Federal Court Confirms Literature Is a Vital Component of Education

Photograph courtesy of Element5 Digital, Unsplash

“The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth”  Dutch Philosopher and Scholar of the northern Renaissance, Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (1466-1536), The Erasmus Reader



The right to basic education should be a given in a developed country of the 21st Century. Apparently it’s not:  The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals found it necessary to affirm last Thursday that the right to a basic education, meaning one that provides access to literary education, is a fundamental right under the Constitution. The court made this holding in the case of Gary B. v. Whitmer, a lawsuit brought by students of several of Detroit’s worst-performing schools. The case will be sent back to a lower court for a new ruling.


Photograph courtesy of U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / First Lady Barbara Bush at the 1989 UNESCO International Literacy Day celebration / Public Domain

“Plaintiffs in this appeal are students at several of Detroit’s worst- performing public schools. They credit this substandard performance to poor conditions within their classrooms, including missing or unqualified teachers, physically dangerous facilities, and inadequate books and materials. Taken together, Plaintiffs say these conditions deprive them of a basic minimum education, meaning one that provides a chance at foundational literacy*.

“In 2016, Plaintiffs sued several Michigan state officials, who they say are responsible for these abysmal conditions in their schools. Plaintiffs allege that state actors are responsible, as opposed to local entities, based on the state’s general supervision of all public education, and also on the state’s specific interventions in Detroit’s public schools. The state argues that it recently returned control to local officials, and so it is now the wrong party to sue.” United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

* Functional Literacy: “reading and writing skills that are inadequate to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level.”  Shaking Up the Schoolhouse, How to Support and Sustain Education Innovation, Phillip C. Schlechty


PEN America filed an amicus brief in support of the students’ position that access to literacy is a fundamental right. In response to the news, PEN America’s deputy director of free expression research and policy, James Tager, said:

“This ruling affirms one of the most commonsense yet profound concepts in society: There is a fundamental right to read. Literacy is the spark that animates the First Amendment. Without access to literacy, freedom of speech and of expression are just words on a page, inaccessible to broad segments of the population. In order for our democracy to function, every citizen must have the opportunity to fully partake in public life. As this case continues, we hope that the circuit court’s decision will translate into real change for these students who are fighting for their own right to a basic education.”

RELATED:

The content of this post is courtesy of the United States Court of Appeals, Wikipedia, Shaking Up the Schoolhouse, and PEN America.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


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For Projects U.S. and Elsewhere: The U.S. Library of Congress 2020 Literacy Awards, open through March 6th

Courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress

“More than the divides of race, class, or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, our culture has been carved up into radically distinct, unbridgeable, and antagonistic entities that no longer speak the same language and cannot communicate. This is the divide between a literate, marginalized minority and those who have been consumed by an illiterate mass culture.” Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle



Applications are being accepted for the 2020 Library of Congress Literacy Awards through March 6th. The awards are made possible through the generosity of philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.

The Literacy Awards, which were created by the Library of Congress and Rubenstein, were first conferred in 2013 to honor and support organizations working to promote literacy both in the United States and abroad. The awards encourage the continuing development of innovative methods for promoting literacy and the wide dissemination of the most effective practices.

The awards are intended to draw public attention to the importance of literacy and the need to promote literacy and encourage reading.

Three prizes will be awarded in 2020:

  • The David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000) is awarded for an outstanding and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels. The prize is awarded to an organization based either inside or outside the United States that has demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth in its commitment to the advancement of literacy.
  • The American Prize ($50,000) is awarded for a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels or the national awareness of the importance of literacy. The prize is awarded to an organization that is based in the United States.
  • The International Prize ($50,000) is awarded for a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in a country other than the United States. The prize is awarded to an organization that is based either inside or outside the United States.

Other organizations will be honored for their best practices in various areas of literacy promotion.

The Librarian of Congress will make the final selection of the prize winners with recommendations from an advisory board of literacy experts.

The application rules and a downloadable application form may be accessed at read.gov/literacyawardsApplications must be received no later than midnight Eastern Time on March 6, 2020.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program is administered by the Learning and Innovation Office, a unit of the Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement at the Library of Congress.

Library of Congress flag / public domain

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


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Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Compilation & Curriculum; U.S. Library of Congress Literacy Awards

POETRY IS GOOD FOR DEVELOPMENTAL LEARNING In child education, children’s verbal and written skills are somewhat underdeveloped. Poetry helps by teaching in rhythm, stringing words together with a beat helps cognitive understanding of words and where they fit. Additionally, it teaches children the art of creative expression, which most found highly lacking in the new-age educational landscape. In essence, poetry gives them a great tool for developing one’s self.” MORE Robert Lee Brewer, Senior Editor of Writers’ Digest



READ A POEM TO A CHILD WEEK

September 23rd – September 28th 2019

The compilation and curriculum are the result of a collaboration among 100,000 Poets for Change, Florida State University, and Reading Is Fundamental with selections from The John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection of Florida State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives.

Download the Poetry Compilation for Readers.pdf

Download the curriculum Simple ways to make poetry engaging 2.0  and the poetry workbook.

Freely accessible Sound Cloud playlist of 100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Initiative



“As centuries of dictators have known, an illiterate crowd is the easiest to rule; since the craft of reading cannot be untaught once it has been acquired, the second-best recourse is to limit its scope.”  Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading



Three organizations working to expand literacy and promote reading in the United States and worldwide will be awarded the 2019 Library of Congress Literacy Awards at the National Book Festival gala, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced yesterday.

Hayden and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein will award the top prizes to: ProLiteracy Worldwide of Syracuse, New York; American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults of Baltimore; and ConTextos of Chicago.

