August 21, 2017

Improving public school reading with eye glasses

Politico - Beginning in May 2016, the city of Baltimore assembled a public-private coalition made up of its health department, the public school system, Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Education, eyeglass retailer Warby Parker, and a national nonprofit called Vision To Learn. The three-year program, called Vision for Baltimore, plans to visit 150 schools over the course of the study and screen 60,000 students, making it the biggest study of its kind. The data officials expect to glean could radically alter how school systems across the country approach one of the most difficult and consequential problems in modern education. It may well be that the solution to the persistent gap in reading proficiency is not instructional, but a simple health issue that could be addressed with a pair eyeglasses that could cost a couple of hundred dollars at the mall.

... About 100 students, a fourth of Worthy-Owens’ school’s total, received the glasses in March. Though there are no hard data yet on reading proficiency, Worthy-Owens said teachers at her school have noticed those students who received and regularly wear glasses from V4B have improved in the classroom. The glasses have even boosted student self-esteem: Her school spotlights the students for wearing their glasses on a bulletin board, she said, and none of them have been bullied. She attributes this to the way they promote the “coolness” of wearing them.

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