Opportunity gaps can be addressed with Vision To Learn’s simple, proven solution.
Vision To Learn, the nation’s largest non-profit providing free eye exams and free glasses to children in low-income communities, responded on Tuesday to the publication of test scores released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as NAEP.
For 2017 reading and mathematics tests in grades 4 and 8, the national results remained flat overall compared to the comparable 2015 results. For the reading tests, 37% of fourth-graders and 36% of eighth-graders earned scores of proficient or higher. In mathematics, 40% of fourth-graders in public schools scored proficient or higher, while 33% of eighth-graders received marks of proficient or higher in the nation overall. Most notably, the gap between the highest and lowest performing students widened nationally. Click here for the full NAEP Results.
“An effective way to improve children’s learning is to address their uncorrected vision issues,” said Ann Hollister, Executive Director of Vision To Learn. “Vision To Learn can help tackle inequality and improve education outcomes.”
VTL’s mobile clinics visit schools across the country, test children’s vision on-site at school, and provide glasses to children who need them. In a 2013 study of Vision To Learn’s work by Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, researchers found that boys’ math grades jumped eight percent in the first year after receiving glasses. The organization’s funding model relies on a unique public-private partnership that includes public Medicaid dollars and private philanthropy.
An estimated two million students nationwide lack the glasses they need at school. VTL serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach children; more than 89% of kids served by the non-profit live in poverty, and 87% are kids of color. To date VTL has screened about 550,000 children, provided eye exams to more than 120,000, and supplied glasses to about 95,000 – all free of charge to the kids, families and schools.
In the next five years, the goal is to provide glasses to all 2 million children who need them across the U.S. in the K-12 system.