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[Susan notes: What a great idea! A Library Trust Fund gives us a positive alternative to standardized tests. We should all write letters to our local papers lobbying for this very thing.]

Submitted to Dallas Morning News but not published
01/03/2005

To the editor



In an effort to raise achievement among high school students, President Bush proposes to spend nearly one billion dollars for developing new high school tests and for rewarding teachers (The Bush Agenda: Education, January 2). A special focus of this plan is adolescent literacy. I have a suggestion: Invest the one billion in a trust fund, and spend the interest on improving school and public libraries.



The best predictor of reading scores among adolescentsis the amount of recreational reading they do, and research also tells us that when teenagers have access to interesting reading material, most, in fact, read.



The real problem is that those from low-income

families have little access to reading material. They have far fewer books available to them at home, at school, and in their communities. Improving libraries, especially in low-income areas, is the most direct and powerful means of helping these students.



We already have valid means of determining high school achievement; the current plan calls for additional, unnecessary tests that will continue to drain our funds and that will take valuable time from the school day. The Library Trust Fund is a one-time investment that will pay dividends forever.

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Prof. Krashen is the author of The Power of Reading, and has been nominated to serve on the Commission on Reading Research (National Institute for Literacy), intended to assess the status of research in reading that is applicable to reading instruction in grades K through 12.

Stephen Krashen


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