First Lady Starts Literacy Week at WKU

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Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear is making her way around the state for the 2013 Literacy Celebration Week".

She was in Bowling Green Monday to see what is being done to improve education.

2012 state statistics say one in four children in Kentucky are in poverty.

As a former teacher, First Lady Beshear is focusing her efforts on education and literacy to improve the economy.

She toured the Bowling Green Housing Authority Learning Center to see what is being done in the area to educate low-income students.

"Those are the children that are left behind from the beginning. So, to be able to have a facility like this, to have the principals that are invested by the people that are working here that believe every child is an individual, that believes every child should and could do better, is making a huge difference," she says.

The Housing Authority looks to extend a student's school day to help with education.

"Everyday we share with our kids that you are part of the 100. That means, that you are a part of the 100 percent of the population of students here that will graduate, that you are a part of the 100 percent of the students that will become successful, that you are a part of the 100 percent of students that will attend college," says Housing Authority Education Director, Shannah Banks.

Literacy Celebration Week is something the First Lady came up with when her husband became governor.

The goal is not only to educate students, but everyone.

"We need all of our people not only our children to become more literate, but all of us to continue to grow and that means to become more literate," First Lady Beshear says.

House Bill 224 hopes to raise the high school dropout age to 18 in Kentucky.

The law hasn't been amended since 1920.

"The jobs that are out there require a minimum of a high school education. So, what we are seeing is-- 16 years old-- it's not an appropriate age to make a life decision," says First Lady Beshear.

The First Lady believes this is the year the bill has a chance at becoming law.

This is the fifth year in a row a bill has been proposed to raise the drop-out age to 18.

It was passed in the house, and is currently in the senate.

The First Lady started her visit in Bowling Green at WKU where she toured Gary Ransdell Hall and talked to students about the value of reading quality literature and the affect of reading on college readiness.

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