In a Sun Journal article about big schools (March 27), Farwell Elementary School Principal Althea Walker was quoted as saying, “The federal government decides on how many beds for prison in the future by the number of students reading below grade by the third grade.”

That isn’t actually true. It is an urban legend that was proven untrue in 2010.

However, as noted in a July 2, 2012 article in The Atlantic, “A student who can’t read on grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time. Add poverty to the mix and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer.”

Thirteen times. That is scary, and undoubtedly does lead to crime for many.

Steve Mortimer, Poland Spring

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