between black and white students.

According to the DOJ, 70% of inmates in American prisons can’t read beyond the 4th grade level, demonstrating a direct correlation between the inability to read and delinquency.

Across the nation and here in California, our schools are failing our children, and we are putting our future and theirs at risk by not taking bold action now to address these failures.

Our public school systems are not providing the support and tools our children need to succeed, specifically the ability to read and do math.

Here in California, we have the lowest literacy rates in the country, 23% of people over the age of 15 cannot read. Math scores of 8th graders reflect 5th grade capability.

However, the powers that be continue to attack anyone who seeks to question or suggest new approaches, such as school choice, as racist or worse. Charter schools are frowned upon, even though they have been shown to be very successful in improving test scores.

We cannot keep throwing unrestricted money at our public school system and expect different results. We must invest in our children’s future now, with school choice. School choice already exists for the wealthy, why wouldn’t we want all children to have the same opportunity?

If we really want to eradicate homelessness and addiction, if we really want to reduce the rate of incarceration, if we truly want to invest in our future, it begins with education. We must take bold action now, provide school choice for all students and promote charter schools to give each child the opportunity they deserve.

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Liz Lawler on Good Morning Monterey
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