6th District Buzz
Welcome to RVA 6th!
Welcome to District 6! Home to Richmond's best! Whether you live in Richmond or are just stopping by, take a minute to explore our rich and eclectic district.
Resources for COVID-19
Here are additional resources for those affected by the COVID-19:
Local resources can be found at richmondgov.com, including public health information, support for small businesses, and updates on services and closures.
Visit publichealth.va.gov of updates, information, and actions taken by Commonwealth of Virginia.
Food assistance is available for those who qualify, and Virginians can also find information on meal services for children by texting “food” or “comida” to 877-877.
Information and updates for students and parents from RPS can be found at rvaschools.net, including the availability of meals for children.
Unemployment information is on the Virginia Employment Commission website at vec.virginia.gov.
Advice for managing stress, anxiety, and mental health during the outbreak is available from the CDC at cdc.gov.
Small Business Administration loan information for businesses affected by the outbreak. Small businesses in Richmond are all eligible for disaster loans. More information at sba.gov.
Loan and debt relief resources for students is available through the Department of Education at ed.gov.
Visit the State Department at state.gov for travel guidance, including a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” Global Health Advisory.
I hope you had a great weekend. Lend me your time just for a moment. I want to talk about something that we need to be talking more about - the importance of early childhood reading. But I want to focus on the more troubling part of this, the link between academic achievement and crime.
This is an issue that speaks to many of the deeply-rooted convictions we see, our reservations toward prison operations and our fret about the quality of our public schools. Students not reading at third grade level by the end of the third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school when they should. Now, take those statistics and let's look at students from low-income families. Those students not reading at third grade level are six times less likely to graduate from high school on time.
In the U.S., 43% of adults are reading at an 8th grade level or below. If you take a look at illiteracy numbers, 85% of juveniles in this country are functionally illiterate. And dropouts comprise 90% of those Americans living on welfare and 75% of individuals receiving food stamp assistance. I hope you see why this is crucial and overwhelming.
What do we do? We focus on the right path for literacy - and early childhood is the best time to create that path. We need to tackle this issue right here in Richmond in our public schools. We must lower crime and reduce the school-to-prison pipeline. In addition, we must make certain that our schools have sufficient funding, the class sizes are reasonable, that qualified teachers are in place and have the resources they need, make certain the right programs are in place and ensure parents are being supported. By third grade, students should be going from learning to read to reading to learn.
This is education reform. As a result, I'm at starting an education reform taskforce to address this issue. Please let me know if you would like to join. It's going to take us all to make it happen.
We don't need more students falling behind - especially during the pandemic. And we don't need more juveniles caught up in the court system. Instead of counting beds, let's count the ways we can help rectify this issue and make it happen.
I want to be part of the solution. Let's be clear, succinct, accurate and complete.
I believe by doing so, we are creating safer communities and greater futures for our children. We cannot fail our children - for they are the future.
Ellen F. Robertson
Richmond City Council