United Way works to end America’s education crisis
Teachers estimate that over 30% and in some cases up to 50% of children are not ready when they arrive at their first day of kindergarten. Only four school districts out of 14 in Champaign County met the No Child Left Behind guideline for 3rd grade reading. Up to third grade children are learning to read. From third grade on they are reading to learn. According to the most recent data, this county is the most educated in the state of Illinois. And yet, almost 62% attending the local community college for the first time enroll in remedial reading, writing or math courses.
We can’t focus on high school alone. High school dropouts are 12 years in the making, usually starting early childhood education behind schedule. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education on a birth to 21 continuum.
Champaign County is well educated and yet concern about educational achievement for all, especially our children remains high. The United Way survey found interviewees from business, government and health care are troubled by less than acceptable academic achievement of large numbers of school age children. If children do not achieve academic success it affects many aspects of adult life. The opportunity to earn a living wage, the ability to be self sufficient, the attainment of advanced education and training, are just a few of the aspects of quality of life predicated on school success.
How United Way is Helping
United Way of Champaign County is a partner at the table during community discussions on educataion. Through our office we focus significant resources on Kindergarten readiness. We have also invested $425,988 into 15 education-focused programs: