Thursday, September 07, 2000

Taft challenges community to help students learn to read

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Ohio Gov. Bob Taft on Wednesday called on Cincinnati residents to volunteer their time to help students learn to read.

        “I hope you will all set your goals very high,” Mr. Taft said to a meeting of the Cincinnatus Association at the Mayerson Academy in Corryville. “Without good reading skills in the elementary years, children will not have the strong foundation they need.”

        Mr. Taft told a group of more than 150 about the OhioReads program, and his goals to have 20,000 volunteer reading tutors in the state's public schools.

        There are now 13,000 reading tutors; 600 of them are at work in 30 Cincinnati Public Schools.

        OhioReads is making an impact, Mr. Taft said.

        He cited as examples:

        • 24 Cincinnati Public Schools students tutored by a group of Cincinnati Bible College students increased their scores on the Ohio Proficiency Test by an average of 11 points.

        • In the past two years, 60 percent of the state's fourth-graders passed the reading proficiency test, up from 46 percent.

        “There are no good unskilled jobs left,” Mr. Taft said. “Our students must be able to read, write, and compute at higher levels than ever before.”

        With that in mind, the membership of the Cincinnatus Association agreed to support and participate in CincinnatiReads, the local OhioReads chapter. The group also voted to support passage of the 6-mill levy request on the November ballot.

Brewster Rhoads
Brewster Rhoads
        The association also presented two education awards Wednesday:

        • The John E. Pepper Education Community Service Award was given to Brewster Rhoads, a volunteer for Cincinnati Public Schools.

        Mr. Rhoads has championed school levies since 1991, is a member of the local and national chapters of Parents for Public Schools, and created the Kids Voting campaign, among numerous other activities.

        • The James N. Jacobs Award, which honors a Cincinnati Public Schools administrator, was presented to Superintendent Steven Adamowski.

        Mr. Adamowski was recognized for his efforts to hold schools accountable, reduce central office staff and develop a national model for teacher evaluation and compensation.

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