The following post his based on an observation in the book, Think Like a Freak, by Steven D. Levitt & Steven J. Dubner. I heartily recommend this great book to all school leaders, both formal and informal.

In the general population, one in every four children has poor eyesight.  Drill down deeper and you will find that up to 60% of struggling learners have poor vision.  Which makes sense. It’s hard to read when it is hard to see. Yet, we educators test to determine if students have understood what they have read. We create interventions for those who have trouble reading. We are rated based on annual student reading performance. But we forget to check the most basic, and correctable, physical attribute related to reading… student eyesight.  We all (I know I did) assume that someone else must have done so previously.

So let’s quit assuming. I suggest that within the first week of school that all students are screened for vision issues, starting with Kindergarten students.  Notify the parents of any student that seemingly has a vision problem and make sure that the child gets the glasses that he/she needs.  Every day a child with uncorrected vision problems is in school is a day that child is falling behind his non sight impaired peers. 

On a personal note, undiagnosed vision issues affected my GPA when I was in high school.  I am color blind to over 60% of the Red/Green spectrum.  This was not diagnosed until a Department of Defense (DoD) physical I took when I was 18.  This fact explained why I darn near failed a semester of biology.  The reason I couldn’t indentify attributes of slide specimens, wasn’t due to a lack of trying… the specimens were highlighted with red and green dyes. Which is why I never saw enough of anything to identify. Oops.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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