May 2, 2016. ABC8News.
HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – Hundreds gathered in Henrico County Monday evening hoping to bring change to failing schools, mainly in the county’s east end.
Monday night was the 13th Annual RISC Nehemiah Action meeting. RISC is an acronym for “Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities.”
Seventy-five percent of the schools failing their reading SOL tests are in Eastern Henrico County. That statistic is according to test scores provided to RISC.
Sixth-grader Keane Younger knows that statistic all too well. “We have tutors in math and science but no one to teach them how to read,” said Keane Younger. “This is a problem that will continue throughout their life if they don’t get help now.”
“We have tutors in math and science but no one to teach them how to read,” said Keane Younger. “This is a problem that will continue throughout their life if they don’t get help now.”
Keane spoke with other kids standing behind him, urging the crowd to fight for education.
“They want to see a change in our school,” said Keane. “We are not here to cause a problem we are here to stand for each other.”
His mother, Brenita Younger, said she has to speak up for all of Henrico parents.
“Some parents have to work two or three jobs just to survive they don’t have the time or the resources or don’t even know where to go when they have children who can’t read,” said Brenita Younger.
A mother of three, she said won’t stop fighting to ensure that her child’s classmates are all given the education they deserve.
“I will fight to the end for them there’s nothing that I won’t fight for, for them,” said Brenita Younger.
7,583 Henrico students in kindergarten through 8th grade failed their reading assessments in 2015, and Younger said something needs to change.
“We want changes done in eastern Henrico,” she said. “It’s not about race it’s not about all of that stuff, it’s about these children and at the end of the day that’s what we are concerned about.”
School board member Roscoe Cooper was at the meeting and said he is willing to do what it takes to help the children.
“We know that there is a problem with the reading level of our children and their scores and we are going to assess it address and we are going to change it,” Cooper said.
RISC plans to attend the Henrico County School Board meeting later this month.