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Friday Churn: Importance of reading

Updated – A report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows “students who don’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers.”

The report also says “poverty compounds the problem,” noting results such as “Students who have lived in poverty are three times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate on time than their more affluent peers; if they read poorly, too, the rate is six times greater than that for all proficient readers.”

For black and Latino students, the results are even worse – “the combined effect of poverty and poor third-grade reading skills makes the rate eight times greater.”

Read the full report, Double Jeopardy: How Poverty & Third-Grade Reading Skills Influence High School Graduation.

“We will never close the achievement gap, we will never solve our dropout crisis, we will never break the cycle of poverty that afflicts so many children if we don’t make sure that all of our students learn to read,” said Ralph Smith, executive vice president of the Casey foundation.

The longitudinal study relies on a national database of 3,975 students born between 1979 and 1989. The children’s parents were surveyed every two years to determine economic status while the children’s reading progress was tracked using the Peabody Individual Achievement Test. It is billed as the first study to break down the likelihood of graduation by different reading skill levels and poverty experiences.

What’s churning:

It seems to be the year for state college name changes, with Metro State requesting a change to Denver State University and Mesa State mulling possible new names.

Mesa recently did a survey and conducted meetings about a name change. Finding support in that exercise and receiving more than 60 suggested names, college officials now are doing a second survey to get feedback on a narrowed-down list of names for the Grand Junction institution. A strong majority of respondents supported dropping “college” and substituting “university” in any new name.

“Based on the feedback we’ve received in small group meetings, our prior survey and even our tele-townhall meeting, the overwhelming majority of our stakeholders believe the time is right for us to change our name in order to better communicate who we are, what we do and where we’re located,” President Tim Foster said in a statement.

Some examples from the list of 20 possible names are Colorado Canyons University, Colorado West University, Colorado Mesa University, University of Western Colorado and Mesa University of Western Colorado.

Find out more about the process on the college’s name change website.

Name changes for both Metro and Mesa would require legislative approval.

What’s on tap:

The University of Colorado Board of Regents continue their meeting, starting with committee sessions at 8:30 a.m. President Bruce Benson will discuss the recommendation to close the journalism school in Boulder with the Academic Affairs Committee. The main meeting is at the Anschutz Medical Campus, Research Complex 2, Room 2100. Agenda

The State Council of Educator Effectiveness meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum, 7711 E. Academy Blvd. in Lowry. Agenda

Aurora Public Schools, in conjunction with the Colorado Children’s Campaign, is hosting a screening of the documentary Waiting for Superman at 5:45 p.m. at Aurora Central High School. Details

Good reads from elsewhere:

Collaborative cuts: Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner interviews a Denver Public Schools parent about shared decision-making on cuts at two city schools. Colorado Public Radio.

Test generation: A liberal magazine takes a close look at Colorado’s burgeoning effort to evaluate teachers based on student growth. The American Prospect.

NYC change: Cathleen Black, the former publishing executive appointed to run the nation’s largest school district, is out after only three months. The New York Times.

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