LT. GOVERNOR BROWN KICKS OFF “READ ACROSS MARYLAND” MONTH
Launches Weinberg Foundation’s Book Drive to Benefit Baltimore School Library Project
BALTIMORE, Md. (March 1, 2013) – Today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown joined representatives from the Weinberg Foundation to kick off “Read Across Maryland” month and launch the Foundation’s second annual community-wide Book Drive as part of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project. The event took place at Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary, one of three schools in Baltimore City selected to receive a new state-of-the-art library this year through Weinberg’s program.
“Maryland has the best schools in the country thanks to the hard work of teachers, parents and students, and collaborative initiatives like Read Across Maryland and the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project. The success of these partnerships is a testament to what is possible when we come together to provide our children the best pathways to the future,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Governor O'Malley and I are proud of the record investments we've made in public education, and we will continue to make the tough choices necessary to ensure we give every Maryland child a world-class education and continue to open doors of opportunity to all students.”
The Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project is a multi-year, collaborative effort engaging leaders from multiple organizations and across sectors to design, build, equip, and staff new or renovated elementary/middle school libraries in high-poverty neighborhoods where many students face academic challenges. The Weinberg Foundation has committed $5 million to the first four years of what is expected to be a legacy project. The first three libraries were dedicated in fall 2012 and three more are scheduled to open in fall 2013 with a total of 12 planned through 2015.
“The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation wishes to thank Lieutenant Governor Brown for helping to make today’s Book Drive kick-off so special for the students, teachers, and faculty at Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School,” said Rachel Garbow Monroe, Weinberg Foundation President. “The State of Maryland has been a magnificent partner, among many, in supporting the Baltimore Library Project. Together, we are turning dreams into reality in the form of transformed school libraries that will provide more young people with the tools for life success.”
This is the second year the Weinberg Foundation will be holding a community-wide Book Drive to support the Library Project. Last year 13,000 books (valued at $75,000) were collected across 100 sites in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The State of Maryland partners with the Weinberg Foundation for the Book Drive by placing designated collection bins at 22 Motor Vehicle Administration locations, the State House, William Donald Schaefer Tower and the West Preston Street Complex in Baltimore.
Prior to the press conference, Lt. Governor Brown celebrated the start of “Read Across Maryland” month with fourth graders from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor by reading Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go. This year marks the fifth annual “Read Across Maryland” month. The O’Malley-Brown Administration is once again partnering with the Maryland State Education Association (MSDE), the State Department of Education the Maryland Library Association and the Maryland Association of School Librarians to encourage educators, parents and children to read 30 minutes for 30 days as part of a “30 for 30” theme. Locally, everyone-from schools to libraries to community centers to churches to hospitals to bookstores-is invited to host local events to celebrate and promote reading 30 minutes for 30 days.
“Reading is not only an essential skill that is a cornerstone for academic and career success; it also is a great deal of fun!,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery. “Read Across America helps spark an interest in reading, one which all educators and parents hope will last a lifetime.”
“We are proud to be partnering with the O’Malley-Brown Administration again this year to promote the importance of reading through Read Across Maryland,” said Betty Weller, MSEA President. “We’ve seen participation in Read Across Maryland continue to grow and we look forward to seeing even more students and Maryland citizens discovering the power of a great book and making reading a priority not only this month, but for the rest of their lives.”
Maryland’s public schools serve as a national model for quality public education. For the fifth year in a row, Maryland’s public schools were ranked number one in the nation by Education Week Magazine. This year, Maryland elementary school students achieved their highest MSA scores ever in both reading and math. Maryland’s middle school students achieved their highest scores ever in math. And according to the College Board, Maryland high school students rank number one in AP success for the seventh consecutive year. Maryland students are also graduating high school at the highest rate in history.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration remains committed to protecting K-12 education by closing the gap in “readiness” for school, college, and the workforce; enhancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education; expanding career and technology education (CTE); and recruiting, retaining, and supporting world-class educators and principals. Despite making more cuts to state spending than any previous administration, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has chosen to make targeted investments in priorities like education and job creation. The proposed FY2014 budget invests a record $6 billion in K-12 education aid, as well as $336 million in school construction funding and upgrades. The total school construction commitment under the O’Malley-Brown Administration to replace temporary learning shacks with modern, state-of-the-art classrooms now stands at nearly $2.4 billion.
For more information on Read Across Maryland month, please visit www.readacrossmaryland.org <http://www.