There’s one thing that no one can agree on, and that’s politics.
Before you stop reading, afraid that this is some sort of propaganda, it’s not. In fact, this post is about one thing I think we all can agree on (at least, I’m going to assume that because you’re reading this post you have some interest in the topic at hand), and that’s books.
Both sides like to save money. But the estimated cost of illiteracy to businesses and taxpayers is $20 billion per year. Yup. Billion. That’s a lot of wasted money, especially when you consider the sad and ironic truth that our teachers aren’t paid nearly enough.
Before you start saying, “Well MY candidate promises this and this about improving schools,” have any actually said anything as simple as “we need to promote reading”? Sure, they’re all WRITING books, in fact, roughly 58 candidates from the past 15 years have written over 150 books between them. Clearly they’re concerned with adults reading what they have to say. How does that help future generations?
Reading books does what no other media can do. It builds imaginations, it builds neural pathways, it fosters ideas. Movies can never do that. Sure, they have their place, but watching movies is what you do when you want to be entertained. If you want to be enthralled and involved, you read. KIDS need to read. One study shows that creating a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months (from Harris, Louis. An Assessment of the Impact of First Book’s Northeast Program. January 2003).
Teachers are buying books for their classrooms out of their own, underpaid pockets. Why? Because THEY know what they’re doing and care enough to do it selflessly. So when statistics show that illiteracy has such a huge impact on education, why aren’t we looking at the most simplistic fix instead of newer, fancier tests.
This isn’t a left or right wing idea. It’s just logic. Let’s all unite under the campaign of books.
Because that’s what it comes down to. Get kids more books. Heck, get EVERYONE more books. Make reading THE priority. When a presidential candidate makes books (and NOT just to sell their own!) and reading his or her main platform, then I’ll listen.