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Education


Ohio adds community learning centers
Grants are focused on reading skills
Story by BILL RICE


 
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Ohio is adding 61 locations to its roster of federally funded centers that help school kids improve their reading skills. StateImpact Ohio's Bill Rice reports the funding comes from the 21st Century Learning Centers grant reauthorized under the No Child Left Behind education law.

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The U.S. Department of Education has been doling out funds to states for after-school programs since No Child Left Behind took effect in 2002.  This year, Ohio received $45 million -- up from $43 million last year. It will divvy the money among 186 learning centers already in the program and 61 new ones. 

The grants are aimed at high-poverty communities and other areas where kids attend low-performing schools. 

This year saw some changes in the Ohio program. Most notable is a narrower focus on boosting reading skills -- primarily among kids in kindergarten through fourth-grade, but also for older kids at risk of dropping out. 

“We have too many third graders that are not proficient in reading on the OAA,” says John Charlton of the Ohio Department of Education. “We have 40 percent of our high school graduates who attend public colleges and universities who have to take remedial courses in either reading or math because they didn’t get the skills they needed while they were in high school.”

In previous years the Community Learning Centers grants funded programs only in locations outside of schools during evenings and weekends, or when school is not in session.  This year, in-school programs are also being funded, thanks to a waiver giving the states freedom from some of the mandates of No Child Left Behind.

 

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