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Catalogue Blog

In the News…

This week’s news articles have a specific focus on education funding, initiatives, and events right here in the District. Education is really important to us here in the Catalogue, so be sure to browse our participating nonprofits who focus on improving education daily for kids throughout the greater Washington area!

National Spelling Bee kicks off with a new twist – vocabulary tests (Washington Post) Tomorrow begins the 86th Annual National Spelling Bee, which is taking place right here in Washington, DC, in National Harbor. This event promotes literacy and the power of words through rounds of intensely competitive play. In this event, televised on ESPN, the winner, who could be anywhere from 8 to 14 years old, will walk away with a bevy of prizes, including a cool $30,000. This year, the competition is so strong that an additional ‘definition’ section has been added to online preliminary examinations, where spellers are asked to not just spell the word but to explain its meaning.

DC City Council Approves FY2014 Budget (Washington Examiner, Washington Post, DC Fair Budget Coalition) Last week’s new budget approval by the DC City Council left many pleasantly surprised by the speedy (in the political world) results. Under new Chairman of the Council Mendelson, Mayor Gray’s “One City Fund” became the “Innovation Fund”, but still allocated $15 million for competitive non-profit grants. While the City Council has received some criticism for its budget allocation (for example, of the record-high budget growth of 6% from last year, only 1% of the growth was added to the Education budget), new public transportation and affordable transportation funding are certainly a step in the right direction.

Strawberries and Salad greens Day is TODAY (District of Columbia website) Today, local public school students will receive a very special treat at lunch: local salad greens and fresh strawberries from farms right around the DC-VA-MD area. In this relatively new initiative, the DC Education Committee seeks to educate both about nutrition and about the importance of eating locally. Through this interactive and tasty event, young students all over the District will get a great education in healthy and local food choices.

Fighting to Read

Over the past few weeks, we’ve written about the importance of the DC One City fund as a support for the nonprofit sector (see posts here and here). At the same time, adult education advocates have waged another local budget battle over funding for the Pathways to Adult Literacy Fund. Yesterday, Catalogue nonprofit Academy of Hope Executive Director Lecester Johnson joined Community Foundation for the National Capital Region President Terri Lee Freeman to publish an op-ed in the Washington Post about this issue.

Johnson and Freeman tell the stories of Academy of Hope students who have changed their lives by completing a GED program. They also share compelling reasons for why adult literacy is so crucial – not only in general, but specifically in the District of Columbia:

More than 64,000 D.C. adults lack a high school credential. With limited basic math, reading and digital literacy skills, these residents have difficulty following written instructions, completing paperwork, communicating effectively with colleagues or helping their children with homework. This undermines the job security of workers, the economic viability of local businesses and the well-being of families…

Literacy is one of those root problems that, if addressed with serious investments, will pay off in multiple ways. For instance, earning a diploma is not only good for adult students; it also is good for their children. Parents with strong literacy skills can better help their children do homework, study and succeed in school. And young adults whose parents have a high school diploma are more likely to complete high school than are those whose parents do not, according to a 2012 Urban Institute report.

The DC City Council is still making decisions on the FY2014 budget. You can read more about current hearing and decisions online here, and lend support to those fighting for adult literacy programs here.