Reading is a right

Education needs to be more of a priority amid other neighborhood issues.

Since late October, North Philadelphia’s residents have faced issues of a possible on-campus stadium, student conduct and neighborhood schools still without a budget.

The region, however, currently faces another issue: a considerable amount of its adult population cannot read.

This problem is widespread across the city, as we reported this week that 550,000 adults cannot fill out a job application because of their low literacy. Additionally, more than half of the adults older than 25 in North Philadelphia have a high school diploma or less.

Although we can’t prove there’s a correlation between poor public schools and low literacy rates, the reading levels of most schools near Temple are low compared to others throughout Philadelphia.

According to last year’s School Progress reports compiled by the School District of Philadelphia, 29 percent of students at Tanner G. Duckrey School are reading at their grade level. Thirty-four percent are doing so at General George G. Meade School, and 34 percent are on par at Paul L. Dunbar School. The trend is similar for most public schools near Main Campus.

It’s understandable why students struggle at these schools, given cutbacks in state funding and that the state legislature still hasn’t fully passed a budget that was due June 30.

We call on both city and state politicians to better fund North Philadelphia’s public schools, because being taught how to read should be a right, not a privilege.

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