Rep. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) believes that if children can’t read then they don’t deserve to eat.
This Arkansas lawmaker believes that he can get more students reading by putting money on the line—specifically, their lunch money. That’s why he proposed a bill that would cut lunch funding in schools that struggle with reading, and he is working to get others to support the idea. Clark's proposed bill, if passed, would reduce a district’s “national school lunch funding” if the school’s children are struggling with reading. Meaning, Senator Clarke is planning on stealing children's lunch money if they can't read.
Every $10 we raise helps us put this petition in front of over 1,000 Americans!
Please make a $10-25 donation today.
The state funding is "money distributed to school districts based on the concentration of poverty in their student populations." That funding uses data from the federal program to measure poverty in a school district. Yet, students who live in poverty are less likely to have a collection of books at home and a wide range of studies show that children that have access to books at home are more likely to become proficient readers at a much faster rate. Essentially, Senator Clark would like to punish the children who have no choice about living in poverty for not having access to the same resources as other children in Arkansas.
According to the bill, if less than 70 percent of students in a public school from third grade through tenth grade qualify as "ready" or "exceeding" in reading readiness and the district's percentage doesn't increase then the funding could be reduced. If a school district falls below this threshold for one year, it must prove to the Department of Education that "certified personnel have completed the Reading Initiative for Student Excellence professional development on the science of reading" before the next school year begins. After two years, a district would receive funding that is "one level lower" than it would usually receive "based on its percentage of enrolled students who are national school lunch students." If the district fails for a third consecutive year, the bill proposes that it would be "ineligible for National School Lunch state categorical funding" until the percentage is increased.