Help DCPS Kids Gain Access to Books
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The DC Public School system suffers from a clear disparity among surrounding school systems. Compared to neighboring Montgomery County Public School’s overall budget ($2.519 Billion), the district’s budget weighs in at about $701.3M (2.8% of the MCPS budget). While Montgomery County’s system does support more students, most of the students’ needs do not come close to those from within the DC system. Due to the socio-economic status of many DC public school students, DC schools need to provide at the very least two meals each day for its students, with 87 public schools providing 3 or more free meals per day to their students.
The fact that DCPS has to spend more money on basic needs for students, combined with its relatively low budget, limits the amount of money the schools can spend on educational tools, such as books, for its students. A recent study conducted at New York University on the number of books in Anacostia, a low-income area within DC, showed that in total, the area has 5 children’s books ranging from preschool to young adult (0 preschool books and 5 non preschool books). These numbers are shocking, even when compared to the similar, low-income area of Hamtrack, Detroit, which has 80 preschool books and 196 non preschool books (Nueman 13). These statistics suggest that changes must be made to support the children within DC Public Schools.
The effects of this situation on DCPS kids are detrimental to their academic success, and often follow them into adulthood. Without early access to books, kids have a harder time learning to read and write as well as learning in other subjects. Moreover, it can cause them to lack motivation in school, which lowers their chance of graduation and/or job security in the future. That is why we want to see more federal funding in the future of the DC Public School System. The system’s current budget has proved inadequate in providing kids with the necesssary resources to be as successful as their peers in private schools. Furthermore, developing a library system in the schools could provide students with safe spaces in their communities where learning and growth is encouraged. Thank you, and we hope you will take the time to sign our petition!
Maggie Maynard, Ally McKenzie, and Mary Beth Silva
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