WNPR

New Haven Mayor Pushes Vision To Become 'The City That Reads'

May 18, 2017

New Haven is looking for partnerships and outside funding to help improve reading and literacy in the city’s public schools. This follows a new commissioned report, which includes a few costly recommendations.

A 36-member commission, established by Mayor Toni Harp, released its final report this week on how to get all students to grade-level reading and improve literacy for adult residents. It’s part of the mayor’s 10-point educational improvement plan to make New Haven “The City that Reads.”

The so called Blue Ribbon Commission outlined recommendations that range from curriculum revisions and teacher training to more costly suggestions that include two new cabinet-level positions, more bilingual educators, and a city-wide office of early childhood.

The question now is how to afford these measures in the wake of budget cuts to towns and schools. At a recent press conference, Harp said she’s hoping that’s where New Haven-area nonprofits will step in.

“I think that we’re going to have to get outside money to pay for the staff that’s required," Harp said. "But I think there are enough people who are interested in this issue -- from our Community Foundation, from Yale University, and the hospital -- that I think we can get people to invest in this.”

According to the new report, New Haven public schools fall below the state average in standardized tests in English, language arts, math, and science.