Centro Hispano and The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation released a new report, Reading Thriving, Together, revealing a new community-driven agenda for education and for the community.
Over a five-month period, 16 community conversations were conducted with residents from 12 different neighborhoods across Reading; 5 were held in Spanish. In-depth interviews were conducted with 36 community leaders across education, non-profits, religious institutions, businesses and other areas.
“City residents expressed with us their desire to want to play a more proactive role when it comes to education while community leaders shared as I do the hope that we can join together to take collective action to enable all young people and our community to thrive. Centro Hispano is committed to this work.” said Michael Toledo, President and CEO of Centro Hispano.
Based on these conversations and interviews, people in Reading are calling for a nine-point education agenda to bring about a more equitable, inclusive, and hopeful path forward for all of Reading’s young people and families.
This agenda includes redefining educational success, strengthening pre-K programs, making English language literacy accessible to all families, creating more mental health support for young people and making education a community enterprise.
Local residents, students, teachers, and community leaders seek meaningful shared action that calls on the community to step forward and ensure that all young people and families have the support and opportunities they need.
Current efforts in Reading are making a real difference for young people and families, but they are not nearly enough to meet the community’s call for action.
“Reading represents what America can be. This will only happen when people come together. In this new report, people say clearly that education is not just the responsibility of local schools, but that it must be a community enterprise,” said Rich Harwood, President and Founder of The Harwood Institute.
Centro Hispano and The Harwood Institute believe deeply that local communities must drive their own change. There are two primary goals of this effort: (1) generate a community-led transformation on education so that every young person in Reading has access to the American Dream; (2) strengthen the civic culture of Reading to take effective, sustainable action. This effort is part of a national initiative supported by the Walton Family Foundation.