David M. Rubenstein

The Literacy Awards, originated by Rubenstein in 2013, honor organizations doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work. They spotlight the need for communities worldwide to unite in working for universal literacy.

“Literacy is the ticket to learning, opportunity and empowerment on a global scale,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress is proud to honor and celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary organizations in their efforts to advance reading levels and give people the foundation for a better life.”

Prizes and Recipients

David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000): ProLiteracy Worldwide, Syracuse, New York
ProLiteracy Worldwide advances and supports programs to help adults acquire literacy skills needed to function more effectively in their daily lives. It has 1,000 member programs across 50 states and works with 30 partners in 25 countries to provide a wide range of adult literacy and basic education services to vulnerable populations. ProLiteracy builds capacity among frontline literacy providers by modeling proven instructional approaches, developing affordable, evidence-based learning resources, and providing professional development and technical assistance. ProLiteracy was formed by the 2002 merger of Laubach Literacy International (founded in 1955) and Literacy Volunteers of America (founded in 1962). For more than 60 years, ProLiteracy has scaled successful practices and driven advocacy efforts by activating its grassroots network, resulting in a broad and sustained effort to improve and advance adult literacy at the community level.

American Prize ($50,000): American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, Baltimore
Established in 1919, the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults is a service agency that assists blind and deaf-blind persons in securing reading matter, educates the public about blindness, provides specialized aids and appliances to the blind, gives consultation to governmental and private agencies serving the blind, offers assistance to those losing vision in their later years, offers services to blind children and their parents, and works toward improving the quality of life for the blind and deaf-blind. This includes services such as free braille books, free braille calendars and free white canes. Central to the organization’s work has been a commitment to braille literacy and the knowledge that braille is the only true means for literacy for the blind.

International Prize ($50,000): ConTextos, Chicago
ConTextos brings literacy to schools, prisons and communities in El Salvador via two programs: Soy Lector (I’m a Reader) and Soy Autor (I’m an author). The Soy Lector Program trains local community members and teachers to develop libraries to encourage reading and the discussion of ideas in the community and schools. The Soy Autor Program encourages youth affected by violence to write their memoirs. Through this writing exercise, they work through the effect that violence has had on their life, either as a victim or perpetrator. In the process, participants develop critical literacy skills. The program has been replicated in Guatemala and Honduras and continues to grow. To date, ConTextos has created 84 libraries across El Salvador; 11,092 students have access to high-quality books; and 853 young authors have published their memoirs.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program is also honoring 15 organizations for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. These best practice honorees are:

  • Bring Me a Book, Redwood City, California
  • The Conscious Connect, Springfield, Ohio
  • Friends of Matènwa, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Hartford Public Library, Hartford, Connecticut
  • The Jane Stern Dorado Community Library, Dorado, Puerto Rico
  • Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, New York City
  • LitWorld International Inc., New York City
  • Meridian Library District, Meridian, Idaho
  • Nal’ibali Trust, Cape Town, South Africa
  • One World Education, Washington, D.C.
  • The PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Washington, D.C.
  • Razia’s Ray of Hope, Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • Ready for Reading, Dorset, Vermont
  • Riecken Community Libraries, Washington, D.C.
  • Western Massachusetts Writing Project, Amherst, Massachusetts

David M. Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group. He is a major benefactor of the Library of Congress and the chairman of the Library’s lead donor group, the James Madison Council. More information on the awards is available at read.gov/literacyawards.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.



ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS LITERACY AWARDS APPLICATIONS OPEN

Books on the bookshelves
And stacked on the floor
Books kept in baskets
And propped by the door
Books in neat piles
And in disarray
Books tucked in closets
And books on display
Books filling crannies
And books packed in nooks
Books massed in windows
And mounded in crooks
Libraries beckon
And bookstores invite
But book-filled rooms welcome
Us back home at night!
―© L.R. Knost, an award-winning author, feminist, and social justice activist, is the founder and director of the children’s rights advocacy and family consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, and Editor-in-Chief of Holistic Parenting Magazine

Photo courtesy of Spictacular and generously released into the public domain.



Applications are being accepted for the 2019 Library of Congress Literacy Awards through March 8. According to the library’s public relations office, hese awards are made possible through the generosity of philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.

The Literacy Awards, which were created by the Library of Congress and Rubenstein, were first conferred in 2013 to honor and support organizations working to promote literacy both in the United States and abroad. The awards encourage the continuing development of innovative methods for promoting literacy and the wide dissemination of the most effective practices. They are intended to draw public attention to the importance of literacy and the need to promote literacy and encourage reading.

Three prizes will be awarded in 2019:

  • The David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000) is awarded for an outstanding and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels. The prize is awarded to an organization based either inside or outside the United States that has demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth in its commitment to the advancement of literacy.
  • The American Prize ($50,000) is awarded for a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels or the national awareness of the importance of literacy. The prize is awarded to an organization that is based in the United States.
  • The International Prize ($50,000) is awarded for a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in a country other than the United States. The prize is awarded to an organization that is based either inside or outside the United States.
    Other organizations will be honored for their best practices in various areas of literacy promotion.

The Librarian of Congress will make the final selection of the prize winners with recommendations from an advisory board of literacy experts.

The application rules and a downloadable application form may be accessed HERE.  Applications must be received no later than midnight Eastern Time on March 8, 2019.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program is administered by the Center for the Book, a unit of the Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement at the Library of Congress. Congress created the Library’s Center for the Book in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading. It has become a national force for reading and literacy promotion with affiliates in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, visit read.gov.

*****

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov.


ABOUT

Testimonials

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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”


The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton