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[Susan notes: Stephen Krashen reminds us that there are lots of budget items that deserve reconsideration.]

Submitted to Columbus Dispatch but not published

To the editor

How to Spend $1.25 Million

Columbus City Schools plans to spend $1.25 million on staff development to "close the achievement gap" ("Columbus schools get $1.25 million for teacher training," Feb. 9).

There is an easier way. Much of the achievement gap is a result of the fact that students from low-income families have little access to books at home, in their communities and at school.

There is strong evidence that providing books results in more reading, and more reading means better reading, better writing, increased vocabulary, improved spelling, and better control of complex grammatical structures.

My suggestion: Invest the money in a fund for improving school library collections and supporting librarians. At 4% interest, the fund will yield $50,000 per year, or $10 per student. This one-time investment can provide print-rich environments for all students in a short time, close much of the achievement gap, and keep it closed.

Stephen Krashen

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