AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CAMPAIGN FOR GRADE-LEVEL READING NETWORK OF COMMUNITIES, STATES, PROGRAM AND FUNDING PARTNERS, INVESTORS

While it is much too early to predict, we have good reason to be optimistic about continued progress for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. We (all of us) have built the GLR Campaign as interwoven networks of support for community-driven initiatives with broad engagement and bipartisan appeal. The investment of time, talent, energy, dollars and sweat equity have precipitated a movement that bridges many of the usual divides by tapping into the universal aspiration around young children reading. In pursuing this aspiration by focusing on improving school readiness, school attendance and summer learning, most of the local campaigns have avoided the tricky and polarizing governance, standards and accountability issues. Moreover, while catalysts for and contributors to a nationwide movement, the local campaigns are aggregating up into state-based coalitions at a time when states already are being recognized as the locus for decision making, resource allocation and accountability. All this augurs well for the future.
 
Admittedly, there is some irony that just last week the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading took up Medicaid, one of the federal programs that must serve as a cornerstone for any effort to improve the prospects of low-income children. Medicaid is not immune from the overall anxiety around the future of safety net programs. Many of the folks best positioned to know feel confident that, like Head Start, Medicaid is part of the irreducible core for which there is strong bipartisan support. What some suspect and others predict is that the political battles will involve the scope, pace, wisdom and guardrails for devolving additional aspects of Medicaid to the states.
 
As we see it now, the GLR Campaign will forge ahead with its “bigger outcomes” strategy, which includes serving as a platform and distribution channel for innovative, proven and promising programs and practices. We will continue the ongoing effort to distill the best of what we have learned together over the past several years and to use those lessons to inform and engage the makers and shapers of policy in city halls and state capitals across the nation, as well as in Washington, D.C. And as we have from the outset, we will continue to view states as the critical units of change and encourage and support aggregating up the important work now underway in the 285 GLR communities.
 
We have much to accomplish and a long road ahead. Your thoughts, ideas, advice, guidance and counsel are invited, encouraged and appreciated. Thanks so much for all you do.


Ralph Smith
Managing Director

 

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Ernestine Benedict, Chief Communications Officer

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