WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A release on the inadequate school funding ruling states that “nearly one-half of Kansas’ African American students and more than one-third of its Hispanic students are not proficient in reading and math”, skills integral to an adequate education.
Locally, Prisca Barnes, president/CEO of Storytime Village seeks to bridge that gap by serving underserved populations.
“I really think, a lot of times, we look at the issue as someone else’s problem. This is the school district’s problem, this is the government’s problem, this is our problem,” Barnes said.
Storytime Village focuses on inspiring a life-long love for reading by providing access to books and family engagement. Barnes says, it’s no wonder the minority populations aren’t reaching proficiency in other subjects if the child does not know how to read.
“There’s a quote that “these are all our children, we’re going to either benefit from or pay for what they’ve become” and we want to have a successful Wichita and a successful Kansas and literacy is that basic fundamental,” Barnes said.
Local activist Brandon Johnson wrote an article several years ago about the failure of education to young people, particularly people of color.
“It continues to leave our young people behind. When you look at the school to prison pipeline, they look at the lack of proficiency as they’re building new jail cells,” Johnson said.
Johnson believes focusing on managing class size would be a step in the right direction and allow teachers to better reach the students they have.
“You know, teachers can only do so much and we’re not even paying them what we should,” Johnson said.