It is nice to see money put to good use. Former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale put 100 million dollars of his own money up to found the Barksdale Reading Institute, and five years later that investment is getting results.
Five years ago, Barksdale and his late wife, Sally, put up $100 million of their own money to improve “preliteracy” skills for preschoolers and reading for children in kindergarten through third grade. The Oxford-based institute they created provides books and teacher training for some of the state’s neediest and lowest-performing schools.
Barksdale chose his brother, attorney Claiborne Barksdale, to run the institute, with strict instructions that he wanted results.
An independent analysis by a University of Mississippi research center recently confirmed the program was making a “statistically significant difference.”
But Claiborne Barksdale acknowledged: “You have so many children come in who have not been exposed to books and words. We cannot expect schools to transform magically children who have been neglected the first five years of their lives.”
71 schools throughout the state have benefited from the Institute’s initiatives. In a time where accounting fraud, corporate greed, and executive malfeasance fill the headlines, it is nice to know that philanthropy is alive and well.
Claiborne Barksdale said officials in several other states have sought donations, including California, Arizona, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Florida, even Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The reply has been the same. For now, the money stays in Mississippi.
Note the “even” that prefaces the Northern states…