Rethink Reading

Council on Great City Schools

Posted by Joel Brown on Oct 18, 2016 6:00:00 AM
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CGCS_60th_final.jpgThis week Reading Plus is attending the annual conference of The Council of Great City Schools. We’ll be meeting with, and learning from, passionate and exceptional educators who represent 68 large city school districts from across the country.

The council’s mission is to promote the cause of urban schools and to advocate for inner-city students through legislation, research and media relations. The council is the only national organization exclusively representing the needs of urban public schools. To provide you some perspective on the scope and importance of its work, the council represents more than 7.2 million students, 420,000 teachers, and 12,000 schools.

My first experience with The Council of Great City Schools was in 2012 when I attended the organization's annual conference, which was held that year in my hometown of Boston. I had been to many K-12 education conferences in my career, and I quickly realized this one was different. After attending just a few sessions, I was struck not only by the passion, excellence, and commitment of these educators, but also how effectively they came together to collaborate, learn, and share. And they did it all with a consistently strong and clear focus on better serving a student population that has been underserved for too long.

All school districts face difficult issues, but for many of our urban schools the issues are especially challenging. I believe there is no better way to positively impact students’ lives than by helping them become proficient readers. The ability to read well is the essential foundation for every student's future success. Reading can open minds, spark interests, and inspire confidence. Educators understand the importance of reading at grade level and the life- changing impact that reading has on students.

We agree with educators that proficient reading is a critical need for all students. That's why Reading Plus is expanding our support of the council's mission by joining the Blue Ribbon Corporate Advisory Group. This group serves as a sounding board for the council's strategies to improve urban public education. The advisory group also explores opportunities for collaborative projects between the business community and a coalition of the nation's largest urban public school systems. My Reading Plus colleagues and I are thrilled to be part of the advisory group.

I’ve always respected professionals who go to work every day to serve their fellow citizens: first responders, medical personnel, the men and women protecting our country, and, of course, our educators. Educators make a significant contribution to their home cities and communities. We should never forget how many children's lives are improved by these professionals. This week we’re lucky to have a not-so-small reminder--those 7.2 million students in our country’s “Great Cities” who are benefiting from the work of committed educators.

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The Reading Plus team is looking forward to contributing to the mission of The Council of Great City Schools this week and in the future.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the council and Reading Plus.