The winning communities included San Antonio, Kansas City and Des Moines, as well as other mid-sized and smaller communities.
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The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading cites research that “when children read at proficient levels by third grade, they are more likely to complete high school prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship.” But data shows a wide performance gap between low-income children and others, leading to efforts across the nation to address the problem.
Whaley made education a cornerstone of her term as mayor from Day 1, using her inaugural address to launch Dayton’s City of Learners campaign, to improve student performance and build a stronger workforce for the future. She also championed last fall’s income tax increase, which will provide more than $4 million per year to improve high-quality preschool access in Dayton.
Lieberman has been a leader of Montgomery County’s efforts on the same front, helping to build the multiyear pilot program for increased preschool access. The county also has a long-term workforce goal, aiming to have 60 percent of working-age adults possess at least a 2-year college degree or post-secondary credential by 2025.
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To win the award, communities had to improve outcomes for low-income children in areas such as school readiness, attendance, summer learning and/or grade-level reading; show civic engagement, cross-sector collaboration and inclusiveness; and create a plan for sustainability and bundling proven strategies.
“This year’s All-America Cities are engaging a diverse cross-section of residents, businesses, nonprofits and other stakeholders in the grade-level reading effort, which will help sustain their achievements over time,” said Doug Linkhart, President of the National Civic League.
All-America City winners
Communities honored by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the National Civic League for helping low-income children achieve early school success (in order of population):
San Antonio, Texas
Sarasota & Manatee counties, Fla.
Stockton-San Joaquin County, Calif.
Montgomery County-Dayton, Ohio
Kansas City, Mo.
Lane County, Ore.
Des Moines, Iowa
New Britain, Conn.
Delray Beach, Fla.
Council Bluffs, Iowa