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WILTON MANORS (CBS4) – Hundreds of members of Broward churches gathered Thursday night at St. Clement’s Catholic Church in Wilton Manors to call for better reading instruction for elementary school students.

Thousands of third graders in Broward County cannot read at their grade level. A group called Bold Justice wants to change that.

Bishop Thomas Douglas made the appeal. “If those scores go up, less kids would drop out of school, it means the crime rate would be impacted,” Bishop Douglas said. “We recognize there’s a connection between low reading scores in elementary level and graduation rates in high school.”

Bold Justice said the numbers show that 23 schools – including Larkdale Elementary and Dillard Elementary — have less than 55 percent of students passing the reading portion of the FCAT.

The group says more than 5-thousand third graders are not reading at grade level.

They want a reading program called Direct Instruction implemented. Bold Justice said results show the program has had success in low-performing schools.

School district leaders — including Superintendent Jim Notter, Board Chair Benjamin Williams and Member Nora Rupert — attended the meeting that had more of a feeling of a church revival than an education summit.

School officials promised to look into the program.

“We must diagnose the needs of students,” said School Board Chairman Benjamin Williams. “We must prescribe programs based on those needs. It could be that program. It could be other programs.”

Bishop Douglas put school leaders on the spot. He asked them if they would agree to implement the program at 5 schools for a cost of $700,000.

Superintendent Notter said with budget cuts looming, he could not guarantee the money for the program.

Miranda Carmichael has two children in Broward County schools. She believes the district should find the money to pay for the program.

She called it “appalling” that Notter said the district doesn’t have the money. She also believed the district places the emphasis on the wrong things in the classroom.

“I think there’s too much focus on testing and assessments than there are on each individual child’s achievement,” she said.

Comments (6)
  1. Robert says:

    Why dont the churches start a reading program that would be a positive first step

    1. Angela says:

      Many churches are already doing that. My church has an after care program with tutoring as well as a summer reading program to help kids catch up. What we find that is that kids do want to learn and they end up excelling in school because of what we do. Now why can ‘t that be provided in the schools?

  2. alejandroomi says:

    $700,000 is approximately Notter’s salary for a year and a half – IT WOULD TEACH OVER 5,000 STUDENT’S HOW TO READ. I think there is someting wrong in this current picture, If the individuals resident’s of the County are not listened to by those in authority, we, the people of Broward County that care, and attend Church must (there were 1,500 of us, from very different denominations, gathered at St. Clemnets). We must challange those ithat have been abusing our County for too long.

    By the way THOSE CHURCH PEOPLE ARE CITIZENS AND RESIDENT’S OF BROWARD COUNTY and we demand BOLD Justice! – Justice will be done!

    1. rausky says:

      If the “Church” would stop abusing children,and stealing from the poor,they’d have more money to start their own reading programs. The “Church” likes to protest, yet they haven’t done a positive thing for mankind.
      They started religious wars in Europe that killed millions of people, just because they disagreed with their dogma,and the thug methods of Catholicizing people.
      The Church needs to reform and clean itself before they can protest injustice.

  3. Joe King says:

    What an utter waste of time. Some vendor probably promised the good reverend a little something something to promote a program that studies indicate does not promote reading content and understanding, in other words a bandaid. There are plenty of resources already available in our schools and our wonderful media centers . Maybe if these parents spent time working with their children instead of waving signs and demanding that everyone else do it for them we would increase the graduation rates.

  4. Read with your child or don't complain says:

    The problem is not the instruction. Teachers work their butts off. The problem is parents that don’t make any time to spend with their kids reading and monitoring homework. I know where you can find FREE tutoring for your child- one on one tutoring. Go look in the mirror- it’s YOU!!! Stop looking at school as a free place to dump your kids for the day. There are some parents that can’t even remember the name of their child’s teacher, can’t take 5 minutes to ask what their kids are learning about or check over their child’s work, can’t take 15 minutes each night to listen to their child read, can’t take 5 minutes to read school newsletters that come home… Yet you scream and place blame when your child fails the FCAT. It takes a village to raise a child. YOU are part of that village!!!!! Don’t have children before you realize that being a parent is your most important job and it is a lot of work.

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