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|NUMBER 137||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||JULY 1997|
'AMERICA READS' IS A BAD READ
In conjunction with the summit on volunteerism, President Bill Clinton sent legislation to Congress for his America Reads project. He wants $2.5 billion to hire 25,000 reading specialists who will supervise a million volunteers to help the 40 percent of 3rd graders who can't read.
Up to 11,000 of the reading specialists would be drawn from among AmeriCorps volunteers who receive living allowances and $5,000 a year for college in exchange for community service. Some 160 colleges and universities have pledged to provide thousands of other volunteer students for this learn-to-read program.
Clinton's proposal apparently does not include printed materials for the volunteers to use. He said they would "coordinate with in-school reading programs." That must mean more Whole Language, since that's what most schools use, despite the conclusive evidence that intensive, systematic phonics is the proven best way to teach children to read.